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ABAFT THE BEAM: Any direction between
the beam and the stern.
ABEAM: Bearing 90˚ or 270˚ relative
from own ship.
ADRIFT: Loose; not secured to a
AGROUND: When any part of a vessel is
resting on the bottom. A ship runs aground or goes aground.
ALL STANDING: To bring up ALL STANDING
is to bring to a sudden stop. To turn in ALL STANDING is to retire fully
ALOFT: Above the decks. On the mast or
in the rigging.
ANEMOMETER: Instrument for measuring
ANEROID BAROMETER: A no-fluid or "dry"
barometer, as distinguished from a mercurial barometer.
ANNUAL VARIATION: An inconsistent
change in the earth's magnetic lines of force, varying in different
ARM: That part of an anchor located
between the crown and the fluke. Upright or nearly upright strength
member of a davit. The act of plastering tallow into a recess in the
bottom of a sounding lead; called arming the lead, and done for the
purpose of bringing up a specimen of the bottom.
ATHWART THE HAWSE: Across the stem.
AVAST: Stop; cease; as Avast heaving.
BACKING AND FILLING: The act of
sailing craft in repeatedly catching and losing the wind from her sails,
so as to be unable to make headway. Extended to cover the "fits and
starts" of a person who cannot make up his mind. Also the backing and
going ahead of a ship in casting or turning in confined waters.
BACKSTAY: Piece of standing rigging
BATTEN: Long strip of steel wedged
against the edges of hatch tarpaulins to secure them. Strips of light
wood inserted in the leech of a sail to prevent the leech from curling.
Long removable wooden or steel members extending from the deck to the
overhead, used in storerooms to keep equipment and stores from shifting.
In cargo holds, long planks along the ship's sides that protect cargo
from rust and sweat.
BATTEN DOWN: The act of making a hatch
watertight by wedging the battens against the tarpaulins, or of wedging
shut or dogging down any watertight opening.
BEAM: The overall width of a vessel.
BEAM ENDS: A vessel lying on her side
is said to be on her BEAM ENDS. Often used to indicate that a vessel has
taken an unusually large roll and was almost on her side.
BECKET: The fitting on a block to
which the dead end of the fall is attached.
BELAY: The act of securing a line to a
cleat, set of bitts, or any other fixed point. In connection with an
order or announcement, expresses the idea of "to disregard," as "Belay
that last order."
BETWIXT WIND AND WATER: That portion
of the vessel along the waterline which, when the vessel rolls, is
alternately above and below water.
BOLLARD: Strong cylindrical upright on
a pier, around which the eye or bight of a ship's mooring line is
BOLTROPE: Line sewed around the edge
of a sail, awning, or other canvas.
BREAKER: A long, broken sea rolling in
on a beach.
BREAKER LINE: The outermost boundary
of a breaker area; also called the surf line.
BREAK OFF: When walking away with a
line or running a line in, to let go, return to the point from which the
line is being hauled, take a new hold, and walk or run away again. (SEE
Walk away and Run away.)
BROACH: The act of breaking through
the surface and jumping out of the water. Sometimes called porpoising.
BROACH TO: The act of a vessel being
thrown broadside to the course by some force acting on the stern. A boat
thrown broadside on the beach is said to be BROACHED TO or, simply,
BULL'S-EYE: A round piece of lignum
vitae, with a hole in the center and scored around the edges to take the
eye of' a line. Frequently used in guesswarps.
BULWARK: Solid fencelike barrier along
the edges of weather decks.
CANTILEVER: A projecting beam
supported only at one end.
CAP: Piece across the top of a lower
mast that steadies the butt of the topmast.
CARLING: A fore-and-aft hatch beam.
CARRY AWAY: The act of breaking loose.
CARRY RUDDER: When a vessel requires a
constant amount of rudder on one side in order to maintain a steady
course, she is said to be CARRYING RUDDER.
CASTING: The act of turning a ship
through 360˚ without appreciably changing her position; done by
alternately backing and going ahead on her engines and repeatedly
shifting the rudder.
CATHEAD: See Gypsy.
CHAIN PIPE: Pipe leading from the
forecastle deck to the chain locker.
CHECK: Expresses the general idea of
"to slow." To check a line running out under a strain means to allow
only enough of it to render around the bitts to prevent the line from
CHOCKABLOCK: Full; filled to the
CLEAT: A device for belaying a line or
wire, consisting essentially of a pair of projecting horns.
CLOSE UP. The act of hoisting a flag
to, or in, its highest position.
COCKLE: Kink in an inner yarn of rope,
forcing the yarn to the surface.
