Font resize Decrease Size Reset font to default Increase Size

Sailaday OK – Life changing therapy at sea

Sailaday OK supports marine based adventure therapy to help adults, their families and young persons recover from the consequences of addictions, abuse and other trauma .

Our unique evidence based therapeutic model promotes positive personal change through practical expereince. To reduce disadvantage and social exclusion  by provision of therapeutic sailing  & Educate therapists and skippers in the benefits of therapeutic sailing.


  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Home About Sailaday Ok Maritime Metaphores

 Metaphor :  a figure of  speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that is does not a literally donate in order to suggest a similarity.

  “The sea is the perfect metaphor for life.”

 It is a simple way of expressing something complex. We use metaphors a lot to help make sense of complicated ideas. There are many nautical metaphors that you may or may not already use in your everyday language.

Metaphor:  a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that is does not a literally donate in order to suggest a similarity.

  “The sea is the perfect metaphor for life.”

'For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves we find under the sea.' (e e Cummings) 

Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. (Devil was the longest plank on the ship’s hull, then when at sea and at times they needed to be re-caulked. Poor sod that had to do it was said to be caught.......)

 “Up shit creek  without a paddle” This referred to trying to get down Deptford canal toward the Isle of Dogs but due to shit in the canal you were stuck, can’t go back can’t go forward .

-    full to capacity or overloaded.  If 2 blocks of a ship's rigging are so tight together that they cannot be tightened further they are said to be chock-a-block.

To Know The Ropes
- on a square-rigged ship there were many miles of rigging.  It took an experienced seaman to know the ropes.

  -    the bottom portion of the sail is called 'the foot'.  If it is not secured it is known as 'footloose' and dances in the wind.

To Let the Cat out of the Bag
-    the punishment for the most serious misdemeanours in the Royal Navy was flogging.  This was administered using a whip called the 'cat o' nine tails'.  The cat was kept in a leather bag.

First Rate -    until steam-power took over, British navy ships were rated according to the number of heavy canon they carried.  A ship of a hundred cannon or more was known as a First Rate Line-of-Battle ship.
Able to keep an even keel in rough seas, proves that he can balance his heart and his head, but it’s sometimes tough for Jack to maintain his steely exterior and keep an even keel.

stick-in-the-mud . The terms fusspot, fusser, spoilsport, wet blanket, old fogy, stuffed shirt,

A tidal creek is the portion of a stream that is affected by ebb and flow of ocean tide s, in the case that the subject stream discharges. Ebb and Flow is known for its simplicity, reliability of operation,

Time & tide Again, the Wrath of Achilles turns the war’s tide in seeking ... rather than human metaphors, their “existence” —

 Pearls before swine.....

No room to swing a cat – The entire ship's company was expected to witness floggings, assembled on deck. If it was very crowded, the bosun might not have room to swing the 'cat o' nine tails' (the whip).

Aye, aye (pronounced /ˌaɪ ˈaɪ/) – Reply to an order or command to indicate that it, firstly, is heard; and, secondly, is understood and will be carried out. ("Aye, aye, sir" to officers).

Batten down the hatches – To prepare for inclement weather.

Beam ends – The sides of a ship. "On her beam ends" may mean the vessel is literally on her side and possibly about to capsize; more often, the phrase means the vessel is listing 45 degrees or more.

 Buoyed up – Lifted by a buoy, especially a cable that has been lifted to prevent it from trailing on the bottom.

By and largeBy means into the wind, while large means with the wind. "By and large" is used to indicate all possible situations "the ship handles well both by and large".

By the board – Anything that has gone overboard.

Captain's daughter – The cat o' nine tails, which in principle is only used on board on the captain's (or a court martial's) personal orders.

Chock-a-block – Rigging blocks that are so tight against one another that they cannot be further tightened. 

Clean bill of health – A certificate issued by a port indicating that the ship carries no infectious diseases.

As the crow flies – A direct line between two points (which might cross land) which is the way crows travel rather than ships which must go around land

Cut and run – When wanting to make a quick escape, a ship might cut lashings to sails or cables for anchors, causing damage to the rigging, or losing an anchor, but shortening the time needed to make ready by bypassing the proper procedures.

