Steerage refers to Steerage Berths (bunk/hammocks), Steerage Accommodation (space afforded), and Steerage passage.
- It is a technology that is mostly replaced by the Low Passage Rack within the TL:13-15 technological epoch.
- It is a kind of Ship Equipment.
Steerage Passage is an inexpensive means of travel which allows very little space per person.
- Steerage Accommodations equates to total space (bunk, access, fresher, life support, and commons) per passenger of between 0.25 and 0.5 Ton.
- Steerage Berth is a bunk and access equating to 0.25Ton normally stacked 4 high and can be double or triple bunked (2 to 3 people assigned to each bunk) if common space available for non-sleeping persons.
As an example of the tightest packing, two 4Ton cargo containers will hold 30 people with 10 bunks/hammocks (2.5Ton), 3 common freshers (3Ton), life support equipment (1m3) in the overhead (standard shipboard design), leaving 11.25m3 of floor space for the 20 active passengers at any one time. And for interstellar travel they would be locked in this space for approximately 10 days. Every bed is taken in 8 hour shifts so no staying in bed past your time. See Stateroom for component details.
These tight quarters are mentally taxing and and often result in problems. Claustrophobia, PSTD, anxiety, depression, and personality conflicts are common ailments in these passages. Mental preperation, common goals, team training may mitigate or delay these mental ailments. The added stress and strain take a toll on the body effectively doubling aging while in Steerage. Fights resulting in injury or death are not uncommon on extended passages. If the passengers have access to the crew, then the fights could extend to the crew and may even result in mutiny or highjacking. Life support and sanitation equipment are often over taxed adding to the mental strain and increasing the likelihood of disease transmittal. Tight quarters without complete disease screening prior is bound to result in transmittal even to the point of complete contamination. Most ships that carry steerage try to keep trips short or passengers completely isolated.
Developed during the Terran Age of Sail as a means of moving large numbers of people aboard the small ships of the age. Named for the placement of the bunks or hammocks amongst the ships steering gear. In later eras the placement is in any otherwise unusable area. In some eras these ships were called coffin ships as they delivered more coffins than passengers.
- Vilani are morally opposed to tight packing of people, thus Steerage is outlawed and this carried over to the Imperium. Solomani felt the Vilani ships were to spacious even for the lowest crewman to have a shared stateroom, and all passengers were on luxury liners.
- Steerage is replaced in most societies with Cold Sleep methods or Fast Drug Berths as they become available.
Expected Low Berth Development Sequence
COLD SLEEP DEVICES & RELATED TECHNOLOGIES:
- Hypothermic Berth → Near-Cryogenic Berth → Cryogenic Berth → Emergency Low Berth → Early Stasis Berth → Stasis Berth
COLD SLEEP ALTERNATIVES: