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Many novice sailors, confusing the words 'binnacle' and barnacle, have wondered what their illnesses had to do with crusty growths found on the hull of a ship. Their confusion is understandable. Binnacle is defined as the stand or housing for the ship's compass located on the bridge. The term binnacle list, in lieu of sick list, originated years ago when ship corpsmen used to place a list of sick on the binnacle. After long practice, it came to be called the binnacle list.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|