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I got an email a week or so ago asking for a list of items that was frequently used to build familiarity with equipment on a ship during Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) qualification.  The intent was for the candidate to learn both nautical terminology as well as the equipment.  The list usually took the form of “topside animals“ or “animals on the bow.“  People generally had to list and explain 10 or 15 items.  It has been a long time since I saw the full list, so what appears below is just a partial one.

  1. bull horn - a hand-held amplifier used to make the voice louder and more audible
  2. bullnose - a chock placed at the stem (bow) that is used to pass the anchor chain through while a vessel is being towed or while moored to a buoy, or for use to pass the bow line while moored to a pier
  3. crow's nest - a lookout station positioned at the highest practical point on a ship
  4. dog - a lever used for securing a watertight door
  5. marlinspike - a tapered steel tool used to open the strands of wire for splicing
  6. monkey fist - the rounded ball (with lead weight in the center to give it extra momentum) at the end of a light throwing line which is used to heave across to another ship or pier
  7. monkey line - a safety line made up with a series of overhand or figure eight knots evenly spaced to assist personnel climbing up and down
  8. mousing - wire wrapped around a hook used to strengthen and prevent the load from slipping off
  9. pelican hook - part of an anchor chain stopper that actually secures the chain
  10. pigstick - a small staff raised to the truck to which the ship's commissioning pennant is attached
  11. ram tensioner - a pressurized hydraulic cylinder that keeps an underway replenishment spanwire/highline tensioned
  12. rat guard - a hinged metal disk secured to a mooring line to prevent rats from climbing up the line into the ship
  13. rat-tail stopper - a line used to hold a mooring line while it is being secured to bitts
  14. snaking - netting stretched between the gunwales and footrope of the lifelines to prevent objects from going over the side
  15. wildcat - the portion of anchor windlass that engages the anchor chain and is used for hoisting and controlled lowering of the anchor
Posted on Wednesday, July 14, 2004 8:23 PM Day Job , & Etc. | Back to top

Comments on this post: Nautical Terminology: Topside Animals

# re: Nautical Terminology: Topside Animals
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Pelican hook: Part of the stopper that actually secures the chain.
Left by scott on Mar 20, 2007 10:39 AM

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