Many of the men who owned their boats in the day
Had to take something like a mortgage to do it.
Because of this their boats were more important than a house
As both their jobs and money were tied into it.
These men were called independent boatman
And they lived as best they could
Running coal and other goods at clients’ requests
Until the war it was a steady livelihood.
Even after the war started, the mortgages were quite strict.
As if to ensure there was no way for a payment to be missed
The runs that boatmen made was up to the whim of the mortgage holder
And so other clients were nearly impossible to enlist.
Perhaps the worst of it was that they had to run coal
And they were given hours of 24/7
Meaning they had no breaks
No matter how heavy the fighting or nasty the outcome.
As long as any debt was owed
The boatman was not truly independent.
His worked was done at the command of those who gave him the loan
Meaning until the debt was repaid his boat was not his own.