PETTY OFFICER OF THE WATCH- Enlisted
member assigned duty as assistant to the officer of
PIER- A structure for mooring vessels which is built out
into the water perpendicular to the shoreline.
PILOT- (1) An expert on local harbor and channel
conditions who advises the commanding officer
when moving a ship in or out of port. (2) One who
operates an airplane.
PILOTHOUSE - A compartment on the bridge
centerline housing the main steering controls. Also
called the wheelhouse.
PITCH- The vertical rise and fall of a ship's bow and
PLAN OF THE DAY- A schedule of unit activities for
the day, including work, training, meals, etc.
PLANK OWNER- A person who has been on board
since the ship was commissioned.
PORT- To the left of centerline as you face forward.
PROPERTY PASS- Written permission permitting
personnel to take property from a ship or station.
QUARTER- The after section of a ship on either side.
QUARTERDECK - (1) An area of the deck on a Navy
ship that is the watch station of the officer of the
deck in port. (2) An area on the weather deck
designated by the commanding officer for official
functions, usually adjacent to the starboard or port
QUARTERS - (1) An assembly of personnel (as
morning quarters) for muster or inspection. (2)
Government-owned housing assigned to naval
personnel. (3) Living spaces aboard ship.
RADIO CENTRAL- Main radio space aboard ship.
RANGE- (1) The distance an object is from the observer
or reference point. (2) An area designated for a
particular purpose such as a target or degaussing
RAT GUARD- A hinged conical metal shield secured
around mooring lines, immediately after mooring,
to prevent rats from coming aboard the ship.
RAT-TAILED STOPPER- A braided tapering stopper
used on boat falls and mooring lines.
RELATIVE BEARING- The direction of an object
relative to the ship's heading, expressed in degrees
or in points.
RIG- (1) To devise; set up or arrange. (2) The act of
setting up any device or equipment containing
RIGGING- (1) The lines, turnbuckles, ropes, and other
gear supporting and attached to stacks, masts, and
topside structures (called standing rigging). (2)
Lines, wires, and tackles that are adjustable or
control motion (called running rigging).
RIGHT-LAID- Refers to lay of line or wire rope in
which the strands spiral in a clockwise direction (as
one looks along the line).
ROLL- The side-to-side movement of a ship.
RULES OF THE ROAD- The regulations set forth to
prevent collisions of ships in inland waters and at
RUNNING LIGHT- Any light required by law to be
shown by a vessel or aircraft underway.
SAIL LOCKER- The stowage area for awnings and
related deck gear aboard ship.
SAMSON POST- A vertical timber on the forward or
aft weather deck, used in underway replenishment,
towing, and securing.
SCREW- (1) The propeller of a ship. (2) Screws also
refer to the water in the vicinity of the propellers.
SCULL- The act of propelling a small boat by working
oars from one side to another.
SCUTTLE - (1) A small, quick-closing watertight hole.
(2) To sink a vessel by deliberate flooding.
SCUTTLEBUTT- (1) A drinking fountain aboard ship.
(2) Rumor or gossip.
SEXTANT- A navigational instrument used to measure
the distance between two ships. Used mainly on the
SHAFT ALLEY- The space(s) in a ship through which
the propeller shafts extend from the engine room(s)
aft to the screws.
SHIFT COLORS- To shift the national ensign and jack
from the flagstaff to the gaff on getting underway,
or from the gaff to the flagstaff upon mooring or
SHORE- (1) A portable wooden or steel beam used in
damage control. (2) To brace, as to shore up. Also
called shoring. (3) Land at the edge of the sea.
SHORT STAY- When the anchor has been hove in just
short of breaking water.