Ships Nostalgia banner

1 - 20 of 155 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As former crew of the 'line' voyage' era I had been told that below deck lingo we used had long since died out. However, it was not until a cruise on Aurora in December last year, and Oriana in June of this year that I realised to my horror that shoreside language has completely taken over on board. It was my first time back to sea since 1975, and how things have changed. Nothing is sacred, not even the ship itself which all passengers called a boat. But not once did I hear basic shipboard words like deck, or bulkhead. Even the captain referred to decks as floors in announcements, and the staffy told us another ship was backing into the berth which is why we were held up. I always thought ships went astern?. Crew talk to passengers in language they understand. So it dawned on me how passengers would cope in an emergency when crew, especially deck crew would go into automatic mode using correct terminology. They would not have time to translate to shorside words. Most passengers had no idea which side starboard or port was or indeed that the front was a bow, and the back the stern. Is it me, or has nautical terminology died out?. And if it has, should we allow it because cruise companies do not seem to bother?. P&O call their ships superliners, but to my knowledge none of the new vessels have ever plied a 'line voyage' so are most certainly not liners. We had our own language below decks years ago, long since died out. But hitting at the very fabric of nautical vocabluary including the ship itself just to please the modern day cruiser is a different matter altogether in my book. What do other members think?.David Cole
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes of course. No doubt others will find more. My concerns are of course two-fold. 1. Jargon we used on line voyages especially. 2. The demise of general nautical vocabulary due entirely to modern day cruising which could have dire consequences if allowed to contiinue. Anyway, some of the jargon we used. Lets see what the bloods think and others who I may jog a few memories and find words that I have forgotten. Excuse spelling which may be wrong. So what is a:

WINGER
PEAK BOY
DHOBI
DHOBI WHALLER
SUBS
JOE BAKSI
SLOPS
SLOP SHOP
PRS (don't think they use that term now)
BRS (or this but both still on board)
SECTION WAITER
WELFY
CHIEF PANTRYMAN
CHIEF SERANG

There are others which other members may come up with and some words which may not be politically correct now but connected to the last two ranks now no longer on board but the crew they represented are still with P&O and in far larger numbers than in my day.

And who remembers what ALLSOPS were on P&O ships?. And what does: WHAT FASHION THIS BOBBA mean?!!. Answers later. David Cole
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,547 Posts
How about 'Dumping The Rosie", "The Peggy, " BlackGang" Blackpan, Dumping the Ashes, PortHoles, Duckboards. There is a few for your list.
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,785 Posts
I think it/s a malaise of modern business run concerns that nautical terminology is disappearing.Managers nowadays change employers so much now one just seems like another-one week in charge of a chain of shops,next in charge of a shipping company instead of working their way up the proverbial ladder.No-one seems to remain in one jobs for long and I know when I tell 25-40 age group I had the same job more or less for 30+ years and others for 50 sometimes,they just look amazed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
175 Posts
Unfortunately, at least in the US Navy, the aircraft carrier types have been calling a 1000 plus foot long thing with 6000 crewmen/women on board a "boat" for quite a while now. Some magazines like the ones put out by the National Maritime Historical Society and the Steamship Historical Society still adhere to the traditional words though. Alan Hill Bridgeport, Pa. USA
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21 Posts
With reference to the word boat, I must admit that in the sixties, we often used to refer to ships as boats eg, Harrison boat, Clan boat, Ellerman boat. The word boat was used I felt as an endearment rather than misused, because we always refered to our ' ship ' or ' the ship I am on '.and to confuse matters more, heard loads and loads of times, " Whats that ship over there ? " " Its a Harrison boat etc ".

It seemed to apply to certain lines though, I never heard of a Cunard boat, but I did hear of a Cunarder and Blue Funnel were never Blue Funnel boats, but ' One of Blueys ' or ' a Bluey '.

Was it a regional thing, I dont know, but in Liverpool thats what we used to say.

Just as a bit of info, once heard the Master at Arms of the old Ark Royal refer to her as his ' War Canoe '

Chris.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Those are all new words to me Doug. Great. That is what it is all about. As long as we are around, below deck language will never die even if best part of the population have no idea what we are talking about?!.

As for maliase Paul, yes, it certainly is. For cruise companies it is all about profit. They don't seem to care a less that their ships are no more than floating hotels with language to match. Having written to one company having sailed with them recently, I was told that they took safety seriously, but were happy with the mixture of shoreside and nautical terminology on board. I wrote back saying that was rubbish because on board ship it should be ALL nautical terminology. There is no room in any profession for mixing with something else. And there lies the problem. In due course there will be an incident on a cruise ship due most likely to such sloppiness. It is only than that they will do something about it. Living on the Isle of Wight we have accidents every year when people take to the sea with no nautical experience at all. That alone should prove shoreside and the sea don't mix be it language or whatever be it a small rowing boat or large cruise ship. The rules of the sea are the same. David Cole
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Chris, you are right. We in P&O referred to the Orient ships as O boats. But it was slang, and we knew it was slang. The problem is that best part of the population these days think all ships are also boats. They are not taught any different despite most dictionaries clearly stating the difference. Captains I worked with always became very angry if passengers called their ship a boat. One captain told a passenger that the only boat connected to his ship were lifeboats. They saw it as an insult to call a fine passenger liner or cruise ship a boat.