COLLAR: Metal ring that steadies the
base of a mast, or supports the upper end of a boom that is stowed
CONSTANT TENSION WINCH: A winch that
keeps a set constant tension on a wire, by automatically paying out and
CROWN: Rounded part of an anchor below
the shank. A knot in the end of a line made by interlacing the strands.
In plaited line, the highest part of a pair of strands.
DEAD RECKONING: Determining position
by direction and distance traveled from a known position.
DECK LOAD: Cargo stowed on the weather
DEEP SIX: Throw an article overboard.
DEVIATION: Magnetic compass error
caused by the magnetic properties of a vessel. It is expressed in
degrees east or west.
DINGHY: A square-sterned pulling boat
that can be rigged for sail.
DOCK: The water space between adjacent
piers or the space in a drydock.
DOCKING KEEL: Keel-like projection
between the main keel and the turn of the bilge; used to support the
ship on blocks in a drydock.
DODGER: Wood, metal, or canvas upward
extension of the forward bulwark on a bridge; serves as a windbreaker.
DOG WATCH: One of the two 2-hour
watches in a dogged 1600 to 2000 watch.
DOLPHIN: A piling or a nest of piles
off a pier or beach or off the entrance to a dock used for mooring.
DORY: Seaworthy pulling boat similar
to a whaleboat, developed in the fishing trade. The thwarts may be
removed for nesting on deck.
DOUSE: To lower quickly, as a sail. To
put out quickly, as a fire or cigarette.
DOWN BY THE HEAD (properly, BY THE
HEAD): Said of a vessel when her draft for ward is deeper than her draft
DOWN BY THE STERN (properly, BY THE
STERN): Said of a vessel when her draft aft is deeper than her draft
DOWNHAUL: Any line, wire, or tackle
that applies a downward pull.
DRAFT: The vertical distance from keel
to water line.
DROGUE: A sea anchor.
DRUM HOOKS: A sling containing a pair
of movable hooks; used for hoisting a drum, cask, or barrel by its
chines. Also called chine hooks.
DUKW BOARD: Square platform placed in
a cargo net to protect cargo against crushing effect.
DUNNAGE: Any material used to separate
layers of cargo, create space for cargo ventilation, or insulate cargo
against chafing. Usually refers, however, to cheap wood boarding used
for those purposes.
EARING: Length of line spliced into a
cringle on a sail, awning, canvas dodger, etc. Used to bend corners to
booms, masts, stanchions, or the like, or to bend down the ends of a
reef band in reefing.
EASE: Relax the strain.
EBB: That period when the tidal
current is flowing from the land.
ELDRIDGE METHOD: Method of mooring
with anchors in which one anchor's chain is dipped 'through the other's
hawsepipe before either anchor is let go.
FAKE: The act of disposing a line,
wire, or chain by laying it out in long, flat bights laid one alongside
the other. One of the bights.
FIFE RAIL: Rail containing belaying
pins. FISH HOOK: A broken end of wire protruding from a wire rope.
FLASH PLATE: Line of plates between
the anchor windlass and the chain pipes and hawsepipes over which the
anchor cable runs.
FLEMISH: Method of disposing a line by
coiling it tightly flat on deck with the second coil inside the first,
and so on.
FLOOD: That period when a tidal
current is flowing landward.
FLOTSAM: General term for articles
that will float if jettisoned. Floating debris left on the surface by a
FOOT LINE: SEE Foot rope and Lifeline.
FOOT ROPE: Line by means of which the
foot of a hammock is secured to a billet hook. The lowermost line of a
set of lifelines (also called footline). The line hanging in a bight
beneath a yard, bowsprit, and jib boom.
FORESTAY: Piece of standing rigging
FOUL ANCHOR: Anchor with chain wrapped
about a fluke or the stock, or with some other encumbrance entangled
FOUNDER: To sink as a result of
filling or flooding.
FOUR-IN-HAND: The act of preventing a
tackle from overhauling by gripping in both hands the parts of the fall
between the blocks.
FREEBOARD: That portion of a vessel
between the waterline and the main deck.
FRESHEN THE NIP: To set up again. To
veer on a cable or pull upon a backstay to shift the chafe from a
FULCRUM: A prop or support. The point
about which a lever turns.
FURL: To roll up snugly and secure, as
a sail or awning.
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GANGWAY: Actually means the opening in
a bulwark or liferail that gives access to a gangplank or accommodation
ladder. Familiarly extended, however, to include the accommodation
ladder and its rigging. Also, any pedestrian right-of -way or
thoroughfare. When given as an order, means "Clear the way."
