Top 37 Slang For Boat – Meaning & Usage

Boats, whether they’re cruising along the open seas or peacefully floating on a tranquil lake, have their own language. From nautical terms to slang that’s been passed down through generations of sailors, the world of boat lingo is as vast as the ocean itself.

In this listicle, we’ve rounded up the top slang for boat that will have you speaking like a seasoned sailor in no time. So hop aboard and get ready to navigate the waves of boat jargon with confidence!

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1. Gin Palace

A “gin palace” is a slang term for a luxurious and extravagant boat, typically a large yacht. The term is often used to describe opulent and high-end vessels.

  • For example , “He arrived at the party in his gin palace, turning heads with its sleek design and lavish features.”
  • In a conversation about boating , someone might say, “I dream of owning a gin palace one day, sailing around the world in style.”
  • A boating enthusiast might admire a gin palace and exclaim , “That boat is the epitome of luxury, a true gin palace.”

A “barge” is a type of boat that is flat-bottomed and designed for carrying goods on rivers and canals. The term can also be used to refer to any large and unwieldy boat.

  • For instance , “The barge slowly made its way down the river, carrying a heavy load of cargo.”
  • In a discussion about transportation , someone might mention, “Barges are often used to transport goods efficiently and cost-effectively.”
  • A person describing a boat they saw might say , “It wasn’t the most elegant boat, more like a floating barge.”

3. Ditch crawler

A “ditch crawler” is a slang term for a small boat, typically used for navigating narrow waterways or shallow areas. The term emphasizes the boat’s ability to maneuver in tight spaces.

  • For example , “He took his ditch crawler out for a peaceful day of fishing in the narrow canals.”
  • In a conversation about boating options , someone might say, “I prefer a ditch crawler for exploring hidden waterways and marshes.”
  • A boating enthusiast might recommend a ditch crawler and say , “If you love exploring remote areas, a ditch crawler is the way to go.”

4. Tupperware

A “Tupperware” is a slang term for a boat made of plastic, typically referring to small recreational boats. The term is often used humorously to describe boats that are lightweight and easily transportable.

  • For instance , “He took his Tupperware out on the lake for a day of fishing and relaxation.”
  • In a discussion about boat materials , someone might say, “Tupperware boats are popular among beginners due to their affordability and durability.”
  • A person describing a boat they saw might joke , “It was a classic Tupperware, perfect for a picnic on the water.”

A “plastic” is a slang term for a boat made of fiberglass. The term is commonly used among boating enthusiasts and refers to the material used in the construction of the boat.

  • For example , “He proudly showed off his new plastic, a sleek and shiny vessel.”
  • In a conversation about boat maintenance , someone might mention, “Plastic boats require regular cleaning and waxing to keep their glossy appearance.”
  • A boating enthusiast might discuss the advantages of a plastic and say , “Fiberglass boats are lightweight, durable, and offer excellent performance on the water.”

A scow is a type of boat with a flat-bottomed hull, typically used for transporting goods or dredging. The flat-bottom design allows for easy loading and unloading of cargo.

  • For example , “The scow was used to transport lumber down the river.”
  • In a discussion about water transportation , someone might ask, “Has anyone ever been on a scow before?”
  • A boating enthusiast might say , “Scows are great for shallow waters and navigating through marshes.”

In boating slang, “A1” refers to a boat that is in excellent condition. It indicates that the boat is well-maintained and ready for use.

  • For instance , “That yacht is A1, it’s been well taken care of.”
  • A boat owner might advertise , “Selling my A1 sailboat, it’s in pristine condition.”
  • In a discussion about boat maintenance , someone might say, “Regular cleaning and servicing is important to keep your boat A1.”

8. At Loggerheads

The phrase “at loggerheads” is a nautical term that refers to two boats coming into contact and becoming stuck together. Figuratively, it means to be in a state of disagreement or conflict.

  • For example , “The two politicians are at loggerheads over the new policy.”
  • In a debate , someone might say, “We’ve been at loggerheads for hours, let’s try to find some common ground.”
  • A news headline might read , “Labor and management at loggerheads in contract negotiations.”

