Speak the language.
Here is a list of terms that will help you adjust to life
in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
All hands: The entire ship’s company - everyone in the unit.
Aye, aye: The traditional and expected response to an order. “Yes, sir” (or Ma’am) is not an acceptable substitute.
Belay: To cancel an order or stop an action, as in “Belay the small talk!”
Binnacle List: Those excused from drills or activities because of illness are said to be on the binnacle list. This list is named from the practice in the age of sail of keeping such a list handy in the binnacle, the housing for the compass located near the ship’s wheel.
Bulkhead: A vertical partition, i.e., a wall.
Colors: The morning or evening ceremony of hoisting or lowering the U.S. flag.
Compartment: A room. Sailors sleep in berthing compartments in a ship. A small compartment housing officers is called a stateroom. The compartment where the Captain lies is called the cabin. It is the only cabin in a naval vessel.
Cover: Head gear, such as the cadet’s whit hat or ball cap.
Division: A local unit of the Sea Cadet Corps in which the training involves general seamanship topics. Sea Cadet Squadrons concentrate on aviation while Sea Cadet Battalions study SeaBee construction subjects.
Door: Oddly enough, the nautical term for a door–an opening in a bulkhead (wall)--is “door.” It is not a hatch. A hatch is an opening in a deck.
Drill: A training period scheduled for the unit. Commonly on a regularly scheduled weeknight or weekend, it can also include special training events, parades, etc.
Field Day: A general clean up of the facility involving all hands.
Galley: The kitchen.
Gear Adrift: Items, such as personal gear, not properly stowed.
Head: The bathroom or, more specifically, the toilet, so named because in the days of sail it was a simple seat over a hole cut in the overhand of the bow in the foremost part (head) of the ship.
Ladder: Doesn’t necessarily mean something with rungs, it also means stairs. A stairwell is called a ladderwell.
Midshipman: An adult, typically a former cadet or college student, appointed by the National Chairman to a position of leadership in the Naval Sea Cadet Corps (including the Navy League Cadet Corps), under the age of 21.