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

"J" Terms

1. (RN) General nickname for Royal Navy sailors. Derived from "Jack Tar".
2. The flag that is flown from the jackstaff. Traditionally, in the RN it was the Union Jack, whereby it received its name.
Jack Dusty
A naval stores clerk.
Jack Tar; Jacky Tar
A slang term referring to sailors in general; more specifically these days, male sailors. Derived from the old navy custom of sailors coating their outer garments with tar in order to waterproof them.
Lines, often steel wire with a plastic jacket, from the bow to the stern on both port and starboard. In heavy seas, a crewmember can clip his safety harness to a jackline, allowing him to walk along the deck while still being safely attached to the vessel.
Language used by sailors.
A sarcastic term for young sailors who are trying to act like experienced sailors.
Jacob's Ladder
A rope ladder, sometimes with wooden steps built in for ease of use.
Judge Advocate General.
Jag it in
To quit.
Fatigued, tired, beat.
James the First
Another term for the Executive Officer, who is also known as "The Jimmy" and at other times "Number 1". In this case, the two nicknames are combined to create a third.
A good deal. A nice easy job.
(USN) Marine. Reportedly, due to the "high and tight" haircut favored by many Marines their head may be jar-shaped.
The master-at-arms.
A list of defects (Jazzes) Sea Training staff has noted for an HMC ship. The expectation is the defects will be addressed and corrected during workups.
Jenny Wren
Female members of the WRCNS (Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service). See "Wren".
Jerry Can
A metal 5-gallon fuel can. Its name was derived from the fact that the first ones seen were German, during WWII.
Stores or equipment deliberately thrown over side to lighten ship. Debris ejected from a ship that sinks or washes ashore. Also see "Flotsam".
To cast overboard.
A wharf or pier.
Jetty Jumping
Coming back from a trip on one ship and being posted to the next ship leaving port to cover off manning shortages. Sometimes happens while ships pass at sea with one incoming and the other outgoing. See "Pier Head Jump".
Jetty Sentry
A member of the ship's company who provides extra security for the ship by patrolling the jetty.
Anti-submarine passive sonobuoy system.
A triangular staysail at the front of a ship.
Jig Time
Something that is done very quickly.
The Executive Officer. More formally referred to as "The Jimmy".
(USN) Coffee. Derived from Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, who, on July 1, 1914, issued General Order 99 which banned alcoholic beverages aboard USN ships. Afterward, the strongest drink to be had was a "Cup of Joe".
(RN) Traditional Royal Navy nickname for the Royal Marines.
A pleasant side trip.
Jolly Roger Tattoo
A tattooed symbol for someone who is consistently getting in trouble and going to Captain's Defaulters.
A bringer of bad luck. A person (either a sailor or a passenger) who carries a jinx, one whose presence on board brings bad luck and endangers the ship.
Joss, Joss Man
Master at Arms.
Junior Officer Under Training.
Joint Task Force
2. The super soldiers of the Canadian Forces.
A technique used to turn passive anti-submarine sonobuoys into active sonar by dropping explosive charges into the water.
1. Nickname for a person with the surname Collins.
2. A sailor's pullover top jacket in traditional RCN square rig.
Jungle Deck
The tank deck on a replenishment ship.
Old rope.
Jury Rig
Temporary, make shift. A jury rig would be built at sea when the original rig was damaged. Then it would be used to sail to a harbour or other safe place for permanent repairs.

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!