9. Barge In

To “barge in” means to interrupt or intrude into a conversation or situation without invitation or permission. The term comes from the image of a barge forcefully entering a space.

  • For instance , “He always barge in when we’re trying to have a serious discussion.”
  • In a social gathering , someone might say, “Please don’t barge in, wait for your turn.”
  • A parent might scold their child , “You can’t just barge in without knocking.”

10. Coasties

In boating slang, “Coasties” refers to members of the Coast Guard. It is a colloquial term used to describe individuals who serve in the maritime branch of a country’s military or law enforcement.

  • For example , “The Coasties rescued the stranded boaters during the storm.”
  • In a discussion about maritime safety , someone might ask, “Do the Coasties patrol this area regularly?”
  • A Coast Guard member might say , “I’m proud to be one of the Coasties, protecting our shores.”

11. Blowboater

This term is often used to refer to someone who is passionate about sailing and owns a sailboat. It can also be used to describe someone who enjoys participating in sailboat races or regattas.

  • For example , “He spends every weekend out on the water, he’s a true blowboater.”
  • A sailing club might organize an event and invite blowboaters to join and showcase their skills.
  • A sailing enthusiast might say , “I love being a blowboater because it allows me to connect with nature and experience the thrill of the wind in my sails.”

12. Snailboater

This term is used to describe a sailboat that is moving at a slow speed, often due to light wind or unfavorable sailing conditions. It can also be used as a playful nickname for someone who prefers a leisurely pace while sailing.

  • For instance , “We were stuck behind a snailboater during the race, and it took us longer to reach the finish line.”
  • A sailor might say , “I enjoy being a snailboater because it allows me to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the water.”
  • During a sailing trip , someone might jokingly say, “We’re not in a rush, let’s embrace our inner snailboaters and take our time.”

13. Dead in the water

This phrase is used to describe a boat that has come to a complete stop and is not moving. It can also be used metaphorically to describe a situation where there is no progress or forward movement.

  • For example , “The engine failed, and we were dead in the water until help arrived.”
  • A sailor might say , “We encountered a strong current that left us dead in the water for hours.”
  • In a business context , someone might say, “Without a clear plan, the project is dead in the water.”

14. Stinkpot

This term is often used to refer to a motorboat, particularly one with a gasoline-powered engine. It is derived from the strong smell of exhaust fumes emitted by motorboats.

  • For instance , “He prefers the speed and convenience of a stinkpot over a sailboat.”
  • A boat enthusiast might say , “I enjoy sailing, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and hop on a stinkpot.”
  • During a conversation about different types of boats , someone might ask, “Are you more of a stinkpot person or a blowboater?”

15. Oil burner

This term is used to describe a boat that is powered by a diesel engine. Diesel-powered boats are sometimes referred to as oil burners due to the fuel they use.

  • For example , “He owns an oil burner and enjoys the fuel efficiency it provides.”
  • A boat mechanic might say , “When maintaining an oil burner, it’s important to regularly check the fuel filters.”
  • During a discussion about different types of boat engines , someone might ask, “Do you prefer gas-powered boats or oil burners?”

16. High-tide riders

This term refers to experienced boaters who are skilled at navigating during high tide conditions. It implies that these boaters are familiar with the challenges and nuances of boating in high tide.

  • For example , “The high-tide riders know exactly how to navigate through the narrow channels during high tide.”
  • A boater might say , “If you want to learn how to handle your boat during high tide, seek advice from the high-tide riders.”
  • In a discussion about boating techniques , someone might mention, “The high-tide riders have mastered the art of reading the water and understanding the tides.”

17. As the crow flies

This phrase is often used to describe the shortest distance between two points, without considering any obstacles or detours. It implies a direct and efficient route.

  • For instance , “The marina is just two miles away as the crow flies, but it will take longer if we follow the winding river.”
  • A boater might say , “Let’s go to that island over there, it’s only a few miles as the crow flies.”
  • In a discussion about navigation , someone might mention, “As the crow flies, the distance between two points may seem short, but you have to consider the actual route on the water.”

