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adrift

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

A term denoting floating at random, as of a boat or ship broken away from its moorings and at the mercy of wind and waves. To cast adrift a ship is to abandon it at sea; of persons, to...

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all hands

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

An order on board ship for the seamen of every watch to muster on deck immediately. It is an order usually given either in an emergency or for performing an evolution requiring the use of...

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anchor watch

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

A precaution taken on board ship when lying to an anchor in bad weather with a danger of dragging. The watch normally consists of an officer who takes frequent compass bearings of objects...

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blowing the grampus

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

A term used in the days of sail for waking a sailor asleep on watch by throwing a bucketful of cold water over him.

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bridge

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

An elevated platform built above the upper deck of a powered vessel, from which a ship is normally navigated and from where all activities on deck can be seen and controlled by the captain...

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calashee

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

A watch on deck on a square-rigged ship in which all hands, including the watch below, must stand by for a call. They were most frequently required when a sailing ship was tacking in narrow...

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clean slate

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

Originally a log-slate, on which the courses steered by a ship and the distances run as indicated on a log were written in chalk during the course of a watch. At the end of the watch, the...

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clear lower deck

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

A naval order for all hands on board to muster on the upper deck. The only men exempt from such an order are those on watch in the machinery spaces where the machinery is actually running.

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deckhouse

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History — Warfare and Defence.

A square or oblong cabin erected on the deck of a ship. In the sailing warships of the Royal Navy it was known, in a perverse sort of way, as the round house because one could walk round...

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distress signals

Overview page. Subjects: Maritime History.

A means of calling for help or assistance at sea. All ships over 300 tonnes are required to have equipment specified by Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) regulations. The...

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