SS William G Mather - Deep Cuts. Photography and Text by Keith R Wahl

August 19, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

The world at and beneath the ship's waterline

Starboard Side Plimsoll Line

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Starboard Side Plimsoll Line 20220804 850_2509Starboard Side Plimsoll LineThe starboard Plimsoll line of the SS William G Mather in port at Cleaveland, Ohio

SS William G Mather, Rudder and Propeller

SS William G Mather, Rudder and Propeller 20220804 850_2496SS William G Mather, Rudder and PropellerThe rudder and propeller riding high under the counter or the unladen museum ship SS William G Mather on the waterfront in Cleveland, Ohio

The world of a ship at and below the waterline, especially a bulk carrier such as the SS William G Mather, is all its own. Like an iceberg, only a small part of the ship's story is above the surface. And it all matters, as this information tells the tale of ship handling and seamanship.

Let's start with the Plimsoll Line found amidships (middle of the vessel). This one shows its Plimsoll registration with American Bureau of Ships. This tells of the lading of the vessel in saltwater and fresh water. This also tells us about how the vessel displaces water in winter and summer. Water has differing densities (salt vs. fresh, warm vs. cold) and effects the vessel buoyancy. These are of keen interest to the vessel lading officer (often the Chief Mate or another Second or Third Mate depending on the ship) and port and canal inspectors.

Depth markings fore and aft also tell the story of load lading (cargo balance fore and aft and side to side). They also tell of how the ship will handle. An unloaded ship (as we see here) will have a different power profile delivered to the propeller. If the propeller and rudder are deeper in the water, steering and power dynamics change. The water also sweeps under the hull as the counter submerges, altering hydrodynamics.

Illustrating the matter of ship handling is the fact that they installed a bow thruster. This was an addition long after building the SS William G Mather. A single screw (propeller) vessel as this will tend to back to port. It is a dynamic of the turning of the propeller. A bow thruster (a separate propeller side to side or athwartship) aids in swinging the bow as desired.

These are features of a freight vessel rarely seen unless one observes ships in port. It is also a view to the considerations of officers and crew at the helm and below decks in machinery spaces too.

Bow Draft, SS William G Mather

Bow Draft, SS William G Mather 20220804 850_2501Bow Draft, SS William G MatherThe bow draft markings of the unladen bulk carrier SS William G Mather on the waterfront at Cleveland, Ohio

Bow Thruster, SS William G Mather

Bow Thruster, SS William G Mather 20220804 850_2511Bow Thruster, SS William G MatherThe bow thruster tunnel of the museum ship SS William G Mather, installed years after the ship was built

Port Side Draft and Plimsoll, SS William G Mather

Port Side Draft and Plimsoll, SS William G MatherPort Side Draft and Plimsoll, SS William G MatherThe port side midhips draft markings and Plimsoll Line of the museumship SS William G Mather

See more of our photos and information about the SS William G Mather here: Made From RI Gallery | SS William G Mather - A Bulk Carrier. Photography and Text by Keith R Wahl
 

 

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© Keith R Wahl, Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery, 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Keith R Wahl and Made From RI/Made From RI Gallery with appropriate and specific direction to the original. 

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