Ship Storage Rooms: What's In A Name?

what do you call a storage rooms on a ship

There are many different names for storage rooms on a ship, and these can vary depending on the type and size of the vessel. Generally, the storage areas on a boat can be called the hold, the locker, or the bilge. The bilge is the lowest part of the boat where water collects and is pumped out, and it often contains various compartments for storing equipment and gear. On larger ships, there may be multiple storage areas, such as the scientific storeroom and the lower engine room on an oceanographic research vessel.

Characteristics Values
General name for storage rooms on a ship Hold, locker, bilge
Location of bilge Lowest part of the boat
Purpose of bilge Keep water out of the boat and the boat afloat
Other uses of bilge Storage space for equipment and gear
Other names for storage rooms on a ship Cabin, sail locker
Purpose of cabin Primary living area on the boat
Features of cabin Sleeping area, galley, bathroom, cabinets, closets, drawers
Storage room on a ship for sails and sail-related equipment Sail locker
Location of sail locker Forward part of the boat


The 'hold' or 'locker'

The hold and the locker are two types of storage rooms found on boats and ships. The hold is typically used for storing equipment, gear, and cargo, while the locker is a smaller space used for storing personal belongings, clothing, and food.

The hold is usually located below deck and is the space where the cargo is stored. It can also be referred to as the "bilge", which is the lowest part of the boat where water collects and is pumped out. The bilge is divided into separate compartments accessible through large hatches or inspection ports and is used for storing equipment, spare parts, tools, and safety gear.

The locker, on the other hand, is generally a smaller storage space. One type of locker is the "sail locker" found on sailboats, which is used to store sails and other sail-related equipment. This is typically located in the forward part of the boat. Another type of locker is the "boatswain locker", which is located at the very front of the main deck.

The type and amount of storage space on a boat or ship can vary depending on the size and type of vessel. Adequate storage space is crucial for keeping the vessel organised and ensuring that everything needed is on board.

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The 'bilge'

The bilge of a ship or boat is the part of the hull that would rest on the ground if the vessel were unsupported by water. The "turn of the bilge" refers to the transition from the bottom of a hull to its sides. The bilges, in the internal context, are the lowest compartments on a ship or seaplane, situated on either side of the keel. In a traditional wooden vessel, the bilges are found between the floors. The first recorded use of the word was in 1513.

The bilges are designed to collect water that does not drain off the side of the deck or through a hole in the hull. This water may come from rough seas, rain, leaks in the hull or stuffing box, or other interior spillages. The water collected in the bilges must be pumped out to prevent the ship from sinking. Bilge water is often noxious and can contain water, oil, urine, detergents, solvents, chemicals, pitch, particles, and other materials.

By housing water in a compartment, the bilge enhances the safety of the vessel. It keeps liquids below the decks, making it safer for the crew to operate the ship and for people to move around during heavy weather.

Discharging bilge liquids is a regulated process for commercial vessels under Marpol Annex I, as it can lead to bilge pollution. Bilge water can be offloaded at a port or treated to remove pollutants. Even treated bilge water is harmful to the environment and can affect the entire food chain.

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The 'cabin'

The cabin is one of the most common terms for a storage room on a boat. It is the primary living area on the boat and typically includes a sleeping area, galley, and bathroom. Within the cabin, there are also storage spaces such as cabinets, closets, and drawers. These storage areas are typically used to store personal belongings, clothing, and food.

The layout of a cabin can vary depending on the size and type of boat, but it generally serves as a multifunctional space for those living on board. It provides a comfortable and secure environment, protecting its occupants from the elements and offering a sense of privacy. The sleeping area usually consists of bunks or berths, allowing for rest and relaxation after a long day at sea.

The galley, often referred to as the kitchen of the boat, is equipped with cooking appliances, storage for food and drink, and dining facilities. It is an important space for preparing meals and can also serve as a social area for gathering and sharing stories during mealtimes. The galley may be separate from or integrated into the main cabin area, depending on the boat's design.

The bathroom, also known as the head, is an essential part of the cabin. It provides a private space for personal hygiene and includes a toilet, sink, and shower. On larger boats, there may be multiple bathrooms, while on smaller vessels, the bathroom might be more compact or even shared.

In addition to these main areas, the cabin often features additional storage solutions tailored to life at sea. Drawers and cabinets are designed to secure their contents even in rough waters, preventing items from shifting or falling during the boat's movement. These storage spaces are used for a variety of purposes, such as storing dishes and cookware in the galley, keeping personal items organised in the sleeping area, and providing easy access to frequently used items.

The design and functionality of the cabin are carefully considered to maximise space and efficiency. The arrangement of furniture and storage areas aim to create a comfortable and practical living environment, ensuring that everything has its designated place and is easily accessible when needed. Overall, the cabin serves as a central hub for those aboard, providing a sense of home and community on the water.

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The 'sail locker'

The sail locker is a crucial part of any sailboat, serving as a dedicated storage area for sails and a range of sail-related equipment. Its location in the forward part of the boat is strategic, allowing easy access to the sails when needed and providing optimal protection from the elements.

The design of the sail locker is focused on functionality and organisation. It typically features a spacious interior that can accommodate a variety of sail sizes and shapes, ensuring that each sail has its designated spot. This level of organisation is essential for quick access during sail changes, allowing the crew to efficiently adapt to changing wind conditions.

In addition to sail storage, the sail locker often houses a range of specialised equipment essential for sail maintenance and repair. This can include tools for sail repairs, spare parts, and materials needed to keep the sails in optimal condition. By having these items stored together, the crew can quickly locate the necessary tools and supplies, facilitating efficient sail management.

The placement of the sail locker in the forward section of the boat also provides easy access to the bow area, where sails are typically hoisted and deployed. This design consideration streamlines the process of setting sails, as crew members can quickly retrieve sails and related gear from the locker and bring them to the appropriate areas for rigging.

Furthermore, the sail locker's position in the forward part of the boat offers added protection from the elements. By storing the sails in a dedicated space, sailors can minimise exposure to seawater and rain, reducing the risk of damage from moisture. This strategic placement also helps to keep the sails organised and tidy, preventing tangles and ensuring they are ready for immediate use when needed.

Overall, the sail locker plays a vital role in the efficient operation and maintenance of a sailboat. Its dedicated storage space ensures that sails and related equipment are easily accessible, well-organised, and protected, contributing to the overall sailing experience and safety of the vessel.

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The galley

First used in English around 1300, the term galley refers to a type of ship that relied mostly on oars for propulsion and was used for warfare, trade, and piracy in the seas surrounding Europe. Galleys were the primary warships used by the ancient Mediterranean naval powers, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans. The galley remained the dominant type of vessel used for war and piracy in the Mediterranean Sea until the early modern period.

In ancient naval warfare, galleys cruised in columns and upon engaging the enemy, they would assume a phalanx-like formation in lines abreast. This formation allowed each galley to protect the exposed sides of the galleys beside it and to confront the enemy with its bow, which was equipped with a ram, grappling irons, and missile-hurling devices.

Frequently asked questions

There are several names for storage rooms on a ship, including the hold, locker, bilge, and cabin. The bilge is the lowest part of the boat where water collects and is pumped out, while the cabin is the primary living area, including sleeping, galley, and bathroom spaces.

The bilge is used to store equipment and gear, such as spare parts, tools, and safety gear.

Yes, depending on the type of ship, there may be additional storage areas such as the sail locker on a sailboat or the scientific storeroom on a research vessel.

The bilge is primarily designed to keep the boat afloat and dry, while other storage areas like the cabin are used for living spaces and personal belongings.

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