GANTLINE: Line used as a single whip
for hoisting or lowering a boatswain's chair or one end of a stage.
GATE: That part of a collar that opens
on a hinge.
GOOSENECK: Universal joint at the heel
of a boom that allows the boom to be swung in any direction. Method used
by a nozzleman to bend a fire hose in such a way that the hose does not
kink, and the stream of water can be directed to otherwise inaccessible
spots such as inside doors or under floor plates.
GUDGEONS: Eyes set in the stern or the
rudder post to receive the pintles of the rudder.
GUY: Any line, wire, or tackle that
provides athwartships support, or motion for a boom head or the head of
a gin pole. (SEE Shroud.)
GYPSY (GYPSY HEAD): Cylindrical device
at the end of the shaft on a winch or horizontal shaft windlass, on
which the turns of a line or wire are taken for heaving. Also called
HAND -OVER-HAND: Expresses the idea of
"one hand after the other," as when a line is hauled in rapidly by hand
or when a man climbs a line without using his legs and feet.
HANDSOMELY: Slowly; deliberately;
HATCH BOOM: Cargo boom plumbed over
the cargo hatch. (Yard-and-stay rig.)
HAUL OUT: Order given to a boat
coxswain to take his boat from the ship's side and secure it at the boat
HAULING PART: That part of a fall to
which power is applied.
HEAD: The stem. The upper end of a
lower mast, boom, or gin pole. The upper edge of a four-sided
fore-and-aft sail. A compartment containing toilet facilities.
HEAVE: To throw, as to heave the lead
or a heaving line. To haul in, especially by some power heaving engine.
HEAVE RIGHT UP: Order given to heave
the anchor up into the hawse. May be given as "Heave right in."
HEAVE ROUND: Haul in on a line, wire,
or chain by means of a power-heaving engine. The call on a boatswain's
pipe, which is the signal to start heaving around.
HEAVE SHORT: The act of heaving in the
cable until the anchor is at short stay. The order usually is given as
"Heave round to short stay."
HEAVE TO: The act of stopping the
headway of a vessel or reducing headway to just enough to maintain
HITCH: A knot used to bend the end of
a line to a ring or to a cylindrical object usually, but not always, is
designated as some form of hitch.
HOCKLE: See Cockle.
HOGGING LINE: Line temporarily used to
hold stage or other object close to side of ship.
HOIST: To move an article vertically
upward by means of some hoisting rig.
HOIST AWAY: Go right on hoisting until
stopped by another order.
HOIST IN: Hoist an object to a
required height and swing it in.
HOIST OUT: Swing out and lower away.
HORSE LATITUDES: Either of two belts
or regions about 30˚N or 30˚S latitude, characterized by high pressure,
calms, and light baffling winds. Thought to be so named because in the
days of sailing vessels, many ships lost all or part of their cargos of
horses while becalmed in those areas.
HOUSE: Heave an anchor into the
HOUSING LINE: SEE Lifeline.
HULL DOWN: Said of a vessel when,
because of distance and the curvature of the earth, only the
superstructure is visible.
INBOARD LIFELINES: Temporary lifelines
erected inboard of the permanent lifelines during heavy weather. Many
smaller vessels such as destroyers are provided with regular sets of
these lines and the stanchions to support them.
INHAUL: In general, a line used to
recover any piece of gear such as a paravane or a trolley block. When
replenishing at sea, the vessel providing the gear retains the inhaul
and sends the "outhaul" to the other ship.
IN STEP: Said of a towing 'vessel and
her tow when both meet and ride over seas at the same time.
IRISH PENNANT: A loose end of line
carelessly left dangling.
IRON MIKE: Term applied to a
gyroscopic robot steering mechanism.
JACKSTAFF: Upright spar at the stem to
which the jack is hoisted.
JACKSTAY: Horizontal support to which
articles such as sea bags, tackles, coils of line, etc., can be lashed.
JIGGER: Light luff tackle for general
use about the deck.
JUMBO BOOM: Regularly installed
heavy-duty swinging derrick for handling extra heavy lifts.
JUMPING ON A LINE: The act of
endeavoring to start a stranded vessel with a sudden pull on the tow
line. Slack is provided in the towline and the assisting vessel runs
ahead under full power, fetching up short when the slack is taken out.
JURY RIG: Any makeshift device or
apparatus rigged as a substitute for gear regularly designed for the
desired purpose. The act of setting up a jury rig.
KEEL: The lowermost, central strength
member of a ship that runs fore and aft and from which the frames and
the plating rise.
KEEL BLOCK: One of a line of blocks
along a drydock bed; used to support the keel or docking keel of a
vessel in drydock.
