Today's lesson/public service message from HAWSEPIPER.
When working as a maritime professional, speak like a goddam professional. Use the right goddamn nomenclature, or be prepared to be thought of as a damn shoemaker.
It's OK to slur certain words: 'Forr'ard' for Forward,' 'Foc's'le' for Forecastle. You can be crude and vulgar and still be professional, if you're creative enough. "Foreskin" for Forepeak is a good example.
It's probably OK to not learn how to box the compass. But you should. By all means, however, know how to properly do your job as a lookout and learn how to report relative bearings. A ship is not "At 4 O'clock" unless the time is, actually, 0400. It's "1 point abaft the starboard beam." The extra words and jargon are used for a reason. Your watch officer can get the gist of what you're saying even if the wind mutes half your words, and it's a precise statement with no possibility of being misunderstood.
It's not a TWIX card, a TWIC's card or anything with an 's' sound at the end. That's a goddamned candy bar's name. It's a TWIC card, and when you mispronounce it or write it wrong, you sound and look like an ignorant ass. Stop it. You don't sit on the toilet to "take a shit's" so why do you insist that you have a TWIC's?
Oh, also, learn to use the proper hand signals for overhead work or directing a fucking crane, please. When you do weird shit like slap the top of your head and point in a Hitler salute, you're telling the guy on the crane to steal third base, not come down on the boom. It's pretty fucking simple. Thumbs for boom, fingers for the runners, palms for swing, for your basic crane. You look like an epileptic in front of a strobe light when you do it wrong. Have some goddam dignity, for Christ's sake.
Learn to tie the knots that are required to be rated as an Able Seaman, even if you're not. Imagine being a professional mariner, and not knowing how to tie a bowline, becket bend, carrick bend or surgeon's knot. If you're a mariner and can't do these, you're no fucking mariner, so quit pretending. You're a monkey, and not even a trained one.
It's OK not to know all the jargon. You'll pick it up as you go. You should know the names of all the parts of your ship, of course, and how to report the things you see and do. There will be shameful moments. For example, I can't make a Bosun's chair. For too long, my ass was too fat to sit comfortably in one, so I never learned, and didn't even use the prefab ones. Own your weaknesses and try to overcome them, right? I haven't gotten around to that one yet, so feel free to slut-shame me for it. I know I got it coming.
And, for Christ's Own sake, every piece of metal that is not a bulkhead, deck or hull plate is not a 'fish plate." A fish plate is a fish plate, and is a railroad term. It's been co-opted to be used to describe the steel plate (sometimes also called a 'flounder plate' I hear) at the apex of a towing bridle... and that's about it.Know the proper terms. Knowing how to communicate is important to knowing how to do your goddamn job.
Be wary about what you read on Wikipedia
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