15 Basic Boat Terms

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15 Boating Terms You Should Know

Starboard, Aft, What?

Before venturing out into open waters, it's important to have a basic understanding of common boat terms associated with the positions and directions of your boat. To the uneducated ear, even the simplest of boating terms can sound like a second language. Knowing these terms will make it easier to communicate with people aboard the boat as well. We want to make sure that you have the best experience possible on your boating journey, so here's our list of 15 basic boating terms.

Common Boating Terms

1. Bow

Refers to the front end of a boat. (You can remember "bow" as the front, because when you take a bow, you're leaning forward.)

2. Stern

Refers to the rear end of a boat.

3. Forward

When you are moving towards the front end of a boat, this called going "forward."

4. Aft

When are you moving towards the rear end of the boat, this is called going "aft."

5. Underway

When a boat is moving, either by motor or wind, this is called being "underway."

6. Ahead

Refers to a boat moving in a forward direction.

7. Astern

Refers to a boat moving in a backwards position (reverse).

8. Port

Standing at the rear of a boat and looking forward, "port" refers to the entire left side of the boat.

9. Starboard

Standing at the rear of a boat and looking forward, "starboard" refers to the entire right side of the boat.

10. Port Bow

Refers to the front left of a boat.

11. Port Quarter

Refers to the rear left side of a boat.

12. Starboard Bow

Refers to the front right of a boat.

13. Starboard Quarter

Refers to the rear right of a boat.

14. Amidships

The central part of a boating vessel.

15. Topside

Moving from a lower deck of a boat to an upper deck.

Arm yourself with these basic boating terms and enjoy the peace of mind of a safe boating trip not only for yourself, but your passengers as well. These boat terms come in very handy when speaking with dock staff and also any communications regarding the U.S. Coast Guard. With a little practice and some memorization, you'll be speaking the boating lingo in no time. Here's to happy boating!

Have more terms to share or questions about boating terms? Let us know by leaving your comment below.

Filed under Boating knowledge

Tags:   aft  amidships  boat definitions  boat terms  boating terms  bow  going below  leeward  nautical terms  port  starboard  topside  windward

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Comments (1 so far)

Go astern = go aft

Aloft= up towards the sky

Heel = boat is off axis due to wind on side or on sails

List = boat is off axis due to taking water or other damage

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