Saturday, August 29, 2009

"NAUTICAL LOG PASSAGE PLANNING GUIDE"

September 05, 2009:

An update: NAUTICAL LOG is pleased to announce that it's "NAUTICAL LOG PASSAGE PLANNING GUIDE" is now avialable. Several have already been e-mailed as requested.

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Since the publication of the Posts on 'PASSAGE PLANNING' there have been numerous inquiries to NAUTICAL LOG about how to prepare such a 'PLAN'.

At present NAUTICAL LOG is gathering all the relevant information together. Starting with the requirements of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). From this data NAUTICAL LOG will develop a procedure that one can follow to complete the 'PASSAGE PLAN'.

This will be particularly useful to the smaller vessels as the big shipping companies already have all this in place. At least they should have all this in place, however judging from the inquiries received at times NAUTICAL LOG wonders if they actually do.

The NAUTICAL LOG PASSAGE PLANNING GUIDE should be available in early September. If you would like to receive a copy:

1. Contact us at boucp@hotmail.com and we will e-mail the GUIDE to you - IT IS FREE.
2. In the 'subject' write 'NAUTICAL LOG PLAN GUIDE' - just like that in block letters.
3. If you do not do this then the filter will recognize your e-mail as 'JUNK' and erase you.

Since this is a free offer NAUTICAL LOG would ask that in return you make a donation to your Search And Rescue (SAR) organization, most are manned by volunteers. Remember you might need their help yourself one day.

Good Watch.

Friday, August 21, 2009

NORTHEAST PASSAGE - AN UPDATE




BELUGA SHIPPING GMBH is a truly remarkable company. Many of you have accessed NAUTICAL LOG about their transit project of the Northeast Passage across the top of the Russian Federation.

Well as it happens just today we received an e-mail from Verena Beckhusen of their Public Relations Department updating the transits. The MS "Beluga Family" sailed from Antwerp to Murmansk and after clearance proceeded to Yamburg to discharge her heavy lift cargo. Once that is completed she returns to Murmansk and then Rotterdam. So she will have completed a western half-transit of the Northeast Passage from West to East and the return.


The MS "Beluga Fraternity" and MS "Beluga Foresight" have left Vladivostok with their cargo of heavy lifts, loaded in South Korea, and are now transiting the Northeast Passage. Heading westwards across the top of the Russian Federation bound for Novyy Port/Yamburg in the estuary of the river Ob leading southwards from the Kara Sea. As one can see from the Sea Routes map above there are two routes. One inshore which is the traditional route used by Russian vessels for decades. Now there is a second route more offshore that can, depending on ice conditions, be used by modern ice-classed vessels.

After completing discharge they will proceed to Murmansk and then to Rotterdam. So these two vessels will have made an extraordinary voyage from South Korea to Europe via the Northeast Passage of the Russian Federation, a complete transit from East to West.

Once again NAUTICAL LOG would like to thank Geschaftsfuhrender Gesellschafter Niels Stolberg and his Staff for their kindness in sending all this information. We wish the vessels and crews safe passage.

Good Watch.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

FINAL WORDS

VERY PISTOL Pistol for launching coloured flares as a signal device.

WAIST The midship section of a ship between bow and stern.

WARDROOM The officers common room in a Naval vessel and also used in some Merchant ships.

WATCH The period of time on duty aboard ship.

WILLIAMSON TURN A formal manoeuvre to turn a ship 180 degrees rapidly and return to the same point on the course. Used to recover persons overboard.

WORKAWAY A person who works his way on board a ship for a free passage. He is not a crewmember but gets a berth and food. Rare in British Merchant Navy but fairly common in Scandinavian ships. I came from the West Coast of Canada to the Netherlands on a Norwegian ship one time.

ZENITH The highest point of a celestial bodies transit. It is the point at which we measure, with the sextant, the Sun to obtain the Latitude.

Hope you enjoyed these nautical words.

Good Watch.

SOME LAST WORDS

RATLINES The rungs between the shrouds for going aloft either of rope or metal rods.

RED DUSTER The British Merchant Navy ensign, designated so in 1864. It is red bunting with the Union flag in the upper left hand corner.

