The Seafaring Dictionary

Terms, Idioms and Legends of the Past and Present

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About the Book

The specialized language of seafarers is a complex mixture of the strange and the familiar, incorporating words from a variety of English dialects and foreign languages, and peppered with coined phrases and slang words. With its many intricate nuances, “navalese” is vitally important to a profession in which technical concepts need to be communicated briefly and accurately.
This dictionary defines and discusses more than 9000 nautical terms, abbreviations, slang expressions, customs and events, including terms now grown obsolete. Tables add detail about wind and wave measurements, notations, signals, navigation rules, rank and ratings.

About the Author(s)

David S.T. Blackmore is a veteran of the Merchant and Royal Navies. He lives in Toronto, and is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Canada.

Bibliographic Details

David S.T. Blackmore
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 398
Bibliographic Info: tables, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4266-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5342-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by Vice Admiral J.A. Baldwin, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.)      1

Preface      3

Introduction      7

The Dictionary      15

Appendix: Real and Speculative Sea Monsters      367

Tables:

1. A—Beaufort’s Original Scale. B—The Modern Beaufort Scale      371

2. The Douglas Scales      371

3. Pierson-Moskowitch Sea State      372

4. World Meteorological Organization Sea State Codes      373

5. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale      373

6. Wind Speed Scales Compared      373

7. COLREGS (Navigation Rules or Rules of the Road)      374

8. International Flag Signals      375

9. Sound and Light Signals      377

10. Distress Signals      377

11. Examples of Phonetic Alphabets      378

12. International Standard 8601      378

13. Comparative Officer Ranks      379

14. NATO and United States Rank Codes      380

15. The Evolution of United States Navy Officer Titles      380

16. Equivalent U.S. and Foreign Naval Officer Ranks      381

17. Boxing the Compass      381

Bibliography      383

Index      385

Book Reviews & Awards

“guides the reader through centuries of terms and idioms of the sea. Blackmore’s dictionary should find a home on the reference shelves of libraries and in the hands of landlubber readers interested in the language of the sea. Recommended”—Choice; “easy-to-use and convenient…a useful work”—ARBA “the inquiring reader cannot fail to be impressed by the wide extent of the author’s knowledge. The dictionary will be helpful to all readers who wish to inform themselves about the ways of sailors and the sea, and can be recommended to libraries with an interest in that important aspect of society”—Reference Reviews; “thumbs-up…for its overall treatment and accuracy”—The Bosun’s Chronicle; “Blackmore’s work is likely to become a standard reference for naval organization, practice, and idiom from the 1940s to the present day”—Nautical Research Journal; “a valuable contribution to the canon…by recognizing that sailors see the world differently to landlubbers, Blackmore has produced a work with much of interest to both”—The Naval Review.