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Naval Words, Terms Common in Speech

It was a dark, rainy night, and I was killing time in the wardroom, waiting on midrats, absent-mindedly watching the evening movie, before I took the JOOD midwatch on the bridge. I dreaded it, because the OOD was a screamer, and we were off the mouth of the Tagus River, the Rio Tejo, where the Portuguese fishing boats, probably with their sea anchors out and crews asleep, painted almost solid on the surface search radar.

To the uninitiated, the preceding sentence might seem, at best, unclear. A naval cognoscenti, however, would know that I was nervously waiting around for the abbreviated midnight meal to be served before I took the 12 to 4 a.m. Junior Officer of the Deck watch in the ship’s pilothouse. They would also know that the Officer of the Deck often lost his temper under duress, and that it was going to be a long night; underway from Lisbon, but now creeping through the foggy darkness, trying not to hit any of the tiny, ubiquitous fishing boats that had the right of way under maritime law.

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