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Boot Topping

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Boot topping was the name mariners gave to the job of cleaning the upper-part of a ship's bottom.

Boot topping was often done when a ship reached a harbour and could be made to heel as far as possible with safety to each side. This was done by carefully moving ballast to the side of the hull opposite that to be cleaned.

Once the ship had been made to heel, members of the ship’s company set to work scraping off slime, shells, seaweed or other materials adhering to the exposed upper parts of the bottom. They then coated the cleaned surface with a coat of tallow and sulphur. This protected the bottom from infestation by marine worms, while also ensuring that the vessel encountered less resistance when moving through the water.

Related Entries for Boot Topping
Concepts: Heel (nautical term)
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Online Sources
  • Falconer, William, Online edition of William Falconer's Universal Dictionary of the Marine, or, a Copious Explanation of the Technical Terms and Phrases employed in the Construction, ...of a Ship...derived from the text of the London 1780 edition published by Thomas Cadell, 2004 edn, South Seas, http://southseas.nla.gov.au/refs/falc/contents.html. [ Details ]

Prepared by: Turnbull, P.
Created: 28 October 2001
Modified: 1 December 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000087

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