Sailor Speak of the Week – Bollard

A hawser wrapped around a bollard. Photo by Ian Elif on



  • A strong vertical post, either shore-side or aboard a vessel, for securing hawsers and mooring lines.


14th century. Likely from the Old Norse word, bols, meaning tree trunk.


These are distinct from bitts which are usually in pairs. Both are used for similar purposes of securing a line. Bollards can appear in all different shapes and sizes. Traffic bollards are also the term for traffic control devices to prevent or direct vehicles along a certain path.


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

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