The Significance of 'Deep Six' in Naval Terminology

The Significance of 'Deep Six' in Naval Terminology

'Deep Six' is a term commonly used in naval terminology that holds significant meaning in maritime operations. The phrase refers to the act of disposing of something by throwing it overboard into the sea, typically to depths greater than six fathoms (36 feet). This practice is crucial in maintaining the cleanliness and efficiency of naval vessels, as well as ensuring the safety and security of the crew. The term 'Deep Six' has become synonymous with getting rid of something completely and irreversibly. Watch the video below to learn more about the origins and usage of this nautical term.

Meaning of Deep Six in the Navy

When it comes to naval terminology, the phrase Deep Six holds a significant meaning that goes beyond its literal interpretation. In the context of the Navy, Deep Six refers to the act of disposing of something by throwing it overboard into the deep sea. This action is often carried out to get rid of unwanted or no longer useful items on a ship, ensuring the safety and efficiency of naval operations.

Originating from maritime practices, the term Deep Six has a long history within naval traditions. Sailors have been using this phrase for centuries to describe the act of discarding objects into the deep waters of the ocean. The depth of six fathoms, equivalent to 36 feet or 11 meters, is considered a suitable depth for disposing of items without the risk of them resurfacing or causing any hindrance to the vessel.

One of the primary reasons for throwing objects overboard and giving them the Deep Six is to maintain the cleanliness and orderliness of the ship. In the confined space of a naval vessel, it is crucial to eliminate unnecessary clutter and debris that could pose a hazard or impede the crew's movements during critical operations. By jettisoning items into the deep sea, the Navy ensures a safer and more efficient working environment on board.

Furthermore, the practice of giving something the Deep Six also serves strategic purposes in terms of security and confidentiality. In situations where sensitive or classified materials need to be disposed of, throwing them overboard into the depths of the ocean provides a secure method of destruction, ensuring that the information remains protected and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals.

Another aspect of the Deep Six in the Navy is its symbolic significance. Beyond its practical implications, the act of casting something into the deep sea carries a sense of finality and closure. Whether it be old equipment, worn-out supplies, or even personal belongings, giving them the Deep Six signifies the end of their utility and the transition to a new phase or chapter.

Moreover, the term Deep Six is not limited to physical objects but can also be used metaphorically to describe the act of putting an end to something or dismissing it decisively. In naval jargon, phrases like to give it the Deep Six are often used to convey the idea of getting rid of something definitively or rejecting it outright.

Overall, the Deep Six holds a multifaceted meaning in the context of the Navy, encompassing practical, strategic, and symbolic dimensions. From maintaining ship cleanliness to ensuring security and confidentiality, the act of discarding objects into the deep sea plays a vital role in naval operations and traditions. Whether it be old equipment, sensitive materials, or symbolic gestures, giving something the Deep Six signifies a deliberate and final action that contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of naval endeavors.


The term 'Deep Six' holds a significant place in naval terminology. Its origins and usage shed light on the importance of maritime language in naval operations. Understanding the depth and complexity of this term can provide valuable insights into the history and culture of naval forces around the world. By delving into the meaning and implications of 'Deep Six', we gain a deeper appreciation for the precision and clarity required in maritime communication. This article serves as a reminder of the rich heritage and traditions that continue to shape naval language and practices today.

Laura Thomas

Hello, I'm Laura, an expert author on FlatGlass, your go-to website for loans and financial information. With years of experience in the finance industry, I provide insightful articles and tips to help you make informed decisions about your finances. Whether you're looking for advice on managing debt, understanding interest rates, or comparing loan options, I'm here to guide you every step of the way. Trust me to help you navigate the complex world of finance with clarity and confidence.

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