REEMING IRON A tool for cleaning out old caulking from a seam.

REGISTER The record of all vessels registered in a nation for legal and business which are entitled to fly its flag. Now known as a vessel's Flag State.

RIGHT SAILING Running a course on one of the Cardinal Points so as to change Latitude or Longitude only.

RODE The line or chain to an anchor.

ROGUES YARN Coloured yarn woven into cordage to identify it's manufacturer. It was used in the British Royal Navy to identify cordage made in the Naval ropewalks to reduce stealing.

ROSE BOX A strainer box set into bilge lines on the suction side to prevent blockage. Similar to the 'starting box' for roses which are very popular in England.

RUTTER The Navigator's book which contained his calculations and observations during a passage. Many were very through works and formed the basis for the modern day Sailing Directions publications. All German ships had to file a copy with the Hohenzollern Scientific Office of Prussia on return from each voyage.

SAINT ELMO'S FIRE Static electricity discharge sometimes seen in the standing rigging at sea. Quite dramatic but fairly harmless.

SAMPSON POST A single heavy mast support for one or more cargo booms.

SCOTCHMAN Chafing gear of leather or wood in the standing rigging. Similar usage as 'Baggywrinkle'.

SEA ROOM The space required for a ship to maneuver safely.

SEMAPHORE A system of daylight visual signalling using arm positions. From Greek 'sema' meaning sign and 'phoros' meaning bearing.

SEXTANT A navigation instrument for measuring the altitude angle of celestial bodies. From Latin 'sex' meaning sixth and 'ans' meaning part of.

SHAFT ALLEY The tunnel for the propeller shaft between engine room and stern. There is a catwalk and the shaft can be seen spinning. It is kept clean by suspended coir mats moved along the shaft and bearing points are oiled.

SLIPPING THE CABLE To let go the anchor cable without heaving inboard. The ship can get underway quickly and the cable is buoyed for later recovery. NOT something done in Merchant ships except in exceptional circumstances.

SLOP CHEST The ship's store which is usually run by the Purser and has items nice to have at sea. Some have seaboard clothing and are quite elaborate. 'Sloppe' was an old word for clothing in Northern Europe.

SNATCH BLOCK A block with an opening side to receive a line.

SPLICE THE MAIN BRACE Issuing grog to all hands in the British Royal Navy each morning around 1100 when the pipe 'Up Spirits' was called. The Senior hands got 'neaters' and it was then mixed with water down the ranks under the Coxswains watchful eye. The Officers had gins in the Wardroom. In the Merchant Navy it was issued on special occasions only such as after a particularly hard job or with cocoa in very cold weather.

STADIMETER An instrument to the horizontal distance to a point ashore or another ship. From the Greek 'stadion' a length.

STOCKHOLM TAR Pine tar liquid used to coat the standing rigging. This was one of my favourite jobs as a Deck Apprentice.

SUPERCARGO An officer or purser in a merchant ship carried in addition to the ship's crew and usually representing the charterers and their cargo. Could be a very difficult appointment requiring quite some tact. I did it once only, in a Greek ship and it was a nightmare!!

TRADE WINDS Steady winds between Latitude 30 degrees and the Equator. They are NE in the northern hemisphere and SE in the southern hemisphere.

TRICK Be nice now! One's time on watch at the helm steering or monitoring the autopilot.

TWEENDECKS A deck with hatch openings between two full ones below the maindeck.

TYES Lines connecting the yards to the tackles by which they are hoisted and lowered. See also 'Bollocks'.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

THAT'S THE WORD

MAIDEN VOYAGE A vessels first voyage as a new ship.

MARCONI Considered the inventor of marine radio by using the continuous wave radio, and its equipment. The Radio Officer was known as 'Sparks' or 'Marconi' aboard European ships.

MARLINE SPIKE A tapered and pointed metal tool for splicing wire ropes.

MASTER The Legal title of the officer commanding ocean-going and most coastal merchant ships. On warships he was in charge of the vessel under sail but not in command as this was given to the ranking military officer.

MATE The deck department officer's below the rank of Master. Older title was master's mates.

