Jackspeak of the Royal Canadian Navy

Jackspeak: Certain words or terminology that are commonly 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.

This list was compiled over the years and was finally published in 2014 as "Jackspeak of the Royal Canadian Navy (2015 edition)" In 2018, a completely revised 2nd edition will be released. The 2018 edition features expanded and revised definitions, many more example sentences, and over 400 new terms.

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

"F" Terms

Favourable or unobstructed.
Fair winds and following seas
A blessing wishing the recipient a safe journey and good fortune.
A ring, hook or other device used to keep a line or chain running in the correct direction or to prevent it rubbing or fouling.
A structure that improves the streamlining of a vessel.
Fairwater Planes
Diving planes located on a submarine's fairwater (sail).
Fake Out
To lay a wire or rope on the deck so that it is free for running. A common misconception is that the term is "flake".
The part of the tackle that is hauled upon.
Fall of Shot
Point of impact of a shell or salvo of shells.
Fancy Dins
A special meal put on for a special time.
Fang Bosun
(RN) A mess tin. Named for Fanny Adams, a girl who was murdered and dismembered about the same time that tinned meat was introduced into the Royal Navy.
(USN) The weather deck right above the stern.
Fart Sack
Sleeping bag.
Fastened or held firmly.
Fast Black
A staff car, or any official government car, which are usually the colour black.
Fast Cruise
A training exercise whereby the ship simulates being underway while remaining alongside.
Fat Dumb and Happy
Living life, oblivious to the disruptions or dangers that are occurring around you.
Fat Pill
Desert or candy.
A unit of length equal to 6 feet (1.8 m), roughly measured as the distance between a man's outstretched hands. Particularly used to measure depth.
Fleet Diving Unit.
The wake of white water left on the surface by the raised periscope of a submerged submarine.
Feed Water
Water used in boilers.
Feet Wet (Dry)
Report that an aircraft is flying over water (land).
An air or foam filled bumper used to keep ships and boats from damage due to rubbing and banging into docks or each other.
The distance across water which a wind or waves have traveled.
Frigate, Guided Missile equipped.
Frigate, Helicopter equipped.
A fid is an elongated conical tool used for splicing ropes. It is more commonly used to describe a sailor who displays lesser personal qualities. eg. "Bloggins, the fid, refused to help me when I asked".
Fitting on a table to keep mess utensils in place in bad weather.
Fiddler's Green
Sailor's heaven.
Field Day
(USN) To scrub or otherwise clean the entire ship.
Figgy Duff
Any kind of steamed suet pudding, whether or not it contains figs.
Fuck It, (I) Got My Orders. When a person is posted or ready to retire they might be considered to be gone FIGMO, or in other words... "Go away and don't bother me... I'm outta here".
Figure-of-Eight Knot
A stopper knot shaped like a figure of eight.
A symbolic image at the head of a traditional sailing ship or early steamer.
File 13
The gash.
Fill Yer Boots
Help yourself; Go ahead and join in.
A term used in European and British Commonwealth countries for a tower-like structure on the dorsal (topside) surface of a submarine; called a sail in the United States.
Narrow in appearance from the vantage point of a lookout or other person viewing activity in the vicinity of a ship. eg. "fine off the starboard bow" means just a little off the starboard bow.
Fire For Effect
A signal indicating that the correct spots have been applied and gunnery rounds are falling on target. The gun should now commence rapid fire.
Fire Punching
Standing watch in the boiler room.
Fire ship
In the days of sail, a ship loaded with flammable materials and explosives that is sailed into an enemy port or fleet and then set on fire. The goal was to collide with and set fire to enemy ships.
The compartment in which the ship's boilers or furnaces are stoked and fired.
Fire Exercise.
First Ashore, Best Dressed
The notion that first sailor ashore will get their choice of girls on the jetty. Derived from the days of square rig when sailors would go ashore dressed in specially tailored "tiddley suits." In this case, the first sailor may have gotten the best gear out of the tiddley gear locker and was therefore the best dressed ashore, while the last unlucky sailor may have gotten the unpresentable gear and failed inspection for going ashore.
