In the early days of sail, the method of cleaning the fouling off a ship's bottom by careening, and then burning off the seaweed, barnacles, etc., which had grown there through long immersion. The clean bottom was then payed with tar, though applying a mixture of tallow, sulphur or lime, and rosin also did something to inhibit the growth of weed. The process was also called graving, which gave the graving dock its name, and was an alternative to using a hog.
Lighting fires under the hull was quite a dangerous operation, and many ships were set on fire and destroyed by breaming. Nevertheless, it was a necessary and frequent operation, and it was not until the introduction of copper sheathing, as well as better docking facilities, that breaming became a thing of the past.
Subjects: Maritime History.