The front part of a ship is the bow and the back part is the stern. If you are facing the bow, then your left is port and your right is starboard. If you walk towards the bow, you go forward and if you go towards the stern, you go aft. You never go upstairs on a ship, you go topside and when you go downstairs, you go below. When you go onboard a ship you embark and when you leave, you disembark or debark.

Floors on a ship are called decks and the openings from one deck to another are hatches. Ships have compartments and passageways, rather than rooms and corridors. The walls of compartment are called bulkheads and the ceiling is the overhead. If you can see the sea from your compartment, then you are looking out of a port, not a window. If you are hungry, then don’t ask for the kitchen, ask for the galley, and if you want the bathroom, ask for the head.

When you close a hatch, you secure it and when you clean the decks, you swab them. When you get up in the morning, you turn to and when you put something away onboard a ship, then you stow it. If the skipper tells you to belay something, then you stop doing it. But don’t say ‘Yes, Sir’. The proper way to respond to a command onboard a ship is ‘Aye, Aye, sir’!

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