Reply To: Forecastle Rails on Frigates

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Frank Scott

    While I have not seen the picture, I cannot say that I am particularly surprised. In the Twenty-First Century we have become accustomed to a level of attention to “Health & Safety” that would have been unthinkable 60 years ago, let alone 250 years ago.

    For example back in the 1960s I regularly sailed offshore in an International Six-metre class yacht (confusingly it was nearly 12 metres on deck) which had no guardrails or lifelines at all, and nobody raised an eyebrow. Similarly as a cadet in the Norwegian Merchant Navy full-rigged schoolship Sørlandet in 1968 we were not issued with safety-harnesses, but worked quite happily aloft, and out on the bowsprit.

    Actually I served as a junior watchkeeper in the last HMS Lowestoft in 1976/76, and particularly off Iceland in the so-called Cod War we had men working on deck while conducting replenishment at sea (fuel and stores) in very heavy weather with what would now be regarded as entirely inadequate safety gear.

    The past is another country.