18. Go Fast

This phrase is used to encourage or describe the act of increasing the speed of a boat. It implies a desire for a thrilling and fast-paced boating experience.

  • For example , “Hold on tight, we’re going fast!”
  • A boater might say , “I love to go fast and feel the wind in my hair.”
  • In a discussion about different boating styles , someone might mention, “Some boaters prefer a leisurely cruise, while others like to go fast and enjoy the adrenaline rush.”

19. Go Fast/Go Loud

This phrase is often used to describe a boating style that involves both high speed and loud engine noise. It implies a preference for a powerful and attention-grabbing boating experience.

  • For instance , “When they go fast, they also go loud with their engines revving.”
  • A boater might say , “If you want to make a statement on the water, go fast and go loud.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boating events , someone might mention, “The go fast/go loud races are always a crowd favorite.”

20. Boating Dollars

This term refers to the expenses associated with owning and operating a boat. It implies that boating can be a costly hobby or lifestyle.

  • For example , “He has invested a lot of boating dollars in his yacht.”
  • A boater might say , “Before you buy a boat, make sure you’re prepared for the boating dollars that come with it.”
  • In a discussion about budgeting for boating , someone might mention, “It’s important to factor in all the boating dollars, including maintenance, fuel, and insurance.”

21. Sailboat

A type of boat that is propelled by wind, using sails to harness the power of the wind. Sailboats come in various sizes and configurations, from small single-handed dinghies to large luxury yachts.

  • For example , “Let’s go out for a day of sailing on my sailboat.”
  • A sailor might say , “I prefer the freedom and tranquility of sailing on a sailboat.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boats , someone might mention, “Sailboats are known for their elegance and grace on the water.”

22. Motorboat

A boat that is powered by an engine, typically an internal combustion engine. Motorboats come in various sizes and styles, from small speedboats to large yachts.

  • For instance , “Let’s take the motorboat out for some water skiing.”
  • A boating enthusiast might say , “I love the thrill and speed of a motorboat.”
  • In a conversation about different types of boats , someone might mention, “Motorboats are great for exploring large bodies of water quickly and efficiently.”

A narrow boat that is pointed at both ends and propelled by paddles. Canoes are typically used for recreational purposes, such as leisurely paddling on calm lakes or navigating rivers.

  • For example , “Let’s go canoeing down the river and enjoy the peacefulness of nature.”
  • A nature enthusiast might say , “Canoeing allows you to explore remote and untouched areas.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boats , someone might mention, “Canoes are perfect for solo or tandem paddling adventures.”

A small, narrow boat that is propelled by a double-bladed paddle. Kayaks are designed for one or two people and are commonly used for recreational activities such as touring, fishing, and whitewater rafting.

  • For instance , “Let’s go kayaking and explore the hidden coves along the coast.”
  • An outdoor enthusiast might say , “Kayaking allows you to get up close and personal with nature.”
  • In a conversation about different types of boats , someone might mention, “Kayaks are versatile and can be used in various water conditions.”

A small, shallow-draft boat that is typically used for fishing in calm waters. Skiffs are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them popular among anglers.

  • For example , “Let’s take the skiff out for some early morning fishing.”
  • A fishing enthusiast might say , “Skiffs allow you to access shallow areas where larger boats can’t go.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boats , someone might mention, “Skiffs are perfect for fly fishing or casting in tight spaces.”

26. Jon boat

A small, flat-bottomed boat typically used for fishing or hunting in shallow waters. The term “Jon boat” is a colloquialism, derived from the name “John,” and is often used interchangeably with “John boat.”

  • For example , “Let’s take the Jon boat out on the lake and do some fishing.”
  • A person discussing boating options might say , “A Jon boat is perfect for navigating narrow rivers.”
  • In a conversation about different types of boats , someone might ask, “What’s the difference between a Jon boat and a bass boat?”

