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!