Jackspeak

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:

0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Waist - The central deck of a ship between the forecastle and the quarterdeck.

Wait - A voice procedure proword that means the reply will be returned in less than a minute.

Wait One - Used on internal communications devices, it means that the reply will be returned in a short time.

Wait Out - A voice procedure proword that indicates that the reply will come, but only after more than one minute.

Wake - Turbulence behind a vessel. Not to be confused with wash.

Wakey Wakey - The pipe made when it is time for the crew to awake. Normally, it is done at 7AM. When done on a boatswain's call the pipe is very long and drawn out, thus increasing the chance that the crew will wake up sufficiently and not fall back to sleep.

Walk Back - To pay out by keeping the line in hand and walking towards the direction of the strain. eg. "Walk back the Jackstay" means to loosen the jackstay by walking forward.

War bags - The lifebelt, flash hood holder, and gas mask bag combination that encompasses a sailor's ensemble when he/she is at action stations or undergoing workups.

War Canoe Race - Common in a fleet regatta, it is a boat race where the participants are given canoe paddles.

War Spats - Gaiters.

Wardroom - The Naval Officers' Mess. Originally was known as the "wardrobe room", as it was the place for officers to store their spare wearing apparel.

Warm the Bell - To be early. To act, or arrive before the laid down time.

Warm the brow - Sailors lining up and waiting for the brow being opened, well in advance of the time for daily secure.

Warning (Colour) - Red- Attack imminent, or ongoing. Yellow- Attack is likely or probable. White- Attack is unlikely (all clear).

Warp - To move a vessel by hauling on a line or cable that is fastened to an anchor or jetty, especially to move a ship through a restricted place such as a canal.

Wash - The waves created by a vessel. Not to be confused with wake.

Wash-Up - An extensive analysis or post-mortem done after an exercise is completed. A "Hot wash-up" is done immediately after the event.

Waste of Rations - Someone not worth having onboard the ship.

Watch - A period of time during which a part of the crew is on duty.

Watch and Station Bill - A comprehensive table containing the entire ship's company. It sets out every seaman's place of work, their mess, and where their duties are in case of shipboard emergencies such as fire and flood. Also referred to as a "Watch and Quarter Bill".

Waterline - The line where the hull of a ship meets the water's surface.

Waterway - 1. A navigable body of water. 2. In a passageway, the area where the bulkhead meets the deck. It is often painted a darker colour.

Wavy Navy - A slang term for reservists during WW2. Its derivation is from the rank insignia of officers in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) that were "wavy" rather than being straight.

Waypoint - A location defined by navigational coordinates, especially as part of a planned route.

Weather Deck - Any deck is that exposed to the weather, usually either the main deck or upper deck.

Weather Guesser - The ship's weather person.

Weather Ship - A ship stationed in the ocean as a platform for surface and upper air meteorological observations. Used in weather forecasting.

Weather Side - The side of a ship exposed to the wind.

Weather Witch - Weatherman or weather forecaster in a ship. Also see "Weather Guesser".

Webbing - A collective term for gaiters and a web belt, which are seen on the brow staff or on the members of a guard of honour.

Weekend Warrior - Reservist who conducts training on weekday evenings and weekends. Also see "After Supper Sailor ".

Weep - To leak slightly.

Weigh Anchor - To heave up the anchor in preparation for making way.

Weighed Off - Term used when someone fully comprehends or has mastered a concept. eg. "After two hours of drills, the crew had weighed off on launching and recovering the seaboat."

Well-Found - Properly set up or provisioned.

Wet - Green. Innocent and stupid.

Wet Canteen - A canteen that serves alcoholic beverages. The opposite of a "Dry Canteen".

Wet Down - To celebrate a promotion by buying at least one round of drinks.

Wets - Alcoholic beverages. eg. "Bloggins went ashore and had several wets".

Whaler - In the RCN, a 27 foot long boat with a pointed bow and stern. Very seaworthy, they were the standard ship's boat in the Canadian Navy for decades. They were replaced by the more modern, multi-role RHIB.

Wharf - A structure where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers.

