FOR hundreds of years Southampton has been known for its seafaring folk.

But how many people living in the city today are clued up on their nautical terms?

According to a national Saga Boat Insurance poll, Britons are becoming a bunch of landlubbers and are failing to tell their ports from their starboards.

Research found 57 per cent of people under-50 don’t know what starboard means, while 50 per cent were unaware avast means stop.

In fact, 14 per cent of 18-24-year-olds thought avast meant “that’s a big one”.

But not everyone has forgotten their sea slang and the survey of 2,032 people revealed the over-50s have a much better knowledge than youngsters, with one in 50 25-34-year-olds believing a ‘bow’ is a dead, rotting fish and a ‘galley’ a ship’s disco.

Roger Ramsden, chief executive, Saga Services, said: “Britain has a proud maritime history and a rich language that’s largely evolved from its seafaring heritage. It’s amazing how many phrases and terms originated on the ocean wave.

“The over 50s clearly have a firmer grasp of these terms than younger generations. It’s a shame they haven’t been able to keep abreast as it’s a link to our national identity shaped over centuries. No one’s suggesting they should walk the plank, however.”