Wednesday Nautical Phrase or Term: Above the Board

meaning: openly, without trickery

From Brian Berlin…

A trick, common to warships and pirates alike, both of which had very large crews, was to keep all but a few of their men out of sight. At long distance, someone inspecting them with a telescope might be fooled into thinking they were seeing a peaceful merchantman with a small crew, and so no threat. The devious captain kept his men low behind the bulwarks — or below the top deck; a captain with nothing to hide would keep his crew “above board.”

Dr. M (1628 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.