Sailor-types speak a whole 'nother language from the rest of us. The following should help you understand the gist of their conversation. Most are relatively unimportant. However, see "sink", below.
ABAFT -- what you can take only in the most luxurious cabins
ABEAM -- a large length of metal, supporting something like a deck or a wall
ABOARD -- same as abeam (see), but made of wood
AFT -- anyplace behind the bow (see)
ATHWARTS -- cross between foot fungus and growths on hands; caused by handling or walking on very active toads
AYE AYE -- expression of surprise, usually followed by "cheewawa"
BEARING -- what goes on around the pool
BERTH -- what you hope does not go on around the pool; also a parking spot for the ship. You have to look very carefully to see the lines painted on the water.
BOW -- bend over in honor; also pointy end of ship, usually passes through the water before the rest of the ship
BRIDGE -- where the Captain rants and rails (see) when he gets stern (see)
BULKHEAD -- very large restroom
CABIN -- closet-like space costing $300 per day, used for sleeping and not much else
COURSE -- what the Navigator is studying in his spare time at night school, hoping to figure out what an astrolabe or a sextant is
DAVIT -- killed Goliath, never went to sea
DECK -- 52 cards, used in casinos
DISEMBARK -- get off the Ark; a good example of just how old most nautical lingo is
DOCK -- member of ship's crew caring for passenger's health
DRAFT -- type of beer served in ship's bar
EMBARK -- get on the Ark
FATHOM -- measure of water depth, somewhere between 6 inches and 20 feet
FREEBOARD -- see abeam and aboard; this one costs nothing
FOR'ARD -- not a Mercury or Lincoln
FUNNEL -- the only place on the ship where you should see smoke, other than the bar; see stack
GALLEY -- where the slaves sit and row, or, in the case of modern ships, turn the screws (see)
GANGWAY -- ramp where groups (gangs) of salespeople await the ship's passengers
HAWSER -- passenger from Indiana
HEAD -- something like a scuttlebutt or scupper, but with running water
HELM -- southern senator; also steering wheel
HULL -- outside portion of a nut
JACOBS LADDER -- song popular at camp
KEEL -- barnacle collector; don't worry, you can't see it, so don't expect to be invited to admire the ship's collection
KNOT -- not a mile-per-hour, but a little more
LATITUDE -- what the Captain will NOT give his crew, when he is stern (see), or ranting and railing (see)
LEEWARD -- in the direction of Atwater, Petty, Greenwood, or Harvey Oswald
LINE -- what can get you in good with that blonde in the bar
LOG -- tree, lying down; could become aboard (see)
LONGITUDE -- like latitude, but longer
MASTER -- another term for the Captain; don't pronounce it Massa', or he may get stern (see)
NAUTICAL MILE -- not a real mile; too far to swim to shore
PITCH -- what the ship's bow (see) does in rough weather; what the passengers do, on the other hand, includes the word "throw"
PORT -- favorite nautical wine; also means "left" (both words have four letters, a mnemonic device useful to many); also city with ship berths (see), designed to create a giant sucking sound in the vicinity of your wallet
PORTHOLE -- the entry to a harbor; OK, it really means a small window that costs an extra $100 per day, but how funny is that?
QUAY -- another word for dock (see); arguing about the proper pronunciation can pass hours (kway? kay? key? kwie? who knows?)
RAILING -- what the Captain does when he gets stern (see); same as ranting
ROLL -- small bread served in dining room; also another motion of the ship in rough weather, but greatly reduced by stabilizers
SCREWS -- propellers; apparently turned by slaves in galley (see)
SCUPPER -- drain at the edge of a deck, to allow water to run off; if water is running in, see "sink"
SKIPPER -- slang term for a flying fish, or a flat stone
SINK -- unless there is a huge amount of frantic activity on deck, large stainless steel unit in the kitchen; also, to quote Bill Dana (Jose Jimenez), "Oh, I hope not!"
STABILIZER -- device to counteract ship's roll; several umbrella drinks will have the opposite effect, in case you want to experiment with what cruises were like before the invention of stabilizers
STACK -- refers to pancakes, funnels (see), or girls around the pool
STARBOARD -- like aboard (see), but pointing at the night sky; also means "right", which has absolutely no mnemonic relationship, so no one remembers it without thinking about "port" (see) first
STATEROOM -- cabin (see) where you can lie in state
STERN -- the Captain, when the crew acts like the crew of the Love Boat; also the roundy (or, on modern cruise ships, squarish) end of the ship. Usually passes through the water after the rest of ship.
TENDER -- how your skin will feel after the first day on a Caribbean cruise; also small boat to take passengers ashore, making them wonder why their port (see) taxes are not being used to construct a dock (see) with cruise ship berths (see)
WAKE -- what you won't want to do at 6 a.m., if you attended the midnight buffet
WEIGH ANCHOR -- complicated operation involving very large scales, necessary before every ship's departure
WINDLASS -- completely still; no wind
YARDARM -- important ship feature, determining if it's time for a rum
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