27. Pontoon boat

A flat-bottomed boat that is buoyant due to pontoons, which are air-filled chambers attached to the bottom of the boat. Pontoon boats are often used for leisure activities such as cruising, fishing, or partying on the water. The term “party barge” is a colloquialism used to emphasize the social and recreational aspects of pontoon boats.

  • For instance , “We rented a pontoon boat for a day of fun on the lake. It was like a floating party barge!”
  • A person discussing boating options might say , “A pontoon boat is great for a relaxing day on the water with friends.”
  • In a conversation about different types of boats , someone might ask, “Can you fish from a pontoon boat?”

28. Houseboat

A boat that has been designed or modified for use as a permanent residence. Houseboats typically have living spaces, bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms, providing all the comforts of a traditional home. The term “floating home” is often used to highlight the fact that houseboats serve as both a means of transportation and a place to live.

  • For example , “We spent our vacation on a houseboat, and it felt like living in a floating home.”
  • A person discussing alternative living arrangements might say , “I’m considering buying a houseboat and living on the water.”
  • In a conversation about unique vacation experiences , someone might ask, “Have you ever stayed in a houseboat?”

29. Jet ski

A small, motorized vehicle designed to be ridden on the water. Jet skis are typically used for recreational purposes, such as cruising, racing, or performing tricks. The term “personal watercraft” is a more formal and descriptive term for jet ski.

  • For instance , “Let’s go to the beach and rent a jet ski for some fun on the water.”
  • A person discussing water sports might say , “I love riding a personal watercraft like a jet ski.”
  • In a conversation about different types of watercraft , someone might ask, “What’s the difference between a jet ski and a wave runner?”

30. Catamaran

A boat that has two parallel hulls connected by a deck or framework. Catamarans are known for their stability and speed, making them popular for both recreational and commercial purposes. The term “twin-hull boat” is a more technical description of a catamaran.

  • For example , “We went on a catamaran cruise and enjoyed the smooth ride and spacious deck.”
  • A person discussing sailing might say , “Catamarans are great for long-distance voyages due to their stability.”
  • In a conversation about different types of boats , someone might ask, “What are the advantages of a catamaran over a traditional single-hull boat?”

31. Trawler

A trawler is a type of fishing vessel that is designed to tow a trawl net through the water to catch fish. It is often used for commercial fishing purposes.

  • For example , “The trawler returned to the harbor with a big catch of cod.”
  • A fisherman might say , “I’ve been working on a trawler for over 10 years.”
  • In a discussion about sustainable fishing , someone might mention, “Trawlers can have a negative impact on marine ecosystems if not properly regulated.”

32. Cruiser

A cruiser is a type of boat that is designed for leisure and recreational purposes. It is typically larger and more luxurious than other types of boats and is often used for cruising or sailing.

  • For instance , “They spent the weekend on their cruiser, exploring the nearby islands.”
  • A boating enthusiast might say , “I love taking my cruiser out on the lake for a relaxing day on the water.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boats , someone might ask, “What’s the difference between a cruiser and a yacht?”

33. Gondola

A gondola is a traditional Venetian boat that is used for transportation in the canals of Venice, Italy. It is typically long and narrow, with a flat bottom and a high prow and stern.

  • For example , “They took a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Venice.”
  • A traveler might say , “Riding a gondola is a must-do experience when visiting Venice.”
  • In a discussion about unique modes of transportation , someone might mention, “Gondolas are an iconic symbol of Venice.”

34. Pontoon

A pontoon is a type of boat that is supported by pontoons, or flotation devices, instead of a traditional hull. It is often used for recreational activities such as fishing or leisurely cruising.

  • For instance , “They went fishing on their pontoon and caught several bass.”
  • A boating enthusiast might say , “Pontoon boats are great for relaxing and enjoying time on the water.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boats , someone might ask, “What are the advantages of a pontoon boat over a traditional motorboat?”

35. Speedboat

A speedboat is a type of boat that is designed for high speed and performance. It is typically smaller and more agile than other types of boats and is often used for water sports or racing.