KEEL STOP: Marker on a boat's keel
which indicates her proper fore-and-aft placement for lowering into the
KING POST: One of a pair of short,
strong uprights used to support twin cargo booms on some cargo vessels.
Short, strong upright supporting the boom of a crane.
KNOCK OFF: Expresses the idea of "to
cease or desist."
LABEL PLATE: Plate in a boat that
contains, among other data, the maximum number of men the boat may carry
under good weather conditions.
LABOR: The act of a vessel in plunging
and bucking heavily in a seaway.
LANDFALL: First sight of land after a
LANYARD: Any short line used as a
handle or as a means for operating some piece of equipment, as a firing
lanyard on a gun. Also, any line used to attach an article of equipment
to the person, as a knife lanyard, pistol lanyard, or a call
(boatswain's pipe) lanyard.
LASH: To secure by turns of line,
wire, or chain.
LASH UP: Term applied to a rig,
device, or system; usually uncomplimentary, as "What kind of a lash up
LATITUDE: Distance north (N) or south
(S) of the equator, expressed in degrees and minutes.
LAY: Expresses the idea of "to move
one-self," as "Lay (yourself) up on the main deck, " or "Lay (yourself)
aft." As a noun, refers to the direction of twist of the strands in a
line or wire, as right lay or left lay.
LAZY GUY: SEE Midship guy.
LEE: Sheltered area to leeward
(pronounced loo-ard) of a ship or other large wind Breaker. As
adjective, expresses the idea 'of "in the direction toward which the
wind is blowing. "
Extended to mean "not the right way" or "backwards." LEFT-LAID: Refers
to line or wire in which the strands spiral along in a counterclockwise
direction as one looks along the line.
LEG: One of the two or more sections
in a span or bridle, boat sling, set of beam hooks, or similar hoisting
attachment. One of the sides of a triangle.
LIE OFF: Heave to at some distance
LIFELINE: In general, the lines
erected around the edges of decks. Specifically, the top line. From top
to bottom, the lines are named: lifeline, housing line, and foot rope.
LIFT: Standing rigging supporting a
yard. Term applied to any load to be hoisted.
LIMBER HOLE: Fore-and-aft hole through
frame in a boat's bilges, permitting water to flow toward the bilge pump
LINE: In general, sailors refer to
fiber rope as line; wire rope is referred to as rope, wire rope, or just
wire. More exactly, line refers to a piece of rope, either fiber or
wire, which is in use, or has been cut for a specific purpose, such as
lifeline, heaving line, lead line, etc.
LIZARD: A piece of rope with a thimble
or a bull's-eye spliced into the end used as a fairlead. The line used
to retrieve the end of a sea painter and lines used to lash objects to
the side of a ship (such as the lower accommodation ladder platform)
sometimes are called lizards, even though they are not used as fair
LONGITUDE: Distance east (E) or west
(W) of the prime meridian, which runs through Greenwich, England.
LONGITUDINALS: Fore-and-aft strength
members, running the entire length of the ship, serve to stiffen and
strengthen the frames.
LOOK ALIVE: Admonishment meaning "be
alert" or "move faster."
LOOM: The glow made in the sky by a
light that has not yet raised above the horizon. The shaft of an oar.
LOWER AWAY: Lower right on down. For
example, to lower away a boat from the davit heads down into the water.
LUFF ON LUFF: Combined purchases
consisting of a luff tackle with another luff tackle clapped on its
LUFF TACKLE: Purchase containing one
single and one double block.
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MANGER: That portion of the forecastle
deck enclosed by the apron and the parts of the bulwarks between the
apron and the stem.
MARLINE: Two-strand, left-laid tarred
hemp small stuff.
MARRY: To bring two ropes together,
either side by side or end to end, and holding or seizing them. An LST
marries to the end of a causeway.
MAST TABLE: Refers to a small
compartment or locker on the main deck, built around the base of one of
MEAN HIGH WATER: In regard to tide,
the average height of high water measured over a period.
MEAN LOW WATER: In regard to tide, the
average height of low water, measured over a period.
MEAN SEA LEVEL: The level midway
between mean high and mean low water.
MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE: The number of
times (excluding loss due to friction) that the applied power is
multiplied by a purchase or other machine.
MEET HER: Check the swing of a vessel
by putting on opposite rudder.
MERCURIAL BAROMETER: Barometer which
indicates atmospheric pressure by the height of a column of mercury.
MIDSHIP GUY: Guy between boom heads in
a yard-and-stag rig. Also called a schooner guy or lazy guy.
