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Signs on ships explained

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    Signs on ships explained

    For those landlubbers who may wonder what all those things painted on the hull of ships are for and what they mean, here is an easy to understand explanation:

    Thanks for refreshing my memory on the symbols of a large vessel. I was indoctrinated at an early age as my father had a history of maritime matters relating to all sorts of vessels, during WW2 and later. He once wrote to the British Admiralty to inform them some of their maps of the SW Pacific are wrong. He pointed out a reef, quite a large one, exists in a group of smaller reefs but was not marked on their chart. He got a huffy response, then he persisted until they conceded and changed the official map. It was in the area of PNG but I cannot recall exactly where.


    • ombugge
      ombugge commented
      Editing a comment
      In that area there were a lot of inaccurately charted reefs and even islands well into the 1970's. Vokso island off the North coast of New Guinea was just marked with dotted lines and the note: "position uncertain". One reef east of New Ireland was marked; "Reported to be 14 n.miles NE of charted position".

      Even the entire east and west coasts of Gulf of Carpentaria was marked with; "Reported to be x.xx n.miles East (or West) of charted position."
      Nothing said about the south side of the gulf, though. (It was also wrong, as I found out when calling at Karumba in 1972)

      We learnt to use old and now forgotten methods of navigation when operating there at that time. (Like feel the change in motion from backwash from shorelines and reefs and listen for the sound of breakers at night)

      Now nobody even look out the windows, as they rely on their gadgets to tell them everything.

    Thanks for the update on reefs etc. Several ships were lost on Middleton reef off Lord Howe Island in the fifties; and numerous yachts. On our islands (Tabuaeran ex-Fanning ; Teraina (Washington Island) both experienced the loss of 2 ships of the Bank Line, and that was the start of the Bank Line saying; NO MORE!! Too expensive to insure fully and copra was going out of fashion in lieu of vegetable oils and similar.

    Sadly, one officer was killed when the Southbank lurched suddenly about 150 metres out and the officer was catapulted against the hull off the gangway. He was buried with a ceremony and a large plaque erected
    on his ocean-side grave. People tend to under-rate what the Humbolt current can do to ships in dodgy weather.