Rats from a sinking ship

What does "Rats from a sinking ship" mean?

Today it means: To walk away from something that appears doomed.

Rats would usually occupy a ships hold and bilges which would be the first places to flood in a disaster and they would promptly leave the ship. Sailors took the rats leaving a ship as a prediction of doom; even if it was in harbour and some would refuse to sail. Could it have been a sign that if a leaky ship was not good enough for the rats then it wasn't good enough for sailors?

See also: Staunch   

By SailingQuiz November 2019   Category: Nautical Saying              

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What does Rats from a sinking ship mean?

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Definition of the nautical phrase "Rats from a sinking ship".

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