MOORING STAPLE: Metal fitting on a
ship's side, to which a chain may be attached for added security in
MOVABLE BLOCK: Block in a purchase
that is not a fixed block. Block to which the load is applied.
NAVY ANCHOR: Old-fashioned anchor.
Anchor with a stock.
NEAP TIDE: A tide of less than average
range, caused by the gravitational forces of the moon and the sun
opposing each other.
NOTHING TO THE RIGHT (LEFT): Order
given to the helmsman not to allow the ship to' come to right (left) of
the course because of some danger lying on that side of the course.
OILSKINS: Originally, cotton clothing
waterproofed by several coats of linseed oil. Now applied to any wet
weather or waterproof clothing.
ORDINARY MOOR: Method of mooring with
anchors in which the up-stream anchor is dropped first.
OTC: Officer in tactical command.
OUTER BIGHT LINE: Line sometimes used
in the close in method of fueling. It extends from the receiving ship to
the outboard saddle.
OUTHAUL: In general, a line used to
haul a piece of gear from a ship. (SEE Inhaul.)
OVERHAUL: The act of drawing apart the
blocks of a tackle. One vessel overtaking another. In firefighting,
break up and rake over debris caused by the fire, to make sure there are
no smoldering embers.
PAINTER: Line used to make fast a
PARBUCKLE: The act of hauling in an
object in the bight of a line. One end of the line is fixed and the
other end is used as the hauling part. The object acts as a runner, thus
the mechanical advantage is 2. (SEE Mechanical advantage.)
PARCEL: The act of wrapping a line or
splice in strips of canvasor cotton to build up a symmetrical surface
PATENT ANCHOR: A stockless anchor.
PAULIN: Short form for tarpaulin.
PAY: After a seam in a wooden deck or
hull is caulked, it is payed by pouring pitch or other caulking compound
into the remaining unfilled space.
PAY OUT: Expresses the idea of "to
feed out." Past tense is "payed out."
PELICAN HOOK: A hook used to provide
an instantaneous release. It can be opened while under strain by
knocking away a locking ring that holds it closed.
PELORUS: Device for taking bearings;
consisting of a movable ring, graduated like a compass card, and a pair
of sighting vanes.
PENDANT: A single part of line or wire
used to extend the distance spanned by a purchase. A single part of line
or wire whose purpose is to provide a means for connecting or
disconnecting, as an anchor buoy pendant or a hauling pendant.
PIC: In plaited line, the distance
between adjacent crowns.
PIER: A structure, usually built on
piles, extending out into the water and providing a means for vessels to
PIER HEAD: The outboard end of a pier.
PIGSTICK: Familiar term for a small
staff bent to the truck halyards to which the commission pennant is
PINTLE: A pin fastened to the rudder
that fits into the gudgeon on the stern.
PITCH: Vertical rise and fall of a
vessel's bow and stern caused by a head sea or a following sea.
POSITION BUOY: A towing spar used to
mark the location of an object towing astern, as the end of a magnetic
PREVENTER: Any line, wire, or chain
whose general purpose is to act as a safeguard if something else carries
PUDDING: A bulky fender attached to a
strongback or to the stem or gunwales of a boat.
PUT AWAY: Expresses the idea of "to
leave by water," as "The boat put away from the ship."
PUT OFF: Same as put away, but usually
restricted to putting off from the shore.
PUT OUT: Expresses the idea of
"putting off and heading for sea."
QUARTER DECK: That portion of the
weather deck designated by the commanding officer for official
QUAY: (Pronounced, key) A loading and
discharging place, usually, paralleling the shore. Usual construction
consists of a masonry wall in the water, with fill between the wall and
the natural shore; the fill is paved over.
RADIAL DAVIT: One of a set of davits
of the type that swings out a boat one end at a time by rotation of the
davits. Also called a round bar davit.
RANGE: The distance an object is from
the observer. A navigational range consists of two markers, some
distance apart, located on a known line of true bearing. An area
designated for f'. particular purpose, such as a target range or a
degaussing range. In regard to tide, the total rise or fall from low
water to high, or vice versa.
RAT GUARD: A hinged metal disk that
can be secured to a mooring line to prevent rats from using the line to
gain access to the ship.
RATLINE: Three-strand, right -laid,
tarred hemp used chiefly nowadays for snaking on destroyer -type
RAT-TAILED STOPPER: A braided tapering
stopper used on boat falls, mooring lines, etc.
REEVE: To pass or thread a rope
through a block or hole. Past tense is rove.
RELEASING HOOK: Hook on the lower
block of a boat fall, which remains closed as long as there is weight on
it, but tumbles and rejects the hoisting eye as soon as the weight is
taken off. Usually called an automatic releasing hook.
