Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters U, V & W

Oct 19, 2023 · 8 mins read ·

Fun Stuff, Life at Sea
The wake of a speedboat

Looking for maritime terms and phrases and want to get to the bottom of what some of the shipping industry’s weird and wonderful acronyms mean? You’ve landed on the right blog post!

We’re almost at the end of our series of alphabetical posts that explore the different meanings behind maritime’s well known - and not so well known - terminology and in this post it’s the turn of the letters U, V and W.

Why not check out a few of our earlier shipping glossary posts below before we get started:

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters J, K & L

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter B

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters E & F 

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters Q & R

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter S

Now, let’s get started with shipping terms starting with the letters U, V and W.

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter U  

ULCC
ULCC stands for Ultra Large Crude Carrier - an oil chemical or petroleum tanker that is generally larger than 300000 DWT.

Ultramax Bulk Carrier
An Ultramax bulk carrier is a medium-sized vessel which is geared, meaning it has its own cranes onboard for the on and off-loading of cargo.

The typical Ultramax bulker has a cargo capacity of 61,000 to 72,999 DWT. They are also referred to as an Ultramax vessel.

Ultramax Vessel
An Ultramax vessel is a medium-sized bulk carrier. The vessels are geared, meaning they have their own cranes onboard for the on and off-loading of cargo.

Read moreNautical Terms That Begin with the Letters N & O

The typical Ultramax vessel has a cargo capacity of 61,000 to 72,999 DWT. They are also referred to as an Ultramax bulk carrier.

Unseaworthiness
Unseaworthiness is a ship’s condition in respect of its construction, condition, equipment and even crew with regards to the manner in which it is to be used.

If any aspect of a vessel is in disrepair, damaged or ill maintained, or if the crew is deemed to be insufficient to handle the ship and her cargo, the vessel may be considered unseaworthy and unable to sail.

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter V

Vessel
A vessel is the term given to a large boat or a ship. Merchant mariners working on container ships and tankers, and others in the maritime industry, will usually use the term vessel instead of ship.

Read moreNautical Terms That Begin with the Letter M

VLCC

VLCC stands for Very Large Crude Carrier - an oil chemical or petroleum tanker that is generally between 200000 and 500000 DWT.

VLCS
VLCS stands for Very Large Container Ship - a container vessel with the capacity to carry around 8000+ TEU.

VLEC
VLEC stands for Very Large Ethane Carrier - a class of gas carrier vessels designed to transport ethane that generally has a capacity of between 70,000 and 90,000 CBM.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter D

VLGC
VLGC stands for Very Large Gas Carrier - a class of vessel designed to transport LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) that generally has a capacity of between 70000 and 90000 CBM.

And finally…

Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter W

Wake
A wake is the name given to the waves that are created by the hull of a vessel as it moves through the water.

Waste Operator
The Waste Operator also called the Waste Disposal Operator or Garbage Operator on a ship is someone who is responsible for ensuring that waste is handled properly and disposed of correctly. Most Waste Operators are employed on cruise and passenger ships.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter C

Watch
Each twenty four hour period at sea is divided into six four-hour segments, otherwise known as a watch.

There will be three groups of crew members who will stand watch. They will be on duty for four hours and then off for eight, then back to duty.

Water Boat
A water boat is a craft that is fitted with large water tanks and a pump and hose. It supplies ocean-going vessels with fresh water whilst they are in a harbor.

Waybill
A waybill is a non-negotiable document prepared by the carrier of a shipment of goods. It contains details of the shipper, the consignee, the goods themselves, the weight, the route, and the charges.

The Waybill acts as evidence of the contract and as a receipt for the goods.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter A

Weather Side
The weather side refers to whichever side of the ship is currently exposed to the wind.

Weigh Anchor
To weigh anchor is to haul the anchor up in preparation for setting sail.

Wharf
Also sometimes called a terminal the Wharf is the place where cargo and shipping containers are handled. Vessels dock at a Wharf to load and offload their cargo or containers.

Wharfage Fee
The wharfage fee is a sum charged by a wharf (or pier) owner for their incoming and/or outgoing cargo handling services.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters G, H & I

Wheelhouse
The wheelhouse is also often called the bridge or pilothouse and is the place where the ship's wheel is located on a vessel.

Wiper
Wiper is one of the most junior entry level cargo ship jobs and the position involves wiping down the vessel’s engine spaces, equipment and machinery and making sure they are kept clean so that they can operate correctly and efficiently. 

The Wiper's job also involves greasing and degreasing and generally making sure that the engine room and work spaces are kept clean and tidy.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter P

And there you have it. Some marine acronyms and maritime terms to take a deep dive into! Meanwhile, if you’d like to read an overview of all of our maritime words from A through to Z, you can take a look at our comprehensive shipping glossary.

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

Read the next post in this series: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters X, Y and Z

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.

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