MESSENGER A light line bent to a heavier one such as a heaving line for passing a mooring line.

MONKEY JACKET A short uniform jacket worn originally by seamen and midshipmen. Now used as an evening dress jacket by officers. It can be white or black depending on time of year and climate.

NAPIER CARD A diagram giving compass readings on all headings of a ship. Used for converting 'magnetic' headings to 'compass' headings.

NARROW BOAT A special barge designed to transit the narrow (7 feet/2.1 metres) canal locks of England and Wales. The barges were constructed long and narrow to fit in the locks. Some are now used as house boats and for canal tours.

OAKUM Caulking material made of tarred yarn or flax fibres. Was a big product of the English "Work Houses" system, remember in 'Oliver Twist' and other Dickens stories.

OXTER PLATE The shellplate that connects to the sternpost.

PANAMA LEAD or CHOCK A strong enclosed lead for the wires passed by the 'mules' during Panama Canal transits. These 'mules' tow a vessel into the locks and keep her in position while being raised or lowered. There are a minimum of four at any one time for this operation.

PELORUS An instrument for taking angles. It is NOT a compass and must first be aligned with the heading then the angle read off. The only time I used these was when Piloting the Inside Passage of British Columbia and Alaska.

PIG Ballast for ships formed from cast metal.

PINNACE Small sail or steam driven long narrow boat. Often used to shuttle officers between ships or ashore. Read "Sailing Alone Around the World" by Joshua Slocum and see who ran the pinnance that took him ashore at Gibraltar.

PITOMETER A device for indicating the ships speed through the water.

PLANE SAILING A method of plotting course, distance and speed on a planar chart before Mercator's projection charts.

PLIMSOLL MARK The loadline markings on the ships outer hull. Named for a British clergyman and Member of Parliament Samuel Plimsoll. Inacted into Maritime Law in 1876.

PRATIQUE Permission for a merchant ship to enter port. We used to hoist signal flag "Q".

PREVENTER A line of wire, or a wire lanyard and tackle, rigged to ease the strain on rigging particularly during cargo operations.

PURSER The ship's clerical officer in a merchant ship, who is in charge of accounts, documents and payroll. Actually a very key position in a passenger ship. From French and Latin 'bursariar'.

QUARANTINE The delay prior to the ships pratique while usually short it can be long and involved.

QUARTERMASTER A petty officer at sea who assists the Watch Officer and steers as needed in a passenger ship and manns the gangway in port.

A break before we finish up!

Good Watch.

WHATS THAT WORD

HALF-DECK A short deck above the Main Deck with a small accommodation house abaft the funnel. This is where the Deck Apprentices on British built ships lived, and the one place where they got relative peace and quiet!!

HANDY BILLY A light tackle for a variety of uses, usually rove with two single blocks.

HATCH Used for many openings aboard ship. In cargo ships more usually refers to the openings leading below the main deck for cargo stowage.

HELM Refers to the actual steering item, be it wheel, tiller, lever or whatever in modern ships. From Old Norse hjalmvoh a rudder handle.

HOLIDAY A gap in ones work such as a missed painted area. Definitely will not please the Boatswain

HOLYSTONE A block of sandstone used for scrubbing wooden decks. I am an expert from my Deck Apprentice days!!

HORSE LATITUDES The latitudes between 30 degrees and 35 degrees North and South. The winds are light, variable or non-existent. There are so many sources given for this one that you get to pick one yourselves.

HOUSE FLAG The special flag of a shipping company, it is flown at the mainmast head or port yardarm in a one masted vessel. In port a small size version can be flown on the jackstaff forward. It is lowered when the last line is let go at departure. However having said that these are fast becoming lost traditions. These days people actually use a signal flag such as the 'Blue Peter' as a House flag, also we see vessels steaming along 'dressed overall' which is most unseamanlike.

IDLER or DAYMAN The crew members not assigned to the Bridge Watch rotation. They worked days and got to sleep throughout the night hours.

ISOGONIC LINES Lines of equal magnetic variation. From Greek isogon meaning equal angle.

