Manure : In the 16th and 17th centuries, everything had to be transported by ship and it was also before the invention of commercial fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were quite common.

It was shipped dry, because in dry form it weighed a lot less than when wet, but once water (at sea) hit it, not only did it become heavier, but the process of fermentation began again, of which a by-product is methane gas of course. As the stuff was stored below decks in bundles you can see what could (and did) happen. Methane began to build up below decks and the first time someone came below at night with a lantern, BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this way before it was determined just what was happening. Once the cause had been determined the bundles of manure were always stamped with the instruction ‘Stow high in transit’. This told the sailors to stow it high enough off the lower decks that any water coming into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane.

Thus evolved the term ‘S.H.I.T’ (Stow High in Transit) which has come down through the centuries and is in use to this very day.