Nautical phrases, sayings and terms

Nautical phrases and sayings explained | SailingQuiz

Nautical phrases, sayings and sailing terms with their meaning.

The sailors jargon buster

Have you ever wondered where some of our everyday phrases and sayings come from and what they mean? There are hundreds in common use in UK and around the world and we have been looking high and low to find them and their meaning. Here are 424 of them where we have cracked the sailors jargon for you. Enjoy!

 
  • Natical Phrases
  • Sailing Terms
  • Trivia
  • Folklore
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What does "How many ropes on a boat" mean?

Meaning: A trick question for sailors.

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What does "In the doldrums" mean?

Today it means: Feeling bad, fed up, listless, things are not going well.

Nautical origin of the phrase: In the doldrums

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "In the lee" mean?

Meaning: Away from the wind, downwind.

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What does "In the offing" mean?

Today it means: Imminent, very soon, about to happen

Nautical origin of the phrase: In the offing

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Inshore" mean?

Meaning: Waters close to the coast.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 1. Application of the rules" ?

Meaning: Applies to all vessels on the high sea.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 10. Traffic separation schemes" ?

Meaning: Avoid crossing a traffic separation scheme.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 12. Sailing vessels" ?

Meaning: How sailing vessels react to each other at sea.

More about: IRPCS Rule 12. Sailing vessels

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What is "IRPCS Rule 13. Overtaking." ?

Meaning: Overtaking another vessel at sea.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 14. Head on situation." ?

Meaning: Two vessels heading directly towards each other.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 15. Crossing situation." ?

Meaning: A vessel crossing in front of another at sea.

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What is "IRPCS rule 16. Action by a give way vessel." ?

Meaning: What to do if you need to GIVE WAY at sea.

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What is "IRPCS rule 17. Action by a stand on vessel" ?

Meaning: Action by a stand on vessel at sea.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 18. Responsibilities between vessels." ?

Meaning: How one vessel reacts to another whilst at sea.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 2. Responsibility." ?

Meaning: No-one on the high seas is exempt from these rules.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 5. Look-out" ?

Meaning: Maintain a look-out at all times.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 6. Safe speed" ?

Meaning: Only go as fast as you and your crew can cope with.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 7. Risk of collision" ?

Meaning: Act early and clearly to avoid a collision.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 8. Action to avoid a collision" ?

Meaning: Make your intentions clear early on.

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What is "IRPCS Rule 9. Narrow channels" ?

Meaning: Small vessels keep to the edges.

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Jack Tar" mean?

Today it means: Sailors in the Royal Navy and other similar Navies.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Jack Tar

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Jackstay" mean?

Meaning: A line for a safety harness to be attached.

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Jetsam" mean?

Meaning: useless, disgarded objects.

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Sailing Terms


   

What does "Jib" mean?

Meaning: A foresail set before the mast.

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What does "Jib sheet" mean?

Meaning: The line that controls the Jib or genoa.

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What does "Jury rigged" mean?

Meaning: Improvised rigging or rudder.

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What does "Kedge" mean?

Meaning: A back-up anchor.

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What does "Keel" mean?

Meaning: Fin under a boat.

More about: Keel

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What does "Keelhaul" mean?

Today it means: Old form of Naval punishment

Nautical origin of the phrase: Keelhaul

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Nautical Saying


   

What does "Keep a weather eye open" mean?

Today it means: Keep a good watch, be alert, be on your guard.

Nautical origin of the phrase: Keep a weather eye open

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Nautical Saying


   


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