In our last post, we talked about where the common terms of Freeboard, Starboard, and Port came from. It’s totally random knowledge now to know such things, but it’s fun. So this week, we’re going to cover a few more totally random boating terms that have slipped into the common vernacular. 

3 Boating Terms and their Origins:

SCUTTLEBUTT – This term came from the wooden cask that held water on a ship being called a BUTT, and the act of drilling a hole being called a SCUTTLE. Add to that the very human act of talking around the water barrel or water cooler, and you have SCUTTLEBUTT which now means rumors or gossip. 

TOE THE LINE – On older ships, there were seams of tar and pitch on the decks. These seams were used on military ships to line up the sailors/soldiers in neat lines. They were also used as punishment for men, who would have to stand with their toes on a seam during fair weather or foul and not speak to anyone. Thus, to TOE THE LINE means to follow the rules. 

CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH – this one just shows that disease and illness has always been a concern for the world. A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH started as a document given to a ship showing that the port it sailed from wasn’t suffering disease or plague when it set sail. 

We’ll continue our random boating terms in one more post in a couple of weeks, but If you’d like to dig in on your own, NOAA is a great place to start. 

As we said in our last post, boating offers a great way to get out and have fun even during the uncertainty of a pandemic, and we highly encourage you to partake in activities on the water. 

To do this, we also encourage you to know the rules of the road, as it were. Here’s a post to get you started. 

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