Print this page

From the Bilge

The Fathom

Category: General
A fathom is the unit of measurement traditionally used when referring to the depth of the sea,or in some cases ,the length of ropes and cables. The word comes from the old English word faedm ,meaning to embrace, and is a measurement across the outstretched arms of a man,approximately six feet in a man of average size; the length of a nautical fathom is therefore six feet,roughly two metres. The term is used less and less frequently with the growing tendency of most countries today to adopt the metric system measurement as the datum shown on the nautical charts they produce.