(Quiz) The Non-Boater’s Guide To Nautical Terms

The Non-Boater's Guide To Nautical Terms“Scuttlebutt”—know what it means?

You probably know it as “rumor” or “gossip.” But the word originated on the high seas—a scuttlebutt was a cask that held the ship’s drinking water, and it became the nautical version of the office water cooler. Sailors gossiped as they sipped, which led to today’s definition.

Knowing the origin of words like scuttlebutt may only be useful at cocktail parties, but there are a few essential boating terms you should have down pat. When everyone aboard uses proper sailing lingo, it prevents misunderstandings and enhances safety, explains Charles Fort, BoatUS Magazine’s associate editor.

Test yourself on the definitions of these nautical terms and you’ll set sail feeling like a pro. And that’s no scuttlebutt.


Say This…Not That

Nail these traditional boating terms to sound like a seasoned sailor:

  • Lines…not ropes
  • Head…not bathroom
  • Galley…not kitchen
  • Fenders…not bumpers
  • Knots…not knots per hour
  • Staterooms…not bedrooms

Getting ready to set sail? See how much you could save this summer with a boat insurance policy from GEICO.

Buying your first boat? Here’s how to find the perfect model for you.

By Bari Lieberman

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