Glossary

Using reference material, this glossary has been designed to provide you with a basic explanation or definition of each of the terms provided.  This glossary will be constantly updated so please contact us, if you would like us to comment of any of the terminology used.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

S

sail
an assemblage of pieces of canvas or similar materials, fashioned to a particular shape in order to catch the wind and use its force to propel the vessel
sailing thwart
a thwart with a hole cut in it to support a mast
saloon
main accomodation for passengers in a passenger carrying vessel or the officers' mess in a merchant ship
Source: Country Life Book of Nautical Terms Under Sail
salvage tug
small and powerful vessel used to assist vessels that are sinking or disabled at sea
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
salvage vessel
vessel used for the underwater recovery of a ship and/or her contents or to assist vessels that are sinking
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
samson post
a strong bitt
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
scarf / scarph
a joint between two pieces of timber
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
schooner
(a) a two masted fore-and-aft rigged vesel with the larger mast aft (b) and fore-and-aft rigged vessel (other than a ketch or a yawl) with two or more masts, and in earlier days with a square fore-topsail
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
scupper
lead lined channel cut through the vessel's side to carry water off the deck and into the sea
Source: Country Life Book of Nautical Terms Under Sail
scuppers
holes at deck level cut into bulwarks to allow small quantities of surface water to escape from decks and waterways
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
scuttles
apertures in the decks for loading coal
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
seam
the juncture of plank ends or edges
seizing
means of binding two ropes or a rope to a spar with spunyarn, twine or other small stuff
Source: Country Life Book of Nautical Terms Under Sail
serving
the binding of wire rigging with marlin or other line for rust protection
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sewage disposal vessel
vessel equipped with sealed tanks for transporting sewage and dumping it in deep water
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
sewage dumping vessel
vessel equipped with sealed tanks for transporting sewage and dumping it in deep water
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
shackle
a U shaped metal link with a threaded bolt across the jaws, used to connect items of rigging, etc.
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
shallow
a vessel which has a beam to depth ratio of 3.0 or over
shearing
narrow and thin boards of hardwood fastened to the inside of the outer hull planking of a wooden vessel to add rigidity and provide a stop to prevent the caulking being driven right through the seams between the planking
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
sheathing
a protective covering of lead, copper or alloy plates on the exterior of a wooden hull
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sheave
a freely revolving wheel inside a block, which may have up to four sheaves
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sheer
the fore and aft curve of a vessel's rail or deck
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sheer hulk
an old ship with a hull stripped to the water line and used as a platform for mounting the sheers used to lift masts into and out of sailing ships
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
sheer strake
the uppermost strake on a vessel at the midships
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sheet
a rope, or similar fastened to the lower corner of a sail and used to extend it or change its direction
sheet roller
a hand operated winch to handle the sheet on a sailing vessel
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
shelf
a stringer supporting beams
shelf wale
a wale supporting beams and/or other timbers penetrating the hull outboard
shell plating
the external shell of a vessel made up of metal plates
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
shift of butts
the staggering of butt joints employed in the construction of a vessel's hull planking or plating to eliminate weak lines of structure
ship rig
a three masted rig with square sails on all masts
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
ship-of-the-line
sailing ship with a sufficient numerically large gun armament to stand in the line of battle
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
shroud
a rope, or similar, giving transverse support to a mast
shutter
a device for closing off an oar bed or oar port
shutts
planking in the bottom of the hold of a narrow boat, forming a level platform
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
side deck
a deck running alongside the side of a boat leaving the centre open
side keelsons
longitudinal members, one each side of the keelson, which provide additional strength
sister block
a block with two sheaves, mounted one above the other
skeg
additional timber(s) fastened under the stern to act as a partial keel
skylight
a framework over a deck aperture glazed to admit light below
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
slab
a central longitudinal member which is the sole bottom plank in a flat bottomed vessel
sloop
vessel with a single mast, fore and aft rigged
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
smack
small fishing craft used mainly for fishing, cutter or ketch rigged
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
snap head rivet
a rivet with a hemispherical head - a ROUND HEAD RIVET
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
snatch block
block with an opening on one side so that a rope can be slipped over the sheave
snotter
a strap by which the heel of a sprit is supported on the mast
snow
a two masted ship, essentially a brig but distinguished by having a trysail on the mainmast whose luff is lashed to a separate mast or horse
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sole
