- (AKA Ratlins, Rattlings) Small ropes or rods tied between the shrouds to form the rungs of a ladder. Used for going aloft.
15th century. From the earlier spelling, raddlelines, and the Middle English word, radelyne.
Pronounced ratlin. These are still found on square-rigged ships and some larger fore-and-aft rigged ships. The crew will climb the ratlines to go aloft to work on maintenance, conduct repairs, and a work on the sails.
Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic, CT: Mystic Seaport Museum.