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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)
GRT
A measure of the internal volume, or closed-in spaces, of a vessel. One gross registered ton is equal to one hundred cubic feet. This is the measure used to classify vessels and it typically the measure used to classify limits for seafarers as well.
The things sailors do (8 terms)
Luff-up
To steer the Boat more into the wind, this could have the effect of causing the sails to flap or Luff.
Why say back when you can say aft instead! (20 terms)
Windward
The direction into/towards the wind
Common sayings and expressions from maritime lore (149 terms)
Aloft
Up and above; up the Mast or in the rigging
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)
Square-Knot
A very common Knot used to Bend two Lines of the same diameter. If used to tie Lines of differing diameter it may slip.


Bits and bobs from life aboard ship (5 terms)
Skylarking
Playing by climbing around in the Rigging. Especially when done as high as possible.  
Specific sailing maneuvers (33 terms)
Back water
To stop the progress of a Dinghy by pushing on the handles of the oars (forcing water opposite to the normal direction for rowing)
The points of sail and seamanship (76 terms)
Dock
A protected region of water where vessels are moored. The term is often used to denote a Pier or a wharf.
The parts of ships (131 terms)
Companionway
A staircase or latter that leads Below decks or between decks.
Important people and/or their positions in nautical history (14 terms)
Captain
The person who is in charge of a vessel and legally responsible for it and its occupants.
Key locations of the maritime world (20 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

Rigging components and terms (104 terms)
Stay
1) A Line or wire from the Mast to the Bow or Stern of a Ship, for support of the Mast (Fore, Back, running, and triadic stays).

2) To make something Fast - "Stay that ..."

Sails, their parts and materials (30 terms)
Moonsail
The small light sails set above the skysails on square-rigged masts in light winds.
Types of vessels and some famous examples (22 terms)
Jolly-boat
A small ships Boat from the 18th or 19th centuries, clinker built and propelled by oars. When included as part of a warship the typical configuration was 6 oars on 3 thwarts.

From the german or dutch ījolleī and Swedish īJolī: a small Boat or Bark. It may also be a derivation of Yawl or gellywatte.


The various spars used aboard ship (6 terms)
Jibboom
A Spar Forward of Bowsprit that supports the Forward most staysails.
The tools of the trade (27 terms)
Backstaff
A Navigation instrument used to measure the apparent height of a landmark whose actual height is known, such as the top of a lighthouse. From this information, the shipīs distance from that landmark can be calculated.
terms awaiting clasification (36 terms)
none found
Meteorology and its relationship to sailing (7 terms)
Beaufort Scale
A system for clasifying wind strengths and sea conditions:

1 Light Air Or just sufficient to give steerage way.  
2 Light Breeze Or that in which a man-of-war with all Sail set, and clean full would go in smooth water from. 1 to 2 knots
3 Gentle Breeze 3 to 4 knots
4 Moderate Breeze 5 to 6 knots
5 Fresh Breeze Or that to which a well-conditioned man-of-war could just carry in chase, full and by. Royals.
6 Strong Breeze Single-reefed topsails and top-gal. Sail
7 Moderate Ga...
 
Total Terms: 539 Total Views: 1921653

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