Jackspeak: Certain words or terminology that is used in the Canadian Navy.
The Canadian Navy has it's own terminology and slang that is still evolving to this day. Much of the language used is still derived from the Royal Navy, although as Canadians many local customs and slang have come about.
Please choose a letter from our index:
C&P - Counselling and Probation. The final action taken to correct a seaman's shortcomings before he/she is released from the navy.
Cabbage Mechanic - (RN) Cook.
Cabin - An enclosed room on a deck or flat.
Cable - A measure of length or distance. Equivalent to (UK) 1/10 nautical mile, approx. 600 feet; (USA) 120 fathoms, 720 feet (219 m); other countries use different values.
Cable Party - Group of sailors who work the equipment that deploys and retrieves the anchor, when the ship is anchoring or getting underway.
Cake - ASW weapon state report.
Cake and Ass party - Derogatory term for an officers' cocktail party.
Cake Hole - Mouth. Also heard as a "snack hole".
Calve - Forming icebergs, as when chunks of ice fall that from a glacier into the sea.
Can - A type of navigational buoy often a vertical drum, but if not, always square in silhouette.
Can of Crushed Arseholes - Describes anything that looks less than desirable. eg. "OS Bloggins, your cover looks like a can of crushed arseholes".
Canal boat - A specialized watercraft designed for operation on a canal.
Canary Suit - The quaint term used for yellow-coloured wet weather gear.
Candle - A night illumination device.
Candy - NATO codeword for an ammunition state report.
Candyass - Someone who doesn't do his (or her) share of the work.
CANEX - Canadian Armed Forces Exchange System, a division of the Canadian Forces morale and welfare services which also provides a chain of stores at bases across Canada
CANFORGEN - Canadian Forces General Order.
Canine Fornication - A fancy way to say "Fucking the Dog", which is a term often used to describe a situation where nothing is being done.
Canister - In the days of sail, a type of antipersonnel cannon load in which lead balls or other loose metallic items were enclosed in a tin or iron shell. On firing, the shell would disintegrate, releasing the smaller metal objects with a shotgun-like effect.
Cannon Cocker - Gunnery specialist.
Cant - To incline away from the uptight position.
CANTCO - CAN'T COmply.
Canyon - NATO codeword meaning to use electronic jamming on radar frequency indicated, or in accordance with previous orders.
CAP - Combat Air Patrol. Usually defensive in nature.
Cape Horn Fever - The name of the fake illness a malingerer is pretending to suffer from. Derived from the days of sail when sailors were so feareful of rounding Cape Horn they would fake an illness to get off the ship.
Capital Ship - One of a navy's most important warships, generally possessing the heaviest firepower and armor and traditionally much larger than other naval vessels, but not formally defined. During the Age of Sail, generally understood to be ships-of-the-line; during the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century, understood to be battleships and battlecruisers; and since the 1940s considered to include aircraft carriers. Since the second half of the 20th century, ballistic missile submarines sometimes have been considered capital ships.
Capsize - When a ship or boat lists too far and rolls over, exposing the keel. On large vessels, this often results in the sinking of the ship.
Capstan - A large winch with a vertical axis. In the days of sail, a full-sized human-powered capstan was a waist-high cylindrical machine, operated by a number of hands who each insert a horizontal capstan bar in holes in the capstan and walk in a circle. Used to wind in anchors or other heavy objects; and sometimes to administer flogging over.
Captain - Captain is both a rank and an appointment. In the Canadian Navy today, the commanding officer of a ship, though usually of the rank of Commander, is nevertheless referred to and addressed as Captain. The rank of Captain (N) is equivalent to the army's Colonel, and is denoted by four bands of gold braid on the sleeves of the uniform jacket. Captain derives from the Latin caput, meaning "head".
Captain of the... - Person in charge of a particular part of the ship, eg. "Captain of the Focs'le." It is also used in a derogatory manner such as "Captain of the Heads".
Captain's Daughter - In the days of corporal punishment, this term referred to the cat o' nine tails and thus precipitating the remark "He has a date with the Captain's daughter."
Captain's Rounds - Special rounds of the entire ship done by the Commanding Officer. Usually held on a Friday, or prior to entering a foreign port.
Captain's Table - A disciplinary hearing.
Caravel (also Caravelle) - A small, highly maneuverable sailing ship with lateen rig used by the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean.
Cardinal - Referring to the four main points of the compass: north, south, east and west.
Careening - Tilting a ship on its side, usually when beached, to clean or repair the hull below the water line. Also known as to "heave down".
