Common Naval Phrases

Common Naval Phrases

We’ve seen plenty of movies where it looks like sailors have their own language and we are there trying to find out what the meanings are by the context but it’s sometimes hard. Knowing the common Naval phrases is essential if you are a sailor but it is also very cool if you are with your friends and you start spouting out some phrases to confuse them.

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Below you will find some of the common term’s sailors use in their day to day life.

Abaft- Farther aft

Aft- Toward the stern

Ahoy - Call for attention

All hands - The entire ship’s company

ASN - Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Astern - Behind a ship

BAH - Basic allowance for housing

BAS - Basic allowance for subsistence

Below - Beneath (“lay below” means to go downstairs)

Billet - Location where a sailor is assigned

Bow - Forward end of a boat or ship

Bridge - Room from which a ship is commanded

Brig - Jail on a ship

BUPERS - Bureau of Navy Personnel

CENTCOM - Central Command

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Chow - Food

CIC - Combat information center

Davy Jones’ locker - Bottom of the sea

DC - Damage control

Dead Ahead - Straight ahead

Shellback - Person who has crossed the equator.

Offing - This means when there is an open part of the sea that is in sight but also, it’s a safe distance from the shore. It can also mean a position or a course.

Three Sheets in The Wind - When you had too much alcohol and you became drunk.

Pipe Down - Remain silent or lower your voices.

By and Large – The ability of the ship to sail towards and away from the wind.

Groggy – When one is tired or weak

Aloof – This refers to sailing away from the shore due to hazards

A1 – The best type of quality

DEERS - Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System

DoD - Department of Defense

DoN - Department of the Navy

Forward – Going towards the bow

FOUO - For official use only

FSA - Family separation allowance

General quarters (GQ) - Full readiness for battle

Helm - Steering the wheel of the ship

IC - Interior communications or internal communications

IFF - Identification of friend or foe

Jetty - Structure built out from shorelines to change water currents

Jacob’s ladder - Rope

Knot - 1 nautical mile per hour

Lay - Movement of a person

Main deck - Uppermost complete deck

MARCENT - U.S. Marine Forces Central Command

Mate - Fellow crewmate

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Muster - Roll call

NEX - Navy Exchange

OCS - Officer Candidate School

OPSEC - Operational Security

Overboard - Over the side of the boat

PCS - Permanent change of station

Shipshape - Neat, clean

Sick bay - Area aboard ship that serves as a hospital or medical clinic

SR - Seaman Recruit

Stern - Back part of a vessel

Turn in - Heading to bed

If you are thinking on joining the Navy, then one of the best things you can do before you go is to know your lingo. This will give you the edge on your other crewmates. Although you will not use these terms every day you will have the knowledge under your belt.

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