Preserving San Diego's Naval Heritage

 

Naval Terminology L-Z

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Ladder
 
 
A shipboard flight of steps. In a ship, corresponds to stairs in a building.
 
 
Landing Craft
 
Vessel especially designed for landing troops and equipment directly on a beach.
 
Landing Ship
 
 
A large seagoing ship designed for landing large numbers of personnel and/or heavy equipment directly on a beach.
 
 
Lanyard
 
(1) Any short line used as a handle or as a means for operating some piece of equipment; (2) a line used to attach an article to the person, as a pistol lanyard.
 
Larboard Side
 
The left hand side of a vessel. This old-time name for the modern "port" means literally the "loading" side. Ancient ships were steered by a huge oar secured near the stern, on the starboard or right-hand side. In order to keep the steering oar from being crushed against the side of the dock, ships were always tied up with their left-hand side fast to the wharf. Therefore, as it was thus they were loaded, the left-hand side was called the "lar-" or "load-"board side. Later the name was changed to "port" side, because larboard was too similar to starboard, and created confusion when giving orders.
 
Lash
 
To secure an object by turns of line, wire, or chain.
 
Lashing
 
Line, wire, or chain used to lash an article.
 
Launch
 
(1) To float a vessel off the ways in a building yard; (2) a powerboat, usually over 30 feet long.
 
Lay
 
(1) Movement of a person, as "Lay aloft"; (2) to put something down, as to lay title; (3) the direction of twist if the strands in a lines or wire.
 
LDO
 
Limited Duty Officer. In the US Navy a LDO is one who advanced from the enlisted ranks to a commissioned officer status but is not an unrestricted line officer.
 
Leatherneck
 
Term probably applied to U.S. Marines by Sailors because of the leather-lined collar once part of Marine uniforms when stiff leathers bands were sewn into their collars to ward off sword strokes. The collar, about the same height as that of the present uniform collar, was designed to give a greater military appearance to the uniform; when damp with perspiration it was highly uncomfortable and caused throat trouble. Abolished by Marine Corps about 1875.
 
Leave
 
Paid vacation earned at the rate of 2 1/2 days per month of active duty.
 
Lee Helmsman
 
Formerly that one of two helmsmens who stood on the lee side of the wheel.  Now refers to a spare helmsman who usually operates the annunciator.
 
Lee Shore
 
A shore that is leeward of the ship.
 
Lee
 
An area sheltered from the wind; downwind.
 
Leeward
 
Direction toward which the wind is blowing. (Pronounced looard.)
 
Lend A Hand
 
in sea-going parlance, is a request for help. BEAR a hand is a direct order.
 
Liberty
 
Authorized absence of individual from place of duty, not chargeable as leave. No period of liberty shall exceed four days.
 
Liberty
 
Permission to be absent from a ship or station for a short time.
 
Lie Off
 
To heave to at some distance from shore.
 
Life Bouy
 
A bouyant jacket designed to support a person in the water; a life belt fits only around the waist.
 
Lifeline
 
(1) In general, the lines erected around the edges of weather decks.  Specifically, the topmost line.  From top to bottom, lines are named lifeline, housing line, and footrope. (2) a safety line bent to a persons going over the side or aloft.
 
Lighten Ship
 
To make a ship lighter by removing weight.
 
Limey
 
Because it was practically impossible to carry fresh fruits and vegetables on long voyages years ago, British Parliament decreed that each sailor must drink a pint of lime juice daily as a preventative against scurvy. Thus came the nickname for British ships, and Britishers in general.
 
Line Officer
 
Officer who may succeed to operational command as opposed to staff corps officer who normally exercises authority only in a specialty (e.g., hospitals, supply centers).
 
Line
 
Term applied to any rope that is not wire rope.
 
Log Book
 
As early ship's records were inscribed on shingles (cut from logs) and hinged so that they opened like a book, the name "Log-book" was logical and lasts to this day.
 
Log
 
(1) a ship's speedometer; (2) the act of a ship in making certain speed, as "The ship logged 20 knots"; (3) book or ledger in which data or events that occurred during a watch are recorded.
 
Look Alive
 
Admonishment meaning be alert or move fast.
 