First launch
The act of moving a newly constructed ship from the shore to water for the first time. E.g. "HMCS HARRY DEWOLFE's first launch took place on Friday the 14th of September, 2018."
First Lieutenant
The Executive Officer of a ship, if a Lieutenant-Commander or below.
First Mate
The second-in-command of a commercial ship.
A torpedo.
Slang for surface ship sailors commonly used by airmen and submariners.
To make a "good fist" of something is to do it well. To make a "real fist" of something is to do it badly.
The period after a ship is launched during which all the remaining construction of the ship is completed and she is readied for sea trials and delivery to her owners.
Five S's
(USN) The traditional steps to prepare for leave ashore: Shit, Shower, Shave, and Shine Shoes.
A relatively accurate position determined without reference to any former position.
Flag Hoist
A number of signal flags strung together to convey a message.
Flag of Convenience
The business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners, and flying that state's civil ensign on the ship. The practice allows the ship's owner to reduce operating costs or avoid the regulations of the owner's country.
Flag Officer
A commissioned officer senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the ship or installation from which he or she exercises command.
Response to a challenging ship from a boat carrying a Flag Officer. Also, as entry's warning shout when a Flag Officers car approaches.
A vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships.
Flaked Out
Slang for a sleeping sailor.
(USN) The maximum speed of a ship. Faster than "full speed".
Verbal elaboration, or even exaggeration, that adds nothing to the meaning. Also refers to elaborate storytelling.
A pyrotechnic signalling device, sometimes used to indicate distress and other times used to provide light at night.
Flash up and f*ck off
1. Depart; leave, i.e., "I'm going to flash up and f*ck off, see ya boys!"
2. An order to leave for the day. Often used by a senior to tell juniors they are no longer required for the day. Can be shortened to "FUFO," i.e, "The Petty Officer told the class to FUFO at 1530."
Warm up the boilers or other ship's equipment such as the radars and gyrocompass.
Flash-up Checklist
A regimented routine where all ship's equipment is checked prior to departure.
Flashing Light
A navigational light which is off longer than it is on. Contrast with "Occulting".
Flashing up the Lawn Mower
A term used when a sailor is about to steal away another sailor's companion. Also referred to as "cutting the grass".
Flat Faced Civvy
A civilian, especially one who has no clue about the military.
Flat Top
Aircraft carrier.
The passageways of a ship.
A general term meaning the ships of a navy.
Fleet Chief
The Senior Navy Chief Petty Officer.
Fleet School
The official name of the shore based establishment that trains the sailors of the RCN.
To coil a line that is not in use so that it lies flat on the deck.
FLEX Programme
A listing of serials that will be completed each day. FLEX is short for Fleet Exercise.
Flight Deck
A flat deck used for the launch and recovery of aircraft.
Flinders Bar
A small iron bar placed vertically near a ship's compass to counteract the magnetism inherent within a ship. Named after Matthew Flinders (1774-1814), a Royal Navy navigator.
Float Test
The act of testing the buoyant qualities of unwanted material while at sea. Often used as a euphemism for throwing something away, regardless of whether it was heaved into the ocean or not.
Flogging Around the Fleet
This term traditionally referred to when a man was tied to a boat and flogged, as the boat toured through the entire fleet. This punishment was given for attempting to escape or for striking an officer. Today, this term is sometimes used when it is felt that a punishment is being done for the reason of optics.
A current associated with a rising tide.
Any floating cargo, stores, or damaged equipment which have floated off a wrecked or damaged vessel.
The wedge-shaped part of an anchor's arms that digs into the bottom.
Flush Deck
An upper deck of a vessel that extends unbroken from stem to stern.
Fly by Night
A large sail used only for sailing downwind, requiring little attention.
Flying Bravo
