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Nautical Lexicon - What The Words Mean

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I accidently found this site while googling for an answer to another question.

It's a bit "tongue in cheek" but it also has some useful definitions.

 

Examples:

 

Fun one:

C-Mail - E-Mail sent to landlubbers, by cruisers, from on-board cyber-cafes. Usually conveying messages along the lines of, "Nyah, nyah, nyah. We're eating lobster and you're eating leftovers (again)!" (see Sea-Mail and Sail-Mail).

 

Useful ones:

Brass Hat - slang name for the uniform cap worn by officers; hence generically used to refer to such officers themselves.

Bright Work - Polished metal fittings in a ship.

Bulkhead - the wall.

Bulwark - side of the ship at, or near, the main deck.

 

NAUTICAL DICTIONARY

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In addition, there are several "word game" threads in the Floataway Lounge that First Time Cruisers might find useful. Here's one that started here on the First Time Cruisers board: Word Chain!

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Hi Walt,

 

The link you posted comes up as "no longer available".

Mebbe it's only duff for access from my side of the Pond.:rolleyes:

 

As well as knowing the meaning of nautical terminology, it's interesting to also research the origins. Knowing the origin also helps you to remember the meaning.

"port" & "starboard" for instance, which dates from way back before the rudder was invented.

 

John Bull :)

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I accidently found this site while googling for an answer to another question.

It's a bit "tongue in cheek" but it also has some useful definitions.

 

Examples:

 

Fun one:

C-Mail - E-Mail sent to landlubbers, by cruisers, from on-board cyber-cafes. Usually conveying messages along the lines of, "Nyah, nyah, nyah. We're eating lobster and you're eating leftovers (again)!" (see Sea-Mail and Sail-Mail).

 

Useful ones:

Brass Hat - slang name for the uniform cap worn by officers; hence generically used to refer to such officers themselves.

Bright Work - Polished metal fittings in a ship.

Bulkhead - the wall.

Bulwark - side of the ship at, or near, the main deck.

 

NAUTICAL DICTIONARY

 

thanks....love these!

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How to keep "port" and "starboard" straight...

 

"Port" has four letters, just like "left". Easy.

 

(remember: they refer to left and right relative to the front - or forward motion - of the ship)

 

 

-Dito

Starboard-handed

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I always wondered why we don't just say front, back, left, and right for ships. We do for road vehicles and bikes. Sometimes people slip up and say front or back anyway, even though they know the nautical lexicon, out of habit.

Another curiosity: Why is left called port if we don't always get off that side of the ship? Why is right called starboard if there is no board with a star on it?

Good trick about port = left, but can you remember when you are facing forward or aft if you are on a cabin deck?

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I always wondered why we don't just say front, back, left, and right for ships. We do for road vehicles and bikes. Sometimes people slip up and say front or back anyway, even though they know the nautical lexicon, out of habit.

Another curiosity: Why is left called port if we don't always get off that side of the ship? Why is right called starboard if there is no board with a star on it?

<useless trivia>

 

Starboard was derived from the 'steer board' side [the steering oar of a ship designed without a conventional rudder [good Scrabble rudder related words are 'pintle' and 'gudgeon' :) ]]

 

The other side of the ship was originally 'larboard' [i guess this was because it rhymed]. Some time ago, it was noticed that the two words sounded identical in a noisy environment [like during a battle], so the word 'port' was introduced.

 

A possible derivation was from the red color of the port running light [pour a glass of port, hold it up to the light and what color is it?]

 

In naval usage [don't know about civilian usage] engine orders are port and starboard, rudder orders are left and right - "starboard engine back one third, left full rudder"

 

</useless trivia>

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<useless trivia>

 

Starboard was derived from the 'steer board' side [the steering oar of a ship designed without a conventional rudder [good Scrabble rudder related words are 'pintle' and 'gudgeon' :) ]]

 

The other side of the ship was originally 'larboard' [i guess this was because it rhymed]. Some time ago, it was noticed that the two words sounded identical in a noisy environment [like during a battle], so the word 'port' was introduced.

 

A possible derivation was from the red color of the port running light [pour a glass of port, hold it up to the light and what color is it?]

 

In naval usage [don't know about civilian usage] engine orders are port and starboard, rudder orders are left and right - "starboard engine back one third, left full rudder"

 

</useless trivia>

 

Because the "steer board" (steering oar) was on the right side of the ship - to accomodate the mostly right-handed helmsmen who would handle it, ships avoided having that side alongside a pier when in port - because that could damage the steering oar unless it was un-rigged and brought on board --- thus, the left side of the ship was the one facing the port --- ergo: port side.

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And... from Port and Starboard comes the word Posh:

 

Port Out, Starboard Home from Trans-Atlantic cruising - always the best side of the ship.

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For the most part, ships are like airplanes and move about three axis, lateral, Y axis, longitudinal, X axis, and vertical. The vertical, Z axis on ships is of lesser concern often.