Lookout
 
Person stationed topside as a formal watch.  Reports all objects sighted and sound heard to the OOD.
 
Lookout
 
Seaman assigned to watch and report any objects of interest; lookouts are "the eyes of the ship."
 
Loom
 
The glow seen in the sky from a light that is below thr horizon.
 
Lower Mast
 
A mast proper, as distinguished for a topmast.
 
Lubber's Line
 
Line engraved on the inside of a compass bowl.  It represents the ship's head and is used to steer courses by.
 
Lucky Bag
 
(1) Locker under the charge of the master at arms and used to stow gear found adrift and deserter's effects. (2) Named for certain lockers on old-time ships, wherein were placed all lost articles. Once a month, it was a seaman's privilege to re-claim from said lockers such articles as he had lost during that period.
 

 

 

M, N, O
 

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Magazine
 
Compartment used for the stowage of ammunition.
 
Main Deck
 
The uppermost complete deck.
 
Mainmast
 
Second mast aft form the deck.
 
Man O WAR
 
See Combatant Ship.
 
Man
 
To assume a station, as to man a gun.
 
Marine Officers' Swords
 
The design for the modern Marine officer's sword is practically a duplicate of the weapon which was presented to William Eaton by the Bey of Tripoli, for his service in destroying the power of Barbary pirates.
 
Marline
 
Two strand, left laid, tarred hemp.
 
Marlinspike
 
Tapered steel tool used to open the strand of wire for splicing.
 
Mast, Captain's
 
Captain's mast, or merely mast, derived from the fact that in early sailing days the usual setting for this type of naval justice was on the weather deck near ship's mainmast. Currently, means type of hearing with commanding officer presiding in which any punishment administered is nonjudicial in nature and is an alternative to court martial.
 
Master at Arms
 
A member of the ship's police force.
 
Masthead Light
 
A 20 point white running light located in the fore part of the ship.  May or may not be on the foremast.
 
Mate
 
A shipmate; another sailor.
 
Mate
 
Bosun's Mate, Gunner's Mate, Mate of a ship, all derive their rating from the French word "matelot" meaning sailor.
 
MCPON
 
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
 
Mess
 
(1) Meal; (2) place where meals are eaten, as, mess hall; (3) a group that takes meals together, as the officers' mess.
 
  Meal; a place or group of officers and crew who eat together as in "crew is at mess," "meeting was held in CPO mess," or "she was the guest of wardroom mess." Mess comes from Latin mensa, or table.
 
Messenger
 
(1) A line used to haul another heavier line across an intervening space; (2) one who delivers messages.
 
Midwatch
 
The watch that begins at 0000 and ends at 0400.
 
Monkey Fist
 
A complicated knot worked into the end of a heaving line to provide weight.
 
Moor
 
(1) To anchor, using two anchors; (2) to make fast to a mooring bouy; (3) to make fast to a pier or other ship.
 
Mooring Bouy
 
A large, anchored float to which a ship may moor.
 
Morning Watch
 
The 0400 to 0800 watch.
 
Motor Whaleboat
 
A double ended powerboat.
 
Muster
 
(1) A roll call; (2) the act of assembling for a roll call.
 
Muster
 
To assemble crew; roll call.
 
MWR
 
Morale, Welfare, and Recreation. An organization that provides recreational activities improving morale.
 

 

 

N
 

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NAS
 
Naval Air Station
 
NAVFAC
 
Naval Facility
 
NAVSTA
 
Naval Station
 
Neptune
 
King Neptune; Neptunis Rex; the Imperial Ruler of the Raging Main.
 
nest
 
(1) Two or more boats stowed one within the other; (2) two or more ships moored alongside each other.
 
NMC
 
Naval Medical Command
 
NMCRS
 
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
 
NROTC
 
Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps
 
Nun Bouy
 
A navigational bouy, conical in shape, that marks the starboard side of a channel for seaward.  Painted red and even numbered.
 
NWA
 
Navy Wifeline Association
 
NWCA
 
Navy Wives Club of America
 
Oak Leaves
 
Oak leaves are used in insignia as a tribute to the memory of the staunch ships of oak in the good old days of sail.
 
