Portcities Southampton
UK * Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton
You are here: PortCities Southampton > Start Here > About Us > Why Plimsoll?
* Text only * About this site * Site Map * Feedback
Explore this site
Start Here
About Us
Partners And Collections
Get Interactive!
Image galleries
The Docks
River Itchen
Southampton at war
Flying Boats
Finding Out More
Southampton speaks
Street Directories
Historic Buildings Survey
Registers and Records
Lloyd's Register
Official Sources
Other Records
Finding Out More
Wrecks and Accidents
Why accidents happen
Improving Safety at Sea
Finding Out More
Wreck Reports
Life of a Port
How a port comes to life
At work in a port
Ports at play
Trade - lifeblood of a port
Finding Out More
On the Line
Company growth and development
Shipping lines
Transatlantic travel
Preparing a liner
Finding Out More
Sea People
Life at sea
Jobs at sea
Travelling by sea
Starting a new life by sea
Women and the sea
Finding Out More
Diversity of Ships
The variety of ships
What drives the ship?
Ships of ancient times
Ships in the age of sail
Ships of the steam age
Ships of today

About Us

Why Plimsoll?

Plimsoll stands for Public Library of Maritime Sources   Online. The PortCities Southampton website aims to make important maritime information as easy to use as a public library - available to everyone without charge. By the end of the project in June 2004, it will offer over 8,000 images and 30,000 text pages. These will include important maritime sources such as Lloyd`s Register of Ships for 1930-45, and the official British formal investigations into shipping casualties (wreck reports). These are available for you to help in your research, to pursue an interest or just to entertain you.

Plimsoll is also named after Samuel Plimsoll. He was MP for Derby 1868-1880, and became very worried about the dangers seafarers faced. Every year thousands of sailors lost their lives around the British coast and in open seas. He believed the biggest threat to their life came from two causes: overloading ships and not keeping them in good repair. In the face of opposition from some shipowners and government officials he tried to change the law.

He proposed a special mark on every British ship to show the maximum amount of cargo that could be carried. This mark is called the load line and by law it is fixed on the side of ships to this day. It quickly became known as the 'Plimsoll line' in honour of Samuel Plimsoll's work.

He also said that every British ship should be inspected by government officials to check it was maintained in good order. This also became law, and today the Maritime and Coastguard Agency employs inspectors called marine surveyors to ensure safe ships. Some of the changes came about after Plimsoll's death in 1888, but his tireless work to protect lives at sea led to his nickname, the "sailor's friend".

Seafarers can still face danger at sea, from accidents, weather, machinery and even piracy. They still need a "sailor's friend".


Advanced Search
Southampton City Council New Opportunities Fund Lloyd's Register London Metropolitan Archives National Maritime Museum World Ship Society  
Legal & Copyright * Partner sites: Bristol * Hartlepool * Liverpool * London * Southampton * Text only * About this site * Feedback