RIG: The act of setting up any device
or equipment containing rigging. Extended to cover setting up any device
or equipment, as to rig for divine services or movies.
RIGGING: A term for the lines and/or
wires that support a ship's masts, stack(s), yards, etc. (called
standing rigging), and the lines, wires, and tackles that hoist, lower,
and otherwise control the motion of her movable deck gear (called
running rigging. )
RIGHT-LAID: Refers to line or wire in
which the strands spiral along in a clockwise direction as one looks
along the line.
RODDLE: That part of a wire rope clip
into which the U-bolt is inserted.
ROLLER CHOCK: A chock fitted with one
or more rollers to reduce friction on mooring lines. On minesweepers,
such a chock provided for the magnetic sweep cable is called an A-frame.
ROPE YARN SUNDAY: In the days of
sailing ships, deckhands often spent Sundays unlaying rope into yarns
and making oakum, hence "rope yarn Sunday." Later the term was applied
to periods during which sailors were allowed to spend making their
personal effects shipshape. Now the term is applied to an otherwise
workday that has been granted as a holiday for the purpose of taking
Care of personal business.
RUN AWAY: Run a line in as fast as
possible by taking hold and running down the deck with it. (SEE Walk
RUNNER: A purchase in which a single
block is free to move or "run" in the bight of the line.
RUNNING LIGHT: Anyone of the lights
required by law to be shown by a vessel underway. Not restricted to the
side lights, as many sailors believe.
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SALLY: The act of a party of men
running in a body fore and aft or athwart ships to create a desired
shift in weight. This might be done during an attempt to free a grounded
vessel or in order to time the period of roll for purposes of computing
SAMSON POST: Same as kingpost. Also
the single bitts in small boats.
SCHOONER GUY: Same as Midship guy.
SCOPE: Expresses the idea of "the number of fathoms out" with regard to
an anchor cable or a towing hawser.
SCULL: The act of propelling a pulling
boat by manipulating a single oar set in a notch in the stern.
SCUPPER: The waterway along the
gunwales. Opening in the side through which waste water from a head or
galley is discharged. Extended to cover any type of drain opening.
SCUTTLE: Small openings in hatch
covers that allow access through the deck without undogging the hatch.
They usually are provided with quick opening and closing covers. A
sliding cover that closes the opening over a certain style of
companionway. The act of deliberately sinking a vessel.
SEA ANCHOR: Any device streamed from
the bow or stern of a vessel for the purpose of creating a drag to hold
her end-on to the sea.
SEA LADDER: Permanent ladder secured
to the ship's hull
SEA ROOM: A vessel with sea room is
well offshore or has plenty of room to maneuver.
SEIZING STUFF: 3-strand, right-hand,
rope laid stuff made in 6, 9, or 12 threads of American hemp.
SERVING: A smooth finish on a line or
wire, made by winding on close turns of mar line or seizing stuff with a
SET: The direction toward which the
resultant of the forces of wind and current is acting. Is tending to set
the ship, in other words.
SET DOWN: Set to shoreward.
SET TAUT: Take out all the slack. This
order is given before "Hoist away."
SET UP: Tighten up. For example, set
up on dogs, gripes, turnbuckles, and so on.
SH: Line made from a mixture of sisal
SHAKE A LEG: An admonishment to move
SHEARS (SHEAR LEGS): Support used in a
hoisting rig consisting of two spars lashed together at the head and set
up so as to resemble an inverted V.
SHELL: Vessel's hull from the keel to
the main deck.
SHIP: The act of setting a stowed or
detached piece of apparatus in operating position, as to ship a steering
oar. A large, seagoing surface vessel having a crew quartered on board
and capable of extended independent operation.
SHORE: The land in general, but
usually refers to that part adjacent to the water. A timber or metal
member used as a prop. The act of setting up shores to support or steady
an article is called shoring up that article.
SHORT STAY: The situation when the
anchor cable has been hove in just short of causing the anchor to break
SHOT: One of the lengths of chain
which, when joined together, make up the anchor cable. A standard shot
is 15 fathoms long.
SHROUD: Piece of standing rigging
providing athwart ships support for a mast.
SIDE LIGHT: One of the colored lights
required by law to be shown by a vessel underway. The starboard side
light is green and the port side light is red.
SIGHT: An accurately timed measurement
of the altitude of a celestial body.
SIGHT THE ANCHOR: Heave the anchor up
to where it can be seen and then drop it again. This is done to
determine if the anchor is clear.
SINGLE UP: Take in the extra parts of
doubled up mooring lines, so that only a single part of each line
remains on the dock. The act of returning a doubled-up cargo purchase to
the status of a single whip.