Oakum
 
Tarred hemp fiber.  Used to caulk seams in wooded decks and boats.
 
OCS
 
Officer Candidate School. Prior service personnel attend this school to become commissioned or warrant officers.
 
Offshore
 
Some distance off the shore, as contrasted to inshore.
 
Old Man
 
Seaman's term for captain of a ship.
 
Ombudsman
 
Official liaison between a command and its families. Spouse of a member of the command who is appointed by the commanding officer to serve as official liaison between the command and family members.
 
On The Beach
 
Ashore; also applied to a seaman who is assigned to shore duty, is unemployed, retired, or otherwise detached from sea duty.
 
OOD
 
Officer of the Deck
 
OPNAV
 
Office of Chief of Naval Operations
 
OSD
 
Office of the Secretary of Defense
 
Outboard
 
Away from the centerline.
 
Overboard
 
Over the side.
 
Overhand Knot
 
Simplest if all knots; made by passing one end of a line once around its standing part.
 
Overhaul
 
(1) To repair or recondition; (2) to overtake another vessel.
 
Overhead
 
The underside of a deck forms the overhead of the compartment next below.  Never called a ceiling.
 

 

 

P, Q
 

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Painter
 
Line used to make a boat fast by its bow.  When used underway, the painter causes the boat to breast out from the side of the ship.
 
Painters
 
The light line secured to a small boat's stern post receives its name from the French word "Peyntours," meaning a noose or bight.
 
Parcel
 
The act of wrapping a line with narrow canvas strips to provide waterproofing or to build up a symmetrical shape for further covering.
 
Party
 
A group having a common temporary assignment or purpose, as working party, line handling party, liberty party.
 
Passageway
 
A corridor used for interior horizontal movement aboard ship. A hallway on ship.
 
Pay Off
 
To pay all money due to a person.  A person is paid off at a the end of his or her enlistment.
 
Pay Out
 
To feed out, or lengthen, a line.
 
Pay
 
(1) Monthly salary; (2) after a seam has been caulked, it is payed by pouring pitch into the space remaining unfilled.
 
Paygrade
 
The designation used to define level of pay for enlisted personnel; for example E1, E2,E3, and so on.
 
PCS
 
Permanent Change of Station
 
Pea-Jacket
 
This short coat or jacket was originally made of Pilot-cloth (material similar to Melton cloth) and was named for the initial letter of the word. Thus it was first spelled P-jacket, not Pea-jacket.
 
Pelorus
 
Device for taking bearing.
 
Pier Head
 
Seaward end of a pier.
 
Pier
 
Structure extending from land out into the water to provide a mooring for vessels.
 
Pigstick
 
Small staff from which commission pennant is flown.
 
Pilothouse
 
Enclosure on the bridge housing the main steering controls.
 
Piloting
 
Branch of the science of navigation in which positions are determined by reference to visible objects on the surface or by sounding.
 
Pipe
 
The act of sounding a particular call on the boatswain's pipe.
 
Pitch
 
Vertical rise and fall of a ship's bow cause by head or following seas.
 
Plain Whipping
 
A whipping made without using a palm and needle.
 
Plan of  the Day (POD)
 
A schedule of the dayís events and routine. Ordinarily signed by the XO
 
Pollywog
 
A lowly person who has never crossed the equator.
 
Poop Deck
 
A ship's afterdeck received its name from the old Roman custom of carrying Pupi (small images of their gods) in the stern of their ships for luck.
 
Port
 
To the left of the centerline when facing forward.
 
Portholes
 
Port holes were originally gun ports. In early days, no provision whatever was made for admitting air or light into the crew's quarters, which remained foul and gloomy until recent times.
 
POV
 
Privately Owned Vehicle
 
PPSO
 
Personal Property Shipping Office
 
Present Arms
 
The "present arms" salute was originally a pacific and friendly gesture, meaning literally "Presented for you to take if you wish."
 
Protective Deck
 
See Armored Deck.
 
Prow
 
That part of the stern that is above the surface.
 
PSD
 
Personnel Support Detachment
 
Purchase
 
A machine that is a combination of one or more blocks rove with a line or wire.  When rove the chain, called a chain fall.
 
