Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters Q & R

Aug 29, 2023 · 9 mins read ·

Fun Stuff, Life at Sea
The rigging on a sailing ship

Have you ever wondered what a sailor’s quarters are? Or perhaps you’re wondering what a reefer ship is? Ever heard of a RoPax ferry? If you’re looking for nautical terms and maritime words that begin with the letters Q and R, this is the blog post for you.

As part of our series on shipping terminology and acronyms, we’re continuing our journey through the alphabet. Meanwhile if you’d like to explore nautical expressions from A through to Z, why not check out our shipping glossary in full here.

Read more: Nautical Terms that Begin with the Letters U, V and W

But for now, let’s take a look at a couple of words to do with maritime that begin with the letter Q as well as a few more that start with the letter R.

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter Q 

Quarters
This refers to the accommodation on a vessel - for example, the crew's quarters.

Quay
A quay is a wharf which runs parallel to the waterline.

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter R

Radar
Radar, or marine radars, are X-band or S-band radars used on ships. Radar is used when a vessel is underway to detect land obstacles as well as other ships.

Radar aids in navigation and is crucial for collision avoidance by providing distance and bearing.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter A

Raft
A raft is any flat structure that is used for transportation or support on water. Rafts are normally typified by their basic design, and unlike boats, they do not have a hull.

A raft is usually kept afloat by the use of buoyant materials such as wood, sealed barrels, or inflated air chambers.

Rafts do not normally have an engine and are instead propelled by oar by a person standing upright. Rafts are also used for leisure purposes and can be attached to the bottom of a river, lake or sea for swimmers and sunbathers to relax upon. 

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters X, Y and Z

Rank
A seafarer’s rank is their job title or position. Ranks work on a system of hierarchy, both in the military and in the merchant navy / merchant marines. The highest rank on a vessel is the Master (or Captain) with entry level seafarer jobs such as Deck Cadet and Wiper being lower ranks.

Rating
Ratings is a general term used to describe a skilled seafarer who works in a support role on a vessel. Ratings can work in any department (i.e. Deck Department, Engine Department or Stewards Department) and their tasks vary depending on their rank (see above) and job.

A crew is made up of Officers and Ratings. To put it in the same terms as a job on land, such as that in an office or warehouse, an Officer (e.g. a Chief Officer) has management responsibility while a Rating is part of the ‘workforce.’ 

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter B

Reef
A reef is a geographic feature such as a ridge or shoal of rock, coral, sand or other similar material that lies beneath the surface of the ocean or other natural body of water. Reefs are relatively stable and can cause vessels to run aground if those responsible for navigation are not careful.

Reefer Box
A reefer box is an insulated shipping container designed to carry cargo such as fresh food and other produce that needs to be temperature controlled.

Reefer Ship
A reefer ship is a container ship that has refrigeration and is used for transporting frozen foods such meat, fish and ice cream as well as produce that needs to be kept chilled such as fruit and dairy products.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter C

Return Cargo
Return cargo is a term used to describe it when a ship returns with additional cargo to the port where the initial cargo was loaded.

Rigging
Rigging refers to the system of cables, ropes and chains that are found on a sailing ship, sail boat or sailing yacht. This system supports the mast or masts and is used to adjust the position of the boat’s sails and the spars to which they are attached. 

Roll-On / Roll-Off Ship
A roll-on / roll-off ship, also called a ro-ro, ro/ro or roro ship allows wheeled cargo to be driven on board rather than be loaded by crane. This could be a cargo of new cars or vans, but ro-ro can also refer to passenger ships such as ferries and military transporters which carry tanks. 

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter D

Rolling Cargo
Rolling cargo is cargo that has wheels - such as cars, trucks, trailers, buses or even tanks - which can be driven on to a ship. (See roll-on /roll-off ship above.)

RoPax Ferry
A RoPax ferry transports vehicles (roll-on roll-off) as well as passengers (pax).

RoRo Ship
A ro-ro ship, ro/ro ship or roro ship allows wheeled cargo to be driven on board rather than be loaded by crane.

This could be a cargo of new cars or vans, but ro-ro can also refer to passenger ships such as ferries and military transporters which carry tanks. Ro-ro is short for roll on / roll off.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters E and F

Rudder
A rudder is the primary method of control that is used to steer a ship or boat, or even a submarine or hovercraft.

It is an underwater blade that is positioned at the stern (back) of a vessel and controlled by its helm. When that is turned the rudder will also turn and steer the bow of the ship in the same direction.

Running Aground
Running aground or grounding is when a ship touches or hits the ground in a shallow part of the sea, a river, lake, canal or other waterway and gets stuck.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter T

And there you have it: a collection of maritime and nautical terms and words that all begin with the letters Q and R.

Have we missed anything? Why not let us know on social media if so and we’ll try and add your suggestions to an update of this post.

You can find (and follow!) us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest.

And if you’re looking for even more shipping words and phrases, why not check out some of our other posts: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters G, H and I, Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters J, K and L, Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter M and Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters N & O.

Read the previous post in this series: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter P

Read the next post in this seriesNautical Terms That Begin with the Letter S

Eve Church

Eve Church

Eve is Martide's content writer, publishing regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea. Eve has been writing professionally for more than two decades, crafting everything from SEO-focused blog posts and website landing pages to magazine articles and corporate whitepapers.

UK

Advert 4
Apply for seafarer jobs now!
See all jobs
Advert 4