The Dictionary of English Nautical Language Database: Search Results
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leadline, lead line, (pron: led) (n)
A measured line marked in fathoms, fitted with a lead weight at the end, used to estimate water depth, and to determine the condition of the bottom for anchoring. In practice grease is applied to the cupped underside of the weight in order to bring up a sample of the ocean floor. The type of bottom...sandy, muddy, greasy, weedy...can help determine which anchor would work best.