Pyrotechnics
 
Ammunition containing chemicals that produce smoke or a brilliant light in burning; used for signaling or for illumination.
 
QOL
 
Quality of Life
 
Quarter
 
Area between dead astern and either beam.
 
Quarterdeck
 
Deck area designated by the commanding officer as the place to carry out official functions; station of the OOD in port.
 
Quarterdeck
 
Part of the main (or other) deck reserved for honors and ceremonies and the station of the OOD. The quarter-deck received its name in the days when decks were in tiers. The "half-deck" was half the length of the ship, and the "quarter-deck" was half the length of the half-deck.
 
Quartermaster
 
An enlisted assistance to the navigator.
 
Quarters
 
(1) Stations for shipboard evolutions, as general quarters, fire quarters, quarters for muster; (2) living spaces.
 
Quarters
 
Living spaces assigned to personnel aboard ship; government owned housing assigned to personnel at shore stations; assembly of personnel for drill, inspection, or meeting.
 
Quay
 
A solid structure along a bank used for loading and offloading vessels. (Pronounced Key)
 

 

 

R
 

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Radar
 
A device that used reflected radio waves for detection of objects.
 
Raging Main
 
All the ocean areas of the world.  See Neptune.
 
Range Light
 
A white running light mounted in line with, but higher than and abaft, the masthead kight.  The two lights indicate to other vessels a ship's general heading.
 
Range
 
(1) The device that uses an object from an observer; (2) an aid to navigator consisting of two objects in line; (3) a water area designated for a particular purpose, as a gunnery range.
 
Rank Of Admiral
 
Strangely enough, there was no rank of Admiral in the U.S. Navy until July 1862.
 
Rank
 
Grade or official standing of commissioned and warrant officers.
 
Rate
 
Defines personnel by occupation; for example, Boatswain's Mate Third Class (BM3).
 
Rate
 
Grade or official standing of enlisted men; identifies pay grade or level of advancement; within each rating a rate reflects levels of aptitude, training, experience, knowledge, skill, and responsibility.
 
Rating
 
Defines personnel by  occupation; for example Boatswain's Mate (BM).
 
Rating
 
Job classification with the Navy, such as Electronics Technician.
 
Rear Admiral
 
The title of Rear Admiral was first given to divisional commanders of reserve fleets hence, the inference of being in Reserve, or "In the Rear."
 
Reducer
 
Fitting applied to a fire hydrant to permit the attachment of a hose of smaller diameter that the hydrant outlet.
 
Reef
 
An underwater ledge rising abruptly from the ocean's floor.
 
Reeve
 
To thread a line through a pulley.
 
Relief
 
Person assigned to assume the duties of another.
 
Relieve
 
(1) To take the place of another; (2) to ease the strain on a line.
 
Remember
 
You serve IN a ship .. not ON her!
 
Ride
 
A ship at anchor is riding to its anchor.
 
Riding Light
 
Light required to be shown by a vessel at anchor.
 
Rig
 
To set up any device or equipment, as rig a stage over the side.
 
Rigging
 
Lines that support a ship's mast are called standing rigging; those used to hoist or otherwise move equipment are called running rigging.
 
Riser
 
A pipe leading from the fireman to fireplugs on upper deck levels.
 
Roller Chock
 
A mooring chock that contains a roller for reducing friction.
 
Rope
 
General term applied to both fiber and wire rope.  Fiber rope usually is referred to as line; wire rope, wire rope, or just wire.
 
Ropeyarn Sunday
 
Term applies to an otherwise workday that has granted as a holiday for the purpose of taking care of personal business.
 
Rudder
 
Device attached to a ship's stern that controls the ship's direction of travel.
 
Runner
 
A purchase containing one single sheave movable block.
 
Running Bowline
 
A slipknot made by tying a small bowline around a line's own standing part.
 
Running Lights
 
Navigational lights required to shown at night by a vessel underway.
 

 

 

S
 

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S.O.S.
 
No, S.O.S., the universal wireless signal for ships in distress, does not stand for "Save our Souls." That ideal may have been the dream-child of some romantic publicity man, but wireless operators promptly jeered the idea into oblivion. They explained that the letters S.O.S. were just a quick and compelling combination to command instant attention. The letters themselves have no hidden meaning.
 