Career Mangler - A Career Manager. A senior member of a sailor's occupation, usually located at an HQ, who makes the decisions about their career development and their postings.
Cargo Ship - Any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another, including general cargo ships (designed to carry break bulk cargo), bulk carriers, container ships, multipurpose vessels, and tankers. Tankers, however, although technically cargo ships, are routinely thought of as constituting a completely separate category.
Carry Away - Removed or lost due to sea or wind.
Carry On - An order which means to continue on your normal duties. When ordered through a Boatswain's Call it is one second of high note followed by one second of low note.
Cart - A sailor's bunk
Carvel Built - A method of constructing wooden hulls by fixing planks to a frame so that the planks butt up against each other. ie. "clinker built".
Cast Off - To let go.
Cat O' Nine Tails - A short nine-tailed whip kept by the bosun's mate to flog sailors. When not in use, the cat was kept in a baize bag, this is a possible origin for the term "cat out of the bag". The term "Not enough room to swing a cat" also derives from this.
Catamaran - A vessel with two hulls.
Catch a Crab - When pulling a boat with long oars, you "catch a crab" when your oar hits the top of a wave and bounces upward instead of digging into the water and gaining traction.
Cathead - A beam extending out from the hull used to support an anchor when raised, in order to secure or "fish" it.
Cats Paws - Light variable winds on calm waters producing scattered areas of small waves.
CB - Confined to Barracks / Base.
CCR - Communications Control Room
CD - Canadian Forces Decoration. Issued for 12 years of "Undetected Crime".
CDS - The Chief of Defense Staff. ie. The top military person in Ottawa.
Cease Fire - Do not open fire, or discontinue firing.
Cement Head - Anyone in the Infantry. Refers to the fact that you likely need a hammer and chisel to penetrate the thick skull.
Centreboard - A board or plate lowered through the hull of a dinghy on the centreline to resist leeway.
Centreline - An imaginary line down the center of a vessel lengthwise. Any structure or anything mounted or carried on a vessel that straddles this line and is equidistant from either side of the vessel is on the centreline.
CERA - Chief Engine Room Artificer. Spoken as "Chief ERA".
CF EXPRES test - Physical Fitness test consisting of a shuttle run, a step test, pushups, sit-ups and a hand grip test. Phased out in 2013 and replaced by the FORCE test
CFAO - Canadian Forces Administrative Order
CFB - Canadian Forces Base.
CFH - Canadian Forces Hospital.
CFNES - Canadian Forces Naval Engineering School.
CFNIS - Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.
CFNOS - Canadian Forces Naval Operations School.
CFP - Canadian Forces Publication.
CFPAS - Canadian Forces Personnel Appraisal System. The basis for an annual performance report.
CFR - Commissioning From the Ranks.
CFRC - Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre. This is where it all begins!
Chafing - Wear on line or sail caused by constant rubbing against another surface.
Chafing Gear - Material applied to a line or spar to prevent or reduce chafing. See Baggywrinkle.
Chain Locker - A space in the forward part of the ship, typically beneath the bow in front of the foremost collision bulkhead, that contains the anchor chain when the anchor is secured for sea.
Chain Shot - Cannon balls linked with chain used to damage rigging and masts.
Chains - Small platforms built into the sides of a ship to assist in depth sounding.
Chair Force (The) - The Air Force.
Challenge and Reply - A method of authenticating a radio voice message through a low grade paper-based code.
Channel 16 VHF (156.8 MHz) - A marine VHF radio frequency used for shipping and maritime purposes, to call up ships and shore stations, and as an international distress frequency.
Channel Fever - Anxious to get home, or reach port.
Charley More - (RN) A fair deal, or a call for fair play. From the Maltesian pub of the same name; the sign over the door said "Charley More, the Square Thing" meaning that they never watered down their drinks.
Charlie Foxtrot - Phonetic abbreviation for "Cluster Fuck", ie. an evolution which has not gone well.
Charlie Noble - (RN) The galley smokestack. Charlie Noble was an Admiral who insisted that the (brass or copper) galley smokestack be polished for inspections.
Charlie Oscar - Commanding Officer.
Charlie Sierra - Phonetic spelling of the oft used term "chickenshit", which refers to a procedure or regulation that is insignificant in nature.
Chart - A "map" of the sea area showing any coastal lines and used specifically for nautical navigation.
Charthouse - A compartment, especially in the Royal Navy, from which the ship was navigated.
