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Here are some boat related phrases we came across.

“Three Square Meals A Day”:In the days of wooden ships and iron men, the crew ate their meals on long, narrow tables which had wooden railings around the edges, called “fiddles”. These railings formed a rectangular pattern on the table top and kept things from falling off the table. Sailors were served their meals on square wooden plates that just fit into these rectangular, table top spaces which, by design, kept the plates in place, even if the ship was pitching and rolling. Therefore, since the sailors were served their chow on a square plate and ate three times day, they got “Three square meals a day.”

“Head”Why is the toilet on a boat called the “head”? On old ships the “out house” was placed at the bow of the ship. These necessary rooms were placed in that forward area where the ship slanted inward to form the bow. Therefore, when nature called and you needed to use one of these facilities, you went forward to the bow or the “head“ of the vessel. Thus, the outhouse/toilet came to be called the “head”.

“Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”:The most difficult seam to caulk on a wooden ship was the seam between the hull and the deck. Caulking this seam was such miserable, hard work, the sailors named it the “Devil Seam”. Whenever a man was lowered over the side to work on this particular seam, he was literally “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.”

About Tom Virden

Founder, Boatbookings.com

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