Once upon a time, sometimes in the 1800s dried cow dung from the prairies was made into a pie for use as fuel to stoke boilers to propel ships. The stowage of these pies would be in the holds, a space that is pretty much closed in.

First, they weighed a lot less than coal. Secondly, gasoline or diesel had not appeared on the scene. Poop was the only available alternative.

Consequences Aboard

The dung pies getting wet during the passage is normal. They not only got heavier but started fermenting and emanating methane that is highly combustible.


Having got to the root of this recurring disaster, the finding of a solution did not take long. The open deck was where these precious pies were stowed. The methane could disperse to the atmosphere.

The Final Solution

And so the packages bore the stamp SHIT- Ship High In Transit.

The Great Depression

This story is unfortunately untrue. It happens to be a 2002 post on USENET as humorous. Sorry to disappoint.

Harsh Reality

Shit has its origins from Old English ‘schite’ meaning dung. This was way back in the 14th century.

Scholars are also are pretty sure that it was commonly used by Germanic tribes during the Roman era.

The word shit from a moral standpoint is barbaric. But to kill off such a great stress-buster is also blasphemy.

My humble thanks to https://www.mentalfloss.com/

The Poop Deck

Sounds amusing, doesn’t it?

Well, it has little to do with relieving bowels.

So What On Earth Is A Poop Deck

The origin is from the French ‘La Poupe’ which translates as ‘ the stern.’

On sailing ships of bygone days, it was the elevated section of the deck at the stern.


It is the sole location where all navigation and steering took place. Below were located the living quarters of the navigational officers and crew. It was an ideal vantage point for the Captain to observe the going-on on deck as also efficiently navigate.

What About Poop Decks On Modern Ships

There are no poop decks on modern cargo ships. A small area located at the after end for mooring the ship and below would be the steering compartment.

However, some passenger vessels still have quarters aft, steerage class for those on a budget. It could not be cushy as the noise and vibration from the main machinery directly below could filter up.

The Titanic had a poop deck on deck B. (see pic below)

Photo Credits:https://emmacruises.com/

Incidentally, this was the last compartment above water as the Titanic sank bow first.

Photo Credits:https://emmacruises.com/

The Bridge on conventional ships. CCTV covers blind sectors so the officer on the watch can see all that is transpiring on deck.

In Concluding

These days we have evac toilets on cargo ships, a feacal tank for holding the waste which is treated before being let out to the sea. There are some zones where discharge is prohibited. The point here is ‘ Go Green’.

By the way, power off your computer after reading this. Baby steps lead to mighty oaks.

Thank you. 

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