Chase the Lubber's Line - A situation when an inexperienced helmsman steers in the opposite direction required, and then continues to do so in an attempt to correct. On a gyro repeater the lubbers' line is the indicator of the ship's head. The correct method is to steer the lubber's line toward the desired course, and not to attempt to direct the desired course toward the lubber's line.
Chatter - Radio codeword for communications jamming.
Check Away - To ease out a rope or wire under control.
Check check check - Gunnery order for a temporary cessation of firing. By extension it could also be used to silence somebody in the middle of an argument.
Cheeks - 1. Wooden blocks at the side of a spar. 2. The sides of a block or gun-carriage.
Cheese - To wind the end of a line in a tight flat coil on the deck. This makes it look tiddly.
Cheese Parer - A person that illegally sneaks a little for themself. Originated for the days when crew members who were handling foodstuffs would slice a little piece off a wheel of cheese for themself.
CHEMOX - Stands for Chemical Oxygen, it is the breathing apparatus that is used for shipboard fire-fighting in the Canadian Navy.
Cherubs - Reported height of an aircraft in hundreds of feet (contrast with "Angels").
Chicks - Radio codeword for friendly aircraft.
Chief Boatswain's Mate - The senior boatswain onboard a ship, responsible for seamanship evolutions. See Buffer.
Chief Housemaid - An old British Navy slang for the first lieutenant, who is responsible for the cleanliness of the ship.
Chine - 1. An angle in the hull. 2. A line formed where the sides of a boat meet the bottom. Soft chine is when the two sides join at a shallow angle, and hard chine is when they join at a steep angle.
Chips - Ship's carpenter.
Chit - A small piece of paper, often a request for or granting of permission to do something, such as a "Leave Chit". Also, a place to keep track, as in a "Bar Chit".
Chock-A-Block - 1. Rigging blocks that are so tight against one another that they cannot be further tightened. 2. Describing something that is full up.
Chokey - Slang for a military prison.
CHOP - Change of Operational Command.
Chronometer - The ships timepiece. Once, it was a critical piece of kit, as accurate time was necessary to have accurate navigation.
Chuffed - (UK) Extremely pleased.
Chuffs and Puffs - Chiefs and Petty Officers.
Chummy - Generic slang for an object which has no official nautical name.
Chunder - (UK) To vomit. Derived from "watch under!"
Church Pendant - One of the oldest signal flags still in use. A combination of British and Dutch naval colours, dating back from the mid-17th century. Signified the temporary cessation of all hostilities so that both sides could conduct prayers and worship.
Cinderella Leave - Shipboard leave expiring at, or before midnight.
Circular File - Usually an office wastebasket or it can also mean any other conveyance of gash.
Civvy Street - Civilian life.
CIWS - Close-In Weapon System, a short-range anti-missile point defense system comprised of a radar system and high firing-rate gun.
Clankie, Clanky - Mechanical Engineer.
Clasp - A clasp, also known as a bar, is added to the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) for every 10 years of subsequent good service. It is indicated on the undress ribbon bar by a rosette, sometimes called a "pip" or a "bullet hole".
Class - A group of naval ships of the same or similar design. Ships of the same class are referred to as "Sisters".
Clean - To change from one type of dress to another.
Clean Bill of Health - A certificate issued by a port indicating that the ship carries no infectious diseases.
Clean Slate - Traditionally, at the helm, the watch keeper would record details of speed, distances, headings, etc. on a slate. At the beginning of a new watch the slate would be wiped clean.
Clear - 1. Free; unobstructed; to make free. 2. To perform customs and immigration legalities prior to leaving port.
Clear Datum - For a submarine to leave the area where is had been detected, which is called a "Datum". Also means for the perpetrators to leave the scene of the crime, before they get caught.
Clear lower deck - A pipe ordering all personnel to cease work and muster at a specified location for a particular purpose.
Clearing Charge - A low-charge case or bag of propellant without projectile, used to forcibly clear a stuck projectile from the bore of a gun.
Cleat - A piece of metal or wood with two horns around which ropes are made fast.
Clench - 1. A method of fixing together two pieces of wood, usually overlapping planks, by driving a nail through both planks as well as a washer-like rove. The nail is then burred or riveted over to complete the fastening. 2. A fitting on the deck used to secure a line or cable. ie. a deck clench.
Clew up - Referring to being married.
