Captain Ken #21 - Measuring the Depths
Captain Ken Owen had a long career at sea which included sailing as master with Overseas Containers Limited (OCL), P&O Containers and P&O Nedlloyd. Ken is now retired and in 2020 he started writing a monthly article for publication using the pen name 'Captain Ken' in the Mellor Church Outlook magazine.
A number of articles that Ken has written are about his time at sea and he has very kindly agreed that we can share them here.
In this, the 21st article in the series to be reproduced on the PONLHeritage site, Captain Owen goes back to his early days at sea when the depth of water was measured with a sounding line.
This article was first published in the church magazine in February 2022.
During my time at sea, the art of navigation has completely changed. The coming of GPS, of course is the main reason for this. We now know exactly where we are without the skilled use of a sextant any more. And as for the depth, we simply consult the chart, allowing only for tidal affect.
It is already hard to remember that many ships did not have echo sounders, and still relied upon the sounding lead to measure the actual depth. A special line with the depth indicated with distinctive marks, is bent on to the lead weight, which has a hollow in it’s bottom end, which when armed with white lead and tallow, collects a sample of the sea bed.
For further articles in this series:
Captain Ken Owen has kindly provided us with a new series of articles which will be published on a regular basis here. If you are interested in reading other articles that he has written which we haven't yet used then please feel free to go to mellorchurch.org/outlook-magazine/.