  • For example , “They went water skiing behind their speedboat.”
  • A boating enthusiast might say , “I love the adrenaline rush of driving a speedboat at top speed.”
  • In a discussion about different types of boats , someone might ask, “What’s the fastest speedboat ever recorded?”

36. Canoe-kayak

A canoe-kayak, often referred to as a “paddlecraft,” is a small and narrow boat that is propelled by paddling. It can be used for recreational purposes or for competitive sports such as canoeing and kayaking.

  • For example , “Let’s take the canoe-kayak out on the lake for a relaxing afternoon.”
  • In a discussion about water sports , someone might say, “I prefer canoe-kayaking over other forms of boating.”
  • A person planning a camping trip might ask , “Does anyone know where we can rent a canoe-kayak for our adventure?”

37. Paddleboard

Short for “Stand-Up Paddleboard,” a paddleboard is a long and wide board that is used for standing and paddling on water. It is propelled by a single paddle and can be used for various activities such as surfing, touring, or practicing yoga.

  • For instance , “I love taking my paddleboard out to catch some waves.”
  • In a conversation about outdoor fitness , someone might say, “I’ve recently started doing SUP yoga on my paddleboard.”
  • A person planning a beach vacation might ask , “Are there any good spots for paddleboarding in this area?”

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yacht slang definition

Nautical Slang in Common Usage

yacht slang definition

Many phrases that have been adopted into everyday use originate from seafaring – in particular from the days of sail. 

It is an undoubted fact that seafaring is also the source of more false etymology than any other sphere. This can be attributed to the attractiveness of the romantic image of horny-handed sailors singing shanties and living a hearty and rough life at sea. After all, it sounds plausible that ‘cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey’ comes from brass ship’s fittings and that POSH means ‘Port out, starboard home’, but neither of these is correct. CANOE, the Committee to Ascribe a Naval Origin to Everything, doesn’t really exist, but the number of these folk myths makes it seem as though they do…

It is lucky for us, in our endeavours to distinguish truth from falsehood, that activities at sea have been scrupulously recorded over the centuries, in insurance records, newspaper accounts and, not least, in ships’ log books. The term log-book has an interesting derivation in itself. An early form of measuring a ship’s progress was by casting overboard a wooden board (the log) with a string attached. The rate at which the string was paid out as the ship moved away from the stationary log was measured by counting how long it took between knots n the string. These measurements were later transcribed into a book. Hence we get the term ‘log-book’ and also the name ‘knot’ as the unit of speed at sea.

