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Remembered Today:

Green seas -- what are they?


Tinhat47

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I’ve been reading Robert K. Massie’s Castles of Steel and he often uses a phrase about ’green seas washing over the decks.’ What is the significance of a green sea? All the Internet or dictionaries have to say is that sometimes algae or seaweed can turn ocean water green, but I don’t think that is what he intends to impart.

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I've been reading Robert K. Massie's Castles of Steel and he often uses a phrase about 'green seas washing over the decks.' What is the significance of a green sea? All the Internet or dictionaries have to say is that sometimes algae or seaweed can turn ocean water green, but I don't think that is what he intends to impart.

My understanding is that green seas in that context refers to the fact that it's not only foam and spray but actual solid water washing over the decks. In the RAN, they still use the term "greenies" to describe solid waves breaking over the deck.

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Ive been reading Robert K. Massies Castles of Steel and he often uses a phrase about green seas washing over the decks. What is the significance of a green sea? All the Internet or dictionaries have to say is that sometimes algae or seaweed can turn ocean water green, but I dont think that is what he intends to impart.

Green Sea: "A large body of water shipped on a vessel's deck; it derives its name from the green colour of a sheet of water between the eye and the light when its mass is too large to be broken up into spray." (Admiral W.H. Smyth - "Sailor's Word-Book", 1867).

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Agree with Ionia. Rather than spray it is a solid body of water washing over the deck. Also has a habit of making young sailors green about the gills.:whistle:

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Also seen the term used in reference to the mid ocean rollers that could cause bodies of water to wash across the decks. "out in the green seas" in this context meaning away from land

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"Then shall my bird the ship take wing

And sail the green seas with the King,

And find, maybe, a finer thing

Than any here."

John Masefield

The deep seas in general are the green seas

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Agree with solid water. Less romantically than "green seas", I recall a trip across the Minch in a Force 12 where it was noted by a seasoned sailor that it was "green water" that was breaking against the windows of the bar, not spray. We did have two bagpipers in our party and couldn't put our drinks on the tables, so it was a jolly time until we tied up along side Lochmaddy pier - which we had left twelve hours earlier and never touched land in between! Antony

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Just add my tuppence worth. Having had my wee boatie out in the Forth estuary a fair few times, I have seen the green sea. Hereabouts, it is known as a lump. When you see a lump coming, it fair makes your kipper nip.

John.

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Green seas....."takin "greenies" over the bow"

Just ocean water over the decks of a ship. Shallow water is described as "green" in color.

Look at pictures of an coral atoll. Same effect.

I saw a lot (too much) of it in the North Atlantic serving aboard a guided missle light crusier.

Doc B :thumbsup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, guys -- I knew you folks would know the answer! I'm surprised the definition is not in the dictionary.

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Matt

You have reminded me of a far-off exchange I witnessed as a teenager. Two old RN types at my work were "swinging the lamp" (hope that isn't going to start another thread) one said "we were taking it green" referring to walls of water washing the foredeck,and the other,a submariner,trying to belittle his contribution to the security of our nation,saying, "that's nothing,I've been further down than you've been out".

Sotonmate

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Gotta love the sailor humor!

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