Clew(s) - 1. Consists of two lanyards on a sailor's hammock, each spliced to its metal ring, each ring carrying eight nettles (six-foot lengths of 3-stranded white hemp 5/8 inch in circumference), for slinging the two ends of the hammock. 2. The lower corners of square sails or the corner of a triangular sail at the end of the boom.
Clinker Built - A method of constructing hulls that involves overlapping planks, and/or plates, much like Viking longships, resulting in speed and flexibility in small boat hulls.
Clinking Glasses - Toasting by clinking glasses is frowned upon as a naval superstition says that a when a glass rings it tolls the death of a sailor. However, if you stop the ring the devil will take two soldiers instead.
Clipper - A very fast sailing ship of the 19th century that had three or more masts, a square rig, a long, low hull, and a sharply raked stem.
Clobbered - Weathered in, or in very poor visibility.
Close aboard - Near a ship.
Close Enough for Government Work - A term used when something is approximated or a job is completed to the standard of the "Mark 1 Eyeball".
Close up - A pipe or an order that means to proceed immediately to your place of duty.
Close-hauled - Of a sailing vessel beating as close to the wind direction as possible.
Closed Up - 1. Someone who is competent, alert and deports oneself in a professional manner. 2. Describing a flag that is at the very top of its halyard
Closing on a Steady Bearing - In relation to the motion of your own ship, if an object's bearing is steady, or unchanging, and its range is decreasing, then the object is on a collision course with your own ship.
Clothing Stores - A unit which exists ashore, where uniforms are issued, or bought, if the seaman needs an extra piece of kit or loses his original issue.
Clove Hitch - A knot used for fastening a line to a post or a rail.
Club Ed - Slang for Edmonton Detention Barracks (Military prison).
Club Hauling - The ship drops one of its anchors at high speed to turn abruptly. This was sometimes used as a means to get a good firing angle on a pursuing vessel.
Cluster Fuck - An evolution which is remarkable for its noteworthy lack of brilliance.
CO - Short for Commanding Officer. Often spoken as "Charley Oscar".
Coal Trimmer - Person responsible for ensuring that a coal-fired vessel remains in trim (evenly balanced) as coal is consumed on a voyage.
Coaming - The raised lip around a hatch. Designed to prevent, or at least limit, water entry. eg. A hatch coaming.
Coaster - A shallow-hulled ship used for trade between locations on the same island or continent.
Coastie - A Coast Guard seaman.
Cobra - ASW torpedo with snake search such as the Mark 46.
Cockbilled - An old navy slang meaning drunk.
Cocked Hat - A navigational fix on a chart, comprising of three bearing lines that do not meet at the same point, when ideally they should form a closer meeting point.
Coin Ceremony - An event which takes place in the early stages of a warship's construction at the keel laying. The shipbuilders place one or two coins under the keelblock of the new ship to bless the ship and as a symbol of good fortune. The coins are not normally fixed in place and are often retrieved when the ship sails out of the dry-dock.
Coke Syndrome - Damage to a piece of electronic gear, or a keyboard, by the spilling of a soft drink.
Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. - In the days of sailing ships, cannon balls were often stacked in what was called a monkey, usually made of brass. When the weather got really cold the monkeys, being brass, would contract at a different rate than the iron of the cannonballs, forcing the cannon balls to fall onto the ship's deck. (A well-known, but far-fetched explanation.)
Cold Iron - An engineering term meaning that the engines are completely shut down.
Collier - A bulk cargo ship designed to carry coal, especially such a ship in naval use to supply coal to coal-fired warships.
Collision Mat - A mat made of cocoa-fiber that is placed over portions of the ship that may rub another vessel, especially when berthed or anchored together in a nest.
Comber - A long, curving wave breaking on the shore.
Come About - 1. To tack. 2. To change tack. 3. To maneuver the bow of a sailing vessel across the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the vessel to the other. 4. To position a vessel with respect to the wind after tacking. 5. To change one's attitude. To begin to see things in a different way.
Come alongside - What a ship or boat does when it reaches the pier or jetty. The term can also be used from one sailor to another when there is private information to be offered.
Come To - To stop a sailing vessel, especially by turning into the wind.
COMEX - Commence Exercise. The beginning of an exercise.
Comm School - Communications School, the birthplace of many "Bunting Tossers" and "Radio Ladies".
Command Team - The combination of the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer and the Coxswain of a ship or unit.
Commander - The rank of commander evolved in smaller types of early warships. In the larger warships of the sixteenth century, the captain would have a master as his chief navigator, while he commanded the firing of the guns, but in smaller ships the two offices were combined, as master and commander. The master and part was dropped in the mid-eighteenth century, but it was not until 1794 that the rank officially existed in the Royal Navy.
