Jocelyn’s Jottings: Trading in combines for trawlers

Turns out I need a nautical dictionary.

On Sunday, when the vessel was grounded on the Willow Point Reef, my prairie girl knowledge of nautical terms, charts and water features in the area shone through the Island girl facade I have been wearing lately.

I said the boat got stuck off the shore of Adams Park, behind the Willow Point shopping centre.

Now I know there are so many things wrong with that. It might not be grammatically incorrect, but I have since learned that for the local audience it definitely was not the proper language choices.

Let’s start with the word ‘boat’. It isn’t right. The floating vehicle that got stuck should have been called a ‘vessel’, or, if I had known I should have been even more specific and called it what it was a ‘commercial fishing boat’ or ‘trawler.’

I have since learned that when a vessel gets stuck on something on the bottom of the ocean it is ‘grounded’ or has gone ‘aground.’

I also learned that all of the water features in the area are very specifically labelled. I mean I knew that all of the creeks and rivers have names, and I knew that reefs have names but I didn’t know that there was a reef at Willow Point.

Had it been a weekday and had my more knowledgeable workmates been around to help me out, this probably wouldn’t have happened, but the stubborn person that I am, I didn’t want to bother anyone else on their weekend.

Writing the official story the next day was another learning process. In Canadian Press style, the names of vessels are to be italicized, and people like to know the names of vessels so they should be included in the story.

Another thing that surprised me, but shouldn’t have, was how many people flocked to the beach to get a look at the grounded vessel.

All of the parking lots in the area were full. Every picnic table at every park was occupied with people who were watching with binoculars and every person and their dog had a photo of the vessel up on social media. But really, why was I so surprised? The same thing happens when the cruise ships go by. And really, any excuse to get outside and go for a walk is good in my books.

So now I know a little more nautical terminology, and I also know what kind of mistakes there are to make. Hopefully my next story about happenings on, or in, the ocean is a little more correct.



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