Dictionary of sea

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The significance of the BREAST-HOOKS is:
The definition of BREAST-HOOKS is:

pieces of compass, or knee-timber, placed within-side the ship, to keep the bows together. The deck-hooks are fayed to the timbers, and placed in the direction of the decks. The rest are placed, one between each deck, and as many in the hold as are thought needful; all of which should be placed square with the body of the ship, and fayed on the planks. Breast-hooks are the chief security to keep the ship's bows together, therefore require to be very strong and well secured.

Alternative meanings:
Free English Dictionary:BREAST-HOOKS