Maritime Metaphors in the Financial "Bailout"

I’ve previously written about how nautical language has drifted into our every discourse. (here, here and here)

Well, this week we heard a maritime metaphor of Titanic proportions when, according to Michael Phillips of the Wall Street Journal, Fed Chairman Ben Bernacke was quoted as saying:

Americans must understand that the bailout — itself a maritime metaphor — would help save everyone from rising financial flood waters.

“It’s really a question of saying, ‘There’s a hole in the boat. You did it. Why should I help you?’ ” he said at the Senate hearing. “Well, there’s a hole in our boat. We need to fix it, and then we need to figure out how to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Understatement of the Century!

I know these guys are under a lot of pressure but please can’t they come up with something better than a “hole in our boat.”

Any ideas?

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Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

5 thoughts on “Maritime Metaphors in the Financial "Bailout"”

  1. Even when the economy is going well there are plenty of nautical metaphors – “a rising tide lifts all boats”, being an example.

    back to the recession you have that old chestnut, “the government is going to have to batten down the hatches”.

  2. Thanks for the contribution Dan!
    Sea-Fever readers if you’re on Twitter make sure you follow Dan at for Tweets like this:

    “Wondering why our sister boat has two spiffy new color radars, the scalawags. We still have these 1990s Furunos – veritable Commodore 64s.”

    USA, thanks for the link to the YouTube video. pretty slick production!

  3. How about, the captains of Wall Street ran our financial ship aground; it’s past time the public and the taxpayers staged a mutiny. Or how about salvage rights? Instead of needing a bail-out, the financial system is ripe to be salvaged … in which case the public and the taxpayers can claim salvage rights.

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