"Boxing the Compass"

In addition to some very basic ship-board terminology, we also take a look at the compass.

Everyone knows that a compass points to "north"- magnetic north in the case of a standard (ie magnetic ie not a gyroscopic) compass. It was during the early part of the 20th century that mariners began to use degrees instead of points. There is even a Gaelic language equivalent provided.

Anyone reading (English) documents may run into difficulty over the difference between "helm" and "rudder" orders: yes, it was 100% correct for the Officer of the Watch to order Hard a starboard!!, and the boat would turn to port.

Basic Terminology

The BasicsThe Basics