The Dangers of Coral Reefs to Navigation


IN consequence of a paper which I recently read before the Royal Geographical Society on “The Formation of the Maldives,” I have received several letters from officers of the mercantile marine. These lead me to believe that the danger incurred by too closely approaching coral reefs and islands is not generally perceived. Further, I have myself seen large passenger steamers coasting round the south of Minikoi Atoll within 300 yards of its encircling reef. Indeed, one large liner was so close in that the look-out man at the mast head could not have failed to see the bottom. The practice of approaching so near where unnecessary—to enable passengers to get a good view of the land and reef—is one attended with considerable danger and greatly to be deplored.

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GARDINER, J. The Dangers of Coral Reefs to Navigation. Nature 65, 585 (1902).

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