Above board - Anything on or above the open deck. If something is open and in plain view, it is above board. All at sea - This dates to the time when accurate navigational aids weren’t available. Any ship that was out of sight of land was in an uncertain position and in danger of becoming lost. Aloof - Now means to stand apart or be indifferent, but it came from the Old Dutch word loef which meant “windward” and was used to describe a ship within a fleet which sailed higher to the wind and was thus drawn apart from the rest of the fleet. At loggerheads - An iron ball attached to a long handle was a loggerhead. When heated it was used to seal the pitch in deck seams. It was sometimes a handy weapon for quarrelling crewmen. Chock-a-block - A block and tackle is a pulley system used on sailing ships to hoist the sails. The phrase describes what occurs the system is raised to its fullest extent – when there is no more rope free and the blocks jam tightly together. Predictably this lead to its current meaning, “crammed so tightly together as to prevent movement”. Clean bill of health - A certificate signed by a port authority attesting that no contagious disease existed in the port of departure and none of the crew was infected with a disease at the time of sailing. Shore-side, it means in good shape. Clear the deck - One of the things done in preparation for battle. Current usage similar to batten down the hatches. Close quarters - In the 17th century, the barriers that sailors laid across a ship’s deck in order to provide a safe haven from the enemy were called close-fights. By the mid 18th century that confined defensive space became called ‘close quarters’, i.e. close dwellings. This eventually came to mean ‘near enough to to be able to fight hand to hand’. Copper-bottomed - described ships that were fitted with copper plating on the underside of their hulls. The process was first used on ships of the British Navy in 1761 to defend their wooden planking against attack by Teredo worms a.k.a. Shipworms and to reduce infestations by barnacles. The method was successful in protecting ships’ timbers and in increasing speed and manoeuvrability and soon became widely used. Before long, ‘copper-bottomed’ began to be used figuratively to refer to anything that was certain and trustworthy. Cut and run - most often thought to mean the cutting of an anchor line in an effort to make a quick getaway. Hard to imagine that many ship’s masters enjoyed routinely losing an anchor or two, so it is probably more likely referring to the practice of securing the sails of a square-rigged ship with rope yarns that could easily be cut away when a quick departure was necessary. Cut of one’s jib - warships many times had their foresails or jib sails cut thinly so that they could maintain point and not be blown off course. Upon sighting thin foresails on a distant ship a captain might not like the cut of his jib and would then have an opportunity to escape. Deliver a broadside - the simultaneous firing of the guns and/or canons on one side of a warship. Quite a blow, as can be imagined. Today it means much the same type of all-out attack, though done (usually) with words. Devil to pay  - Originally, this expression described one of the unpleasant tasks aboard a wooden ship. The devil was the ship’s longest seam in the hull. Caulking was done with pay or pitch (a kind of tar). The task of ‘paying the devil’ (caulking the longest seam) by squatting in the bilges was one of the worst and most difficult jobs onboard. The term has come to mean a difficult, seemingly impossible task. ‘The devil to pay and no pitch hot’. Landlubbers, having no seafaring knowledge, assumed it referred to satan and gave the term a moral interpretation. Dressing down  - Thin and worn sails were often treated with oil or wax to renew their effectiveness. This was called “dressing down”. An officer or sailor who was reprimanded or scolded received a dressing down. Dutch courage  - Dates to the 1600s Anglo-Dutch wars and was likely British propaganda claiming that the Dutch troops were so cowardly they wouldn’t fight unless fortified with copious amounts of schnapps. The term has come to mean false courage induced by drink, or the drink itself. Edging forward  - This phrase describes inch-by-inch progress and was first used in the 17th century, typically in nautical contexts and referring to slow advance by means of repeated small tacking movements. Even keel - A vessel that floats upright without list is said to be on an even keel and this term has come to mean calm and steady. A keel is like the backbone of the vessel, the lowest and principal centerline structural member running fore and aft. Keeled over (upside down) was a sailor’s term for death. Fall foul of/foul up - Foul is an often used nautical term generally meaning entangled or impeded. An anchor tangled in line or cable is said to be a foul anchor. A foul berth is caused by another vessel anchoring too close wherein the risk of collision exists. A foul bottom offers poor holding for anchors. A screw up! Fathom - A nautical measure equal to six feet, used to measure the depth of water at sea. The word was also used to describe taking the measure or “to fathom” something. Today when one is trying to figure something out, they are trying to fathom it or get to the bottom of it. Figurehead - An ornamental figure placed on