The lettering and numbering of fishing boats

The following information has been copied from the SEA FISHERIES MANUAL 1903, H.M.S.O., London, 1903 – the ‘Manual for the guidance of Officers employed in carrying out duties connected with the Sea Fisheries in the seas surrounding the British Islands.’

SEA FISHERIES ACT 1843.

ARTICLE VI.

All British and French Fishing Boats shall be numbered.

There shall be a Series of Numbers for the Fishing Boats belonging to each Collectorship of Customs in the United Kingdom, and a Series of Numbers for the Fishing Boats belonging to each District of Maritime Registry in France; and to these Numbers shall be prefixed the initial Letters of the Names of the respective Collectorships or Districts.

ARTICLE VII.

Whereas there are in the United Kingdom several Collectorships of Customs and in France several Districts of Maritime Registry, the Names of which begin with the same Letter, in which Case the initial Letter alone would not suffice; the distinguishing Letter or Letters for the Boats of each Collectorship or District shall be designated by the Board of Customs in the United Kingdom, and by the Minister of Marine in France.

ARTICLE VIII.

The Letters and Numbers shall be placed on each Bow of the Boat, Three or Four Inches (Eight or Ten Centimetres French) below the Gunnel, and they shall be painted in White Oil Colour on a Black Ground.

For Boats of Fifteen Tons Burthen and upwards, the Dimensions of these Letters and Numbers shall be Eighteen Inches (Forty five Centimetres French) in Height, and Two and a Half Inches (Six Centimetres French) in Breadth.

For Boats of less than Fifteen Tons Burthen, the Dimensions shall be Ten Inches (Twenty-five Centimetres French) in Height, and One and Three-Quarter Inch (Four Centimetres French) in Breadth

The same Letters and Numbers shall also be painted on each Side of the Main Sail of the Boat in Black Oil Colour on White Sails, and in White Oil Colour on Tanned or Black Sails.

These Letters and Numbers on the Sails shall be One Third larger in every Way than those on the Bows of the Boat.

ARTICLE XIV.

The Names of each Fishing Boat, and that of the Port to which she belongs, shall be painted in White Oil Colour on a Black Ground on the Stern of the said Boat, in Letters which shall be at least Three Inches (Eight Centimetres French) in Height, and Half an Inch (Twelve Millimetres French) in Breadth.

SEA FISHERIES ACT 1868. 

ARTICLE IV.

All British and French Fishing Boats shall be lettered and numbered.

In the United Kingdom there shall be a series of numbers for the fishing boats belonging to each collectorship of Customs, and in France a series of numbers for the fishing boats belonging to each district of maritime registry; and to these numbers shall be prefixed the letter (or letters) to be designated by the Board of Customs in the United Kingdom, and by the Ministry of Marine in France.

ARTICLE V.

The letter (or letters) and number shall be placed on each bow of the boat 3 or 4 inches (8 pr 10 centimetres French) below the gunwale, and they shall be painted in white oil colour on a black ground.

For boats of 15 tons burthen and upwards the dimensions of the letters and numbers shall be 18 inches (45 centimetres French) in height, and 2½ inches (6 centimetres French) in breadth.

For boats of less than 15 tons burthen, the dimensions shall be 10 inches (25 centimetres French) in height, and 1¾ inched (4 centimetres French) in breadth.

The same letter (or letters) and numbers shall also be painted on each side of the mainsail of the boat, in black oil colour on white sails, and in white oil colour on tanned or black sails. Such letter (or letters) and number on the sails shall be one third larger in every way than those on the bows of the boat.

The name of each fishing boat, and that of the port to which she belongs, shall be painted in white oil colour on a black ground on the stern of the boat, in letters which shall be at least 3 inches (8 centimetres French) in height, and ½ an inch (12 millimetres French) in breadth.

SEA FISHERIES ACT, 1883.

ARTICLE VI.

Fishing boats shall bear the initial letter or letters of the port to which they belong, and the registry number in the series of numbers for that port.

ARTICLE VII.

The name of each fishing boat, and that of the port to which she belongs, shall be painted in white oil colour on a black ground on the stern of the boat, in letters that shall be  at least 8 centim. in height and 12 millim. in breadth.

ARTICLE VIII.

The letter or letters and number shall be placed on each bow of the boat eight or ten centim. below the gunwale, and so as to be clearly visible. They shall be painted in white oil colour on a black ground.

The distance above mentioned shall not, however, be obligatory for boats of small burden, which may not have sufficient space below the gunwale.

For boats of fifteen tons burthen and upwards the dimensions of the letters and numbers shall be 45 centim. in height, and 6 centim. in breadth.

For boats of less than fifteen tons burthen, the dimensions shall be (25 centim. in height, and 4 centim. in breadth.

