Sunday, March 27, 2011


Reference:  Terms and Phrases from the SMCP Glossary, English for Maritime Students

Abandon vessel
To evacuate a vessel from crew and passengers following a distress
Floating, not controlled, without a clearly determinable direction
Assembly station
Place on deck, in mess rooms, etc., assigned to crew and passengers where they have to meet according to the muster list when the corresponding alarm is released or announcement made

Backing (of wind)
When a wind blows round anticlockwise (opposite of veering)
Beach (to)
To run a vessel upon a beach to prevent its sinking in deep water
A sea room to be kept for safety around a vessel, rock, platform, etc., or the place assigned to a vessel when anchored or lying alongside a pier, etc.
A sound signal made with the whistle of the vessel
Blind sector
Areas which cannot be scanned by the radar of the vessel because they are shielded by parts of its superstructure, masts, etc.
Boarding arrangements
All gear, such as pilot ladder, accommodation ladder, hoist, etc., necessary for a safe transfer of the pilot
Boarding speed
The speed of a vessel adjusted to that of a pilot boat at which the pilot can safely embark
A concise explanatory information to crew and passengers

Turning of a vessel upside down while on water
Cardinal buoy
A seamark, i.e., a buoy, including the north, east, south or west from a fixed point, e.g., a wreck
Case of death or serious injury to a person in an accident or shipping disaster, also said of a distressed vessel
Close coupled towing
A method of towing vessels through polar ice by means of icebreaking tugs with a special stern notch suited to receive and hold the bow of the vessel to be towed
Compatibility (of goods)
Stated whether different goods can be stowed together, e.g., through a canal or ice
A group of vessels which sail together, e.g., through a canal or ice
Crude Oil Washing: a system of cleaning the tanks by washing them with the cargo of crude oil while it is being discharged
Closest point of approach
Coordinator Surface Search: a vessel, other than a rescue unit, designated to coordinate surface search and rescue operation within a specified area

Damage control team
A group of crew members trained for fighting flooding in the vessel
The most probable position of a search target at a given time
Goods or any other commodity, specifically a vessel abandoned at sea
Port which a vessel is bound for
A vessel damaged or impaired in such a manner as to be incapable of proceeding its voyage
Disembark (to)
To go from board a vessel
Distress alert (GMDSS)
A radio signal from a distressed vessel automatically directed to a RCC giving position, identification, course and speed of the vessel as well as the nature of distress
Dragging (of anchor)
Moving of an anchor over the sea bottom involuntarily because it is no longer preventing the movement of the vessel
Dredging (of anchor)
Moving of an anchor over the sea bottom to control the movement of the vessel
Floating, caused by winds and current with a determinable direction
Drop back (to)
To increase the distance from the vessel ahead by reducing one’s own speed

Embark (to)
To go aboard a vessel
Escape route
A clearly marked way in the vessel which has to be followed in case of an emergency
Attending a vessel, to be available in case of need, e.g., icebreaker, tug, etc.
Estimated Time of Arrival
Estimated Time of  Departure

Navigable part of a waterway
Fairway speed
Mandatory speed in a fairway
Fire party
A group of crew members trained for firefighting on board
Fire patrol
A round through the vessel carried out by a crew member of the watch at certain intervals so that an outbreak of fire may be promptly detected; mandatory in vessels carrying more than 36 passengers
Major flow of seawater into the vessel
Foam monitor
A powerful foam fire extinguisher standing by aboard tankers loading or discharging of oil
Foul (of anchor)
Anchor has its own cable twisted around it or has fouled an obstruction
Foul (of propeller)
A line, wire, net, etc., is wound round the propeller
Full speed
Highest possible speed of a vessel

General emergency alarm
A sound signal of seven short blasts and one long blast given with the vessel’s sound system
Global Maritime Distress and Safety System
Global Positioning System

Hampered vessel
A vessel restricted by its ability to manoeuver by the nature of its work or its deep draft
Ropes supported by stanchions around an open hatch to prevent persons from falling into a hold
Here: a cable used by helicopters for lifting or lowering persons in a pick-up operation

Group of dangerous or hazardous goods, harmful substances of marine pollutants in sea transport as classified in the International Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
Initial course
Course directed by the OSC or CSS to be steered at the beginning of a search
Not functioning

Jettison (to) (of cargo)
Throwing overboard of goods in order to lighten the vessel or improve its stability in case of an emergency

Launch (to)
To lower, e.g., lifeboats to the water
Escape of liquids such as water, oil, etc., out of pipes, boilers, tanks, etc., or a minor inflow of seawater into the vessel due to a damage to the hull
Lateral movement of the vessel to leeward of its course
Let go (to)
To set free, let loose, or cast off (of anchors, lines, etc.)
Lifeboat station
Place assigned to crew and passengers where they have to meet before they will be ordered to enter the lifeboats
Inclination of the vessel to portside or starboard side