the front of a ship, under the. Originally a religious and/or protective emblem. The custom continued but for purely decorative purposes. Hence the term figurehead – a leader with no real power or function except to ‘look good’ or appeal to a certain group. Filibuster - Buccaneers were sometimes known in England as filibusters. From the Dutch for vrybuiter (freebooter) translated into French as flibustier. It is now used as a political term meaning to delay or obstruct the passage of legislation (as opposed to sailing vessels) by non-stop speech making. First rate  - Implies excellence. From the 16th century on until steam powered ships took over, British naval ships were rated as to the number of heavy cannon they carried. A ship of 100 or more guns was a First Rate line-of-battle ship. Second rates carried 90 to 98 guns; Third Rates, 64 to 89 guns; Fourth Rates, 50 to 60 guns. Frigates carrying 20 to 48 guns were fifth and sixth rated. Fits the bill - A Bill of Lading was signed by the ship’s master acknowledging receipt of specified goods and the promise to deliver them to their destination in the same condition. Upon delivery, the goods were checked against the bill to see if all was in order. If so, they fit the bill. Flotsam and jetsam  - These are legal terms in maritime law. Flotsam is any part of the wreckage of a ship or her cargo that is lost by accident and found floating on the surface of the water. Jetsam are goods or equipment deliberately thrown overboard (jettisoned) to make the ship more stable in high winds or heavy seas. (Lagan are goods cast overboard with a rope attached so that they may be retrieved and sometimes refers to goods remaining inside a sunken ship or lying on the bottom.) The term flotsam and jetsam shore-side means odds and ends of no great value. Footloose - The bottom portion of a sail is called the foot. If it is not secured, it is footloose and it dances randomly in the wind. From stem to stern - From the front of a ship to the back. Now describes something in its entirety. Flying colours - To come through a battle with flying colours means a ship has come through relatively unscathed and with her colours (flag) flying. Get underway - ‘Way’ here doesn’t mean road or route but has the specifically nautical meaning of ‘the forward progress of a ship though the water’, or the wake that the ship leaves behind. Way has been used like that since at least the 17th century. Give a wide berth  - To anchor a ship far enough away from another ship so that they did not hit each other when they swung with the wind or tide. Go overboard  - The nautical origin of this one should be fairly self-evident. Gripe  - A sailing vessel gripes when, by poor design or imbalance of sail, it tends to end up with its bow into the wind when sailing close-hauled. The sails flap around, forward progress is halted and she is very hard to steer. On land, the term means to complain, complain, complain. Groggy  - In 1740, British Admiral Vernon (whose nickname was “Old Grogram” for the cloak of grogram which he wore) ordered that the sailors’ daily ration of rum be diluted with water. The men called the mixture “grog”. A sailor who drank too much grog was “groggy”. Groundswell  - A sudden rise of water along the shore. It often happens when the weather is fine and the sea behind it appears calm. Said to occur when undulating water from a far away storm reaches the shoreline where friction causes the swell. In common use, the term groundswell means a growing change in public opinion. Hand over fist  - Hand over hand was a British term for the act of moving quickly up a rope or hoisting a sail, which was a matter of pride and competition among sailors. It is thought that American sailors changed this term to ‘hand over fist’, and the term now means to advance or accumulate rapidly. Hard and fast -   A ship that was hard and fast was simply one that was firmly beached on land. Has come to mean ‘rigidly adhered to – without doubt or debate’. Hard-up -   Hard is another often used nautical term. To put the helm hard over is to put it as far as it will go in that direction. Hard and fast describes a vessel firmly aground and unable to make progress and has come ashore to mean rigid. ‘Hard up in a clinch and no knife to cut the seizing’, the term from which hard up derives, was a sailor’s way of saying he had been overtaken by misfortune and saw no way of getting clear of it. Shore-side, the term means in need. Haze -   Long before fraternal organisations, hazing was the practice of keeping the crew working all hours of the day or night, whether necessary or not, in order to deprive them of sleep and to make them generally miserable. In the 19th century, many captains used this practice to assert their authority. Hazing has come to mean the initiation of a newcomer to a group by humiliating and harassing him or her, thereby asserting the authority of the group. High and dry -   This term originally referred to ships that were beached. The ‘dry’ implies that not only were they out of the water, but had been for some time and could be expected to remain so. Hot chase -   A principle of naval warfare, though without basis in law, that allowed a fleeing enemy to be followed into neutral waters and captured there if the chase had begun in international waters. The term hot pursuit derives from this ‘principle’. Hulk/hulking -   A