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Issue 29. Out Now!

Know your Marine Terminology - part 9 Print E-mail

by Barry Tyler

       Glossary of Nautical Terms Old and New

Painter: A length of small rope in a boat, used for securing it when alongside a larger boat, jetty or pontoon.
Parallel Connection: Connecting battery positive terminals together, and negative terminals together, to increase system capacity without increasing voltage.
Passarelle: A portable gang-plank used for transferring passengers from the boat to a wharf or other boat.
Pawl: Part of winch capstan, it is a hinged metal arm or dog that when flipped over, prevents the winch from over-running or unwinding further.
Pay Out: To slacken a cable or rope so it can run out freely, to a desired amount.
Pedestal: The column on which a steering wheel and various engine controls are mounted. Generally it is topped off with a binnacle and compass.
Pedestal seating: A seat that is mounted atop a solid or adjustable gas-assisted pedestal mounting shaft.
Pendant: Sometimes written and always pronounced ‘pennant’, it is a tapering triangle shaped burgee carrying a club or organisation's insignia.
PFD (Personal Flotation Device): The modern-day litigation-free reference for a vest worn over the body, specifically designed to offer support to a human body in the water; it does not prevent a person from drowning!
Phosphorescence: A glowing condition of the sea, when at night the sea surface is broken. Cause is unknown.
Pier: A timber structure, supported on wooden piles – that is used as a promenade or landing stage.
Pilot: A qualified local coastal navigator taken on board a ship for the purpose of safe passage into a port.
Pintle: A vertical pin at the leading edge of a rudder, that drops into the rudder gudgeons.
Pirogue: A sea-going canoe formed out of the trunks of two trees, usually of cedar or balsa wood.
Pitch: A mixture of tar and coarse resin that is fluid when heated hard when cold, used for caulking hulls.
Pitch: A propeller measurement; the distance a vessel moves forward as per the deflection of the blades – with each full 360° revolution of the propeller.
Pitch-pole: The overturning of a vessel when up-ended by heavy seas – in a stern over bow motion.
Plain Sailing: Anything that is straightforward and easy, originated in the 16th Century when they thought the earth was flat – like a plain.
Plane: To attain sufficient speed to raise the bow and allow the boat to run along the surface of the water.
Plimsoll Line: The waterline marking around a vessel’s hull, marking the maximum depth when fully loaded.
Plot: The diagrammatic representation of the progress of a vessel on a voyage, usually on a chart.
Plug: The name given to the pattern or male former, over which the hulls of fibreglass hulls are moulded.
Poop: The stern deck of a vessel. (2) A vessel is ‘pooping’ when a heavy sea breaks over the stern, as the boat is running with the sea.
Poppet: A mounting point inside the gunwale of a dinghy, to attach the rowlocks for the oars.
Port: The left hand side of a vessel, as viewed from astern – looking towards the bow.
Pram: A small dinghy with bow cut off like a transom; traditionally used as a tender.
Pulpit: A tubular guard-rail at the bow of the vessel, carrying the forward ends of the guard rails or life-lines.
Purchase: A mechanical device used to increase a power or force – normally rope through a gear, block or pulley.
Pushpit: A modern term for the curved tubular frame or guard-rail at the stern of the vessel, carrying the aft ends of the guard rails or life-lines.
Quadrant: The quarters of the magnetic compass when they are graduated by degrees rather than points.
Quadrant: The metal section of a circle attached to the rudder stock and taking the control cables in wheel steering.
Quarantine: A harbour restriction placed on a vessel, if it carries disease or ‘unpalatable’ cargo.
Quarter: One of the two after or rear parts of a boat, one on each side of the centre-line.
Quarter-deck: That part of the upper deck of a vessel that is abaft of the mast, traditionally the best vantage point.
Radar: Meaning ‘Radio Direction and Range’, it is a means of detecting objects by sending out a series of pulses of radio waves.
Radar Reflector: Metal apparatus with many surfaces, which reflects radar signals on structures or vessels which otherwise would be difficult to detect.


Wendy Elliston
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