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June 22nd 2024 - 16:20

The Bosunīs Mate Glossary of Terms

The Bosunīs Mate dictionary of Nautical Terms has been compiled from many sources and is constantly being augmented and revised in our attempt to capture as much of the rich yet complicated (and often conflicting) maritime termonology as possible.

You will find an extensive list of information about all sorts of nautical items from sailorīs knots to the sailors themselves, and from ships to the weather patterns of the seas they ply.

Random terms, by category

Abbreviations and Acronyms (41 terms)
VTS
Vessel Traffic System

VHF radio based traffic control systems for heavy traffic areas.

The things sailors do (8 terms)
Pay out
To feed out Line, hand over hand - usually over the side of the vessel.
Why say back when you can say aft instead! (20 terms)
Aweather
To Windward; towards the Windward or weather side of the vessel
Common sayings and expressions from maritime lore (149 terms)
Helm
1. The steering apparatus of a vessel
2. The location on the vessel where the steering controls are located
3. Used as part of an expression to describe the vesselīs handeling characteristics

The foods of the sea (2 terms)
Scurvy
A disease historically common to seaman, caused by lack of Vitamin C the British Navy started to fight it bu adding lime juice to their water - this was the origin of the slan "Limey"
Various knots both functional and ornamental from the nautical to the ornamental and with both historic and present day value. (12 terms)
Knot
1. A speed of one Nautical mile per hour. (6076 feet) per hour.
2. A method of making a Line Fast to an object, another Line, itself, or for ornament.

Bits and bobs from life aboard ship (5 terms)
Q flag
All yellow signal flag meaning "My vessel is healthy and I request free passage.
Specific sailing maneuvers (33 terms)
Back
To Sheet the Clew of a Sail to Windward. The wind is said to Back when it changes its direction contrary to the movement of the sun.
The points of sail and seamanship (76 terms)
League
A measure of distance 2.6 nautical miles (4.8 km) in length
The parts of ships (131 terms)
Kedge
1. To use an Anchor to move a Boat by hauling on the Anchor rode
2. A basic type of Anchor.

Important people and/or their positions in nautical history (14 terms)
Limey
A nickname for British sailors coined by the Americans. It referrs to the British regulation that all registered ships had to cary a supply of lime juice and issue the same to the crew to prevent Scurvy.
Key locations of the maritime world (20 terms)
Starboard
Right side of the Ship when facing Forward.

Named as such after a contraction called a Steering Board, from ancient ships. This was a Rudder like contraption that was situated on the right side of the vessel (as the left or Port side of the vessel needed to be kept free for tieing up to the Dock)

Rigging components and terms (104 terms)
Voyal
An older name for a Messenger used to assist in weighing the Anchor.
Sails, their parts and materials (30 terms)
Headsails
The collection of sails (jibs and staysails) foreward of the Foremast.
Types of vessels and some famous examples (22 terms)
Bark
3 Masted vessel: Square rigged on Fore and main Mast.
The various spars used aboard ship (6 terms)
Bowsprit
A Spar running Forward from the Bow of a vessel. It functions as a horizontal Mast for the spritsail, fore-topmast staysail and, in conjunction with the Jibboom, the Jib.
The tools of the trade (27 terms)
Messenger
1. A loop of Rope used to assist in weighing the Anchor. Led through two single blocks near the hawseholes and along the Deck running Alongside the Anchor Cable where it is held Fast with Nippers; Then looped around the Capstan and Back up to the Deck and along the Foredeck again. This was done because the hemp Anchor cables were too large to be brought around the capstain themselves.

2. A small Line used to pull a heavier Line or Cable.

terms awaiting clasification (36 terms)
none found
Meteorology and its relationship to sailing (7 terms)
Fronts
Used in meteorology to describe bounderies between hot and cold air masses. This is typically where bad weather is found.
 
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