Personal Plimsoll Line

Plimsoll LinePlimsoll Line (nautical) properly the International Load Line, a mark on the hull of a merchant ship to show the waterline under specified conditions. The line shows the maximum capacity load the ship may carry.  The depth to which a boat can be safely loaded.

Samuel Plimsoll, a British MP in the mid 1800’s was outraged by the number of sailors deaths caused by overloaded and unseaworthy vessels.   In 1873 he published “Our Seamen” which cataloged disaster after disaster and showed that nearly 1000 sailors a year were drowned in British waters.  This document led to the eventual passing of the Unseaworthy Vessels Bill in 1875 and a year later the amendment of the 1871 Merchant Shipping Act to include provision for a marking on the sides of ships which would disappear below the water line when the ship was overloaded.

Is there a personal level of overload or unseaworthiness?

My good friend Ken Branco talks about personal capacity – Like it or not, our capacity is limited.  What can I predictably accomplish?  Where are resource constraints?  Am I a constraint?  Efficiency – Do things right.  Effectiveness – Do right things. Workloads for black belts, change agents, progressive leaders have the undesirable tendency toward overload, and with overload comes mistakes, failure, burnout.  What to do to keep from sinking?



“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
— Abraham Lincoln

“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”
— Longfellow

“No matter what the level of your ability, you have more potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime.”
— James T. McKay

In order to do more, I’ve got to be more. People frequently ask me, ‘How can I do more?’ The answer isn’t complicated: You have to develop personal capacity before you can have personal accomplishments. So many times we want to do more before we become more, but that’s backwards.”
— John C. Maxwell



2 Replies to “Personal Plimsoll Line”

  1. I am interested in using the above photo of the Plimsoll line by John C. Maxwell. How can I get in touch with him?

    Thank you for a reply.

    Valerie Pettis

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