Wheelhouse - Location on a ship where the wheel is located; also called pilothouse or bridge.

Whinge - To whine with overtones of self-pity.

Whipping - A wrapping of small stuff applied to the end of the line to prevent unlaying.

Whipstaff - A vertical lever connected to a tiller, used for steering on larger ships before the development of the ship's wheel.

Whiskey - Short for the oft-used operational area W-601 which was located seaward from the Straits of Juan de Fuca, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The area was decommissioned in the 1990s.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Means "What the Fuck". Sometimes spoken as "What the fuck, over".

Whistle Up a Wind - A naval superstition is that whistling will cause wind to increase.

Whistling - Whistling is frowned upon onboard a ship. Traditionally, the only person allowed to whistle is a ship's cook, for the reason that if they are whistling, then they are not eating the rations.

White Ash breeze - Refers to sculling, or rowing. The term makes reference to the fact that oars were commonly made of white ash, a strong hardwood.

White Hats - Refers to the Military Police, especially in the days when they were the only distinguishable group wearing white hats.

White Horses, Whitecaps - Foam or spray on wave tops caused by stronger winds (usually above Force 4).

White Rats - Junior sailors who are employed by the senior members to spread rumours.

Wide Berth - To leave room between two ships to allow space for maneuver.

Wiggy - Nickname for anyone with the surname of Bennett.

WILCO - Radio proword meaning "Will Comply".

Willy Pete - An ordnance which contains White Phosphorus. Derived from the old phonetic alphabet terms, "William Peter".

Winchester - NATO codeword meaning "out of ammunition".

Wind Over the Deck - The net wind, which is the combination of the true wind and motion of the vessel. An important calculation when conducting flight operations.

Wind-Over-Tide - Sea conditions with a tidal current and a wind in opposite directions, leading to short, heavy seas.

Windage - Wind resistance of the boat.

Windbound - A condition where a sailing ship is detained in one particular station by contrary winds.

Windjammer - A large iron- or steel-hulled square-rigged sailing ship of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with three, four, or five masts , built mainly between the 1870s and 1900 to carry cargo on long voyages.

Windlass - A winch mechanism, usually with a horizontal axis. Used where mechanical advantage greater than that obtainable by block and tackle is needed. ie. raising the anchor.

Windward - In the direction that the wind is coming from.

Wing - An extension on the side of a vessel. A bridge wing is an open-air extension of the bridge to port or starboard, intended for use in signaling.

Winger - A friend, buddy, or pal. eg. "Do you still have any wingers in the fleet school?" Likely, a shortened form of "Wing Man".

Wings - 1. The insignia of an aviator. 2. Referring to a person that is your "winger".

Wire Rope - Wire strands wound around a core of rope. Not as strong as pure cable, but more flexible.

WMP - "With much pleasure", a standard reply to the invitation "RPC". The opposite of "MRU", which stands for "Much regrets unable".

Wood Butcher - A shipwright or ship's carpenter. In the RCN, also known as a Hull Technician.

Wooden Hooky - The common term for an "Acting" Leading Seaman.

Woodpecker Fleet - A term of endearment for the Bay Class minesweepers as they had hulls made entirely of wood. An unofficial badge for the squadron featured the cartoon character Woody Woodpecker.

Workups - A wide-ranging programme of exercises designed for a Ship's Company to practice their response to any possible emergency. Abreviated "WUPS".

Worm, Parcel and Serve - To protect a section of rope from chafing by: laying yarns (worming) to fill in the cutlines, wrapping tarred marlin (serving) around it, and stitching a covering of canvas or leather (parceling) over all.

Wren - Historically, a female member of the WRCNS (Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service) which existed during WWII and continued post-war through to the 1960s. Originated in the Royal Navy where the term Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) was shortened to "Wren". The term carried over to the Canadian Navy, however it is out of regular use in today's RCN. Also known as "Jenny Wren".

Writer - Slang term for a clerk. A "Pay Writer" is a Pay Clerk and an "Ad Writer" is an administration Clerk.

WUPS - See Workups

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Jackspeak of the Royal Canadian Navy
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