Boating Terms

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ABAFT – In the direction of the stern, or the rear of the boat

ABEAM – On a line that forms a right angle to the ship’s keel

ABOARD – On board (of a ship or a boat)

ABOVE DECK – On the boat’s deck

ABREAST – By the side of, next to or side by side

ADRIFT – Floating at random, not on the towline.

AFT – Near or in the direction of the stern of the boat

AGROUND – When the bottom of the boat touches or lodges on the ground.

AHEAD – In front of; to go in advance

AIDS TO NAVIGATION – Road signs used on the waterway, they help indicate the safety level of water

ALOFT – Above or on top of the boat’s deck

AMIDSHIPS – In the middle or center of the boat

ANCHORAGE – Where a ship anchors or a suitable place to anchor

ASTERN – Towards the back of the boat

AWEIGH – When the anchor is raised and off bottom of body of water

BATTEN DOWN – To secure or strengthen the hatches and objects on the deck and hull of a boat

BEAM – The boat’s width

BEARING – The direction of an object as determined by a compass

BELOW – Down below, beneath, or under the deck

BILGE – The broadest width of the bottom of the boat

BOAT – A small open vessel or watercraft.

BOAT HOOK – A pole that has a metal point and hooks that is used to maneuver logs, or retrieve objects that have fallen overboard

BOW – A boat’s front section

BOW LINE – A rope that is used to tie the boat to a dock; it has a loop spliced at one end

BOWLINE A special knot that is used to create a temporary loop; there are several variations for forming a bowline

BRIDGE -Where the ship is steered or controlled.

BULKHEAD – A partition that is used to separate compartments on a boat

BUOY – A floating device used for marking locations or other hazards in the water

BURDENED VESSEL – Also referred to as Give Way; the vessel that must yield to another vessel

CABIN – The compartment used for crew members or passengers

CAPSIZE – When a boat upsets or overturns

CAST OFF – To untie or let go.

CHART – A marine map

CHINE – The line where the sides and bottom of a flat or v-bottomed boat intersect

CHOCK – Fittings used to pass ropes or mooring lines

CLEAT – Fittings used to hold ropes or lines securely

CLOVE HITCH – A temporary knot used for securing a rope or line to a piling or spar

COURSE – The direction a boat is steered.

CUDDY – A small cabin on a boat

CURRENT – The course in which the water flows

DEAD AHEAD – Straight ahead

DEAD ASTERN – The position behind the boat

DECK – Floor like coverings of the compartments of a ship

DINGHY – A small rowboat or open boat

DOCK – A pier or wharf

DRAFT – Depth of water necessary to cause the boat to float

FENDER – A cushioning device that is used to prevent the sides of a boat from damage

FLARE – Where the boat’s sides spread outward, near the bow of the boat

FLUKE – Where the anchor fastens to the ground

FOLLOWING SEA – A sea swell

FORE-AND-AFT – The length of the boat from the bow to the stern

FOREPEAK – Used for storing cargo, a small section within the bow of the boat

FORWARD – Toward the front of the boat

FOULED – The encrusting of foreign matter or debris on the hull of a boat

GALLEY – The boats kitchen area

GANGWAY – The side of the boat used for the boarding of passengers

GEAR – Nautical equipment such as ropes, tackle, etc.

GROUND TACKLES – The anchor and its accessories

GUNWALE – The top of a boat’s side

HATCH – Located in the deck, it is an opening that has a secure cover

HEAD – A nautical commode

HEADING – The direction that the bow of the boat is pointed in

HEADWAY – The progress the ship makes as it moves across the water

HELM – The wheel that steers the ship

HELMSPERSON – The one who steers the boat

HOLD – A compartment used for storing cargo, located below the deck

HULL – The boat’s main body

INBOARD – The inside of a boat

INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY – ICW: A body of water that is used for boats to travel upon

JETTY – A structure that extends or jets out from the shore

KEEL – The line of the boat that extends through the center; also a barge

KNOT – A unit of speed that is understood to mean per hour (6080.27 feet)

LATITUDE – The distance north and south of the equator; latitude is measured in degrees

LEEWARD – The direction in which the wind blows

LEEWAY – The direction a boat drifts to leeward of the steered course

LINE – The rope or cords that are used on a boat

LOG – A record of nautical activities

LONGITUDE – Distance measured in degrees that determines east and west from the Prime Meridian

MIDSHIP – The middle of a ship; between the bow and stern

MOORING – Anchors or fastenings used to secure a boat

NAUTICAL MILE – The unit used for measuring nautical navigation; one nautical mile equals 1,852 meters or 6,076 feet

NAVIGATION – The act of passing over water in ships or boats

NAVIGATION RULES – Steering and sailing rules that govern how boats and ships pass over water

OUTBOARD – The outside of the hull of a boat

OVERBOARD – The place located outside the side or edge of a boat

PIER – A wharf or structure that is used as a landing place

PILE – A pole made of wood, stone, or metal used to support a pier.

PILING – Used for driving piles; or a structure composed of piles

PILOTING – Coastal navigation that utilizes soundings and buoys

PORT – Place in the water that is used to provide shelter for boats

PRIVELEGED VESSEL – A vessel that has the right of way according to Navigation Rules

QUARTER – The upper sides of a boat; between the stem and the mast

RODE – The line or rope attached to an anchor

RUDDER – Used for steering a boat; a hinged plate made of fiberglass, wood or metal that is mounted to the stern

RUNNING LIGHTS – Required lights that are displayed on a boat between sunrise and sunset

SATELLITE NAVIGATION – Navigation that uses satellite transmission via radio waves and equipment located on the boat

SCREW – The propeller on a boat

SCUPPERS – Holes in the side of a ship, used to allow water to drain.

SEAMANSHIP – The skill of navigating a boat or ship.

SEA ROOM – A location in sea where there is no obstructions; the space that is safe for navigating a boat or ship

SEAWORTHY – A boat that is deemed fit and safe for navigating or passing over water

SECURE – Tighten, or make fast

SET – To put forth in a specified direction

SLACK – To loose, not secure, or fast

SOUNDING – The measurement to determine the depth of water

SQUALL – A brief windstorm; usually comes on suddenly and is accompanied by either snow or rain

STARBOARD – It is the right side of a boat when one is facing forward

STEM – The part of the bow that extends the most forward

STERN – The part of a boat or ship that is in the rear

STERN LINE – A line or rope, used for docking that extends from the stern

STOW – To arrange or place items where they belong

TILLER – A lever that is used for steering a boat’s rudder

WAKE – Waves, path, and the tracks left when a boat passes over water

WATERLINE – The line on the hull of a boat used to determine the depth a boat sinks

WAY – The movement of the boat as it passes over water: may be leeway, headway, or sternway

WINDWARD – Of the side that is exposed to the wind

By: Kathryn Ali

Source by Kathryn Ali