The rear area of a vessel.

A large vessel with a flat bottom for transporting cargo; often towed or pushed by other vessels.

Sailing vessel with three or more masts; square sails are used on all but the aft mast.

Sailing vessel with three or more masts. The foremast is rigged with square sails, the rest with fore-and-aft sails.

The front section of a vessel.

Sailing vessel with two masts rigged with square sails.

Sailing vessel with two masts rigged with square sails on the foremast and a fore-and-aft sail on the main mast.

Powerful crashing waves that “break” into foam on or near shore. The roar of breakers along the west coast of Vancouver Island often caused panic for a ships’ crew because it meant that they had come to close to the rocky shore and were in danger of wrecking. Because of the awesome and unpredictable power of breakers, they are often almost impossible to swim through.

An important marker that tells navigators where they should travel. The markings and colours of buoys are signals to move in closer, move further away or travel between two points of land for safety. Some buoys have signal lights so that they may be seen in the fog and dark.

Captain George Vancouver:
A British Captain of the Royal Navy who surveyed Vancouver Island and the Gulf of Georgia region between 1792-1794. He is thought to be the first European to explore the area and Vancouver Island is named after him.

A boat or ship used to transport coal.

The continual flow or movement of water along a path. (Marlin travels the East Australia Current while searching for Nemo!)

A crane-like piece of equipment used to raise and lower lifeboats from the side of a vessel.

A noise signal used before electronic equipment was developed, used to warn ships when they were coming in too close to shore in a thick fog. They could be hand-held, making use of bellows that took in air and pushed it out through a loud horn.

A nautical term used to describe a vessel that has ceased to operate properly and is beginning to sink below the water.

Merchant ship, often under 100 metres and fitted with deck cranes.

The impact of glaciers upon the landscape.

The socket for the pin on which the rudder turns.

Gyro Compass:
A navigational device used to determine geographical direction.

A thick rope, traditionally made from three, twisted sections of many strands, for tying up and towing vessels.

The body or frame of a vessel, made of wood, metal or fibreglass.

A condition that occurs when the body’s temperature drops to an abnormally low level. Hypothermia is a common danger for people shipwrecked in the Graveyard of the Pacific because of the very cold waters in the area.

A grouping of small island formations, typically made of rock. Islets can pose a danger to passing ships because of the way water can swirl or race around them. One example of this is Race Rocks, on the southern most point of Vancouver Island.

The main structural component of a vessel, running lengthwise from bow to stern.

Keep watch:
The important job of looking for dangers and hazards while traveling at sea.

A unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour. For example, if a vessel were travelling at 5 knots per hour, it would travel 5 nautical miles every hour.

A tall structure with a powerful light used to guide marine traffic. The light may be an “attraction light”, which indicates a safe direction, or a “repellant light”, which indicates a hazard to avoid.

A tall, vertical pole affixed to the deck of a sailing vessel to support the sails and rigging.

Marine borers:
Animals that live in and eat wood that has been washed ashore. Many marine borers live in driftwood from shipwrecks. They can be found above the high tide line on many Vancouver Island beaches. Two common marine borers are the “Shipworm” clam and the “Gribble” isopod.

Nautical mile:
An international unit of distance used in sea navigation. A nautical mile is equivalent to 1852 meters or 6076.17 feet.

A navigational tool used for measuring angles, based on astronomy.

Packet ship:
A ship that travels a regular route between two ports carrying mail, cargo and passengers.

The left-hand section of a vessel, when facing the bow. Also the left-hand direction.

A communications device that receives and regenerates a signal for long-distance messages.

The equipment or “tackle,” including ropes, chains, stays, braces and sheets, used to support and adjust the sails.

A person or company that engages in the salvage trade.

A large, flat-bottomed vessel, often with squared ends, for cargo transport.

Sea room:
The space required by a vessel between its path and the shore or an obstacle.

Today, the term “ship” is used to refer to all large vessels. It once referred to a sailing vessel with three or more masts, all with square rigging.

A vessel with steam engines to drive a large wheel at the side.

Underwater maps of shipwrecks that are produced by underwater archaeologists and/or divers. These maps are used when exploring a wreck underwater and they are very useful as an aid to identification of a wreck and its parts.

A machine used in early oil-spill cleaning that worked as a series of conveyor belts that would gather oil slicks from the surface of the water and deposit them into holding tanks.

A ridge or a similar protruding geographical formation.

The right-hand section of a vessel, when facing the bow. Also the right-hand direction.

A vessel powered by one or more steam engines.

The rear or “aft” section of a vessel.

A vessel with steam engines to drive a large wheel at the stern.

Taffrail Log:
A device with rotating fins that is dragged behind a vessel to measure the speed and/or distance travelled.

A metal tag or fabric band used as a label.

Large ship used to carry a variety of goods, including petroleum products, chemicals and foodstuffs.

Telegraph line:
The precursor to the phone line. The telegraph line used a codified system to send messages along an electric current. The first telegraph lines on Vancouver Island followed the West Coast along the Graveyard of the Pacific and were often used to send messages for aid and rescue.

A small, powerful vessel used to push, pull and sometimes guide other vessels.

Unseaworthy vessel/ship:
A ship that is not considered safe enough to travel because of improper loading, poor equipment, damage and/or deterioration.

A vessel powered by wind and sails.

The common name given to a ship or other sea going vessel that has sunk or been damaged and stranded.