"high and dry"

Posted by Captain Cook on September 08, 2003

In Reply to: "High and dry" posted by S. Ryan on September 08, 2003

: Any ideas on the origin of "high and dry?" I have heard it in old sea songs.

A ship being "high and dry" is when it is perched on dunes/rocks etc when the tide goes out - for it to be "dry" is for it to have insufficient water beneath it to float - so "high and dry" means that the boat/ship is stranded and cannot float away. It is popularly used to indicated a serious problem with no obvious solution - a ship on rocks/sand without water to float it off again is in big trouble - try to tug it off rocks dry and the bottom will most likely be ripped to shreds and unless the tide rises high enough, there may not be sufficent bouyancy for it to get off.