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FAQ / Life on Pern / Craft Information / Sea Craft

Last updated 5th December 2013 by Suzee

Useful/Common Nautical Terms

Article by: Chelle

There are more that a sailor would know, but this is a start to your nautical vocabulary.

Abandon Ship!- An imperative to leave the vessel immediately, usually in the face of some imminent danger. It is an order issued by the Captain or a delegated person in command. It is usually the last resort after all other mitigating actions have failed.

Aboard-On or in a vessel, usually said as come aboard, or came onto the ship

Adrift- Afloat and unattached in any way to the shore or seabed, but not underway. Refers to any gear not put away properly and/or a vessel not under control

Aft- Portion of the boat past the middle. Towards the stern of the vessel

Afloat-A vessel that is floating freely.

Aground-Touching the ground or resting on it

Ahead-Forward of the bow

Ahoy- A cry to draw attention

All Hands-Entire ship’s company including both officers and seamen

Avast-Stop what is being done

Aye aye-I have understood and will follow orders

Bailer-A device for removing water that has entered the boat

Barrelman-Sailor station in the crow’s nest

Batten down the hatches-Prepare for inclement weather by securing hatch covers with wooden battens to prevent water entering

Beaching-Deliberately running a vessel aground to prevent sinking or to load/unload

Belay-To make fast a line around a fitting, usually a cleat or belaying pin.;To secure a climbing person in a similar manner ; An order to halt a current activity or countermand an order prior to execution.

Berth-A bed or sleeping accommodation on a ship

Bosun-A non-commissioned officer responsible for the sails, ropes, rigging and boats on a ship who issues "piped" commands to seamen.

Bow- The front of a ship

Brig-A place to hold prisoners, stowaways, and to punish crew members; usually a small cell

Bulkhead- An upright wall within the hull of a ship

Capsize-When a ship lists too far and rolls over, exposing the keel. Usually means sinking

Crow’s Nest-Masthead with sides and sometimes a roof to shelter the lookouts from the weather

Dead ahead-Directly in front

Decks-Structures forming the horizontal surfaces of a ship; There will usually be several decks.

Figurehead-Symbolic image at the head of a sailing ship

First Mate-Second in Command of a ship

Fore-Towards the bow

Forecastle/Folksele-A partial deck, above the upper deck and at the head of the vessel, traditionally the living quarters

Founder-To fill with water and sink

Furl-To roll or gather a sail against its mast or spar

Galley-ship’s kitchen

Gangplank-Movable bridge used in boarding or leaving a ship

Gangway-Opening in the bulwark to allow passengers to board or leave the ship

Head-The ship’s latrine

Helm-Steering Wheel

Hull- Shell and framework of the basic part of the ship

Jibe-To change from one tack to another away from the wind, with the stern turning through the wind

Keel-The central structural basis of the hull

Leeward-In the direction that the wind is blowing towards

Mainmast-Tallest mast on a ship

Man Overboard!-Yelled when a seaman goes into the water, falling from the ship

Mast-A vertical pole on a ship which support sails or rigging

Mess-Place to eat aboard ship

Passageway-Hallway of a ship

Port-Left side of the boat

Ready About!-Called when the boat is about to tack

Rigging- System of masts and lines on ships and other sailing vessels

Sextant- Navigational instrument used to measure a ship’s latitude

Sick Bay-Ship’s Infirmary

Skipper-Ship’s Captain

Starboard- Right side of the boat

Stay-Rigging running fore and aft from a mast to
the hull

Stern-The rear part of a ship

Stowaway-Trespasser on a ship

Tacking-Changing from one tack to another by going through the wind

Under way-A vessel that is moving under control

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Referenced By: Sea Craft Ranks, Seacraft Hall (Beholden to Sunstone Seahold)

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