DICTIONARY OF TRAWLING TERMINOLOGY

  • Aft                The extreme end of the vessel from the bow.
  • Amidships  Is the area near or at the middle of the vessel.
  • Backstrop  A wire which has three eyes, two attached to the back of the otter board,the third holds the Kelly’s eye  which is instrumental when attaching/detaching the otter boards.
  • Baskets      A round container made from wicker in which fish catch was roughly calculated. There were approximately 3 baskets to 2 kit. A kit when measured out on the fish market was equal to 10  stone in weight.
  • Becket       A term used for a number of different items. The main double becket fits around the codend and allows a large catch to be brought onboard efficiently in manageable quantities.
  • Bight          A loop formed in a rope or wire.
  • Blocking up The action of containing the two warps in the towing block aft when shooting the gear.
  • Bobbins     The heavy string of steel and rubber spheres which act as the footrope and allows the gear to stay in  contact with the seabed.
  • Bosun         Short for Boatswain who was a watch keeper and in charge of the deck in the absence of the Mate.
  • Brackets    The two triangular steel fixtures on the otter boards to which the towing warps are clipped/unclipped.
  • Braiding needles A small wooden instrument used to repair/braid net, when loaded with twine.
  • Bridge        The upper part of the superstructure which contains the wheelhouse.
  • Bridge telegraph The mechanical communication instrument for conveying engine movement from the wheelhouse to the engine room.
  • Bunk           A seaman’s bed.
  • Busters      A round hotcake baked by many Cooks, usually eaten with a cup of tea between mealtimes.
  • Butterfly    One of the components of the Dan Leno arrangement; holds the toe leg wire and the headline wire.
  • Cable drum The main wire holders on the starboard and port sides of the winch for housing the warps.
  • Chief Engineer The head qualified Engineer in charge of and responsible for the engines and all mechanical, hydraulic and pumping equipment.
  • Clumpers   Old cut down sea boots used as ‘slippers.’
  • Codend      The final part of a trawl net which is made of strong double twine. It contains the fish as the opening is tied off by use of the codline knot.
  • Codline knot A slip type of knot used specifically on the codend. It closes off the open end but can be easily released when the catch comes onboard.
  • Dan Lenos  A part of the iron gear that is towed ahead of the main trawl attached to the ground cable at the top end and the toe leg and headline leg at the butterfly section.
  • Deckhand   A proficient and usually experienced fisherman whose role is specifically deck work especially during fishing operations.
  • Deckie learner A young apprentice type deckhand.
  • Derrick         A heavy duty steel arm attached to the foremast used to heave the codends outboard by means of a block and wire commonly referred to as a ‘yo yo’ wire.
  • Dippy giggle An odd physical condition often experienced by those who work on deck for long hours in extreme  conditions. Its effect makes men laugh when generally there is little to laugh at.
  • Donkey        The water feed provided to the fish washer from the engine room sea water pump.
  • Door chain  The heavy duty chain secured to the gallows which is used when disengaging the trawl doors during the hauling and shooting operation.
  • Double sheaved The heavy lift block with two rollers secured on the foremast and used with the tackle hook to bring the bag of fish inboard.
  • Duck Pond  The lowest area on the deck where the working deck meets the raised after area and where the largest scupper is situated to allow water shipped onboard to flow out.
  • Fasteners     Wrecks or other seabed obstructions that the trawler’s gear can be caught up on and damaged or lost.
  • Fathom         A measurement of water depth equal to 6 feet.
  • Fireman        Assistant to the Chief or Second Engineer.
  • Fishroom      The below deck section of the vessel specifically designed to hold/preserve the catch.
  • Fishroom man  A deckhand who managed the fish room.
  • Fleet              A process whereby lengths of net are brought sequentially onboard by use of lifting gear.
  • Floats            Aluminium or plastic spheres used to float open the headline of the trawl whilst being towed on the  seabed.
  • Footrope      The heavy duty string of steel/rubber bobbins used to weigh the bottom of the trawl onto the seabed.
  • Force 4-5      Wind speed as stated on the Beaufort Scale where winds of between 13 and 24mph are experienced.
  • Fore               Towards the bow.
  • Foredeck      The part of the working deck between the duckpond and the whaleback.
  • Galley           The vessel’s kitchen where all food is prepared and cooked.
  • Galley boy    The Cook’s assistant, the most junior rating onboard.
  • Gallows        The horseshoe shaped large steel structures sited close to the ships rail, both aft and forward, through which the warps ran during hauling, shooting and towing of the gear.
  • Gash             Extra sleep when watch below, due to no work until hauling time.
  • G Link           A heavy duty G shaped link which is used to connect/disconnect the trawl warps to the otter boards.
  • Gilguy           A wire used through a block on the wheelhouse to fleet the volume of net inboard which include the  square, belly/baitings and lengtheners.
  • Gilson hook The hook used on the end of the Gilson wire used for most heaving tasks other than the final lift inboard of a bag of fish.
  • Ground cable  The sweep wires located between the otter boards and the Dan Lenos.
