Between the devil and the deep blue sea

What does "Between the devil and the deep blue sea" mean?

Today it means: Caught out, nowhere to turn.

The devil is the name given to the longest seam (joint) on the outside beam of a ship just under the scuppers. All seams needed routine repacking with oakum and pitch to stop them leaking and the devil was the hardest one to do. Sailors would need to hang over the side of the vessel to carry out the task, usually on a small plank and sometimes while at sea. Hence the saying.

See also: The devil to pay  and: Abeam  and: Scuppered

By SailingQuiz November 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              



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