Origins of the Load line Convention

It was Samuel Plimsoll who first came up with the concept of a load line mark hence the load line mark is often called the Plimsoll line. Plimsoll’s work on the load line was inspired by several major accidents at sea. In 1867, Plimsoll as a member of UK parliament endeavoured in vain to pass a bill dealing with the subject of a safe load line on ships. Cargo ships setting sail in the 1860s were very likely to be unseaworthy, both badly maintained and overloaded. If these badly maintained and badly loaded ships sank, their over-insured owners usually cashed in at Lloyd's insurance market. Plimsoll rallied for regular enforced inspections and, in 1870, proposed an idea to parliament put forward by ship-owner James Hall. The idea was a level of maximum ship submergence based on the tonnage of the ship that would give a minimum freeboard to which the ship could load (MariEMS 2017)