Boat Terminology



The area of sea at right angles to the boat.



When a boat is beside the quay or dock.



The area behind the boat. In a car to go backwards is reversing, in a boat to go backwards is ‘going astern’. A person going to the back of a boat is going aft not astern.



The centre of a boat. Between Fore and Aft, and Port and Starboard.



A place to sleep on a boat. Or a place for a boat to tie up to alongside a quay or dock.


Get underway

Taking the ship to sea. The voyage has started.



A device to keep a boat in a fixed position by anchoring it to the seabed, by means of rope or chain, 


Anchor Tripping Line

A line that is tied to an anchor crown and to a floating buoy.  This line when pulled inboard makes it easier to release the anchor that is stuck in the mud.



An automatic steering device that is used primarily to give the helmsman a break. Two types exist one is controlled by the wind and its direction. The other is controlled electronically, by GPS and compass.



A weight carried low in a boat to aid stability and compensate for extra topside weight on a vessel.



An area near a harbour or estuary where sand has built up to form a ridge called a ‘bar’, depending on the tide, the top of the bar can be below the surface, thus creating a hazard to boats. Generally indicated on a chart, and buoyed.



The width of a vessel at its widest point.



An area aft of the cockpit generally used as a storage locker for gear and equipment on sailing vessels.



The direction in which an object lies in relation to the observer, normally stated as a compass bearing.



A bed or bunk as it is generally known, on board where you sleep. An alongside berth is where the boat is tied up to in a dock or marina, berth 22 pontoon B.



The bottom most part of the inside hull where water and liquids collects, the bilge pump suction is in this area ready to pump out bilge water when required.



A support for the boats steering compass, an upright structure also holding the wheel.


Bitter end

The end of the anchor chain that is securely fastened to an eye bolt in the chain locker.



A long pole with a hook at the end to pick up mooring buoys, or for placing mooring warps around a bollard. Used to hold the boat alongside whilst passengers disembark or embark.



An upright iron post on the dockside to hold fast the boats mooing warps.


Boot top

The area of the waterline of a boat. Boot topping is the painted area around the boat, approximately two inches above the waterline and two inches below the waterline.



The bow of a boat is the area for’d where the hull curves in to meet the stem.


Bow thruster

A motor driven propeller situated underwater in a tunnel to allow the bows to be pushed to port or starboard as required by the helmsman.


Break out

Break out is when the anchor has released itself from the ground under the boat.


Bristol fashion

Tip top and Bristol Fashion, where the shipwrights of Bristol had a reputation for delivering excellence.





Bronze is a copper based alloy generally used in the manufacture of thro hull fittings and other underwater fittings.


Bruce anchor

Has three curved flukes, excellent holding power and easily stowed on the stem head.



A vertical partition that separates the main and sleeping cabins on a boat. These bulkheads on bigger ships and warships can act as a watertight partition, and to increasing the water integrity of the ship.



Raised area around the deck of a boat to stop people or equipment being washed over the side.



A selection of triangular pieces of material generally different colours stitched to a thin line, to run from for’d to aft, or just around the cockpit indicating a national holiday or the Captain’s wedding etc.



A watertight floating canister secured to the sea bed, of various designs to indicate navigational channels, danger marks and course buoys for boats racing. 



A small triangular flag, indicating the yacht club the owner is a member of. 



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