Make over (to)
Seawater to flow into the vessel due to damage to its hull, or hatches awash and not properly closed
Maneuvering speed
A vessel’s reduced rate of speed in restricted waters such as fairways, harbors, etc.
Mass disease
An illness preferably of an infectious nature seizing more than two persons on board at the same time
Moor (to)
To secure a vessel in a particular place by means of chains or ropes made fast to the shore, to anchors, or to anchored mooring buoys, or to ride with both anchors
Muster (to)
To assemble crew, passengers or both in a special place for purposes of checking

Not under command (NUC)
A vessel which through exceptional circumstances is unable to maneuver as required by the COLREGs

An object such as a wreck, net, etc., which blocks a fairway, route, etc.
Off air
When the transmissions of a radio station of a Decca chain, etc., have broken down, switched off or suspended
Off station (of buoys)
Not at the position charted
Oil clearance
A operation to remove oil from the water surface
Ready for immediate use
Ordnance exercise
Naval firing practice
On-Scene Commander: The commander of a rescue unit designated to coordinate search and rescue operations within a specified area
Outbound/Inbound vessel
A vessel leaving/entering port
Accidental escape of oil out of a tank when it gets too full because pumping was not stopped in time

A vessel emitting harmful substances into the air or spilling oil into the sea
Proceed (to)
To sail or head to a certain position or to continue the voyage
PA System
Public Address System: loudspeakers in the vessel’s cabins, mess rooms, etc., and on deck via which important information can be broadcast from a certain point, mostly from the navigation bridge

Rescue Coordination Center: land-based authority conducting and coordinating search and rescue operations in a designated area
Receiving point
A mark or place in which a vessel comes under obligatory entry, transit, or escort procedure
Reference line
A fictive line displayed on the radar screen separating the freeway for inbound and outbound vessels so that they can safely pass each other
Refloat (to)
To pull a vessel off after grounding: to set afloat again
Reporting point
(see Way point)
An appointment between vessels normally made on radio to meet in certain area or position
Rescue team
A group of crew members standing by in case of an emergency in order to assist other teams in action if necessary
Restricted area
A deck, space, area, etc., not permitted to be entered for safety reasons
Retreat signal
Sound, visual or other signal to a team ordering it to return to base
Rig move
The movement of an oil rig, drilling platform, etc., from one position to another
Roll out
The act of checking who of the passengers and crew members are present, e.g. at assembly stations, by reading aloud a list of their names
Safe speed
That speed of a vessel allowing the maximum possible time for effective action to be taken to avoid a collision and to be stopped within an appropriate distance
Safety load
The maximum permissible load of a deck, etc.
Safe working pressure
The maximum permissible pressure in cargo hoses
Search and Rescue
The area where the event, e.g. an accident, has happened
Search pattern
A pattern according to which vessels and/or aircraft may conduct a coordinated search (the IMOSAR offers seven search patterns)
Search speed
The speed of searching vessels directed by the OSC or CSS
Segregation (of goods)
Separation of goods which for different reasons must not be stowed together
Shifting cargo
Transverse movement of cargo, especially bulk, caused by rolling or a heavy list
Ropes, nets, and any other means for handling general cargoes
Speed advance
The speed at which the storm center moves
Spill (to)
To accidentally escape, e.g. oil, etc., from a vessel, container, etc., into the sea
Spill control gear
Special equipment for fighting accidental oil spills at early stages
Here: step of a pilot ladder which prevents the ladder from twisting
Stand by (to)
To be in readiness or prepared to execute an order
Stand clear (to)
To keep a boat away from a vessel
Standing orders
Orders of the Master to the officers of the watch which s/he must comply with
Stand on (to)
To maintain course and speed
The allotted place or the duties of each person on board

Take off (to)
To start with the helicopter from a vessel’s deck
The echo generated, e.g. by a vessel, on a radar screen
Traffic lane
A one-way route which vessels have to comply with within a traffic separation scheme
Transshipment (of cargo)
Here: the transfer of goods from one vessel to another outside harbors
The passage of a vessel through a canal, fairway, etc.
Transit speed
Speed of a vessel required for a passage through a canal, fairway, etc.

A vessel which is not an anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground
When the light characteristics of a buoy or a lighthouse are inoperative
Universal Time Coordinated (GMT)

Variable (of winds)
When a wind is permanently changing the direction from which it blows
Veering (of winds)
When a wind blows round clockwise; opposite of backing
Vessel Traffic Service: a service, designed to improve safety, efficiency, and easiness of vessel traffic and to protect the environment
VTS area
Area controlled by a VTS Center or VTS Station

Way point
A mark or position at which a vessel is required to report to establish its position
The general direction from which the wind blows; opposite of the leeward
A vessel which has been destroyed or sunk or abandoned at sea