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Jetsam is a term for objects that have been thrown overboard in order to lighten a ship when it is in trouble (like when it hits a coral reef or comes too close to shore).

Jolly Roger

A pirate flag with a skull or skeleton, usually black but sometimes red. Each ship's flag design was unique to distinguish it from other pirate's ships. The black and white pirate flags are called blackjacks. Pictured is Edward England's flag.


A Chinese large wooden sailing ship.

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A Dutch pirate.


This was a form of punishment for pirates, which originates from the Dutch and English navies. A sailor was hauled under the keel of a ship, hanging by ropes attached to the yardarms on each side.


The speed of 1.15 miles per hour, the equivalent of a nautical mile. (see Chip Log)

Also the looping of ropes used to fasten two cords together or to secure things to the ship. Types of knots are overhand, figure eight, slip, loop, bowline, square, granny, carrick bend, fisherman's bend, Blackwall hitch, marlinespike hitch, clove hitch, half hitch, Matthew Walker, sheet bend, spritsail sheet knot and prolonge.

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Put cargo on the pirate ship.


Landfall means to approach, sight, or reach land.


One who is fond of land and awkward at sea due to unfamiliarity of sailing. Lubber refers to an uncoordinated person.


A triangular shaped sail which in pirate days was used in sailing ships such as the Arab dhow, Barbary corsair, and the Maltese corsair.


The port or left side of a ship (when facing toward the front of a ship) was called larboard until the mid 1800's. It is believed that larboard was too easily heard as or confused with starboard, so the term was changed to the word "port" instead. This name was chosen because when ships dock in ports, they load and unload from the left side of the ship. The term "port" was officially adopted by the Royal Navy in 1844. (See port)


The horizontal lines a ship passes in a north/south direction is referred to as latitude. The distance to a location is measured from the equator at zero degrees latitude with the North Pole being at a latitude of 90 degrees North and the South Pole at a latitude of 90 degrees South.


The side of the ship away from the wind (the opposite of windward).


The papers a government issues to privateers granting permission to attack, take by force and return the goods from enemy merchant ships.


The vertical lines a ship passes in traveling in a east/west direction is referred to as longitude. Greenwich, England, has a longitude of zero degrees. The farther east or west of Greenwich a ship travels, the greater the longitude (east or west). The farthest direction from Greenwich is at the opposite end of the globe known as the Midway Islands in the Pacific. Their longitude is 180 degrees.


The act of robbing goods from a merchant ship in time of war. The stolen goods are referred to as loot, booty, plunder or spoil.

Louis D'Or

French coin.

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