When you live on a ship, you start using words that are different to your vocabulary on
land. If you’re just joining, or have a friend who works on a ship, let this be your “Ship to
English” dictionary.

Forward:
The front of the ship.

Aft:
The back of the ship.

Starboard side:
The right side of the vessel, while facing forward.

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Port Side:
The left side of the vessel, while facing forward. Coincidently, almost never faces the
port.

PAX:
The shortened word for passengers, and their amenities that all crew crave (pax gym,
pax pool, pax cabins).

Deck:
The floor that you’re trying to walk upright on while the ship is rocking.

Bulkhead:
The walls that you’re holding on to while the ship is rocking.

Deckhead:
The ceilings of the ship that are almost always just a little too low for you to get a proper
stretch in.

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Gangway:
The bridge connecting the ship to a port. The path to freedom and the return trail to
work, it’s truly the most bittersweet part of the ship.

Water-tight doors:
Large, cumbersome, steel doors located on decks close to, or below the waterline. Their
purpose is outlined as separating the ship into water-tight compartments to prevent it
from sinking in an emergency, but you’ll mostly know their purpose as making it more
difficult for you to get around the ship.

Tender:
When lifeboats are used to ferry passengers in and out of a port the ship can’t reach –
don’t count on disembarking this day.

Mooring Deck:
An open-air deck at the front and aft of the ship, used to tie big ropes to the shore so it
doesn’t float away while the crew’s drinking in port. Also has the best crew parties.

Crew Bar or CB:
The only place to go after your day ends.

The 6 o’clock knock:
When a crew member gets fired. To prevent crew from tearing the ship apart, crew will
be notified of their termination by a knock from security at 6 in the morning as the ship
makes port.

Ship Goggles:
When you’ve been on the ship for long enough for everyone to look attractive.

Fresh Meat:
New crew signing on during embarkation day.

Now you know.

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