Cut of his jib – The "cut" of a sail refers to its shape. Since this would vary between ships, it could be used both to identify a familiar vessel at a distance, and to judge the possible sailing qualities an unknown one. Used to characterize the way a person looks; sailors would recognize the nationality of other ships by the shape of the triangular foresail. 

Deadwood – A wooden part of the centerline structure of a boat, usually between the sternpost and amidships...

Devil to pay (or devil to pay and no pitch hot) – 'Paying' the devil is sealing the devil seam. It is a difficult and unpleasant job (with no resources) because of the shape of the seam (up against the stanchions) or if the devil refers to the garboard seam, it must be done with the ship slipped or careened

  In the Doldrums – Also called the "equatorial calms", is a nautical term for the equatorial trough, with special reference to the light and variable nature of the winds.

Dressing down. 1 – Treating old sails with oil or wax to renew them. 2 – A verbal reprimand

Flotsam – Debris or cargo that remains afloat after a shipwreck. See also jetsam.

Footloose – If the foot of a sail is not secured properly, it is footloose, blowing around in the wind.

Grog – Watered-down pusser's rum consisting of half a gill with equal part of water, issued to all seamen over twenty. (CPOs and POs were issued with neat rum) From the British Admiral Vernon who, in 1740, ordered the men's ration of rum to be watered down. He was called "Old Grogram" because he often wore a grogram coat), and the watered rum came to be called 'grog'. Often used (illegally) as currency in exchange for favours in quantities prescribed as 'sippers' and 'gulpers'. Additional issues of grog were made on the command 'splice the main brace' for celebrations or as a reward for performing especially onerous duties. The RN discontinued the practice of issuing rum in 1970. A sailor might repay a colleague for a favour by giving him part or all of his grog ration, ranging from "sippers" (a small amount) via "gulpers" (a larger quantity) to "grounders" (the entire tot).

Know the ropes – A sailor who 'knows the ropes' is familiar with the miles of cordage and ropes involved in running a ship.

Loaded to the gunwales – Literally, having cargo loaded as high as the ship's rail; also means extremely drunk.

Loggerhead – An iron ball attached to a long handle, used for driving caulking into seams and (occasionally) in a fight. Hence: 'at loggerheads'.

Loose cannon – An irresponsible and reckless individual whose behavior (either intended or unintended) endangers the group he or she belongs to. Loose cannon, weighing thousands of pounds, would crush anything and anyone in its path, and possibly even break a hole in the hull, thus endangering the seaworthiness of the whole ship.

Nipper – Short rope used to bind a cable to the "messenger" (a moving line propelled by the capstan) so that the cable is dragged along too (used where the cable is too large to be wrapped round the capstan itself). During the raising of an anchor the nippers were attached and detached from the (endless) messenger by the ship's boys. Hence the term for small boys: 'nippers'.

No room to swing a cat – The entire ship's company was expected to witness floggings, assembled on deck. If it was very crowded, the bosun might not have room to swing the 'cat o' nine tails' (the whip).

Over-reaching – When tacking, holding a course too long.

Overwhelmed – Capsized or foundered.

Slush fund – The money obtained by the cook selling slush ashore. Used for the benefit of the crew (or the cook).

Son of a gun – The space between the guns was used as a semi-private place for trysts with prostitutes and wives, which sometimes led to birth of children with disputed parentage. Another claim is that the origin the term resulted from firing a ship's guns to hasten a difficult birth.

Square meal – A sufficient quantity of food. Meals on board ship were served to the crew on a square wooden plate in harbor or at sea in good weather. Food in the Royal Navy was invariably better or at least in greater quantity than that available to the average landsman. However, while square wooden plates were indeed used on board ship, there is no established link between them and this particular term. The OED gives the earliest reference from the U.S. in the mid 19th century.

Taken aback – Inattentive helmsmen might allow the dangerous situation to arise where the wind is blowing into the sails 'backwards', causing a sudden (and possibly dangerous) shift in the position of the sails.

Three sheets to the wind – On a three-masted ship, having the sheets of the three lower courses loose will result in the ship meandering aimlessly downwind. Also, a sailor who has drunk strong spirits beyond his capacity

Toe the line or Toe the mark – At parade, sailors and soldiers were required to stand in line, their toes in line with a seam of the deck.

