Miami Boat Cleaning – Squids and Swabs or Tar and Jack Tar?
Every good ship or boat has a Captain, but what about the rest of the crew? For fun, we thought it’d be interesting to jot down some nautical terms for crew mates that have been used throughout time.
While the term Captain carries obvious meaning, the rest of the members of a crew have adopted different names, often created by the crew members themselves. The terms usually had to do with what type of work they were assigned to do.
Another name for Captain is Skipper, more commonly used to describe the captain of a sailboat.
The term crew means the subordinate members of a ship’s company. At times it meant the entire crew as well. Crew can also mean people that help the skipper of a boat.
Squid is a softly derogatory military slang term for a member of the U.S. Navy. Also known as a sailor, gob, or swab. The term swab comes from military crewmen who swabs the deck with a mop.
Navy men in times gone past were generally called bluejackets, with working names like deckhand or black gang.
Deckhands were ordinary seamen who performs routine labor on the ship.
Black gang were the engine room crew members, named this due to the dirtying of their skin and clothes by oil and smoke.
From the early days, the terms tar and jack tar were also known as sailors, seamen, waterman, or jack tar. Tar also referred to the act of coating an item with black petroleum distillates such as pitch or resin in order to protect it from corrosion or make it waterproof.
The most common term for men at sea is sailor or seaman. But when scurvy was common, the name limey came about as a term for a British sailor because their ships carried limes on long voyages to stave off the disease.
A veteran sailor was referred to as a shellback or water dog. Usually referring to sailors who crossed the equator.
An experienced mariner was known as a salt, as in, “He’s an old salty dog.” or “old salt”.
As you can see, there are some really interesting nautical terms for a boat crew. Up on deck, the swabbies, swabbys, or swabs were commonly responsible for using a swab or mop to keep the ship clean. They often were also deckhands that performed just about anything they were told to do while on board.
Today, civilian ship crews are generally ordinary seaman with shared duties, although new crew members may get the dirty jobs first. Members of a crew could have to perform any number of jobs to keep the ship going and in good shape, including:
- Scale, buff, or paint decks and superstructure
- Sweep and wash the deck
- Splice wire and rope
- Break out, rig, overhaul, and stow cargo gear, running gear, and rigging
- Secure cargo
- Launch and recover boats
Large cargo ship’s crew members are worlds apart from boat or yacht owners here in Miami. Often, the boat owner themselves are the sole crew members who are responsible for everything on the boat including cleaning and detailing the boat.
At Spotless Cleaning Services, we’d love to become a member of your crew for a time so we can help you keep your boat clean and detailed. When you’re needing someone you can count on to handle your boat with care and as much love as you do, we’ll always be there for you.