Marine glossary of terms

Marine glossary of terms


A  |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  F  |  G  |  H  |  I J K  |  L  |  M  N  |  O  P  |  Q  R  |  S  |  T  |  U  V  |  W  |  X Y Z


A  Top of page

ABAFT - Toward the rear (stern) of the boat.

ABEAM - At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.

ABOARD - On or within the boat.

ABOVE DECK - On the deck.

ABREAST - Side by side; by the side of.

ADRIFT - Loose, not on moorings or towline.

AFT - Toward the stern of the boat.

AGROUND - Touching or fast to the bottom.

AHEAD - In a forward direction.

AIDS TO NAVIGATION - Objects used to indicate safe and unsafe areas.

ALEE - Away from the direction of the wind. Opposite of windward.

ALOFT - Above the deck of the boat.

AMIDSHIPS - In or toward the center of the boat.

ANCHORAGE - A place suitable for anchoring in relation to the wind, water and the bottom.

ASTERN - In back of the boat.

ATHWARTSHIPS - At right angles to the centerline of the boat.

AWEIGH - The position of anchor as it is raised clear of the bottom.

B Top of page

BATTEN DOWN - Secure hatches and loose objects on the boat.

BEAM - The width of the boat.

BEARING - The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing as shown on the chart, or as a bearing relative to the heading of the boat.

BELOW - Beneath the deck.

BIGHT - The part of the rope or line, between the end and the standing part, on which a knot is formed.

BILGE - The interior of the hull below the floor boards.

BILGE PUMP - Used to pump water out of the boat.

BITTER END - The last part of a rope or chain.The inboard end of the anchor rode.

BIMINI TOP - A sun top on a boat that does not snap to the windshield.

BOAT HOOK - A pole with a hook at one end.

BOOT TOP - A painted line that indicates the designed waterline.

BOW - The forward part of a boat.

BOW COVER - A cover for the front area of an open bow boat.

BOW LINE - A docking line leading from the bow.

BOWLINE - A knot used to form a temporary loop in the end of a line.

BRIDGE - The location from which a boat is steered and its speed controlled.

BUGGY TOP - Used on pontoon boats, has the tails on the back.

BULKHEAD - A vertical partition separating compartments.

BUOY - An anchored float used for marking a position on the water or a hazard and for mooring.

C Top of page

CABIN - A compartment for passengers or crew.

CAPSIZE - To turn over.

CAST OFF - To let go.

CATAMARAN - A twin-hulled boat, with hulls side by side.

CHAFING GEAR - Tubing or cloth wrapping used to protect a rope from chafing.

CHART - A map used by people navigating a boat.

CHINE - The intersection of the bottom and sides of a flat or v-bottomed boat.

CHOCK - A fitting for anchor and dock ropes.

CLEAT - A fitting to tie ropes to.

CLOVE HITCH - A knot for temporarily tieing a rope to a post.

COAMING - A vertical piece around the edge of a cockpit, hatch, etc. to prevent water on deck from running below.

COCKPIT - An open area on the deck.

COCKPIT COVER - A cover that only covers the cockpit area.

COIL - To lay a line down in circular turns.

CONVERTABLE TOP - All weather vinyl top that snaps to the windshield.

COTTER PIN - Used to hold the propeller nut from working loose.

COURSE - The direction in which a boat is steered.

CUDDY - A small cabin in a boat.

CURRENT - The horizontal movement of water.

D Top of page

DEAD AHEAD - Directly ahead.

DEAD ASTERN - Directly aft.

DECK - A permanent covering over a compartment or hull.

DINGHY - A small open boat.

DISPLACEMENT - The weight of water displaced by a boat.

DISPLACEMENT HULL - A type of hull that plows through the water, displacing a weight of water equal to its own weight.

DOCK - A protected water area in which boats are moored.

DOLPHIN - A group of piles driven close together and bound with wire cables into a single piling.

DRAFT - The depth of water a boat draws.

E Top of page

EBB - A receding current.

F Top of page

FATHOM - Six feet.

FENDER - A cushion, placed between boats, or between a boat and a dock, to prevent damage.

FIGURE EIGHT KNOT - A knot in the form of a figure eight, placed in the end of a rope.

FLARE - A distress signal.

FLOOD - A incoming current.

FLUKE - The palm of an anchor.

FOGGING OIL - A waxed based oil that coats the inside engine parts for winter stoarage.

FORE-AND-AFT - In a line parallel to the keel.

FOREPEAK - A compartment in the bow of a small boat.

FORWARD - Toward the bow of the boat.

FREEBOARD - The minimum vertical distance from the surface of the water to the gunwale.

FUEL STABILIZER - A chemical that is mixed with gasoline to keep the compounds from separating during storage.

G Top of page

GALLEY - The kitchen area of a boat.

GANGWAY - The area of a ship's side where people board.

GEAR - A general term for ropes, blocks, tackle and other equipment.

GIVE-WAY VESSEL - A boat which must yield in meeting, crossing, or overtaking situations.

GRAB RAILS - Hand rails mounted on cabin tops and sides for moving around the boat.

GUNWALE - The upper edge of a boat's sides.

H Top of page

HARD CHINE - An abrupt intersection between the hull side and the hull bottom of a boat.

HATCH - An opening in a boat's deck fitted with a watertight cover.

HEAD - A marine toilet.

HEADING - The direction in which a boat's bow points at any given time.

HEADWAY - The forward motion of a boat.

HELM - The wheel or tiller controlling the rudder.

HELMSPERSON - The person who steers the boat.

HITCH - A knot used to secure a rope to another object or to another rope, or to form a loop or a noose in a rope.

HITCH - Used to connect the boat trailer to the car or truck.