a piece of timber attached to the foot of a rudder to bring it in line with a false keel
spanker
a gaff sail set on the mizzen mast of a square –rigged vessel. A triangular sail set in this position is a MUTTON SPANKER
spar
a general term for timber of round, or near round, section and greater in length than in diameter
spider band
a hoop fixed around a mast at waist level on the deck to which belaying pins are fixed
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
spike
a metal pole, pointed at one end which when pushed into the sea/river/lake bottom holds a vessel in position
spirket
spirketting planking is used in the tween deck to prevent water from going down inot the hold. It is bolted to the reverse frames directly above the waterway plank, and the gap between the spirketting and the shipside planking is filled with cement
Source: Cutty Sark
spreader
extension bolted on cross trees to spread the mast rigging, to give better angle of support
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
sprit
a spar set diagonally across a fore-and-aft sail to extend it by the peak
square frame
a frame more or less perpendicular to the central longitudinal member
square sail
any four cornered sail set athwartships
stanchion
a fixed pillar or metal or wood for supporting bulwark and other deck and hull structures
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
standing knee
a knee fitted vertically with an arm lowermost
standing lug
a lugsail in which the tack secures at the foot or abaft the mast. The fore-end of the yard projects forward to the mast by a third or a quarter of its length
standing rigging
the ropes, or similar which support the mast(s)
standing strake
a garboard which is more vertical amidships than the strakes outboard of it
starboard
that side of a vessel which is on the right hand side when one is facing the BOW
stay
a rope, or similar, giving longitudinal support to a mast. Termed FORE-STAY or BACKSTAY according to position
staysail
a triangular or trapezoidal sail set on a stay
steadying sail
a small sail, typically a gaff sail, set on a smast at the stern of a motor fishing vessel to steady the vessel in choppy conditions. Also called a riding sail
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
stealer
towards the ends of the vessel the hood ends may be coming too narrow to be adequately fastened, and therefore twn planks may be replaced by one - a "stealer"
steerage
accomodation forward of the main cabin and inferior cabin accomodation
Source: Country Life Book of Nautical Terms Under Sail
steering oar
an oar used to steer a vessel. Unlike a rudder which pivots about its own axis, a steering oar pivots around a single point, combining the functions of rudder and sweep
stem
the main structural element at the bow of a vessel, joined directly to the central longitudinal member and, on wooden vessels, onto which strakes are fastened. It occurs mainly as a STEMPOST, BLOCK STEM or STEM TRANSOM
stem transom
a transverse board forming a stem
stempost
timber(s) in the form of a post which form a stem
stern
the aft end of a vessel
stern sheets
a small decked area in the stern of a small vessel
sternpost
the stern counterpart of the stempost
sternson
the equivalent of the APRON in the stern assembly
stockless anchor
an anchor with a pivoting double hooked base
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
stone anchor
a stone used for the same purpose as an anchor
stopping
a general term for material put into a seam to make it watertight
stopwater
a dowel inserted into a joint to prevent the ingress of water
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
storage hulk
demasted old ship used for storing items
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
storeship
ship in government use, used to carry naval or military stores
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
storm sail
smaller and very heavy gauge sail which can be set when ordinary sails would be blown out
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
strake
a plank or combination of planks fastened end to end, normally extending from one end of the boat to the other. Strakes are numbered from the central longitudinal member upwards (although the first strake is called the garboard)
stretcher
a length of timber fastened transversely against which the feet of a rower are braced
stringer
a longitudinal member running from stem to stern inside the frame members
strop
short length of rope spliced into a circle for use as a sling or to form the eye of a block
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
studding sail
extension sail to a square sail at its outward edges when sailing in light winds to increase sail area. Often called STUNSAIL
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
studlink chain
employed for anchor cable iron bars across links to prevent kinking and for strength
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
stunsail
extension sail to a square sail at its outward edges when sailing in light winds to increase sail area. Also called STUDDING SAIL
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
stunsail booms
the extending booms from which studding sails / stunsails are supported
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship
submarine
vessel designed to operate below the surface of the sea
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
submarine seaplane carrier
British 'M' class submarine modified to carry and launch a small sea plane
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
suction dredger
dredger that works by the use of suction
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
superstructure
any permanent construction built on the upper deck
Source: Country Life Book of Nautical Terms Under Sail
survey vessel
a craft which is equipped for and performs hydrographic surveys
Source: National Monuments Record: Maritime Craft Type Thesaurus
swan's neck
a Z shaped metal bar fitted to thte top of the rudder stock of a motor narrow boat to which the tiller bar is fastened
Source: MDA: Waterways Object Name Thesaurus
sweep
a long oar
Source: Maritime Curators Group: Manual of Curatorship

keel bar:

metal bar forming the keel of a metal vessel