EFFORTS have been made from time to time, over a period of years, to pass legislation through Congress that would determine the maximum permissible draft or Plimsoll line to which American seagoing merchant vessels could be loaded. The principal maritime nations of the world have had such laws in effect for many years, binding upon vessels under their respective flags. Hitherto the drafts of American vessels have been limited only at the discretion of the master, by the exigencies of trade, or in some cases by the insistence by insurance underwriters on the observance of the load lines fixed by marine classification societies such as the American Bureau of Shipping or Lloyds Register.
Load-Line Legislation Affecting American Merchant Vessels
By S. B. Crosby, Senior Engineer, Bureau of Construction and Repair