HOLD - A compartment below deck in a large boat, used solely for carrying cargo.

HULL - The main body of a boat.

I  Top of page

INBOARD - Motor inside the boat.

INBOARD-OUTBOARD - Motor is inside the boat and the Drive Unit is outside the boat.

INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY - ICW: bays, rivers, and canals along the coasts, connected so that boats may travel without going into the sea.

J Top of page

JACOBS LADDER - A rope ladder, lowered from the deck.

JETTY - A structure, usually concrete, projecting out from the shore.

K Top of page

KEEL - The centerline of a boat running fore and aft.

KNOT - A measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (6076 feet) per hour.

KNOT - A fastening made by tieing rope.

L Top of page

LATITUDE - The distance north or south of the equator measured in degrees.

LAUGHING - A common sound from people that are having a good time.

LAZARETTE - A storage space in a boat's stern area.

LEE - The side sheltered from the wind.

LEEWARD - The direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward.

LEEWAY - The sideways movement of the boat caused by either wind or current.

LINE - Rope and cordage used aboard a vessel.

LOA - Length Over All or Total length of the craft.

LOG - A record of courses or operation.

LONGITUDE - The distance in degrees east or west of the meridian.

LOWER UNIT - The housing that holds the drive gears and propeller shaft on outboard motors and IO's.

LUBBER'S LINE - A mark or permanent line on a compass indicating the direction forward parallel to the keel.

M Top of page

MARLINSPIKE - A tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing.

MIDSHIP - Equally distant from the bow and stern.

MOORING - A boat secured to a mooring buoy, pier, or dock.

MOORING COVER- A boat cover made for use when boat is secured to a mooring buoy, pier, or dock.

N Top of page

NAUTICAL MILE - One minute of latitude; approximately 6076 feet - about 1/8 longer than the statute mile of 5280 feet.

NAVIGATION - The opperation of a boat safely from one point to another.

NAVIGATION RULES - The regulations governing the movement of boats in relation to each other.

O Top of page

OUTBOARD - A engine mounted on a boat's stern.

OVERBOARD - Over the side or out of the boat.

P Top of page

PIER - A dock extending at an angle from the shore.

PILE - A wood, metal or concrete pole driven into the bottom.

PILING - Support, protection for wharves, piers etc.

PILOTING - Navigating or opperating a boat.

PLANING - A boat is planing when it is moving over the top of the water rather than through the water.

PLANING HULL - A type of hull shaped to move over the top of the water at high speed.

POWER TRIM - Electric or hydrolic powered Engine Trim or Power Trim.
         Trim out or up, will raise the Bow. Trim in or down will lower the bow of the boat.

PORT - The left side of a boat looking forward.

PORT - The name of a bar on Buckeye Lake

Q Top of page

QUARTER - The sides of a boat aft of the center.

QUARTERING SEA - Sea coming on a boat's quarter.

R Top of page

RODE - The anchor line and chain.

ROPE - In general, rope or line.

RUDDER - A vertical board for steering a boat.

RUN - To allow a rope to feed freely.

RUNNING LIGHTS - Lights required to be shown on boats underway between sundown and sunrize.

S Top of page

SATELLITE NAVIGATION - A form of positioning useing satellites known as GPS.

SCREW - A boat's propeller.

SCUPPERS - Drain openings with rubber flaps to let water out.

SEA COCK - A through hull valve.

SEAMANSHIP - All the skills of boat handling, piloting, sailing, and rigging.

SEA ROOM - A safe distance from the shore or other hazards.

SEAWORTHY - A boat or a boat's gear able to meet the exspected conditions.

SECURE - To make fast.

SET - Direction toward which the current is flowing.

SHIP - A large vessel usually used for ocean travel.

SLACK - Not fastened; loose. Also, to loosen.

SOUNDING - A measurement of the depth of water.

SPRING LINE - A pivot line used in docking to prevent the boat from moving forward or backward while in a dock, or tied to a pier.

SQUALL - A stiff wind and hard rain.

SQUARE KNOT - A knot used to join two lines of similar size.

STANDING PART - That part of a rope which is tied.

STAND-ON VESSEL - That boat which has right-of-way during a meeting, crossing, or overtaking situation.

STARBOARD - The right side of a boat when looking forward.

STEM - The forward most part of the bow.

STERN - The back part of the boat.

STERN LINE - A docking line leading from the stern.

STORAGE COVER - A boat cover made Storage purposes only.

STOW - To put an item in its proper place.

SWAMP - To fill with water.

T Top of page

THWARTSHIPS - At right angles to the centerline of the boat.

TIDE - The periodic rise and fall of water level in the ocean.

TILLER - A handle for turning a boat's rudder or an outboard motor.

TOPSIDES - The sides of a boat between the waterline and the deck.

TOWING COVER - A boat cover made for Over the Road or Highway use.

TRANSOM - The stern cross-section of a boat.

TRIM - Fore and aft balance of a boat. Also refers to the Engine Trim or Power Trim.
         Trim out or up, will raise the Bow. Trim in or down will lower the bow of the boat.

THRUST WASHER - In front of the propeller, to hold the force from the propeller presure.

U Top of page

UNDERWAY - A boat moving along in the water.

V Top of page

V BOTTOM - A hull with the bottom section in the shape of a "V".

W Top of page

WAKE - Moving waves that a boat leaves behind it.

WATERLINE - A line painted on a hull which shows the point to which a boat sinks when it is properly trimmed.

WAY - Movement of a boat through the water such as headway, sternway or leeway.

WINDWARD - Toward the direction from which the wind is coming.

WINTERIZING - To make boat ready for winter storage

Y Top of page

YACHT - A large pleasure boat.

YAW - To swing or steer off course.



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