Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters X, Y & Z

Nov 02, 2023 · 12 mins read ·

Fun Stuff, Life at Sea
A sailing yacht

We’ve finally come to the last post in our series of blogs about shipping terms and maritime words that begin with each letter of the alphabet.

You’ll find links to the other posts within this article if you want to go and check them all out, but for now, if you’re looking for maritime terminology that begins with the letters X, Y and Z you’re in luck!

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter A

So from XTE cross track errors to zeniths, keep on reading to find out a little more about some of the weird and wonderful expressions you might come across while reading about boating, yachting or commercial shipping.

Shipping terms that begin with the letters X, Y and X

Unsurprisingly, there aren’t nearly as many maritime terms that start with these letters as there are for many of the other letters in the alphabet, although there are still a few that might interest you, so let’s get started with the letter X.

Maritime terminology that begins with the letter X

X-Band
In maritime terms, the X-band is used for marine radar communication, among other uses. These radars are installed on most large research vessels as well as on a number of offshore installations.

Used for ship traffic control and navigation, the radar produces images  that detect physical objects such as other vessels, structures, oil and gas rigs and platforms and coastlines, as well as reflections from the sea surface - something known as sea clutter.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter B

X-Ray
In shipping terms, x-ray stands for the letter X in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, which is most often referred to as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet or simply the Phonetic Alphabet. 

This is the most commonly used group of code words used to clearly communicate the letters of the Roman alphabet, particularly over the radio and is essential in helping seafarers give and receive messages, orders and instructions clearly and correctly.

XTE Cross Track Error
In maritime terminology, XTE cross track error is a way for sailors and navigators to tell at a glance what their distance to port (left) or starboard (right) of their intended straight track between two waypoints is.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter C

These waypoints may be departure, arrival or transit points that are set on a chart. Cross track error (XTE) is most commonly caused by drift due to environmental reasons and corrective action should be taken as soon as possible. 

Shipping terms that begin with the letter Y

Yacht
Although there isn't really a standard definition for a 'yacht', as a maritime term it can generally be described as a boat that is used for pleasure or racing. Yachts can be powered both by engine and by wind power - i.e. sailing yachts. Normally a yacht will have a cabin that can be used to sleep in for one or more nights.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter D

Typically speaking, a 'boat' becomes a yacht when it exceeds around 40 feet in overall length. Once a yacht reaches approximately (again there is no set definition) 78 feet in length, it falls into the 'superyacht' category.

Yankee
Yankee stands for the letter Y in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, which is most often referred to as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet or simply the Phonetic Alphabet

This is the most commonly used group of code words used to clearly communicate the letters of the Roman alphabet, particularly over the radio and is essential in helping seafarers give and receive messages, orders and instructions clearly and correctly.

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

Freight terms that begin with the letter Z

Zenith
In maritime navigation, the zenith distance is 90 degrees minus altitude. This means that if a star has an altitude of 89 degrees, in maritime terms, its zenith distance is 90 - 89, or 1 degree. Thus it is very nearly directly overhead.

The zenith itself is an imaginary point that is directly above a particular location on the celestial sphere. For example, imagine a straight line meeting the center of the earth compared to the navigator's position. To that person, the zenith is the highest point of the celestial sphere.

Celestial navigation uses the stars, moon, sun, and horizon to calculate the position of a vessel and comes in useful in the event that technology such as the GPS isn't working and the ship is in the middle of the ocean, with no landmarks or reference points in sight.

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

Zulu
Zulu stands for the letter Z in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, which is most often referred to as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet or simply the Phonetic Alphabet. 

This is the most commonly used group of code words used to clearly communicate the letters of the Roman alphabet, particularly over the radio and is essential in helping seafarers give and receive messages, orders and instructions clearly and correctly.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters J, K and L

And there you have it! A list of maritime terminology that begins with the letters X, Y and Z. If you’d like to see all of these terms - and more - in our comprehensive shipping glossary, you can find that on our website. 

Who or what is Martide?

Wondering what Martide is all about? We’re a maritime recruitment and crew planning software solution for small to mid-sized shipping companies and manning agents, and we also help seafarers find work at sea on commercial vessels.

And we also publish regular blog posts about everything from our crewing system to tips for making the most of life at sea, seafarer jobs, vessel types and fun posts like this one all about maritime terms and others including lists of seafarer quotes.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter M

In addition to our website which tells you all about our maritime recruitment software and shows you all of our current seafarer job vacancies, we also have a dedicated seaman job app which you can download for free from both Apple and Google Play.

The Martide mobile app helps seafarers to find and apply for your next job at sea quickly and easily, no matter where in the world you are.

Download the seafarer job app from the Apple App Store or from Google Play right now! Then simply create your free account, add your work and education history and your personal details and start applying for our maritime job vacancies right away.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters N and O

Even better, if you’re looking for work on a ship, our global network of professional manning agents can suggest seafarers for their clients’ seafarer jobs, meaning as a seafarer you’ll have more opportunities to find work, as a crew manager you’ll have more choice of seamen to fill your vacancies, and as a manning agent you’ll be impressing your clients! 

Using Martide is, quite literally, a win-win for everyone in the maritime industry!

If you’d prefer to create your seafarer account and profile using our website instead of the seaman app, you can easily do that here.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter P

Martide’s maritime recruitment and crewing system for crew managers

Meanwhile, if you’re a crew manager or manning agent and you’d like to find out more about how we can help your company streamline your maritime recruitment and crew planning operations and departments, get in touch.

We offer free no-strings-attached demos so that you can see what we’re all about, how our software works, and what it can do for you.

Request your free demo here at a time that’s convenient for you.

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters Q and R

As a crew manager you'll benefit from access to our audited, worldwide network of manning agents, while our custom built software solution ensures managing your crew, candidates, manning agents and data is plain sailing.

And as a manning agent you’ll enjoy our total crewing software solution that allows you to take your business to the next level. We help you impress your existing clients and attract potential customers by streamlining and upgrading your maritime recruitment ops. 

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter S

Here are just some of the features and benefits anyone working in recruitment in the maritime industry or who is a crew planner, will love.

Benefits of Martide’s total crewing system and recruitment software

  • A global database of qualified seafarers
  • Simplified candidate tracking
  • Free job vacancy posting
  • Your own custom built recruitment process
  • Easier team collaboration
  • Segregated seafarer talent pools
  • Quicker and easier hiring process
  • Highly secure data and document storage
  • Simplified visual crew planning

And that’s just for starters. Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us now!

Read more: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letter T

Whether you’re a seafarer looking for work on a container ship, feeder vessel, bulk carrier or tanker, or a crew manager or manning agent needing to fill vacancies on your vessels, we are the team to trust.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Read the previous article in this series: Nautical Terms That Begin with the Letters U, V and W

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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