Marlinspike seamanship – what is that exactly? Let NAUPAR explain.

Lelystad, 28 October 2015 – "Marlinspike seamanship" and "marine ropework" are very broad terms, essentially covering all aspects of using and maintaining rope on board a ship, including tying knots, lashings and whippings. If any of these terms are unfamiliar, read on!

The origins of the term "marlinspike seamanship"

Where does it come from? The term "marlinspike seamanship" is derived from the noun "marlinspike", a metal cone-shaped tool tapered to a rounded or flattened point, used for marine ropework. Sailors who become proficient in ropework such as knot tying, splicing and sewing using a marlinspike earn the right to be called "marlinspike seamen".

Different kinds of ropework

Knots are used to to join lengths of ropes to each other or to secure them to another object; this is part of marlinspike seamanship. A lashing is a sort of knot which is often used to hold objects such as wooden poles together. A whipping is a binding around the end of a piece of rope in order to prevent it from fraying.