Sack
 
Bunk.
 
Scupper
 
The waterway along the gunwales.
 
Scuttle
 
(1) Round, watertight opening in a hatch; (2) the act of deliberately sinking a vessel.
 
Scuttlebutt
 
(1) Originally a ship's water barrel (called a butt) that was tapped (scuttled) by the insertion of a spigot from which the crew drew their drinking water; now applied to any drinking fountain; (2) in the old days the scuttlebutt was a place for personnel to exchange views and news they gathered to draw their water; hence the term scuttlebutt is applied to any rumor.
 
Scuttlebutt
 
Drinking fountain. A scuttlebutt in old days was a cask that had openings in the side and was fitted with a spigot; it is also rumored this is from the fact that Sailors used to congregate at the scuttlebutt or cask of water to gossip or report on day's activities.
 
Sea Anchor
 
A device streamed from the bow of a vessel for the purpose of holding the vessel in the sea.
 
Sea Bag
 
Large canvas bag for stowing gear and clothing.
 
Sea Duty
 
Assignment to ship whose primary mission is accomplished while underway.
 
Sea Lawyer
 
Not a member of the legal fraternity by any means, but a surly fellow who is forever arguing about anything and everything aboard ship, with a view to getting out of scrapes (and more particularly) out of work. A seafarer who is extensively versed in and vociferous in the assertion of his or her rights.
 
Sea
 
(1) The ocean is general; (2) the individual undulations of the surface are called waves, but as a whole they are referred to as seas.  Also, a ship takes a big sea, not a wave, over the bow.
 
Seamanship
 
(1) The art or skill of handling a vessel; (2) skill in the use of deck equipment, boat handling, and the care and use of line wire.
 
Seaworthy
 
A vessel capable of withstanding normal heavy weather.
 
SECDEF
 
Secretary of Defense
 
SECNAV
 
Secretary of the Navy
 
Second Deck
 
First complete deck below the main deck.
 
Secure
 
(1) To make fast, as to secure a line to a cleat; (2) to cease, as to secure from fire drill.
 
Selected Reserve (Selres)
 
Naval Reservists who are required to participate in active duty training periods and annual training, and are paid for this duty.
 
Service Force
 
The organization providing logistic support to the combatant forces.
 
Set Up
 
To tighten up, with particular references to digs and turnbuckles.
 
Set
 
The direction toward which a ship is pushed by the effects of wind and current.  See Drift.
 
SGLI
 
Servicemenís Group Life Insurance - Life insurance coverage up to $200,000 which can be elected by the service member.
 
Shake A Leg
 
An admonishment to move faster.
 
Shake Down
 
The training of a new crew for developing efficiency in operating a ship.
 
Shakedown Cruise
 
Cruise of newly-commissioned ship to test machinery and equipment and train crew as a working unit.
 
Shanghaied
 
Just in case you didn't know it, the term "shanghaied" originated in the Chinese port of Shanghai. There, masters of American tea-clippers delayed for want of crews, would pay the Chinese owners of dives where drunken sailors were carousing, to slip drugs into the seamen's drinking glasses and hustle the unconscious sailors aboard the waiting ships.
 
Sheave
 
Pulley in a block around which the fall (line) runs.
 
Sheer Strake
 
The uppermost strake in a ship's side plating.
 
Sheet Bend
 
Same as becket bend.
 
Shell
 
A vessel's hull plating from the keel to the main deck; also called skin.
 
Shellback
 
A worthy person who has crossed the equator and survived the punishment given by King Neptune court for the offense of being a pollywog.
 
Shift Colors
 
To change the arrangement of the colors upon getting underway or coming to mooring.
 
Shift
 
(1) The act of the wind in changing direction; (2) the act of moving a rudder with angle on it to the same angle on the opposite side.
 
Ship Over
 
To reenlist in the Navy.
 
Ship
 
(1) Any large seagoing vessel capable of extended independent operation; (2) to take on water unintentionally.
 
Shipping Articles
 
Term applied to enlistment contracts signed by enlisted personnel.
 
Shipshape
 
Neat, clean, taut, in fine shape.
 
Shoal
 
Similar to a reef, but more gradual in its rise from the floor of the ocean.
 