  • Guiding on gear  The mechanism fitted at the front of the winch which spools the warps evenly on the cable drums.
  • Gutting         The action of removing the innards of the fish in order to prevent them spoiling.
  • Haddock Rash  An irritable skin condition which causes a rash to the hands, wrists, forearms, when gutting haddocks which have sand, grit in the gut.
  • Hauling         The retrieving of the fishing gear after being towed for a given period of time.
  • Headline       The wire reinforced top of the mouth of the trawl net which houses the spherical floats.
  • Helm              A common term given to the process of altering the ship’s rudder to change the direction of the ship’s heading.
  • Hopper          A machine used to transfer the raw livers from the deck to the liver house aft, operated by steam.
  • Jummy Lump  A hurtful physical condition to a deckhands wrists caused by excessive work, in the main gutting.
  • Keep              A steel link sliced into the ground cable which, when stopped in the Kelly’s eye allows the otter boards to be attached/detached.
  • Kelly’s eye    An item of ironware used within the components of a full set of gear, used specifically to capture the  cable keep thereby allowing the otter boards to be connected/disconnected.
  • Leeside        The side opposite to the weather which gave some shelter to those working on deck.
  • Leggo aft     A colloquial command meaning to let the warps go free from the towing block to enable hauling of the gear to take place.
  • Lengtheners  A section of double net between the belly/baitings and the codend. It allows space within the trawl if a large catch is made.
  • Liver baskets  The baskets used to save the livers in during the gutting of the fish.
  • Liver house    A section aft within which large steam operated boilers rendered the raw livers into liver oil. In some vessels the plant was situated forward.
  • Mate               The ship’s deck officer junior only to the Skipper.
  • Messroom     The area dedicated to where the crew ate their meals and enjoyed recreation.
  • Officer’s Mess  The area onboard specifically for use by the Officers for eating/recreation.
  • Oilskins          Waterproof clothing worn by the deckhands. Rubber, plastic suits or all-in-one frock – like garments.
  • Otter boards The 11 x 5 foot steel and wood constructed doors used to provide the horizontal opening to the trawl when being towed on the seabed. They were apparently named after one of the first steam trawlers to    use them.
  • Pan of shackles  A common name to describe a meat/vegetable stew.
  • Paying out     When the warps are running outboard during the shooting of the gear.
  • Portside         The side of a vessel that lies on your left hand side when facing the bow (forward).
  • Pound            An area of the deck closed off using boards to restrict fish movement.
  • Preventor chain/Restraining chain  A heavy duty chain with one end secured to the gallows with the other end being free to secure the otter board during hauling/shooting of the gear.
  • Rigging           A fixture consisting of three heavy duty wrapped wires attached to the deck at the bottom and diverging at one point on the mast below the crosstree to form a ‘ladder’ to climb up/down.
  • Scuppers       Openings in the ship side plating at deck level, to allow any sea water taken onboard to run away freely. They were also a means of getting rid of guts, debris etc.
  • Second Engineer  A qualified watchkeeping engineer junior to the Chief Engineer.
  • Selvedges      The edges of a net section, laced together to seal and reinforce sections of the trawl.
  • Sheave           A roller type block through which the warps or wire can freely run through, as the ones attached at the fore and aft gallows.
  • Shooting       The operational process of sending the fishing gear to the seabed.
  • Skipper         The Senior Officer onboard with sole responsibility for the safety and profitability of the vessel.
  • Splice             A process whereby a rope/wire is repaired or when an eye needs to be formed.
  • Starboard     The side of a vessel that lies on your right hand side when facing the bow (forward).
  • Tannoy          A loud hailer communication system, which links the bridge to a number of areas on the ship.
  • Third Hand   A uncertified proficient experienced deckhand who assumes a watch keeping role usually overseen by the Skipper.
  • Toe leg wire  A wire which forms part of the ground gear connecting the footrope to the Dan Leno.
  • Tow                The action of trawling the fishing gear along the seabed.
  • Towing block  Is the fix point at the stern into which the warps are safely retained while the fishing gear is being towed on the seabed. It allows the vessels to be manoeuvred by keeping the warps clear from the            propeller/rudder.
  • Trawl              The complete net part of a trawler’s fishing gear.
  • Treacle duff   A common dish, a pudding which can be produced as a savoury or with treacle as a sweet.
  • Twine             The ‘string like’ material used in the production of netting.
  • Wake              The disturbed path of water created by the ships propeller.
  • Warps             Heavy duty wire that the fishing gear was towed on.
  • Watch             A period of duty.
  • Whipping drums  The outer barrels on a winch on which most wire/rope heaving operations take place.
  • Winch            The main mechanical power source on deck to heavy/lift weights. It is fundamental to the hauling and shooting of the fishing gear.
  • Wing rubbers  Rubber discs slotted onto wires which are attached to the main bobbins and form the footrope.
  • Wireless Operator  The communications officer responsible for all transmissions on behalf of the Skipper and has total responsibility for the maintenance and repair of all electronic equipment i.e. radio, radar, echo sounders.