This is a partial glossary of nautical terms, some remain current, while many date from the 17th to 19th centuries. See also Wiktionarys nautical terms, Category, Nautical terms, See the Further reading section for additional words and references. A & AS Alterations and additions to the structure, rigging, abaft Toward the stern, relative to some object. Abaft the beam Further aft than the beam, a bearing of greater than 90 degrees from the bow. That would describe an object lying 22.5 degrees toward the rear of the ship, as measured clockwise from a line from the right side, center, of the ship. An imperative to leave the vessel immediately, usually in the face of some imminent overwhelming danger and it is an order issued by the Master or a delegated person in command. Abeam On the beam, a bearing at right angles to the ships keel. A merchant seaman qualified to perform all duties, or a junior rank in some navies. Aboard On or in a vessel, about To go about is to change the course of a ship by tacking. Ready about, or boutship, is the order to prepare for tacking, above board On or above the deck, in plain view, not hiding anything. Pirates would secret their crews below decks, thereby creating the impression that an encounter with another ship was a casual matter of chance. Above-water hull The hull section of a vessel above the waterline, absentee pennant Special pennant flown to indicate absence of commanding officer, admiral, his chief of staff, or officer whose flag is flying. Absolute bearing The bearing of an object in relation to north, either true bearing, using the geographical or true north, or magnetic bearing, using magnetic north. See also bearing and relative bearing, accommodation ladder A portable flight of steps down a ships side. Accommodation ship A ship or hulk used as housing, generally there is a lack of quarters available ashore. An operational ship can be used, but more commonly a hulk modified for accommodation is used, Act of Pardon or Act of Grace A letter from a state or power authorising action by a privateer. Admiral Senior naval officer of Flag rank, in ascending order of seniority, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral and Admiral of the Fleet. A high naval authority in charge of a states Navy or a territorial component
Bulwark (or Bulward)
Diagram showing the Minas Geraes-class battleship with its central guns arranged en echelon.