A red signal flown when the firing range is hot.
The traditional spelling for "forecastle", the forward-most part of the ship.
Foreign Object Debris. Used when referring to aircraft on deck.
FOD Walkdown
A flight-deck exercise where the crew scans for any foreign object, large or small.
Following Sea
A wave or tidal movement going in the same direction as a ship.
Foo-Foo Band
An impromptu musical band on late 19th-century sailing vessels, made up from members of the ship's crew.
1. The lower edge of any sail.
2. The bottom of a mast.
If the foot of a sail is not secured properly, it is footloose, blowing around in the wind.
Fore, Forward
Towards the bow (of the vessel).
Fore-and-Aft Rig
A sailing rig consisting mainly of sails that are set along the line of the keel rather than perpendicular to it. Such sails are referred to as "fore-and-aft rigged."
Forecastle (also fo'c'sle)
The fo'c'sle is the upper deck forward of the bridge house.
That compartment farthest forward in a ship, within the angle of the bow.
Long lines or cables, reaching from the bow of the vessel to the mast heads, used to support the mast.
To entangle or obstruct.
Foul Bore
In gunnery, an unsafe condition where the bore of the gun is not clear after firing.
Foul Deck
A flight deck which is unsafe for landings. Either due to a crash, errant gear or personnel, or the condition of the deck surface.
To fill with water and sink.
Four Fingers
The unofficial measure of one gill of spirits.
The rank of Captain.
Foxtrot Oscar
A phonetic method of telling someone they should enjoy sex and travel.
A transverse structural member which gives the hull strength and shape.
Frame a Charge
The action taken before defaulters setting down the exact description of the offence.
Slang for radio frequency.
Free and Easy
An old sailing term where the sheets have been eased off and the vessel is now running free before the wind.
The height of a ship's hull (excluding superstructure) above the waterline.
A cargo ship.
French Letter
A condom.
Freshen The Nip
To shift the point where a bight of wire or rope makes contact. Also, cutting a short length off the working end of a halyard, so that the chafed spot that had been bearing on the masthead block sheave could be replaced by a new, fresh section.
Traditionally, Friday is an unlucky day to put to sea or to launch a ship.
Friday Routine
Cleaning stations followed by Captain's rounds. A cake, or a case of beer, may be awarded to the cleanest mess on the ship.
1. In the 17th century, any warship built for speed and maneuverability.
2. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, a sailing warship with a single continuous gun deck, typically used for patrolling, blockading, etc., but not in line of battle.
3. In the second half of the 19th century, a type of warship combining sail and steam propulsion, typically of ironclad timber construction, with all guns on one deck.
4. In the 20th and 21st centuries, a warship, smaller than a destroyer, originally introduced during World War II as an anti-submarine vessel but now general-purpose.
Fruit Salad
(USN) Generic term for a rack of decorations, medals, and awards.
Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.
Fucking the Dog
Nothing is being accomplished. eg. "He could have finishing the job, but he was fucking the dog." There are plenty of variants, such as "Screwing the Pooch" and "Canine Fornication". Someone who consistently does nothing is referred to as a "Dog Fucker".
Full Power Trial
A test of the ship's engines at maximum speed.
Full rigged ship tattoo
A full rigged sailing ship tattoo means that the wearer has sailed around Cape Horn.
Full Set
Having both a moustache and a full beard.
Full-Rigged Ship
A sailing vessel with three or more masts, all of them square-rigged. A full-rigged ship is said to have a "ship rig".
Fungus Face
A bearded sailor, particularly one who is growing a new beard or has a beard that doesn't fill out well.
The smokestack of a ship, used to expel boiler steam and smoke or engine exhaust.
Funnel Watch
Seaman that might be found huddling around the funnel to keep warm.
To roll or gather an awning or a sail against its mast or spar.
Fuzzy Bum
A term of endearment for junior sailors. See "Hairy Bag".

If you have any input to this list, please feel free to get involved. Submit your feedback through our contact form

Buy the Book!
Jackspeak of the Royal Canadian Navy
Buy the Book!