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Nautical Terms and Phrases

The letters of the alphabet are listed with their corresponding phonetic alphabet term. The phonetic alphabet is used when spelling terms over a radio so that the listener does not confuse one letter for another.

The terms will show up below the list of letters when you click a letter.

A - Alpha N - November
B - Bravo O - Oscar
C - Charlie P - Papa
D - Delta Q - Quebec
E - Echo R - Romeo
F - Foxtrot S - Sierra
G - Golf T - Tango
H - Hotel U - Uniform
I - India V - Victor
J - Juliet W - Whiskey
K - Kilo X - X-Ray
L - Lima Y - Yankee
M - Mike Z - Zulu




Jack Line Lines that running along the deck between the bow and stern used to attach a safety harness tether.
Jack Stay An iron rod, wooden bar or wire rope along a yard of a ship to which the sails are fastened. Second meaning, a support of wood, iron, or rope running up a mast on which the loop or collar of a yard travels.
Jacobs Ladder A rope ladder, lowered from the deck, as when pilots or passengers come aboard.
Jam Cleat A cleat with two teethed jaws that hold a line in place.
Jeers Tackles for hoisting the lower yards.
Jetsam Those things that sink in the water. They do not float like flotsam.
Jettison To throw overboard.
Jetty A structure, usually masonry, projecting out from the shore; a jetty may protect a harbor entrance.
Jewel Blocks Single blocks at the yard-arms, through which the studdingsail halyards lead.
Jib A foresail, smaller than a genoa.
Jib Boom A smaller bowsprit to extend its length.
Jib Netting A rope net to catch the jib when it is lowered.
Jib Sheet A sheet used to control the position of the jib. The jib has two sheets, and at any time one is the working sheet and the other is the lazy sheet.
Jib Stay The stay that the jib is hoisted on. Usually the headstay.
Jib Topsail A small jib set high on the headstay of a double headsail rig.
Jiffy Reef Usually a series of lines used to catch the main as it is lowered, or reefed so that it doesn't spread out all over before tying down.
Jigger Aft sail on the mizzenmast of a yawl or a ketch. After mast (4th mast) on schooner or sailing ship carrying a spanker.
Jolly Boat A small boat, usually hoisted at the stern.
Jumbo The larger of the headsails.
Jump A Line To stand at the mast and pull down on a halyard as another crew mate winches it in.
Jury Mast A temporary mast, rigged at sea, in place of one lost.