TITANIC-TITANIC.com | Titanic & Maritime Glossary

    Aft - Towards the rear of the vessel.

    ALVIN - A submersible from the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute which was used to explore Titanic in 1986. The name is derived from one of its creators, Al Vine.

    A.M.C. - 'Armed Merchant Cruiser'. A merchant vessel that could, in times of war, be fitted with small arms, like Majestic.

    Bilge - Curved part of ship's hull where the bottom meets the side.

    B.T.S. - Stands for British Titanic Society, the UK-based society for Titanic fans worldwide.

    Bulkhead - A dividing wall in the hull or superstructure of a vessel.

    Crow's Nest - A platform attached near the top of the mast offering an uninterrupted view forward.

    Davit - A davit is one of two arms used to swing out and lower a lifeboat. A pulley is hung from the davit's end to pass the falls through.

    D.S.L. - Stands for 'Deep Submergence Laboratory', the name Robert Ballard's collection of scientists operated under at Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute, Massachusetts.

    Falls - The ropes used to lower a lifeboat from the davits.

    G.P.S. - Stands for 'Global Positioning System', and is a system of worldwide navigation using satellites to pinpoint your location

    Growlers - Small, flat icebergs that have broken off from a larger 'berg.

    Hawsepipe - A hole through which ropes, or more typically, the anchor chains may pass, on their way from the deck to the side of the hull.

    H.M.H.S. - Stands for 'His (or Her) Majesty's Hospital Ship', and was assigned to Britannic when she was acquisitioned for war duties.

    I.F.R.E.M.E.R. - Institute Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation des Mers, or the French Institute of Research and Exploration of the Sea. These were Dr. Robert Ballard's partners on his successful 1985 expedition to find Titanic.

    I.M.M. - The International Mercantile Marine was the huge shipping conglomerate that owned the White Star line.

    M.G.Y. - These were Titanic's call letters, or call sign.

    Poop Deck - The Poop Deck is the raised area to the rear (aft) of a ship.

    Port - Looking forwards, Port is your left hand side. A Port running light is red.

    Prop. - Short for propeller. Read about Titanic's propellers.

    R.M.S. - Stands for 'Royal Mail Steamship'. Any company that had a contract with the Royal Mail was entitled to give its vessels the 'R.M.S.' pre-fix.

    R.P.M. - Stands for 'Revolutions Per Minute', and is the standard way of describing how fast something rotates.

    S.O.L.A.S. - Stands for 'Safety Of Life At Sea', and is a set of rules or requirements that vessels must comply with.

    S.O.S. - Doesn't actually stand for anything, it's just three letters that are very simple for a novice radio operator to transmit, and just as importantly, for a novice radio operator to pick up too.

    Starboard - Looking forwards, Starboard is your right hand side. A Starboard running light is green.

    Steerage - Steerage is another name for the Third Class accommodation, so called because on earlier ships, the accommodation was often to the rear of the vessel, close to the noisy propellers, and it wasn't uncommon for parts of the steering mechanism to be passing through or close to the rooms.

    W.H.O.I. - Stands for 'Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute', which is located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 1967, a young Robert Ballard started working there as a scientist. This work eventually culminated in his discovery of the wreck of Titanic in 1985.

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