Shore
 
(1) The land in general, but usually refers to that part adjacent to the water; (2) a timber used in damaged control to brace bulkheads and decks.
 
Short Timer
 
One whose enlistment or tour of duty is almost completed.
 
Show A Leg
 
Slang term for ordering men to turn out, originated in King George III's time, when women were allowed to accompany sailors on long voyages. It was customary when ordering seamen from their bunks, for the bos'un to demand, "show a leg." If the leg was covered by a stocking, he knew it belonged to a woman; otherwise the skulker would promptly be routed from his bunk.
 
Shroud
 
Piece of standing riggings that provides athwarthships support for a mast.
 
Sick Bay
 
Ship's hospital or dispensary. Ship's hospitals were originally known as "Sick Berths," but as they were generally located in the rounded sterns of the old battle-wagons, their contours suggested a "bay," and the latter name was given them.
 
Side Boy
 
One of a group of seaman who form two ranks at the gangway as part of the ceremonies conducted for visiting officials.
 
Side Boys
 
A group of Sailors who form two ranks which an honored official walks between.  "Tending side" duties. Originally, side boys had one specific duty. Some of the officers, particularly those of higher rank, would attain considerable, shall we say, embonpoint in their later years. This made coming aboard a particularly strenuous exercise, so the side boys had the job of hauling the short-o'-breath gentlemen inboard.
 
Side Light
 
One of the required running lights.  The starboard side light is green and the portside is red. It was not until between 1825 and 1830 that RED and GREEN sidelights were introduced. Up until then, all ships' running lights were WHITE, but the advent of speed called for the color lights as a further aid to navigation.
 
Side Port
 
A watertight opening in a ship's side, used as a doorway.
 
Sight
 
(1) To see for the first time, as to sight a ship on the horizon; (2) a celestial observation.
 
Sitrep
 
Situation Report
 
Skipper
 
From Dutch schipper, meaning captain.
 
skivvies Navy slang for men's underwear.
Skylark
 
To engage on irresponsible horseplay.
 
Skylarking
 
First coined to express the fun enjoyed by robust young seamen who would scramble to the fighting-tops of ships and descend to the decks by sliding down the backstays. Now used to describe someone who is goofing off.
 
Slack
 
(1) To allow a line to run out; (2) a slack ship is one that has little or no discipline.
 
Slip
 
(1) To get free of an anchor by disconnecting the cable or by allowing its bitter end to run out; (2) a narrow space between two piers, or the space between two rows of piles that guide a ferryboat into it berth.
 
Slippery Hitch
 
Derogatory term for a bungled knot that pulls out under the strain.
 
Small Craft
 
General term for any less than ship sized vessel.
 
Small Stories
 
Personal need for sailors, such as articles of clothing.
 
Smart
 
Snappy, seamanlike, shipshape.
 
Snaking
 
Netting stretch between the gunwales and footrope (see Lifeline) to prevent objects from going over the side.
 
Snub
 
The act of suddenly checking a line that is running out under a strain.
 
Son Of A Gun
 
This term dates back to when men of certain ratings, including gunners and gunners mates, were allowed to take their wives along to sea with them. If a boy was born on the voyage, he was half-humorously, half-contemptuously referred to as a "son of a gun."
 
Sound
 
To determine the depth of water; (2) the act of a whale or similar creature in diving; (3) a body of water between the mainland and a large coastal island.
 
Spanner
 
A wrench used for tightening coupling on a fire hose.
 
Spar Bouy
 
A bouy shaped like spar.  Usually indicates special areas, such as a quarantine anchorage (yellow) or normal anchorage (white), but may be indicate a channel (painted red, or black, as appropriate).
 
Spar
 
A long cylindrical member of wood or metal, tapered at the ends; usually attached to a mast for use as a boom or for attaching equipment such as signal halyard.  See Boat Boom; Yardarm.
 
Special Sea Detail
 
Personnel aboard ship assigned special duties connected with leaving and entering port.
 
Spinning A Yarn
 
This term for tale-telling, was coined in days when sailors would be given old ropes to unroll for the making of sennit and small stuff. As this was the only duty during which they could talk at will, the act of making yarn because synonymous for free and unrestricted conversation.
 
