freeboard

freeboard
/free"bawrd', -bohrd'/, n.
1. Naut.
a. the distance between the level of the water and the upper surface of the freeboard deck amidships at the side of a hull: regulated by the agencies of various countries according to the construction of the hull, the type of cargo carried, the area of the world in which it sails, the type of water, and the season of the year. Cf. load line.
b. (on a cargo vessel) the distance between the uppermost deck considered fully watertight and the official load line.
c. the portion of the side of a hull that is above the water.
2. Civ. Engin. the height of the watertight portion of a building or other construction above a given level of water in a river, lake, etc.
[1670-80; FREE + BOARD; trans. of F franc bord]

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      distance from the waterline to the freeboard deck of a fully loaded ship; it is measured amidships at the side of the hull. The freeboard deck is the deck below which all bulkheads are made watertight; above it that precaution is not necessary. Freeboard represents the safety margin showing to what depths a ship may be loaded under various service conditions—e.g., the type of cargo, the waters to be navigated, and the season of the year. Freeboard is determined by the design of the vessel, particularly the shape and dimensions of its watertight hull; by its structural strength; and, in the case of a passenger ship, by the subdivision of its watertight compartments. Definite freeboard rules, based on the provision of adequate reserve buoyancy, were first established in the second half of the 19th century, largely through the efforts of Samuel Plimsoll (Plimsoll line), a British politician and social reformer. See also Plimsoll line.

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Universalium. 2010.

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