Commission - 1. To formally place a naval vessel into active service, after which the vessel is said to be in commission. 2. An official document issued by the government and conferring on the recipient the rank of an Officer.
Commissioning - The act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service. The ceremonies involved are often rooted in centuries old naval tradition.
Commissioning Pennant - The commissioning pennant is (also spelled "pendant") flown from the masthead of a warship. The history of flying a commissioning pennant dates back to the days of chivalry with their trail pendants being flown from the mastheads of ships they commanded. Today, the commissioning pennants are hoisted on the day of commissioning and not struck until they are decommissioned.
Commodore - This rank was established in the Royal Navy in 1622, by King William II, and derives from the Dutch "Commandeur". Traditionally, the commodore was in command of a squadron detached from the main body of the fleet. Unlike the Royal Navy, commodore is a permanent rank in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Common Dog (CDF) - Refers to the term 'Common Dog F--k', but it actually means "common sense".
Companionway - A ladder leading from one deck to another.
Compartment - A room aboard ship. Usually refers to a room with watertight integrity.
Compass - Navigational instrument showing the direction of the vessel in relation to the Earth's geographical poles or magnetic poles. Commonly consists of a magnet aligned with the Earth's magnetic field, but other technologies have also been developed, such as the gyrocompass.
Compass Rose Tattoo - Symbolizes that the sailor will always know the direction to go home. (See North Star Tattoo)
Complain - The block of a rigging, or block and tackle, is said to be complaining if the sheaves squeak when it is in use.
Complement - The number of persons in a ship's crew, including officers.
Conn, Conning - To give orders regarding the maneuvers of a ship. While performing this duty, an officer is said to "have the conn".
Conning Officer - An officer on a naval vessel responsible for instructing the helmsman on the course to steer. While performing this duty, the officer is said to have the conn.
Conning Tower - 1. The armoured control tower of an iron or steel warship built between the mid-19th and mid-20th century from which the ship was navigated in battle. 2. A tower-like structure on the dorsal (topside) surface of a submarine, serving in submarines built before the mid-20th century as a connecting structure between the bridge and pressure hull and housing instruments and controls from which the periscopes were used to direct the submarine and launch torpedo attacks. Since the mid-20th century, it has been replaced by the sail (United States usage) or fin (European and British Commonwealth usage), a structure similar in appearance which no longer plays a function in directing the submarine.
Consort - A friendly warship that sails in support of another warship.
Container Ship - A cargo ship that carries all of her cargo in truck-size intermodal containers.
Convoy - A group of ships traveling together for mutual support and protection.
Cooky, Cookie - A ship's cook.
Cornflake - A tri-service cap badge affixed to a new CF member's headdress in his/her early recruit stages. It somewhat resembles a cornflake.
Corpen - Course, as in the designated direction of travel for a ship or a formation.
Corsair - 1. A French privateer, especially from the port of St-Malo. 2. Any privateer or pirate. 3. A ship used by privateers or pirates, especially of French nationality.
Corvette - 1. A lightly armed and armored warship of the 20th and 21st centuries, smaller than a frigate, capable of trans-oceanic duty. In great use by the Canadian Navy during WWII. 2. A flush-decked sailing warship of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries having a single tier of guns, ranked next below a frigate.
Counterflood - To deliberately flood compartments on the opposite side from already flooded ones. Usually done to reduce a list caused by damage.
Course - The direction in which a vessel is being steered, usually given in degrees.
Cover - Hat or headdress.
Cow juice - Milk
Coxswain (also Cox'n) - 1. The coxswain is the senior non-commissioned officer on board. He is the link between the officers and the enlisted men, other than that provided by the divisional system. He is responsible for routine and discipline. 2. The seaman in charge of a ship's boat when it is from the ship.
CP-140 Aurora - The Canadian variant of the Lockheed P-3C Orion.
CPA - Closest Point of Approach. The range and bearing to the closest point of another vessel's passage, relative to your own.
Crabfat - Aircrew on board a ship.
Crackerjacks - Refers to the dress blue uniforms worn by enlisted sailors in the USN below the rank of E-7. The term is associated the Cracker Jack company (candy popcorn) mascot "Sailor Jack". Crackerjacks remain as the single, most identifiable naval uniforms worldwide.
Crane Vessel (Crane Ship) - A ship with a crane specialized in lifting heavy loads.
Crashed - Slang for a sailor sleeping.