Splice
 
The act of making an eye, or of joining lines or wires together, by intertwining strands; the joint so made.
 
Spouse
 
Wife or husband.
 
Spring Lay
 
Wire rope in which each strand consist partly of wire and partly of tarred hemp or similar fiber.
 
Spring
 
A mooring line that lines leads forward (or aft) at an angle from ship to pier.  It purpose is to check the fore and aft movement of the ship.
 
Squadron
 
Two or more divisions of ships or aircrafts.
 
Square Away
 
Put in proper order; make things shipshape. Meaning everything in itís proper place or order. A phrase which described a square-rigged ship bracing her yards to run away before the wind.

 
Square Knot
 
Simple knot used for bending two lines together or for bending a line to itself.
 
Stack
 
Shipboard chimney.
 
Stanchions
 
Vertical posts used for supporting decks; smaller, similar posts used for supporting lifelines, awnings, and so on.
 
Stand By
 
To prepare for or make ready to.
 
Standing Lights
 
Red night lights throughout the interior of a ship.
 
Standing Part
 
The main part of a line, as distinguished from its end.
 
Starboard Side
 
Because the Vikings shipped their star (steering) oar on the right hand side of their vessels, and called the side of a ship its "board," the right hand side of vessels has ever since been designated as the "starboard" side.
 
Starboard
 
Direction of the right of the centerline of boat or ship as one faces forward.
 
Stateroom
 
A living compartment for an officer or for a small number of officers.
 
Station
 
(1) An individual's place of duty; (2) position of a ship in formation; (3) location of persons and equipment having a specific purpose, as gun control station; (4) order to assume station, as "Station the special sea and anchor detail."
 
Stay
 
Any piece of standing rigging, except a shroud, providing support only.
 
Stem
 
The forward vertical extension of the keel.
 
Stern Light
 
White navigation light that can been seen only from astern to 6 points on either quarter (total of 12 points, or 135 degrees.)
 
Stern Sheets
 
General term for the after passenger space in an open boat.
 
Stern
 
Aft part of ship.
 
Sternpost
 
The after vertical extension of the keel.
 
Stick
 
Familiar term for a pole mast.
 
Stop
 
A short line attached to the edge of an awning, boat cover, and so on; used to lash the cover to a support.
 
Stow
 
To put gear in its proper place. To store or pack articles or cargo in a space.
 
Strake
 
Fore and aft strip of plating in the shell or in a deck.
 
Strand
 
(1) One of the main subdivisions of a line or wire; (2) the act of a vessel in going aground.
 
Stringer
 
(1) A longitude frame providing strength to a ship's sides; (2) a long timber between piles at the edge of a pier.
 
Structural Bulkhead
 
Transverse strength bulkhead that forms a watertight boundary.
 
Submarine Vessels designed to operate under the surface of the water. Submarines are traditionally called boats  in the US Navy. Submariners are offended by having their boat called a ship
Superstructure
 
The ship's structure above the main deck, exclusive of top hamper.
 
Swab
 
Rope or yarn mop but never called, a mop.; also an unflattering term for a Sailor.
 
Swamp
 
The act of an open boat in filling with water taken over the side.
 

 

 

T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z
 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
 

Tackle
 
See Purchase.
 
TAD
 
Temporary Additional Duty, TDY is used by the other services.
 
Taffrail
 
Some maintain that the world taffrail is a combination of three words, namely -- the after rail. Others claim it is a misspelling of the Dutch word "Tafareel" which means painting on the stern.
 
Taftrail
 
The rail around a ship's stern.
 
Taps
 
The Last Call got its name from the Dutch word TAP-TOE, meaning to turn off all beer spigots (or taps) and to put out all lights in waterfront taverns. From this same word we get also the corrupted term "Tat-too."
 
TAR
 
Training Administration of Reserves Reservists on full-time active duty to provide full-time support to the Naval Reserve.
 
Tarpaulin
 
Canvas used as a cover.
 
Taut
 
Under tension.  A ship noted for its high state of discipline and efficiency is known as a taut ship.
 
