We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is the Steerage?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The steerage is the lowest deck on a ship. It is the space in which second class or third class passengers would be placed during a ship's voyage, usually with limited amenities and very cramped conditions. Passengers looking to travel as inexpensively as possible would travel in the steerage, and in many cases these passengers were not permitted on the upper decks of the ship. Bathroom usage was often limited and food was usually in short supply; what food was supplied was usually of very low quality. Passengers in this level of the ship often had little or no privacy at all.

The name of this level of the deck comes from the term used to guide the ship; steerage is a term used to describe the process of guiding the ship through the water by use of the rudder. The steerage deck was so named because it was on the level of the control apparatuses that connected the rudder to the captain's deck. This level of the ship tended to be quite small as compared to more spacious upper decks, though this level was also most likely to be overcrowded, leading to somewhat hazardous conditions during long voyages.

This level of accommodation was often the most feasible option for immigrants moving to another country. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, many people leaving Europe to make new lives in the United States would endure poor living conditions and spreading diseases on board ships in the steerage deck. Once they arrived in the new country, they would be unloaded and registered, though many were simply sent back to Europe, again in the lowest level of a vessel. While this was a cheap way to travel, it could be an unbearable way to live for the many weeks passengers would spend at sea.

The process of steering the vessel involves using a moving tail piece known as a rudder that will move left or right, depending on the direction in which the ship needs to be steered. The ship needs to be moving forward through the water in order for the rudder to have any effect on directional control; if the vessel is not moving forward, the rudder will have no effect on steering and the vessel will be said to have lost steerage. When the ship is moving forward and the rudder is able to manipulate direction, the boat is said to have steerage way.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.