Abaft - Toward the stern
Abeam - To the side of the vessel
Astern - Toward the stern
Beam - Width of the boat at the widest point.
Bearing - Direction of an object from the observer.
Berth - 1. Bed on board a boat. 2. A position where the vessel is made fast to a dock.
Bilge - Lowest portion of a vessel inside the hull.
Bollard - Large strong fitting on dock, usually iron, used to fasten mooring lines.
Bow - Forward section of the boat.
Breakwater - Structure built usually of rocks to create a protective barrier wall from heavy seas.
Bulkhead - A vertical wall in the hull.
Burgee - Small flag to indicate the identity of a club or organization
Cast Off - Remove all lines from a vessel in preparation of departure
Channel - Navigable portion of a waterway usually marked with buoys.
Chart - Detailed map of the waterway including land and buoys
Chine - The intersection of where the topsides and the bottom of the hull meet.
Chock - U-shaped fitting on the deck to position a mooring line.
Cleat - Fitting to which mooring lines are tied.
Course - Direction vessel is to be steered.
Deadrise - The angle formed by a horizontal line at the keel and the angle of the bottom of the boat as it rises upward from horizontal.
Deviation - Compass error from pointing to magnetic north.
Dolphin - Small group of piles sticking out of the water fastened together for strength.
Draft - The vertical distance from the water line to the lowest part of the boat.
Ease - Let out line slowly while in control of it.
Ebb - Outgoing (toward the sea) flow of tidal current.
Fathom - Linear measurement of 6 feet.
Forward - Toward the front or bow of the vessel.
Freeboard - The vertical distance between the waterline and the top of the deck
Galley - Kitchen on the vessel.
Ground Swells - Waves that become shorter and steeper as they approach shore or shallow water.
Ground Tackle - Rode (chain and/or line), anchor and shackles (Anchor and gear).
Gunwale - Pronounced Gun-el. The upper edge of the side of the boat.
Head - The toilet on board the vessel.
Helm - Steering gear i.e. wheel or tiller.
Hull - Test
Keel - Main structural member beneath the hull to provide steering stability and reduce leeway.
Knot - 1. General term for a hitch or bend in a line. 2. One nautical mile per hour.
Leeway - Sideways drift of a boat caused by wind or current.
Length Overall (LOA) - Length from the tip of the bow to the end of the stern not including anything bolted to the hull.
Line - Rope used on board a vessel.
MAYDAY - Radio distress call.
Midships - Near center of the vessel.
Moored - Anchored or tied to a dock or pier.
Mooring - A permanent anchor usually marked by a round mooring buoy.
PFD - Life preserver (Personal Floatation Device)
Pile - Pole usually wood driven into the bottom to be used to support a dock or to aid navigation.
Pitch - 1. Rise and fall of the bow as the vessel moves through the water. 2. The theoretical distance a propeller will advance forward in one revolution.
Port - Left Side of the boat facing forward. (PORT and LEFT both have 4 Letters)
Pulpit - Forward railing structure at the bow.
Quay - A wharf or pier parallel to the water’s edge for loading and unloading cargo.
Radar - Electronic system to determine the position of objects at night and in reduced visibility.
Rode - Line and chain connected to the anchor.
Roll - Alternating motion of a boat leaning alternately from port to starboard.
Saloon - Pronounced Sal-on. The main cabin of the vessel.
Scope - The ratio of length of anchor rode in use to the vertical distance from the bow of the vessel to the bottom of the water.
Screw - Propeller
Scupper - Drain holes in the deck.
Sea Anchor - Parachute shaped device used in deep open water to keep a vessel’s bow into the wind and waves and reduce drift.
Shipshape - Vessel kept well organized and in good working order.
Starboard - Right side of the boat facing forward.
Stateroom - Sleeping quarters for guest or captain.
Stem - The forward member of the hull
Stern - Aft section of the boat.
Stow - Put in proper place.
Stuffing Box - A through hull fitting for the propeller shaft or rudder post.
Superstructure - Cabins and other structures above deck.
Swell - Long large wave.
Tides - The vertical rise and fall of water caused by gravitational forces of the sun and moon.
Topsides - The sides of the vessel above the water line.
Transom - 1. The transverse part of the stern. 2. Vertical section at the stern.
Variation - Difference between true geographic north and magnetic north.
Vessel - Any craft used for transportation on the water.
VHF Radio - Very High Frequency radio used for communication.
Wake - Waves created by the passing of another vessel.
Wharf - A structure parallel to the shore for docking.
Windage - Wind resistance.
Windlass - A rotating drum for hauling in line (like anchor line).
Windward - The direction from which the wind is blowing.
Yaw - To swing or steer off course.
Reference Chapman Piloting