 

See the photo below:

 

4952393_f520.jpg

 

The two, critical motions we are concerned about are pitch and roll, which occur on the lateral and longitudinal axis'. Granted, "sway" and "heave" will have an affect too. "Yaw" occurs on the vertical axis and causes the ship to wag it stern / bow left to right. Not usually a big deal when it comes to getting sick. However, all these motions, when combined could get certain persons to leave their lunch on the carpet! Pitch motion alone will usually do it.

 

Sway is a sideways motion and heave is an up / down one, but we're mostly concerned about pitch and roll.

 

Notice in the photos where the lines are drawn and intersect between roll and pitch. This will be the most stable part of the ship. If you can get a cabin there.

 

Think of a children's "see saw", this can be easily used to demonstrate both pitch and roll. If two of you are on the sea saw rocking back and forth, you will experience the most extreme motion at those ends (they could be either fore and aft, pitch, or port and starboard, roll). Now, have a third person sit at the center of the see saw while it is rocking back and forth. That person will experience far, far mess motion.

 

Thus, under rough sea conditions the most motion-free part of the ship will be very low in the ship and dead center. Good luck finding a cabin in the engine room!

 

However, and use of anti-sea sickness aids aside, getting as close to low dead center with your cabin will minimize any motion. As you move away from it, meaning going more forward / aft, port starboard, or higher in the ship, you will experience more motion.

 

Stabilizers only control roll motion, not pitch, and when the seas are very rough, they will be not be able to eliminate it. The size of the ship is somewhat irrelevant, and the larger ships tend to sit less deep in the water. When the seas get rough, even the largest of ships will "rock and roll"!

 

Thankfully, there are many things you can use if you are prone to sea sickness; whether it me pills, patches, wrist bands, black magic etc.

 

Enjoy your cruise, and I just wanted to point out what you are dealing with when it comes to the motion of a ship on rougher seas.

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And... from Port and Starboard comes the word Posh:

 

Port Out, Starboard Home from Trans-Atlantic cruising - always the best side of the ship.

 

Port and Starboard do not come from the word "posh", just the opposite, and actually it came from England to South Africa / southern crossings, not England to North America. This came from the days of the British Empire, where many went back and forth from England to South Africa and such. It was a north / south passage that caused the use of the term, not an east west one. There was no air conditioning in those days! ;)

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Most of us, myself included, learned the "cruise lingo" right here at Cruise Critic so I think it would be a nice way of letting newbies learn the correct terms when asking questions about their upcoming cruise.

 

I'll start. Please feel free to add to the list.

 

A floor on a cruise ship is called a DECK.

Rooms on ships are called cabins or staterooms.

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Embarkation refers to when you board the ship such as the first day of the cruise.

Disembarkation refers to when you leave the ship such as the final day of the cruise.

 

Keith

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bow= front of the ship

 

stern or aft = back of the ship

 

if your facing the bow:

 

starboard = right side of the ship

 

port = left side

 

The Lido deck is usually where the swimming pools are and the casual dining venues like the buffet and the grill restaurants

 

tender is when the ship can't pull in close to the pier or dock so they anchor a little off shore and passengers load into small "tender" boats (usually the lifeboats) to ride back and forth to shore.

Edited by NoobCruise

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It's a ship, not a boat.

 

Roz

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This was nicely edited into columns before I posted it!

Don't quote me, BUT...

 

ABAFT Back of a ship (Also AFT)

AMIDSHIPS Middle of the ship

ANCHOR Keeps a ship in one place

BARNICLE Sea creature attaches to ships & piers

BEAM Width of the ship at widest point

BEARING Direction the ship is going

BELOWDECKS Enclosed spaces on a ship below main deck

BERTH A bed on a ship

BILGE The inside bottom of a ship, collects water etc.

BOARD To get on a ship

BOOEY Marks deep water, Navigation aid

BOW Front of a ship

BRIDGE Where the steering wheel is

BRIG Jail on a ship

BULKHEAD Any wall on a ship

CABBIN Bedroom (Or small room) on a ship

CAPTAIN The commander of a ship

CHANNELMARKER Marks deep water, Navigation aid

CHRONOMETER A ships clock

COMPASS A navigational instrument

DECK Floor on a ship

DECKHAND Sailor that works on a ship

DEPARTURE Leaving the port

DISEMBARK Leaving (Getting off) the ship

DISPLACEMENT The weight of a ship, how much cargo it carys

DOCK Where the ship stays in harbor

DRAFT The depth of a ship from the waterline

DUFFEL Clothing used on a ship

EMBARCATION Getting on (Boarding) the ship

FANTAIL Back open deck on a ship (Poop Deck)

FATHOM Six feet of water depth

FENDER Bumper used to keep ship from hitting dock

FIGUREHEAD A figure (Mermaid) at the front of a sailing ship

FirstMate The second in command on a ship

FLANK Top speed of a ship

FLOATSAM Debris floating on the water

FOREDECK Front open deck on a ship

FREEBOARD Height of a ships hull above the waterline

FUNNEL Ships smokestack

GALLEY Kitchen on a ship

GANGPLANK Bridge between dock and a ship

GANGWAY A door in the side for passengers to enter

GEDUNK Store that sells candyand personal supplies.