Tender
 
(1) One who serves as a precautionary standby, as the line tender for a diver; (2) an auxiliary vessel that acts as a support ship for the ships, as destroyer tender.
 
Threefold Purchase
 
A tackle containing two three sheave blocks.
 
Thwart
 
Plank set athwartships just below the gunwales in an open boat; act as a set and provides support to the sides.
 
Top Hamper
 
Ship's masts, stacks, and other structures aloft.
 
Topside
 
General term referring to weather decks.
 
Topside
 
Slang, meaning upper level, or above decks.
 
Transverse Frame
 
Structural member that extends outward from the keel and upward to the main deck.
 
Trice Up
 
To secure bunks by hauling them up and hanging them off (securing them) on their chains.
 
Trunk
 
The uppermost tip of a mast.
 
Turn In
 
(1) Retire to bed; (2) return articles to the issue room.
 
Turn Of The Bilge
 
Device for setting up a tension, as in a lifeline, by turning a buckle into which two eyebolts are room.
 
Turn Out
 
 (1) Get out of bed; (2) order out a working party or other group, as to turn out the guard.
 
Turn To
 
An order to begin work. Starting work.

 
Turnbuckle
 
Device for setting up a tension, as in a lifeline, by turning a buckle into which two eyebolts are threaded.
 
UA
 
Unauthorized Absence. AWOL is used in the other services.
 
Up All Hammocks
 
Admonishment to personnel entitle to sleep after reveille, to get up.
 
Upper Deck
 
The first deck above the main deck.
 
VA
 
Veterans Affairs
 
Veer
 
(1) To allow a line, wire, or chain to run out by its own weight; (2) to swerve; (3) act of the wind in changing direction clockwise.
 
VHA
 
Variable Housing Allowance
 
Void
 
An empty tank.
 
Waist
 
The amidships section of the main deck.
 
Wake
 
Trail left by a vessel, or other object, moving through the water.
 
Wardroom
 
A compartment aboard ship near officers' stateroom used as officers' mess room. The wardroom originally was known as the Wardrobe Room, being the place where officers kept their spare wearing apparel and also any loot they won while on service. It was not until years later that it served its present purpose and became the officers' mess-room.
 
Wardroom
 
Officer's messing compartment.
 
Watch
 
(1) One of the periods (usually 4 hours) into which a day is divided; (2) a particular duty, as life bouy watch; (3) the act of a bouy or other marker in indicating the position of a sunken object.
 

 
A period of duty, usually of four-hours duration. The day at sea has long been divided into watches, which are now called: midwatch (midnight to 4 a.m.); morning watch (4 to 8 a.m.); forenoon watch (8 a.m. to noon); afternoon watch (noon to 4 p.m.); first dog watch (4 to 6 p.m.); second dog watch (6 to 8 p.m.); and first watch (8 p.m. to midnight).
 
Watertight Integrity
 
The degree or quality of watertightness.
 
Way
 
(1) Horizontal motion of a floating body; (2) launching track in a shipbuilding yard.
 
Weatherdeck
 
Any deck exposed to the elements.
 
Wet Dock
 
In harbors of great tidal range, ships would be left stranded when the tide went out.  Barriers with gates are constructed, therefore, to form a basin.  Ships enter the basin at high tide, the gates are closed, and the water is retained in the basin when tide ebbs.
 
Wharf
 
Similar to a quay, but constructed on the fashion of a pier.
 
Whipping
 
Binding on the end of a line or wire to prevent unraveling.
 
Wildcat
 
That portion of a windless that engages the links of the anchor chain so the anchor can be heaved in.
 
Windward
 
Toward the direction from which the wind is blowing.
 
WO
 
Warrant Officer
 
XO
 
Executive Officer
 
Yankee
 
The nickname of Yankee was first applied to American by merchants of Holland. Because of the argumentative traits of certain American captains trading with the Netherlands, Dutchmen jeeringly called them "Yangers" (Wranglers) and the name stuck ..
 
Yard
 
Spar set athwartships across the upper part of a mast.
 
Yardarm
 
The port or starboard half of a yard is the port or starboard yardarm.
 
Yaw
 
The act of a vessel in having its heading thrown wide of its course as the result of a force from astern, such as a heavy following sea.
 

 

 

 


 


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