JETSAM Anything thrown overboard from a vessel. This is a Legal term in Maritime Law and can ONLY be used for items THROWN overboard.

KILLICK A killick or kedge anchor is the basic 'fisherman's' anchor. It is also the name given a British Royal Navy Able-Bodied Seaman because of the 'Killick' being the insignia of that Rating.


KING SPOKE The spoke which indicates the wheel is upright and has turned the rudder amidships. Usually marked with a brass cap or decorative knotwork such as a turkshead knot.

LAGAN Any article thrown overboard and buoyed for later recovery. This is a Legal term of Maritime Law.

LETTER OF MARQUE A government license authorizing a vessel as an armed private government ship, that is a privateer, under a recognized flag for a certain period of time.

LIVERPOOL MAN When mysterious things happen on "British" ships, for which there is no apparent explanation, we blame him.

LOBLOLLY BOY A surgeons assistant aboard British Naval vessels in the Napoleonic Era.

LUTINE BELL The ships bell from HMS "Lutine" 1799 mounted at Lloyds of London. It is rung for an important announcement.

So for now

Good Watch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A WORD OR TWO

CROWS NEST The lookout at the highest practical point aboard ship.

DASHER BLOCK Small block on the gaff peak for an ensign halyard also known as a jewel block.

DAY'S WORK The Navigator's calculations from noon sight and position to the next day's noon.

DEAD HORSE The period of time during which the crew are working off their wages 'advance' after signing on. In British ship's the crew got an advance to pay off debts on sailing day. They also got 'channel money' on arrival in home port prior to paying off the next day. This enabled them to have some money to go ashore the first evening.

DEMURRAGE The delay of a vessel beyond the Charter Party terms for handling cargo. Also used for the charges the shipowner or charterer would have to pay.

DIOPTRIC LIGHT Beam of light from a lighthouse concentrated by a Fresnel prism lens. From the Greek dioprikos meaning refraction.

DUBBING The shaping of a ship's timbers using an ADZE. Anglo-Saxon word dubben means a light stroke.

DUNNAGE Scrap wood planks used to protect cargo from chafe against the ship's steelwork. Heavier better quality used to chock cargo and stores in holds, storerooms and on deck.

EPHEMERIS Almanac of data for celestial bodies.

FARDAGE An old word for dunnage. Never heard of this one! Middle English fardel and Arabic fardah meaning a bundle.

FELLOE The outer edge of the segments of a ship's steering wheel. From Old English felge meaning segments.

FERRULE An iron band used to strengthen a spar. From French virole meaning a binding-ring.

FLOTSAM The wreckage of a ship or its goods found floating in the water. This is a Legal term of Maritime Law.

FRAP To join two lines together. From French fraper meaning to wrap.

FRESNEL LENS A multiple facet lens used in lighthouses, light buoys and ships running lights to focus and amplify light beams. Named for Augustin Jean Fresnel a French physicist.

GIPSEY or GYPSEY The warping drum of the anchor windlass. Used to heave the mooring ropes not the anchor chain.

GOOSENECK A hinge used to secure the boom to the mast.

GRAVING DOCK An English term for a fixed drydock dug out of the river bank.

Let's take a break.

Good Watch.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A LADY AT THE HELM

As many of you will know over the weekend there was a tragic mid-air collision between a small plane and a helicopter in New York/New Jersey airspace. The incident occurred off Hoboken, NJ and both aircraft crashed into the Hudson River. Now NAUTICAL LOG knows very little about flying but does know about incident investigations. So it was that the lady who gave a clear and concise news conference today caught our attention. As it turns out we have written about her in previous Posts. She is Deborah A. P. Hersman who on July 28, 2009 was sworn in as Chairman of the NTSB for a two year term.

For those of you who have read the NAUTICAL LOG Posts about the MS "Cosco Busan" you may recall her lone dissenting opinion to the disgraceful NTSB report of that incident. In that dissent she showed a clear understanding of how ships are navigated, or should be, in narrow waters under Compulsory Pilotage.

Her presentation of the latest information about this air incident was well presented and easily understandable to one who has minimum knowledge about flying. It would appear that the NTSB is now well lead and we wish her every success in what is a very difficult and demanding position.

