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Nautical Terms Acronyms and Abbreviations

There are many nautical terms, acronyms and abbreviations that facilitate communication on the seas and standardize the international nautical language. Below is a list of nautical terms acronyms and abbreviations that has been shortened to include only some of the acronyms that are considered international standards.

Commonly-used Nautical Terms

Here are some of the most common:

  • Above board - On or above the deck

  • Adrift - Vessel is not attached to the shore or seabed

  • Aft - Back half of the vessel

  • Ahoy - A cry for attention

  • Anchor - A heavy object attached to a vessel which is thrown overboard to prevent drift

  • Bar pilot - A person who guides a vessel over dangerous sandbars

  • Bearing - A horizontal visual line between two objects

  • Berth - A sleeping area on a vessel

  • Bow - The front of a vessel

  • Fathom - A measurement of depth, of about 6 feet

  • Knot - A measurement of speed, about 1.1508 miles

  • League - A measurement of depth, equal to three nautical miles

  • Nautical Mile - A measurement of length, equal to approximately 6,076 feet

  • Piracy - Robbery or violence at sea on the occupants of a vessel by the occupants of another vessel

  • Stern - Back of the vessel

  • Stowaway - A person on a vessel without permission

  • Upbound - A vessel traveling upstream

  • Yardarm - The very end of a yard

Commonly-used Acronyms and Abbreviations

  • ABS - American Bureau of Shipping

  • AIS - Automatic Identification System

  • AMNI - Associate Member of The Nautical Institute

  • AMVER - US Coast Guard's Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System

  • BFI - Baltic Freight Index

  • Bimco - Baltic and International Maritime Council

  • Bimcosale - Bimco standard form of bill of sale

  • BOSVA - British Offshore Support Vessel Owners Association

  • BPI - Baltic Panamax Index

  • CCS - China Classification Society

  • CEN - European Committee for Standardisation

  • DGPS - Differential Global Positioning System

  • DLong - Difference in Longitude

  • DNC - Digital Nautical Chart

  • DOC - Document of Compliance (as per ISM Code)

  • DSV - Diving Support Vessel

  • Dwt - Deadweight Tonnes

  • DX.90 - Format for digital cartographic data

  • ECDIS - Electronic Chart Display and Information System

  • EC - European Community or European Commission

  • ECS - Electronic Chart System

  • EEZ - Exclusive Economic Zone

  • EN - European Standard

  • EPIRB - Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

  • EPS - IMO performance standard for ECDIS

  • FNI - Fellow of the Nautical Institute

  • FO - Fuel oil

  • FPSO - Floating Production, Storage and Offloading System

  • FSA - Formal Safety Assessment

  • HO - Hydrographic Office, observed height

  • HP - High pressure

  • HSC - International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, IMO

  • HSE - health safety and environmental, Health and Safety Executive

  • HSWA - Health and Safety at Work Act

  • IACS - International Association of Classification Societies

  • IBCS - Integrated bridge control system

  • IBIA - International Bunker Industry Association Ltd

  • IFTPA - International Forest Product Transport Association

  • IFSMA - International Federation of Ship Masters' Associations

  • IGO - Inter-governmental Organisation

  • IGS - Inert Gas System

  • IICL - Institute of Internatioanl Container Lessors

  • ISM - Code International Safety Management Code, IMO

  • ISMA - International Ship Managers' Association

  • IS - Information Systems

  • ISO - International Standards Organisation

  • ISSN - International Standard Serial Number

  • IT - Information Technology

  • LAN - Local Apparent Noon (nautical), Local Area Network

  • Lash - Lighter Aboard Ship

  • LOC - Letter of Credit, Letter of Compliance (USCG)

  • LOR - Letter of Readiness

  • LPG - Liquefied Petroleum Gas

  • LR - Lloyd's Register (classification society)

  • LSA - Life Saving Appliances, Lloyd's Standard Form of Salvage Agreement

  • LST - Local Standard Time

  • LW - Low Water, Winter Load Line (timber)

  • MAIIF - Marine Accident Investigators' International Forum

  • Marisat - Maritime Satellite System

  • Mb - Megabyte

  • MCA - Maritime and Coastguard Agency

  • MDO - Marine Diesel Oil

  • MEO - Medium Earth Orbit (satellite configuration)

  • MEPC - Marine Environment Protection Committee, IMO

  • MERSAR - Merchant Ship Search and Rescue Manual

  • NDT - Non-destructive Testing

  • NECSA - Navigational Electronic Chart System Association

  • NFTZ - Non Free Trade Zone

  • NI - Nautical Institute

  • OMBO - One Man Bridge Operation

  • OOD - Officer of the Deck, Officer of the Day

  • OOW - Officer of the Watch

  • OPA 90 - Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (USA)

  • Opec - Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries

  • OPPR - Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response

  • P and I (P&I) - Club Protection and Indemnity Club

  • PRS - Polish Register of Shipping - classification society

  • PSC - Port State Control

  • PV - Pressure/Vacuum, Prime Vertical

  • QA - Quality Assurance

  • RCC - Rescue Coordination Centre

  • RCDS - Raster Chart Display Systems

  • RMT - National Union of Rail, Maritime And Transport Workers

  • RNC - Raster Navigational Chart

  • SCOPIC - Special Compensation P&I Clause

  • SCR - Special Casualty Representative (P&I)

  • SMC - Safety Management Certificate (as per ISM Code)

  • SPI - Ship-Port Interface, IMO

  • SPM - Single Point Mooring

  • STCW - International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, IMO

  • TFLL - Tropical Fresh Load Line

  • TLL - Timber Load Line

  • TPI - Tonnes Per Inch Immersion

  • UFL - Upper Flammable Limit

  • UN - United Nations

  • Unclos - United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

  • UPS - Uninterrupted Power Supply

  • USCG - United States Coast Guard

  • UTC - Universal Time (Coordinated)

  • VDR - Voyage Data Recorder

  • VDU - Visual Display Unit

  • WHO - World Health Organisation

  • WL - Water Line

  • WMO - World Meteorological Organisation

  • WMU - World Maritime University

  • WT - Watertight

  • ZD - Zone Description

Nautical terms, acronyms and abbreviations are important to communicate effectively at sea.

Nautical Terms Acronyms and AbbreviationsNautical Terms Acronyms and Abbreviations

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