Crazy Ivan - United States Navy slang for a maneuver in which a submerged Soviet or Russian submarine suddenly turns 180 degrees or through 360 degrees to detect submarines following it.
Crescent Hammer - An adjustable wrench. ie. crescent wrench.
Crest - The highest point of a wave.
Crew - The body of people who work on a ship. Traditional nautical usage normally separates officers from crew, though the two groups combine to form the "Ship's Company". Derived from the old Norse word "accrue", meaning to gather.
Crimp - An old term for an agent commissioned to find crew for a ship, often by drugging and kidnapping.
Cringle - A rope loop, usually at the corners of a sail, for fixing the sail to a spar. They are often reinforced with a metal eye.
Cripple - A helping piece when creating a shoring.
Cross the bar - Pass away, as a result of leaving life's harbour. Certainly, this term is in reference to the 1889 poem "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Crossed Paperclips - Refers to the crossed chain links on the badge of the Canadian Forces Logistics Branch.
Crosses on the Soles of One's Feet - Tattoos of crosses on the soles of one's feet are acquired to ward off hungry sharks.
Crossing the line - Traditional but completely unofficial ceremony enacted whenever a warship crosses the equator.
Crow's Nest - Specifically a masthead constructed with sides and sometimes a roof to shelter the lookouts from the weather, generally by whaling vessels, this has become a generic term for what is properly called masthead. The term is derived from the Norse who carried cages of crows or ravens at the masthead. When the ship lost sight of land, they would release one of the birds and then sail in the same direction as the bird toward the nearest land.
Crowsnest (The) - The Navy's traditional newspaper/magazine. During WWII "The Crowsnest" existed as a newspaper. Postwar, it became a monthly magazine. Its run was ended in 1965, when it was replaced by "The Sentinel", a monthly magazine that covered the CF as a whole. Recently, though, the RCN has revived "The Crowsnest" as a quarterly publication.
Cruiser - 1. From the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century, a classification for a wide variety of gun- and sometimes torpedo-armed warships, usually but not always armored, intended for independent scouting, raiding, or commerce protection; some were designed also to provide direct support to a battlefleet. 2. From the early 20th century to the mid-20th century, a type of armored warship with varying armament and of various sizes, but always smaller than a battleship and larger than a destroyer, capable of both direct support of a battle fleet and independent operations, armed with guns and sometimes torpedoes. 3. After the mid-20th century, various types of warships of intermediate size armed with guided missiles and sometimes guns, intended for air defense of aircraft carriers and associated task forces or for anti-ship missile attack against such forces; virtually indistinguishable from large destroyers since the late 20th century.
Crush Depth - The designed depth at which the pressure hull of a submarine will collapse.
Crusher - The Regulating Petty Officer in charge of administration and discipline.
Crutches - Metal Y shaped pins to hold oars whilst rowing.
Crypto - Cryptographic codes.
Cumshaw - Procurement of needed material outside the supply chain, usually by swapping, barter, or mutual backscratching. The word comes from pidgin English of the term for "Come Ashore" money.
Custom - A long standing, continuing practice, or observance and is often unwritten rules.
Cut and Run - To leave quickly, from the practice of cutting a ship's lines in a hasty departure.
Cut his painter - Refers to dying and death, since the painter here is a personal one that describes a sailor's link with life. On a life raft, the painter is the line that is attached to the valve/mouth of CO2 cylinder. When a life raft is packed in the container the painter is left outside the container and is available to be pulled upon to quickly inflate the raft.
Cut of His Jib - The "cut" of a sail refers to its shape. Since this would vary between ships, it could be used both to identify a familiar vessel at a distance, and to judge the possible sailing qualities of an unknown one. Now, it is used figuratively to describe the character of a person.
Cut Splice - A join between two lines, similar to an eye-splice, where each rope end is joined to the other a short distance along, making an opening which closes under tension.
Cutline - The valley between the strands of a rope or cable.
Cutter - A small single-masted boat, fore-and-aft rigged, with two or more headsails and often a bowsprit. 2. A small boat serving a larger vessel, used to ferry passengers or light stores between larger vessels and the shore.
Cutwater - 1. The front part of a ship or boat's bow, where the bow cuts the water. 2. A wedge-shaped feature of a bridge pier primarily used to prevent ice or other debris from piling up at up-current side of the pier.
CW - Tranmission of messages via morse code. As of 1 September 1993 the RCN ceased all CW related services. CW stands for "Continuous Wave".
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