Sailor Speak of the Week – Helm

A person at the helm of a boat. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Definition

Noun

  • The steering apparatus of a vessel.

Origin

Probably earlier than the 18th century. Possibly from Old Norse, hjalmvoh, meaning rudder handle.

Comments

Whatever you steer the ship with, but mostly refers ship’s wheel nowadays. Tillers are common in many boats. Some vessels with azimuth thrusters also have very unique setups featuring rotating levers.

References

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

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