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A vertical partition, either fore and aft or athwartships, dividing the hull into separate compartments. Main bulkheads, running athwartships, are normally made watertight, with watertight doors fitted where access through the bulkhead is required. A collision bulkhead is a watertight bulkhead situated near the bows of a ship to prevent the flooding of the rest of the hull in the event of a collision at sea.

Chinese junks were built with watertight bulkheads from the earliest days. However, the first wooden ships to be fitted with them in the western world were the bomb ketches Erebus and Terror which in 1839 took part in Captain James Ross's Antarctic exploration. Terror, holed aft by the ice, was saved by her after bulkhead, arriving home with her after section full of water. With the introduction of iron, and later steel, as the material employed for shipbuilding, transverse bulkheads, and thus division into watertight compartments, became normal practice, Brunel's Great Eastern being the first to be constructed in this manner.

See also cubbridge heads.

See also cubbridge heads.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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