Inside Skinny

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Family Vacations, Summer 1996

Inside Skinny

Talk the Talk
Salts have a language all their own. Everyone knows that on a boat you call the toilet the head, the right side starboard, and the left side port. But do you know why? Centuries ago the lavatory was always located at the front of the boat, or the head. Starboard derives its name from the steering board, used to steer boats back in the days of the British admiralty. This device hung off the ship's right side. Back then, the left side was called the larboard, far too difficult to distinguish from starboard. Some unknown simply changed this to port, which was logical: At dock, the boats had to be tied on the opposite side of the steering board. Other translations: kitchen is galley, map is chart, rope is line. Our pals at the Museum of Yachting in Newport, Rhode Island, couldn't come up with the origins of these terms.

The Long Leash
Worried about your toddler toddling right off the side of the boat? No need: Ask your charter company to provide you with a tether or bring your own. These are simple leashes that attach at one end to your child's life jacket and at the other to, say, the cabin. Another option is protective netting that attaches to the lifeline around the boat's perimeter. Once in place, the boat is entirely enclosed, sort of like a floating playpen. When you're underway after dark, adults on deck should also clip in-with a chest harness, steel carabiner, and tether. Contact Lirakis Safety Harness, which manufactures gear for both adults and children (401-846-5356).

Copyright 1996, Outside Magazine

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