Boating Glossary


Ground tackle: a general term used for all gears used in anchoring a vessel.

Gunwale: the upper edge of the side of a boat.

Hatch: an opening from the exterior to the interior of a boat.

Head: the bathroom onboard a vessel.

Hull: the part of the boat starting from the gunwale down.

Inboard: a boat in which the engine is contained entirely inside the boat.

Inboard/Outboard: also known as sterndrive, this term refers to a boat in which the engine is contained partially onboard with a drive system protruding out the stern.

Keel: a large beam around which the hull of the boat is built.  It runs from the bow to the stern and gives the hull the majority of its structural strength.

Knots: a measurement of speed indicating nautical miles per hour. One knot equals 1.15 miles per hour.   

Mooring:  the time at which a vessel is stopped and tied to a secure object.

Nautical Miles: a nautical mile is equal to one minute of latitude or 76.115 feet

Navigation: the art of maneuvering a boat safely from one point to another.

Personal Floatation Device (PFD): a jacket padded with buoyant material enabling a body to float in the water.

Pitch: the angle of the blade of a propeller.

Pitch: the alternating up and down movement of a boat's bow and stern.

Port: when looking to the bow, port is the left hand side of the boat. In small craft this is the passengers side.

Propeller: a bladed devise that rotates to drive a boat through the water.

Rub Rail:  a strip of molding which protrudes outward from the boat running around the entire boat to help protect the hull from damage.

Shoal: a geographically built up area that is submerged beneath the waters surface. 

Small Craft Warning:  Included in a near forecast if winds are forecast to be in the range of 40 to 60 km/hr inclusive or if the possibility of thunderstorms is greater than 50%.

Spring Line: a line from the bow aft or quarter forward to prevent for and aft motion at a dock. Helps hold the boat off the dock.

Starboard: when looking to the bow, port is the right hand side of the boat. In small craft, this is the driver's side.

Stern: the back end of the boat.

Stow: to securely put away.

Tachometer: a gauge that indicates the engine's number of revolutions per minute.

Transom: a flat stern; traditionally at right angle to the keel.

Wake: the path left behind a boat.

Windlass: a winch used to raise and lower an anchor.