from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Nautical, the part of the side of a vessel or boat which lies between the line of flotation and the upper side of the deck (or a point corresponding to it), or, when there are several decks, of the uppermost watertight deck.
  • n. The minimum free-board to which British merchant vessels may be loaded is indicated by a mark known as the Plimsoll mark. Lloyd's Register is empowered to assign the deepest water-line to which a vessel may be loaded. The lines must be permanently marked on the side of the vessel, as shown in the cut. F W is the fresh-water free-board line to which the ship can be loaded in a fresh-water harbor. S is the corresponding summer load-line for the same displacement in salt water. W is the winter free-board line. WNA is the winter free-board line for voyages in the North Atlantic. I S is the line for summer voyages in the Indian Ocean. L R is Lloyd's Register. For sailing-vessels the FW and WNA lines only are marked.


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  • His instinct was to call them out of the chasm now - there was already less than twelve inches of free-board at the top of the wall.

    The Seventh Scroll

  • Her low free-board indicated that she was heavily cargoed.

    The Black Buccaneer

  • In another instant the rowers shipped their oars and the gunwale scraped along the free-board of the schooner.

    The Black Buccaneer

  • For a quick get-away on such an occasion as that they serve splendidly, but are useless as a permanent craft, for they are extremely heavy, and their low free-board causes them to fill with water and sink at the slightest provocation.

    Head Hunters of the Amazon: Seven Years of Exploration and Adventure

  • To reduce, by raising the free-board, the risk of swamping, the bows were heightened and strengthened, and stout wooden bulwarks were built running from bow to stern.

    The River War An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan

  • Inside reigns the calm of untroubled water, whereon a canoe like ours can sail with no more than a couple of inches of free-board.

    Chapter 12

  • But, because of its great weight and low free-board, it is unsuitable as a freight carrier and by reason of the limitations of its construction is not of the correct form to successfully run the rapid and bad waters of many of the South American rivers.

    Appendix B. The Outfit for Travelling in the South American Wilderness

  • Our nineteen-foot canvas-covered freight canoe, a type especially built for the purpose on deep, full lines with high free-board, weighed about one hundred and sixty pounds and would carry a ton of cargo with ease—and also take it safely where the same cargo distributed among two or three native thirty or thirty-five foot canoes would be lost.

    Appendix B. The Outfit for Travelling in the South American Wilderness

  • They did not bother about following the water-line and painting her free-board white; a coat of copper paint over the whole hull sufficed.

    Tom Slade at Temple Camp

  • We were now heading about a point off the edge of the outer line of heavy breakers, and as the _Bess_ had the least free-board of any ship of her size sailing the trades, she was soon carrying on her deck her full allowance of loose water.

    Wide Courses


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