Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

In fact, there is no suction caused by a sinking ship.

I've been reading the Rudder Treasury, a collection of the best articles from Rudder magazine, which was in publication from 1890 - 1950. I came across the below article, written in 1900 by the editor, Thomas Fleming Day. It's something I've said before about sinking ships; I'm just happy to see it written by a true salty sea dog.
On Sinking Ships

Another widespread fiction even held by many seamen: that there is a tremendous suction when a vessel sinks. There is nothing of the kind. As a vessel goes under the surface there is an inrush to close up the vacancy, but there is no suction after the sinking body is under the surface. If a vessel was drawn down by force there would be a suction; but a sinking form cannot sink faster than the water is displaced by its weight, and therefore, water being a dense medium the fluid must close in behind simultaneously with its displacement before. I have stood on the deck of a sinking craft and gone under with it, and instead of a suction there is just the opposite---an upward rush that makes it impossible to sink with a vessel unless you cling to her. A lifeboat on the deck of a vessel would float clear if the ship sank under her, so would a cask or a man or anything floatable.

--- Thomas Fleming Day, January 1900
I figured this was useful information for most people. You'll thank me later.
Thanks. I'll try to remember next time my ship sinks
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