GUNWALE Side of a ship, part of the hull

HARBOR Protected water where a ship docks

HATCH Any watertight door on a ship

HEAD The bathroom on a ship

HEAVE Up and down motion of a ship

HELM Ships steering wheel

HELMSMAN Person who steers a ship

HOLD Storage space for ships cargo

HULL The outside main body of a ship

KEEL Center bottom board of a ship

LADDER Stairs in a ship.

LandLubber Anyone who is not a sailor

LIFEBOAT Small boat carried on a ship

LIFEJACKET Life preserver that can be worn

LINES Ropes or chains used to tie up a ship

LIST A ships lean to one side

MAST A vertical pole on a ship

MayWest A lifejacket

MESS Eating place on a ship

MESSHALL Dining room on a ship

NauticalMile 6,076 Feet, (Land mile: 5,280 feet)

NAVIGATION Steering the ship

OILSKINS Foul-weather clothing worn by sailors

OVERHEAD Any ceiling on a ship

PASSAGEWAY Hallway on a ship

PILOT A specially trained navigator

PORT Left side of a ship

PORTHOLE Round window on a ship

PURSER A sales person on a ship (Store clerk)

RAIL Fence or railing on the side of a ship

RATGUARD Metal circles on ropes keep rats off of ships

REEFER A refrigerator on a ship

RIGGING Sailing ships ropes and lines for sails

ROLL Ships side to side motion

RUDDER The thing that steers a ship

SaltyDog Sailor

SCREWS Ships propellers

SCUTTLEBUT Drinking fountain on a ship (Gossip)

SEAWORTHY A ship in good condition

SHIP Large boat

ShipsCompany A ships crew

ShipsWheel Ships steering wheel

SICKBAY A ships doctors office or hospital

SKIPPER Ships captain

SlopChest A ships store

SOUNDING Measurement of water depth

SQUALL A storm at sea

STARBOARD Right side of a ship

STATEROOM Fancy bedroom on a ship

STEAMSHIP Any large ship that carrys passingers

STEM The very front of a ship

STERN Rear part of a ship

STOW To put things away on a ship

STOWAGE A closet on a ship

STOWAWAY Someone who seaks on a ship without paying

SUPERSTRUCTURE Decks above the main deck of a ship

TENDER Small boat carrys passingers from land to ship

TOPSIDE Open decks on a ship

TUGBOAT Small boat that tows a ship

UNDERWAY When a ship is moving

WAKE Turbulence behind a vessel

WeighAncor untie the ropes holding a ship

WHEELHOUSE A ships bridge or pilothouse

WINDWARD The direction the wind is coming from

Edited by Host Walt
Formatted for legibility

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Good to see so much familiar lingo. I'll weigh in with a "Hi, I'm new" thread later, but for now I'll slide on down to the engineers with some good strong black-gang coffee :D

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Thanks for posting quite a comprehensive lexicon, OneStrangeGuy. I've taken the liberty of correcting/expanding on a couple of them, to help folks out. Caveat etc., I'm addressing these terms strictly from a naval/maritime perspective; any terms that are specific to cruising I'm leaving alone since I'm a complete neophyte in that regard.

 

ABAFT - means aft of something; e.g., "my cabin is abaft the lounge". The implication is generally that it's pretty close (otherwise you would choose a more appropriate reference point instead of the lounge) and that it's on the same deck. AFT means at or very near the after end of the ship (aka "the blunty end" as an Air Force buddy of mine puts it)

BOOEY - That's about how you pronounce it, but it is properly spelled 'buoy'.

CABBIN - This is an older spelling of 'cabin'.

FIRST MATE - second in command, also sometimes known as the First Officer, or Number One. In navies using the British model, the first officer may also be known as "the Jimmy"; so far as I know that's not used outside the Navy.

FOREDECK - also referred to as the FORECASTLE, or FO'C'SLE.

HATCH - is a watertight, closeable barrier going between one deck and another. Watertight, closeable barriers between sections on the same deck are just called doors.

MAYWEST - Properly, MAE WEST. The first inflatable life jackets tended to give the wearer the impression of a pronounced bosom, and in the Royal Navy the famous actress' name was adopted to refer to lifejackets as rhyming slang for 'breast'.

OVERHEAD - also called DECKHEAD. In naval use, overhead usually implies some kind of false or acoustic tiling to conceal pipes, wiring, etc. typically in places such as the captain's cabin, the wardroom, etc. Since passengers on a cruise ship are very unlikely to see the working spaces of a cruise ship, I can readily see that the two terms could be used synonymously.

SHIP - more formally, a ship in admiralty law means a vessel that proceeds to sea as an independent command. A landing craft, for instance, may be larger than a yacht, but it's not a ship in law, whereas the yacht is, because the landing craft is normally carried on and dependent on the ship it's launched from.

TOPSIDE - also may be referred to as WEATHER DECK (because it's exposed to the weather), or UPPER DECK.

 

And a couple of new ones, too:

 

SHELLBACK - a true-blue, salty, deepwater sailor who has crossed the Equator (or other significant nautical mark) and been duly inducted into King Neptune's Oceanic Realm. Be prepared to prove you're a shellback if challenged. :D

TADPOLE - someone who is not a SHELLBACK.

Edited by Jackytar

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