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got the water under Options
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 5:27:16 AM
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Joined: 6/18/2012
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I had recovered from my hysterical phase by this time and answered his hail, as he approached, bravely enough. I told him the dingey was nearly swamped, and he reached me a piggin. I was jerked back as the rope tightened between the boats. For some time I was busy baling.

It was not until I had got the water under (for the water in the dingey had been shipped; the boat was perfectly sound) that I had leisure to look at the people in the launch again.

What does the narrator mean by getting the water under?
Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 5:41:35 AM
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I really am just guessing here - but perhaps there's a point to which it's universally ok to allow water; but after that it's dangerous? Most small boats ship a little water, but it's not worth baling: one just tips the boat over when it's taken out of the water to get rid of it.

Since I was a very small kid I can tell by eye when it's time to start baling - but I couldn't name a point e.g. "When the volume of water inside the vessel exceeds ..." or " the water level should never rise above two tenths of a minim..." sort of thing.

But maybe "real" sailors talk about getting water "under" a particular point; which they don't bother to specify because everyone know what it is?

Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 7:29:29 AM
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Can't say I've heard the expression before, but I'm assuming this is from an older book so that the language is a bit arcane. My best guess based on the whole quote and in being a longtime sailor myself (sailboats, not small boats as this quote seems to indicate) is that "got the water under" means that the water is now "under the boat" instead of being "in the boat." Since the speaker says the water had come in over the side of the boat ("shipped" water is water that's come from a wave or something as opposed to a leak based on my understanding of the term for sailboats) and the boat was water-tight (the speaker said the boat was "sound"), after the water was bailed out of the boat ("got the water under" the boat instead of in the boat), he could relax and look at the people in the rescuing boat.

But I could be wrong and may stand corrected by someone else more familiar with the language of the age of this book's quote.
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