Sunday, March 11, 2012

Nautical Terminology 2012 edition

I try to make a point to use the proper terminology when I'm at work. This is important, as nautical language is made to be concise, which keeps screaming (the usual method of communication) to a minimum. Tugboaters seem to be less reliant on traditional nautical language, and it makes for some confusing situations.  Tugboaters have their own language, which may or may not include traditional nautical terms. This is confusing.

deckhand, talking into microphone:  "There's a pilot boat at, like, 10 o'clock, 10:30 maybe."
me: "Naw, It's only like 1700 right now, man. I ain't even had dinner yet."
tug captain: "What? the wind's blocking the sound of your microphone."
deckhand: "no, I mean there's a pilot boat over there (Points with finger)"
tug captain: 'Are you pointing at the pilot boat, or the Staten Island ferry behind it?"
me: "cover your mic, and say "Pilot boat broad on the port bow."
deckhand: (into microphone) "Pilot boat, broad on the port bow."
tug captain: "It's a woman? Where? On the pilot boat? I don't see anything?"
me: *facepalm*

 So, with that in mind, and bearing in mind that there are thousands of terms that we use, I'm including some updated names and terms that my tugboat-centric readers might not be aware of, but which must absoutely be part of their lexicon to be judged as a professional mariner. This list also contains many tugboat terms that ship's officers may not be aware of.  Here is today's list. There will be a quiz. Everyone who passes gets more pictures of half-naked Brazilian women. Those who fail do not have permission to look at my pictures of half naked Brazilian women.

PAWL:  a steel bar, pin or block used to prevent the anchor windless from spinning in case the brakes fail.

SPUD: a steel pole used to moor a barge in shallow water, or a pointed rod used like a crowbar to move pipe flange connections and similar objects into place.

BEACH WHISTLE: a plastic tampon insert thingy.

CONY ISLAND WHITEFISH: floating condom, used.

DOG- a steel fastener attached to a threaded rod, used to screw down a hatch cover or other fitting.

DOG DICK: basically, anything cylindrical and small enough to be picked up by one person. Most often used to describe an end-splice in a piece of rope or line, or a spud wrench. Also used as a vaguely demeaning term when sending a helper to fetch a tool.

 NO DOG DICKS ON BOARD: a vessel that does not employ or use butt splices in their ropework. I am of the No Dog Dicks school, myself.

 Not on my watch, mister!

Rather than use a splice that will get stuck in every knot or block, and is most assuredly going to flail around and hit you in the balls as soon as possible, I believe firmly in whipping rope ends to keep them from fraying, rather than making a testicular wrecking ball. As such, you will not find any dog dicks on my deck. You'll find lines whipped with electrical tape and/or dental floss.

FIRE ISLAND BEDROOM SLIPPERS: kneepads. Used when kneeling on decks painted with nonskid paint. (Also known as Provincetown Workboots).

FOR'RARD: towards the bow

 IS/WAS:   Tends to be used contrary to proper English. Ex.: "You always was as numb as a pounded thumb." translates to : "Sir, in my humble opinion, you are not intelligent."

WICKED FAH OFF:  Distant. Used in New England, and by New Englanders.

COOL THEM OFF: reduce throttle

A LITTLE HOT: too fast

TOUCH UP: hull is pressed against an object

GOING TO SCRAPE THE PAINT A LITTLE: A collision or allision of significant force is imminent.

 DING: Gaping hole in the hull

SCRATCH : Dent in the hull

RATTLE THE DINNERWARE: a bump that sends everything flying onto the deck. Most often TV's, glassware and sleeping off-watch personnel.

HAND-FENDER: a little tire, piece of hawser or other flexible object often requested to be placed between the vessel hull and a dock when an accidental 'touch up' or 'scratch' is imminent. This is exactly like watching Wile E. Coyote open an umbrella to stop a 20-ton boulder from hitting him on the head.

 Athwartships Akimbo: This is an old nautical term used to describe orientation of the legs of a jack, tool, or other object or person- it means facing 90 degrees to the fore-and-aft direction, and spread out for stability.  I used this term not too long ago to describe how I wanted a temporary steel support to be placed on a pipeline. The response: "Jesus, What?"

 ONE-ARMED PAPERHANGER: running on deck.

    That's it for now.


Cliff Smith said...

K dents in hulls are bad! Speaking as a former tin can sailor. Why are some ships called can-openers?

bowsprite said...

fuuuuuunny!!! omg, fire island knee pads.