SISTER HOOKS: Twin hooks in a thimble
or on a hinge which, when combined, form an eye.
SLACK: . The opposite of taut; loose.
Allow a rope or chain to run out, or feed it out.
SLACK AWAY: Go right on slacking.
SLING: A piece of line whose ends are
spliced together, passed around an article to be hoisted. Also two or
more legs spliced into a ring, manufactured to hoist a specific article
or type of article, such as boat slings and beam slings.
SLIP: When at anchor, disconnecting
the cable or letting the end of the cable run out (slipping the cable).
Space between two piers.
SLUSH: The act of applying a
protective coating to line or wire. The substance composing the
protective coating so applied.
SMALL STUFF: A general term for any
fiber line less than 1 3/4 inches in circumference.
SNAKING: Netting stretched between the
deck and the housing line or the foot rope to prevent personnel and
objects from being washed overboard.
SNATCH BLOCK: A single sheaved block
with a hinged strap that can be opened and the bight of a rope inserted,
making it unnecessary to reeve the end of the rope through the block.
SNUB: Check a line, wire, or chain
quickly. A ship is snubbed by letting go the anchor, bringing the ship
SOUND: Determine the depth of the
water. The act of a whale or similar sea creature diving toward the
bottom. A body of water between the mainland and a large coastal island.
SPAN: Reach, stretch, or spread
between two limits. Also the item that spans the limits, such as the
line or bar between davit heads, the cargo whips in a yard-and-stay rig,
and the chain in an anchor moor.
SPANNER: Wrench for tightening
couplings on a fire hose.
SPAR BUOY: Buoy consisting of a
floating spar, or of metal shaped like a spar.
SPOT: Locate or place, as spotting
boom heads for yard-and-stay transfer.
SPRING: Go ahead or astern on a spring
line to force the bow or stern in or out when mooring or unmooring.
SPRING LAY: A rope in which each
strand consists partly of wire and partly of fiber.
SPRING LINE: A mooring line leading
forward or aft.
SPRING TIDE: Near the time of full
moon and new moon, the gravitational forces of the moon and the sun act
together, producing tides that are higher and lower than average.
STANDARD RUDDER: The amount of rudder
angle required to cause a ship to make a turn within a certain (standard
STAND BY: Be prepared to execute· an
order or a maneuver. Remain in the vicinity, prepared to render
assistance. Assume another's duties.
STAND IN (OUT): Head in or out of a
harbor. START: To induce motion, as to start a grounded vessel.
STAY: A piece of standing rigging
providing support fore and/or aft.
STEADY: Stop the swing.
STEERAGEWAY: Enough headway to provide
steering effect. When a vessel no longer answers her rudder, she is said
to have lost steerageway.
STEM: The foremost vertical extension
of the keel to which the forward ends of the strakes are attached.
STEM BAND: A metal band attached to
the stem of a wooden boat.
STEP: The act of erecting a mast. The
socket or other recess that holds the foot of a mast.
STERN FAST: A line used to make a boat
fast by the stern.
STERN SHEETS: After passenger space in
STICK: A familiar term for mast.
STICK OUT: Payout, as to payout the
cable on a stern anchor winch.
STOP: One of a series of short lines
attached to the edge of an awning, boat cover, etc.; used to lash the
edge to a ridge rope, jackstay, or other support.
STOP OFF: The act of attaching a
stopper to a line, wire, or chain under a strain to hold the strain
temporarily while the rope or chain is being belayed.
STOPPER: A line or chain or a patented
device (such as a carpenter's stopper) used for stopping off a rope or
STOW: The act of packing articles into
a storage space, or cargo into a cargo space.
STRAP: Usually means a short line or
wire having an eye in either end. However, a short piece of small stuff
with the ends spliced together is sometimes called a strap. Also, that
part of a block to which the hook or shackle is attached.
STREAM: The act of permitting a tow to
run out the desired distance or to the end of the towline. Similar act
with any towed device, as to stream sweep gear from a minesweeper.
STRIKE: To shorten or douse. To Lower.
STRINGER: Long timber between piles at
the edge of a pier. Horizontal member attached to the side between
frames and serving as a support for the end of a transverse (athwartships)
STRONGBACK: Heavy spar spanning radial
davits, against which a ready lifeboat is griped in. Heavy steel clamp
bolted across the top of a cargo hatch.
STRUT: Brace supporting the propeller
STUD: Metal piece in a link of anchor
chain that keeps the link from kinking.