Under way – A vessel that is moving under control: that is, neither at anchor, made fast to the shore, aground nor adrift.

Under the weather – Serving a watch on the weather side of the ship, exposed to wind and spray.

Up-and-down – A description for the relative slackness of an anchor chain; this term means that the anchor chain is slack and hangs vertically down from the hawse pipe.

Swinging the lead  to avoid duty by feigning illness or injury, original a confusion between Swing the leg which related to the way dogs can run on three legs to gain sympathy and the sailor's term heaving the lead which was to take soundings

Taken aback, on a square-rigger the sails were 'taken aback' when the wind was blowing on the wrong side of the sails causing a dangerous situation. Later used to indicate a difficult or unexpected situation.[2]

Batten down the hatches

Clear the decks to get everything out of the way as a warship went into action.[3]

Back and fill


Nail one's colors to the mast

Flying the flag

Plain sailing

In the doldrums

All hands to the pumps

Weathering a storm

A different tack

Plumbing the depths

I’m alright jack

“Sailing to close to the wind”  “being all at sea”, “waiting to see which way the wind is blowing”  ‘Paddling my own canoe’. ‘Keep one hand for the ship and one hand for yourself’. “falling in the drink”  "sorry to cut across your bows" “all hands on the deck ( to the pumps)”   “Welcome aboard, coming aboard, all aboard”.   ‘Time and tide awaits for no man'  ‘‘leave some leeway’   ‘throw caution to the winds’,    ‘been cut adrift’,   ‘stop rocking the boat’,   ‘took the wind out of my sails’. ‘Throw caution to the wind.’

With flying colors - the colors was the national flag flown at sea during battle, a ship would surrender by lowering the colors and the term is now used to indicate a triumphant victory or win

"Take soundings":- In suspected shallow waters, a crewmember may have the task of repeatedly throwing into the water a lead line, or piece of lead tied to a string knotted every fathom, for the purpose of estimating the depth of the sea.[7] This saying the nautical equivalent of "Take the lay of the land": see how things are going, or see what people think about a proposed course of action

"Son of a gun"- may have referred to a boy born aboard ship during the age of sail-power. Although technically never allowed, women were not infrequently aboard British ships during at least of their voyages (these women included both wives and prostitutes). One theory holds that "son of a gun" was entered into the official log of the ship in cases of questionable or uncertain paternity. Another theory holds that the guns themselves occasionally aided in the birthing process by "kicking" the bulkhead against a woman's back. This theory holds that any boy born in such a manner was a son of a gun

"All set"- is derived from setting lobster traps, commonly used to denote a completed task

POSH and Brass monkeys are C20th falsies


Part of the therapeutic process with Sailaday OK is we work with metaphors and we want your favourites. 

About helming a course

We use more complex metaphors. (When helming) “if the conditions, or your condition changes, you need to make changes”  If the weather, sea,, day/night changes you need to make changes the same if your condition changes, cold, hungry, want the toilet ( heads), This is not really understood by those coming out of active addiction. There may be a belief that the problem will go away, that it isn’t really happening etc. etc. This is about engaging the ‘adult’ and trusting your take on reality, the here and now.

There are similar metaphors we use around anchoring (relationships/attachments) and about setting a course. “If you don’t know where you are you’re not going to be able to set a course to reach your goal. On a boat you may need a chart, triangulate your position, maybe other information, likewise in life, you need  good sense of what you are thinking, feeling ability to asses you surroundings and your conditions, are you fit for the journey ?  Do you need some more information, skills, help 

About mediation.

  “You need to consciously clear the old breath before you can fully benefit from the new, life, energy, breath” RH

As in recovery you need to clear the old (traumas) before you can make room for new life, new energy, and new relationships.etc  




Sign Up to our Newsletter


We're always interested in what people have to say.

Please use the contact form for comments and feedback.

Latest Newsletter

Newsletter April 2013

Click here to read

Newsletter Jully  2012

Click here to read

Newslette May 20120

Click here to read May Newsletter

Newsletter April 2012

Click here to read latest Newsletter

Newsletter Jan 2012

Click here to read our latest Newsletter

Newsletter November 2010. 

Click here to read Nov. Newsletter