Here, then, we have an effectual remedy against the casualties attending on a vessel coming into collision with another. Unless the water break into the vessel in all the sections at the same time (which is almost impossible), there can be no danger of submersion. These bulkheads afford, also, a protection against fire. The circumstance of any part of an ordinary vessel taking fire is followed by the rapid spreading of it through all parts of the vessel. An instance of this calamity occurred recently to the steamer, the Medway, on the river Thames, where the only resource that remained to the numerous passengers was the confining themselves to that part of the deck most distant from the fire until the vessel was run on shore. These iron bulkheads, being air-tight, effectually prevent the introduction of any draught or current of air, so much to be dreaded. Again, in extinguishing the fire in the section in which it originated, the crew would be enabled to work in comparative security. The fire, being prevented spreading laterally, can only make progress upwards towards the deck, and which will be considerably retarded, if not altogether checked, by the absence of all current of air from either end of the vessel.
Indeed, it is questionable whether the mere closing down the hatches over the section would not entirely extinguish it. These bulkheads have been adopted in many vessels belonging to the City of Dublin Company, and other parties have since followed their example, although the plan is far from being so extensively adopted as it deserves to be. With regard to the additional weight and expense, they are trifling in comparison with their importance and the security which they afford. Mr. Williams states that the bulkheads in the Royal William and Athlone cost £290 each vessel; and the additional timber in the solid framing must be trifling.