Good Watch

Saturday, August 8, 2009

IN A FEW MORE WORDS

Here we go again!

BUCKLER A plate covering the hawse pipe to prevent water washing aboard in head seas.

BUM BOAT A small trading boat that was very common from Suez onwards through the Middle and Far East. Great relationships were sometimes established. I have traded with some as a Deck Apprentice on through to Master.

BUNTING Loosely woven material used at sea to make flags.

BURGEE A house flag used to indicate the vessel's ownership. It may be squared or triangular in shape. The term is now used for private flags of boating clubs. Also greatly bandied about in misuse.

BURGOO An oatmeal porridge, easily made in heavy weather to feed the crew. From Arabic burgbul served in North Africa.

BUY-BALLOTS LAW A rule-of-thumb for figuring the location or at least direction of a storm centre.

CABOTAGE Coastal trading in which Customs and Excise did not board regularly. However one was required to keep a "Cabotage Book" recording cargo's and ports. This was taken to the Customs house for examining and stampage several times a year. Customs could also call it in for examination, generally not considered a good sign! From French/Spanish caboter meaning coastal sailing.

CALASHEE WATCH Sleeping on deck when the off watch was 'On Stand-by'. Never heard this one in my entire 60 year sea career but it was just too good not to put in.

CARDINAL POINTS The four principal points of the magnetic compass namely North, South, East, West.

CARLINGS Timbers laid fore-and-aft between the deck beams to ease compression stresses when the vessel is pitching. Most likely Old Norse as it is heard in Icelandic.

CATHARPINS Lines rigged around the shrouds near the masthead to reduce slack.

CHANDLER Shoreside purveyor to all needs of a ship in port. A chandler was a maker and seller of candles, in French chandelier. Chandlers did not have a good reputation amongst seafarers, once quite justified this is no longer so. In fact in modern times they can be very helpful to seafarers and great sources of port information..

CHARLEY NOBLE Never used this one either, it is the nickname for the galley stovepipe. Source unknown.

CHIP LOG A triangular device used for measuring speed and distance travelled. A sand glass timer was used as the line ran out astern. I have two in the bookcase behind me as I write.

CLEADING Please NOT 'cladding' as one sees used. The casing for a lifeboats buoyancy tanks. Scots English from Old Norse.

COCKBOAT Small handy boat, the word is still used in parts of Britain. Old French, Latin and Greek koykn meaning a small boat.

COOPER A barrel maker who was usually the ship's carpenter. In whalers it was a seperate crew position and a very busy one. My Dad had several dozen employed, but then he ran a brewery!! Origin Dutch/German kuper and Latin cuparius.

COXSWAIN The person commanding a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) Lifeboat. A petty officer in charge of a boat, also a Royal Navy rank. From Middle English coq a small ship's boat and swain attendant.

CRANSE IRON A fitting on the bowspirt for the jib-boom also used for a hinge type fittingfor a yard on the mast.

Enough already!! Lets take a break for now.

Good Watch

Friday, August 7, 2009

NORTHEAST PASSAGE




This morning NAUTICAL LOG received one of the its most interesting and informative letters ever.

Recently in OLD SALT BLOG there was a Post about a proposed voyage by Beluga Shipping GMBH of Breman, Germany. Not of the usual passage from Korea southwards through the South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Suez Canal, Mediterranean and up to Europe. Instead they were going northwards across the top of Russia via the Northeast Passage. This definitely peaked my interest and I wrote an e-mail inquiring about the transit. Clearly it is a third of the southward distance and pioneering passage making. This morning I received their reply in a long and detailed e-mail which even attached an ice report and numerous e-mail addresses for continued information. The Beluga Shipping GMBH Geschaftsfuhrender Gesellschafter Niels Stolberg had his staff sent all possible details of the passage, the vessels involved, their cargo capacities and even the number of crew manning the vessels. Finally having done all that he gave NAUTICAL LOG permission to publish. This is quite remarkable, rather unusual and greatly appreciated.

