Board on a sailing ship is literally the top deck so any discussion that took place there was conducted in the open for all to see. Ships were usually quite small so you would be likely to know everyone any discussion "above board" would have to be frank and honest or risk the displeasure of the rest of the crew.
By SailingQuiz November 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does Above board mean?
What is the nautical origin of the phrase "Above board"?
Definition of the nautical phrase "Above board".