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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




Oakum Old hemp or jute fiber, loosely twisted and impregnated with tar or a tar derivative, used to caulk sides and decks of ships and to pack joints of pipes and caissons.
Off Soundings In blue water beyond the 100-fathom curve.
Off The Wind To sail with sails trimmed off.
Offshore Wind Wind blowing from off the shore.
Oiler A member of a ship's engineering crew who assisted the chief engineer with lubricating and maintaining the engine.
Out Of Trim Sails that are not properly arranged for the point of sail that the boat is on. The sails may have improper sail shape, or the boat may be heeling too much. These conditions will slow the boat down.
Out-point To sail closer to the wind than another boat on the same tack.
Outboard Toward or beyond the boat's sides. A detachable engine mounted on the stern of a boat.
Outhaul A line on the end of a boom or gaff used to adjust the tension in or out on the clew of a sail away from the tack.
Outrigger A flotation device attached to one or both sides of the hull to help prevent capsizing.
Overboard Over the side or out of the boat.
Overlap The distance the bow of a boat is forward of another's stern.