Transit is by a fleet of three ships, all Ice Class E3 (which means they are ice-reinforced for Arctic and Antarctic passages), namely MS "Beluga Family", MS "Beluga Fraternity", and MS "Beluga Foresight". They are transporting equipment for a power plant in individual lifts of 271 and 272 tonnes and 44 single lifts of over 100 tonnes each. The vessels will have Russian Ice Pilots advising the Masters and each vessel has a crew of 15 persons. In house meteorologists will put together regular ice reports from satellite pictures and data supplied by the University of Bremen, Germany for on passage monitoring of conditions by the Navigation Officers. Also the "Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute" (AARI) in St. Petersburg, Russia will supply even more data to give a comprehensive information base. This entire project has been over a year in planning by dedicated staff and the detailed routing with continued suggestions minimizes the risk factor. For those of you who know the Hansa Ports the symbol for Breman is a key, while Hamburg has a gate, which leads to an old Greman joke!! Well it would seem that for Beluga of Breman they have the 'key' to an amazing voyage and NAUTICAL LOG wishes all hands safe passage.

Good Watch

Thursday, August 6, 2009

WHICH MEANS WHAT?

Try this lot;

A-1 This was Lloyds best rating for ship Insurance. The alpha was hull condition, the numeric gear and rigging condition. Initiated in 1756, made Law under the British Marine Act of 1876, it was a world standard from 1833.

ADZE Long handled axe but has the blade at right-angles to the shaft. Used for shaping planks in shipbuilding. Anglo-Saxon word spelt adesa.

A-HULL Under bare poles, no sail, helm lashed alee in heavy weather. Not a good situation.

AGONIC LINE Line of charted points with zero magnetic compass variation. From Greek agonos meaning no angle.

ALIDADE Used for taking bearings. From Arabic al idadah meaning turn in radius.

ANNUNCIATOR A device for transmitting orders from the Bridge to docking stations for line handling. From Latin annutilatus to announce. And no its NOT the Engine order 'Telegraph'.

ANTIPODEAN DAY The day gained or lost crossing the International Date Line. It should be entered in the Logbooks as such for a legal record. From Greek hoi antipodes meaning opposite or other way.

ALPUSTRE An orament on the ships stern such as a bas-relief nameboard. Likely old French via Latin and Greek.

ASTROLABE Used prior to sextants for measuring the altitude of celestial bodies. From French, Latin and Greek astrolabeon meaning star taking.

BAGGYWRINKLE, BAGAWRINGLE, BANGAWRINGLE Padding to inhibit chafe of sails aloft. Uncertain origins most likely Nova Scotian (Scots do not waste money) so we'll call this one Canadian.

BARRATRY An illegal act or breach of trust by a ship's master. From Middle English and French barratarie meaning fraud.

BAULK A heavy piece of timber such as a deckbeam. Most likely from Old English balca meaning a ridge.

BEARDING ANGLE The angle of the line of the stem or stern structure to the keel. Middle English term berden meaning bevelling.

BECUE To fasten a line to the crown of the anchor before lowering to facilitate tripping it when ready to weigh anchor. The anchor buoy is attached to this line. Old French coue meaning a tail.

BEETLE A large mallet used by shipbuilder's and ship's carpenters. Anglo-Saxon betel meaning wooden mallet.

BENDING SHOT The first part of an anchor cable, chain or rope which is bent to the anchor. It is better to use chain. Very American to use the term 'shot', Brits usually say 'shackle'.

BILLBOARD An angled plate at the rail forward for housing the anchor. Never heard the term until I came to live in the United States.

BOLLOCKS The blocks on the topmast of a square rigged ship, through which the topmast's tyes were rove. The Brits have an alternative usage, due no doubt to the visual image, however we try to be reasonably polite here!!

BRIGHTWORK Varnished woodwork on the outside decks. It is NOT the metalwork, which is a classic modern misuse of this word.

BRISTOL FASHION From 'Shipshape and Bristol Fashion' meaning first class work as from Charles Hill & Sons Ltd. Albion Dockyard, Cumberland Road BRISTOL 1 UK. The MS " The Lady Patricia", see photo below in "All Three In" was one of the last ships built in this superb yard.

