Sailor Speak of the Week – Binnacle List

Definition

Noun

  • The vessel’s sick list.

Origin

Probably earlier than the 18th century.

Comments

A list of crew members that are sick (or injured) and unable to report for duty. The list is given to the officer of the watch and was originally posted on the binnacle in ye olde times. Whether or not you’re contagious presents a further issue since disease spreads rapidly aboard a ship. In my own experience, I’ve been on the binnacle list, myself. I was ordered to confine myself to my quarters and listed as Sick In Quarters (SIQ). Reason: I had a nasty cold.

References

Rogers, J.G. (1985). Origins of Sea Terms. Mystic Seaport Museum.

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