Sailor Speak of the Week – Seacock



  • An opening through the hull below the waterline, with the valve, to let a controllable amount of seawater in.


Probably the 16th century from Middle English.


“Cock” is an old term for several types of valves. Seacocks can be used for several reasons. For example, flooding an ammunition magazine to prevent a fire and subsequent explosion. Also, flooding certain areas to counter a list due to battle damage.


King, D., Hattendorf, J.B, & Estes, J.W. (1997). A Sea of Words: A Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O’Brian’s Seafaring Tales (2nd Ed.). Owl Books.

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

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