The same letter or letter and numbers shall also be painted on each side of the mainsail of the boat, immediately above the close reef, in black oil colour on white or tanned sails, and in white oil colour on black sails. Such letter (or letters) and number on the sails shall be one third larger in every way than those on the bows of the boat. [2]

The letter or letters and numbers on the sails shall be one-third larger in every way than those painted on the bows of the boats.

REGULATION for the REGISTRY, LETTERING, and NUMBERING of BRITISH SEA FISHING BOATS, under Part IV. Of the MERCHANT SHIPPING ACT, 1894, and under the Sea fisheries acts, 1868, and 1883.

Approved by His Majesty in Council on the 24th day of March, 1902.

Classes of boats.

  1. For the purposes of these regulations boats shall be divided into three classes, namely: –

1st Class, which shall include all steamer of 15 tons gross tonnage and upwards, and all boats (other than steamers) of 15 tons register tonnage and upwards.

2nd Class, which shall include all steamers of less than 15 tons gross tonnage and all boats (other than steamers) of less than 15 tons register tonnage or of 18 feet keel and upwards.

3rd Class, which shall include all boats under 18 feet keel, other than those navigated by oars only and marked in accordance with Section 176 of the Customs Consolidation Act, 1876.[3]

Provided that in the case of canoes or other boats without keels the measurement sgall be made from them to stern over all.

Name of boat and port.

  1. The name of each boat and that of the port or place of registry shall be painted in white oil colour on a black ground outside the stern of the boat in letters which shall not be less than three inches in height and half an inch in breadth.

Letters and numbers on bow, hull, and funnel.

  1. Every boat shall bear in the following manner the letter or letters and the number assigned to the boat in her register.
  • The letters shall precede the number.
  • The letters and number shall be placed on each bow of the boats three or four inches below the gunwale and so as to be clearly visible.
  • In the case of steamers, the letters and number shall, in addition, be placed in a similar manner on each quarter and on the funnels twelve inches from the top, of a conspicuous size, and as far as possible on the foremost half of the circumference
  • The letters and number shall be painted in white oil colour on a black ground.

Letters and number on sails.

  1. (1.) The same letters and number shall be painted in oil colour on each side of the centre cloth or cloths of the mainsail of the boat immediately above the close reef, and in such a manner as to be plainly visible. They shall be painted on white sails in black, and on black sails in white, and where the sails are on an intermediate shade, the said letters and number shall be painted in black on sails of light shade, and in white on sailed of dark shade.

(2.) Provided that in the case of a lug sail boat the letters and number shall be placed on the sail which is commonly used when the boat is engaged in fishing.

(3.) Whenever the Registrar of the port, or place of registry, reports to the Board of Trade that he is in doubt as to the effectiveness for the purposes of these regulations of the colour of the letters and number in the case of a boat having any sail of intermediate shade, or whenever a question arises as to the effectiveness for the purposes of these regulations of the colour of the letters and number for any sail of intermediate shade, the letters and number shall be painted in black or white as the Board of Trade may in such case direct.

Size and distance from each other of letters and numbers.

  1. (1.) For boats of the first class the letters and numbers shall be, on the hulls, 18 inches in height and 2½ inches in breadth, and, on the sails, one third larger every way.

(2.) For boats of the second class, the letters and numbers shall be, on the hulls, 10 inches in height and 1¾ inches in breadth, and, on the sails, one third larger every way.

(3.) For boats of the third class the letters and numbers shall be, on the hulls, 6 inches at least in height and ¾ inch at least in breadth, and, on the sails, one third larger every way.

(4.) Provided that in boats which have a “bend piece” or “rubbing streak” the letters and numbers shall be as high as the space will admit. In boats where the space between the gunwale and the water-line is not sufficient for the prescribed height, the letters and numbers shall be as high as the space will admit.

(5.) In all cases, a space equal to one-third of the height of the letters shall be left between every two letters and every two figures forming the number, and the letter shall be separated from the number by twice the same space.

390.PZ~Mur, Penberth Cove, co.1880.

Tony Pawlyn : July 2019.

 

[1] N.B. there are two consecutive folios numbered 23.

[2] By a subsequent Declaration of 1st February, 1889, the paragraph printed in italics above has been replaced by the following provision: –

The same letters and numbers shall also be painted in oil colour on each side of the mainsail of the boat, immediately above the close reef, and in such a manner so as to be plainly visible; they shall be painted, on white sails in black, on black sails in white, and on sails of an intermediate shade in black or in white as the superior competent authority shall deem the more effective.

[3] The Customs Consolidation Act, 1876, Section 176, requires all vessels and boats under 100 tons to have the name of the owner and of the port painted outside of the stern, but this does not apply to boats registered as fishing boats. [but surely 10 tons – no such names ever appearing on the sterns of large craft.]