On Aug. 31, 1773, Samuel Johnson said, "No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned." In 1765, Wilkinson claimed that on average 4200 British seamen drowned annually (WilkinsonSP vi).

It is helpful to distinguish two situations. In one, the ship is intact, but one or more individuals have by accident fallen overboard. In the second, the ship itself is in distress; it may have run aground, or it may even be sinking.

Man Overboard. In 1620 . . .

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- The Grantville Gazette Staff