SURGE: To slack off a line by allowing
it to slip around the object to which it is secured. The act of holding
turns of a line on a gypsy in such a manner as to allow the gypsy to
rotate without heaving in on the line. Sudden strain on a towing hawser
caused by the pitching, sheering, or yawing of the tow and/ or the
towing vessel. The swell of the sea.
SWING: Progressive change of heading
caused by an angle on the rudder, or by a ship circling around her
SWING OUT (IN): Swing a boat from its
stowed position to its lowering position. Reverse procedure for swing
TAUT: Under tension; the opposite of
slack. A taut ship is one which is in a high state of discipline and
TENDER SHIP: A ship that heels over
easily when underway.
TIDE: The vertical rise and fall of
the ocean level caused by the gravitational force between the earth and
the moon (and to a lesser extent, between the earth and the sun.
TOMMING, TOMMING DOWN: Securing cargo
against vertical movement.
TOP HAMPER: General term for a ship's
masts, stacks, and other rigging aloft.
TOPPING LIFT: Line, wire, or tackle
used to hoist, lower, and support the head of a cargo boom or the
outboard end of a sailing boom or boat boom.
TOP UP: Raise a boom to a working
angle by means of its topping lift.
TOWING SPAR: A spar or other wooden
device towed astern by ships in formation when visibility is poor to
assist in station keeping. (SEE Position buoy.)
TRANSVERSE: Part of the structure of a
ship running athwartships.
TROUGH: The valley between two waves.
TUMBLE: The act of an automatic
releasing hook in opening upon release of the weight.
TWEEN DECKS: Means BETWEEN decks and
refers to cargo spaces located between the main deck and the bottom of
TWO-BLOCK: Round in a tackle all the
way so that the blocks come together. Extended to mean hoist an article
to the highest position possible. In relation to signal flags, this term
has been replaced by "close up."
U -BOLT: A U -shaped bolt with threads
on each end. The bolt in a wire rope clip.
UNLAY: Untwist and separate the
strands of a rope.
UNMOOR: The act of letting go a
mooring buoy, letting go mooring lines, or if a ship is moored with
anchors, reconnecting each anchor to its own chain and heaving in the
UNSHIP: The act of detaching or
unrigging any piece of apparatus from its operating position.
UP AND DOWN: The situation where the
anchor cable and the shank of the anchor lead up and down and the crown
of the anchor still is on the bottom. "
UP BEHIND: Slack off quickly and run
slack to belaying point. This order is given when a line or wire has
been stopped off or falls have been four-in-handed and the hauling part
is to be belayed.
VANG: A tackle fitted with one or two
VANG GUY: A vang used to guy a cargo
or other boom.
VARIATION: Magnetic compass error
caused by the difference between the magnetic pole and the geographic
pole and certain local conditions. It is expressed in degrees east or
VEER: Allow a line, wire, or chain to
run out by its own weight, as to veer cable by slacking the brake on a
WAIST: The amidships section of the
WALKAWAY: Haul on a line by taking
hold and walking down the deck, rather than hand-over-hand.
WALK BACK: Keeping control of the
load, walk toward the belaying point.
WALK OUT: Payout cable under power.
WARP: Move one end of a vessel
broadside by heaving on a line secured on the dock.
WARPING WINCH: Winch on the main deck
aft, used to warp in the stern when mooring alongside.
WEATHER: Expresses the idea of "the
one that is to windward." The act of surviving the onslaught of the
elements, as to weather a gale.
WEIGH ANCHOR: Hoist the anchor clear
of the bottom.
WET DOCK: Where the tidal range is
great, basins with gates are provided as docking places. The ships enter
at high tide and the gates are closed, keeping the water in the basin
when the tide ebbs.
WHARF: Same as a pier.
WHERRY: A pulling boat similar to a
dinghy, except that it cannot be rigged for sail.
WIND SHIP: To turn her end for end; at
a pier, for instance. (Pronounced wined. )
WING AND WING: With sails out on
opposite sides. This is done in sailing right before the wind.
WIRE DIAMETER: Refers to the diameter
of a chain measured at the end of a link a little above the centerline.
WISHBONE: A V -shaped brace that
supports the upper platform of an accommodation ladder or the platform
in the chains.
WORM: Lay marline or other small stuff
between the strands of a rope preparatory to parceling.
YARD-AND-STAY RIG: A method of
transferring a load from one point to another by means of whips or
tackles span the two points
YARD BOOM: Cargo boom plumbed over
ship's side. (Yard-and-stay rig.)
YAW: To veer suddenly and
unintentionally off the course.
YOKE: Athwartships piece atop the
rudder stock on a small craft; wheel ropes or tiller ropes are attached
to its ends.
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