As for the US carriers Alan, it is the same problem. People would call them boats because they do not know any different. The only vessels in any navy known nautically as boats are submarines. Boat is of course attached to smaller naval vessels as well as merchant such as slang for Banana Boat. But I was always told by master mariners that ships have covered decks, a boat does not. And ships carry boats, boats do not carry ships. I think there are other technical reasons separating the two. But once again sloppiness is giving people the wrong idea thinking it perfectly acceptable to call a ship a boat when they hear nautical people doing likewise. Bad habits spread as they say?!. David Cole
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21 Posts
Stto

David,

I agree with all you say --- I think it is a good job we all dont live for ever, as its difficult now after only a few years to come to terms with and cope with, falling standards. I listen to people extolling the virtues of peoples freedom and the new liberalisation of life. Its a load of Stow High In Transit, its just laziness, cheapness and lack of ethical standards.

I am sick of it all, its called progress people tell me. As far as I am concerned its all going downhill rapidly and needs hauling back from the brink.

Chris.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,547 Posts
I couldn't agree more Chris, its the decay of civilization. I see people wearing those darn hats back wards and they think they are so cool,also wearing hats in a restaurant or indoors,if I ever done that as a young lad my ears would be slapped and to hell with PC.
John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
WE always called our ships Ben boats because that slipped off the tongue easier that Ben Line ships. Having said that if somebody ashore asked us which boat we were on our reply was "we are on a ship that carries boat called lifeboats".
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I quite agree Deryk, we knew what we meant. As I said, it was slang and slipped of the tongue easier as you say. But others mean to call a ship a boat. That is the difference. Here on the Isle of Wight people often ask me which boat I am going over on. I tell them I never cross on a boat. I go on the ferry instead!. David
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Not the car ferries on the island route, they are all ships. We have car ferries, catamarans and hovercraft. The latter is neither a ship or boat of course. Tonight, QE2, Arcadia and Legend Of The Seas all went out as we headed across the Solent from Pompey. And what did all passengers on the catamaran say: " Looks at those nice boats. At the top of my voice I shouted SHIPS!. David Cole
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Some of the old words and sayings are still in my head to this day. A few weeks ago I was explaining a near road accident to a friend and without thinking I said " ........and it seemed out of nowhwere this car just shot right across my bow........".

Some of those terms are imprinted it seems forever.

I can remember using sea terms at home between voyages. One couldn't just suddenly switch to "shoresidespeak" after being amongst guys for months on end who use the same sea terms as oneself.

I can distinctly remember thinking about 'going ashore' when the object was to go to the pub.

Still thought of 'going ontop' when I was going upstairs.

Asked my Mum to do a bit of dhobying for me.

And so on. I'm sure I'm not the only one that has words and sayings imprinted and must still consciously sometimes avoid using them.

I have heard about modern times 'floors' and 'stairs', 'front and back', 'left and right' and all I think is it's their loss, but not their fault. It's change and change has always been with us.

Incidently, I have been at the wheel on numerous occasions in American waters as well as Panama canal, when 'left and right' was used by American pilots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,770 Posts
Pompeyfan said:
Not the car ferries on the island route, they are all ships. We have car ferries, catamarans and hovercraft. The latter is neither a ship or boat of course. Tonight, QE2, Arcadia and Legend Of The Seas all went out as we headed across the Solent from Pompey. And what did all passengers on the catamaran say: " Looks at those nice boats. At the top of my voice I shouted SHIPS!. David Cole
Well done David, hope they didn't throw anything at you. You reminded me of travelling to Southampton from Cowes on a hovercraft (24 seater) in about 1966 - first of the kind in the world. I was really impressed and pretty bounced around too. Knocked about an hour and a half off the ferry's time. I was fairly easily impressed in those days!

John T.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,770 Posts
oldbosun said:
Some of the old words and sayings are still in my head to this day....
Incidently, I have been at the wheel on numerous occasions in American waters as well as Panama canal, when 'left and right' was used by American pilots.
Tell me about it. I've been ashore for 13 years and now work in a prison. Imagine the looks I get when I call a cell "cabin"!

Another thing I do is obsessively wedge all my beer in the fridge - still panicking about it rolling about.

Re the Canal, what about Leslie Phillips in "The Navy Lark" (BBC radio every Sunday afternoon, just after the Yorkshire Puddings, early '60s) - "Left hand down a bit, helmsman."

John T.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,577 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Yes, "The Navy Lark" was great. It is not peoples fault Oldbosun, but we former seafarers are letting language change without a fight. Well, I am not, but some are. I don't believe in giving in by saying that times change. It only changes if we let it. Somebody once told me that times move on and that I should accept the term 'Cruise Liner'. I most certainly will not because unless the vessel has plied a 'line voyage' she will never be a liner because cruise and line voyages are totally different trades. Also, to change language just to suit modern times is an insult to out nautical ancestors in my opinion. They invented liner and many other terms. And they sailed in the original liners as they opened up trade with the rest of the world. Liners in those days were sailing ships many of whom foundered with great loss of life. We owe it to our brave ancestors to preserve nautical terminology that they invented and lost their lives for and not just give in by saying that changes are acceptable. They are most certainly not.

Yes, I remember that hovercraft John. The only service now is from Southsea to Ryde. David Cole
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,034 Posts
When I owned a boat in Brisbane I used to run it like a little ship. When we approached the marina I used to tell the family to "stand by fore and aft" and they used to say "Dad do you mean we're going to tie the boat up?" I'd then start another of my boring lectures.

Ended up selling the boat because my family wouldn't go out with me any more they reckoned I was a bad tempered old Captain Bligh.

My friends called me Captain Sandbank because I was on first name terms with every sandbank in Moreton Bay.
 
1 - 20 of 155 Posts
Top