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Glossary of Boating Terms
ABAFT -
Toward the rear (stern) of the boat. Behind.
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 (not over it - see ALOFT).
AFT -
Toward the stern of the boat.
AGROUND -
Touching or fast to the bottom.
AHEAD -
In a forward direction.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION (AtoN) -
Artificial objects to supplement natural landmarks to indicate safe and unsafe waters.
ALOFT -
Above the deck of the boat.
AMIDSHIPS -
In or toward the center of the boat.
ANCHOR -
A heavy metal device, fastened to a chain or line, to hold a vessel in position, partly because of its weight, but chiefly because the designed shape digs into the bottom.
ANCHORAGE -
A place suitable for anchoring in relation to the wind, seas and bottom.
ASTERN -
In back of the boat, opposite of ahead.
ATHWARTSHIPS -
At right angles to the centerline of the boat; rowboat seats are generally athwartships.
BATTEN DOWN -
Secure hatches and loose objects both within the hull and on deck.
BEACON -
A lighted or unlighted fixed aid to navigation attached directly to the earth's surface. (Lights and daybeacons both constitute "beacons.")
BEAM -
The greatest 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. A shallow bay.
BILGE -
The interior of the hull below the floor boards.
BITTER END -
The last part of a rope or chain. The inboard end of the anchor rode.
BLOCK -
A wooden or metal case enclosing one or more pulleys and having a hook, eye, or strap by which it may be attached.
BOAT -
A fairly indefinite term. A waterborne vehicle smaller than a ship. One definition is a small craft carried aboard a ship.
BOAT HOOK -
A short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off.
BOW -
The forward part of a boat.
BOW LINE -
A docking line leading from the bow.
BOW SPRING LINE -
A bow pivot line used in docking and undocking, or to prevent the boat from moving forward or astern while made fast to a pier.
BOWLINE KNOT -
A knot used to form a temporary loop in the end of a line.
BOWSPRIT -
A spar extending forward from the bow.
BRIDGE -
The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled. "Control Station" is really a more appropriate term for small craft.
BULKHEAD -
A vertical partition separating compartments.
BUOY -
An anchored float used for marking a position on the water or a hazard or a shoal and for mooring.
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 line from chafing on a