This glossary defines some of the many nautical and technical terms associated with shipbuilding and steam engines. Since many of the definitions provided here describe parts of an engine or sections/areas of a ship images are provided to illustrate the object discussed.

Because most of what has been published on the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke is in French, the French word for each definition is included following the definition within parentheses. Anyone interesting in finding out more about this interesting subject can browse the brief bibliography provided here.

Home Page To jump to the first letter of the word you are searching for click on the letters below.


Artefact: an article or part of article made by human hands, found on a archeological site. (artefact) See a sampling of the artefacts from the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Beacon: a lighting apparatus, sounding or radio-electrical system used to guide the navigator. (balise)

Beam lever: parts, functioning in pairs, that through the tie rod, transmit the piston's movement to flywheel's cam. (balancier) Map of the engine room

Bilge: the lowest point of a ship's inner hull. (fond de cale)

Boiler: the part of the steam engine where water is converted to steam. (chaudière) Map of the engine room

Bow: the front part of a ship. (proue) Design of the the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Brig: a two-masted, square-rigged ship. (brick)

Bulwark: the railing that runs along the bridge of a ship. (bastingage) Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Cast off: to untie the mooring line. (larguer)

Channel: a navigable straight between two land masses. (chenal)

Clutch: a mechanism used to connect the motor to paddlewheel. (embrayage) Map of the engine room

Condenser: a part of the steam engine where steam from the cylinder is cooled into condensation. (condenseur) Map of the engine room

Crankshaft: an engine part that transforms the up and down movement of the piston into a rotative movement. (vilebrequin) Map of the engine room

Cylinder: the piston chamber in an engine. (cylindre) Map of the engine room

Home Page Davit: a crane (usually wooden) that projects over the side of a ship, used for anchors, or cargo. (bossoir)

Deaden: to slow the speed of a boat. (casser son erre)

Docking: guiding a boat to the wharf. (accostage)

Fathom: an old unit of length, measuring 5 feet, used to measure the depth of water. (brasse)

Fly wheel: a large wheel, which when in rotation, stabilizes the running of the motor. (volant d'entraînement) Map of the engine room

Helm: the wheel that controls the rudder. (barre) Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Hold: the interior of a ship, below decks. (cale) Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

in situ In situ: the natural or original position of a find.

Keel: a longitudinal timber, situated on the bottom of a ship which supports the structure of a ship. (quille)

Keelson: a wooden structure running above and fastened to the keel of a ship to strengthen its frame. (carlingue)

Log book: the book where the movements of the ship and the events which occur during a trip are recorded. (livre de bord)

Lookout: a sailor whose job is to watch the sea for oncoming traffic. (vigie)

Loud speaker: a device for amplifying sound. (porte-voix)

Mooring line: the rope use to hold the boat in place. (amarre)

Organic: a natural non-fashioned object found in archeological excavation. (écofact)

Paddle wheel: large wheels situated on either side of the hull, to which are affixed float boards (paddles). (roues à aubes) Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Piston: a part which moves through the cylinder where it receives and transmits the pressure of the steam. (piston)

Port: the left side of a boat facing forward. (bâbord)

Purser: the officer responsible for service to the passengers on board a ship. (commissaire de bord)

Home Page Reef: an area of the shore between land and deep water where seaweed and aquatic plants grow. (batture)

Rig: to furnish a ship with its masts and sails. (gréer)

Rouf: a small shelter built on the deck of a ship. (rouf)

Route: the line of travel of a ship. (cap)

Rudder: a flat piece of wood or metal attached upright to the stern of a boat so that it can be turned causing the bow of the boat to be turned in the same direction. (gouvernail)

Scuttle: to cut a hole through the bottom of a ship; to sink or to wreck a vessel. (This was the fate of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke) (saborder)

Shoal: an elevation in the water which makes it shallow and dangerous for navigation. (haut-fond)

Sounding line: line or wire weighted with lead, used to measure the depth of the water. (sonde)

Starboard: right side of the ship, when looking towards the front (bow) of the ship. (tribord)

Stem: section of the ship's structure that projects out of the keel on the front of a ship. (étrave)Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Stern: back part of a ship. (poupe)

Home Page Storeroom: the space for storage in the hold. (soute) Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke

Stringer: the junction between the flank of the hull and the deck of a ship. (lisse)

Tie rod: a rigid stem which transmits movement between two mobile parts. (bielle) Map of the engine room

Wheelhouse: section of the ship that houses the helm. Where the captain and the pilot work. (timonerie) Design of the P.S. Lady Sherbrooke