Good Watch.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

IN A WORD OR TWO

Reading through the Posts and comments in various maritime blogs, particularly OLD SALT BLOG and BITTER END, my personal favourites, it occurred to NAUTICAL LOG that the traditions and terms of seafaring are being misused, or improperly used, or being forgotten altogether. While of course there are different traditions in different countries most languages have words and terms that are uniquely used by seafarers or at least were. Most particularly this occurs in English so NAUTICAL LOG thought it would be fun to explain some, their correct usage and add to them from time to time in the future. Of course I am sure this will stir up other opinions on the definitions, which is always fun, keeps ones mind active and we can publish those also - if correct!!

Looking at the paintings of Hans Breeman just this morning reminded me most of the ships were of the type I sailed in when starting my sea career in 1953. Coming from a family seafaring since the 18th. Century, with service in both the British Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, ship life was more normal to me than shore life. Anyway lets make a start on the subject matter.

Here in the United States it seems the term 'captain' is used for anybody who drives a boat - not so. This is a naval rank and is used in the merchant navy as a courtesy title for the ships Master. While the USCG uses 'master' on paperwork issued to licensed seafarers it seems to use 'captain' or the ghastly 'skipper', which sounds rather like a Scottish breakfast, on other occasions and it irritates many deep sea Masters no end, - yes myself included. Still that's what USCG does, perhaps they refer to their own Captains as 'skipper' who knows but it does not make it correct!

Captain is used more correctly for professional sea-going Masters and in passenger ships of most every size. Those with 6-pack and the smaller tonnage licenses should be termed 'coxswain'. At around a 1600 ton master 'captain' would be the more correct title. The famous Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) calls its person in charge of a Lifeboat 'Coxswain' so it is a very proud title indeed. A Coxswain is also the rank of highly qualified Royal Navy NCO's who are key persons on board ship. By the way the sobriquet 'skipper' is used for fishing vessel masters or on occasions an affectionate term for the Master. Hmmm, I do not think it was ever used for me!!

Recently the American Sail Training Association (ASTA) lawyers made complaints about the term 'tall ship'. Now while the words 'Tall Ship' in upper case, incorporated in a title may have earned a suspect trademark, the term 'tall ship' in lower case is generic and free for us all to use. This reminds me of a case in Florida years ago when the word 'yachtmaster' was similarly claimed. While 'Yachtmaster' as part of a tile may possibly be trademarked, 'yachtmaster' is a generic term, as indeed is 'sailingmaster' which is a tall ship title of NCO rank on board. The Spanish tall ship training vessel "Juan Sebastien de Elcano" has her Sailingmaster/Maestro de Vela?, one of the few still existing.

Another misuse one hears is "I am ON the such and such vessel" no my friend you are not, you are serving IN the vessel and maybe you are ON Watch IN her. That should get discussions under way!!

Next time we shall explain; A-1, ADZE, A-HULL, AGONIC LINE, ALIDADE and other good stuff from A to ZED or ZEE as the case may be.

Bibliography:

"Boat Data Book" by Ian Nicholson 1978
"The Royal Navy Officer's Pocket-Book" compiled by Brian Lavery 1944
"Admiralty Manuals of Seamanship" British Royal Navy 1950's
"Admiralty Manuals of Navigation" British Royal Navy 1950's
"Brown's Practical Pocket-Book for Merchant Seamen" by J. McKerrell 1922
"Origins of Sea Terms" by John C. Rodgers 1985, Very American versions of words.

Good Watch.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A LETTER RECEIVED

Today NAUTICAL LOG received a letter from BP VENTURES with regard to the Post - MS "COSCO BUSAN"- AN UPDATE. Also copied us were letters to Judge Susan Illston and Clerk of the Court Richard Weiking, and SB 817 was also mentioned. Unfortunately, due to a power loss at just the wrong moment, the letter was deleted and not recoverable. The letter was much appreciated as NAUTICAL LOG tries to make its Posts interesting, informative, instructive and truly 'teachable moments'. NAUTICAL LOG would be happy to receive this letter again for our files.

Good Watch