large and unwieldy ship of simple construction and dubious seaworthiness. On shore, it means big and clumsy. In the offing  - This phrase is quite simple to understand once you know that ‘the offing’ is the part of the sea that can be seen from land, excluding those parts that are near the shore. Early texts also refer to it as ‘offen’ or ‘offin’. A ship that was about to arrive was “in the offing”, therefore imminent, which is how the phrase is used today. Idle/idler  - Idler was the name for those members of a ship’s crew that did not stand night watch because of their work. Carpenters, sailmakers, cooks, etc. worked during the day and were excused from watch duty at night. They were called idlers, but not because they had nothing to do, simply because they were off duty at night. Junk  - Old rope no longer able to take a load, it was cut into shorter lengths and used to make mops and mats. Land-side, junk is all that stuff in your garage you know you’ll need right after you throw it away. Jury rig -   A temporary repair to keep a disabled ship sailing until it could make port, such as a jury sail erected when the mast was lost or a jury rudder as an emergency means of steering when the ship’s rudder was damaged. Keel hauling - A severe naval punishment during the 15th and 16th centuries. The victim, presumably a delinquent sailor, was dragged from one side of the boat to the other, under the bottom of the boat (keel). Tossed over one side and pulled up on the other, he was usually allowed to catch his breath before suddenly being tossed overboard again. Keel hauling lost favour at the beginning of the 18th century, to be replaced by the cat-o-nine-tails. The term still means a rough reprimand. Know the ropes - This is pretty obvious if you’ve ever seen a tall ship. It was such an important skill on sailing vessels that an honourable discharge from service was marked, at one time, with the term ‘knows the ropes’. Land-side it still means a person with experience and skill. Also, learn the ropes and show them the ropes. Leeway - The weather side of a ship is the side from which the wind is blowing. The Lee side is the side of the ship sheltered from the wind. A lee shore is a shore that is downwind of a ship. If a ship does not have enough “leeway” it is in danger of being driven onto the shore. Listless - When a ship was listless, she was sitting still and upright in the water, with no wind to make her lean over (list) and drive ahead. Long hau l - Operation on ship requiring the hauling of a lot of line. Also seen in short haul, an operation requiring little line. Long shot - In old warships, the muzzle-loading cannon were charged with black powder of uncertain potency that would propel the iron shot an equally uncertain distance with doubtful accuracy. A 24-pounder long gun, for instance, was considered to have a maximum effective range of 1200 yards, even though, under the right conditions, a ball might travel some 3000 yards. Similarly, a short, stubby 32-pounder carronade’s lethality faded fast beyond 400 yards. Thus, the odds were against a hit when one fired a long shot. Loose cannon - A cannon having come loose on the deck of a pitching, rolling, and yawing deck could cause severe injury and damage. Has come to mean an unpredictable or uncontrolled person who is likely to cause unintentional damage. Mainstay - A stay that extends from the maintop to the foot of the foremast of a sailing ship. Currently, a thing upon which something is based or depends. No room to swing a cat - The entire ship’s company was required to witness flogging at close hand. The crew might crowd around so that the Bosun’s Mate might not have enough room to swing his cat o’ nine tails. On your ends - The beams here are the horizontal transverse timbers of ships. This phrase came about with the allusion to the danger of imminent capsize if the ends were touching the water. Currently, means ‘to be in a bad situation’. Over the barrel - The most common method of punishment aboard ship was flogging. The unfortunate sailor was tied to a grating, mast or over the barrel of a deck cannon. Overbearing - To sail downwind directly at another ship thus “stealing” or diverting the wind from his sails. Overhaul - To prevent the buntline ropes from chaffing the sails, crew were sent aloft to haul them over the sails. This was called overhauling. Overreach - If a ship holds a tack course too long, it has overreached its turning point and the distance it must travel to reach its next tack point is increased. Overwhelm - Old English for capsize or founder. Pipe down - A boatswain’s call denoting the completion of an all hands evolution, and that you can go below. It was the last signal from the Bosun’s pipe each day which meant “lights out” and “silence”. Pooped - The rearmost, highest deck of a sailing ship was called the poop deck. If a ship were unlucky enough to be overtaken by a massive, breaking sea which drenched her from astern, she was said to have been “pooped.” When you think about it, the sea and shore uses of the word aren’t that different: in both cases, you’re washed out. Press into service - The British navy filled their ships’ crew quotas by kidnapping men off the streets and forcing them into service. This was called Impressment and was done by Press Gangs. Scuttlebutt - A butt was a barrel. Scuttle meant to chop a hole in something. The scuttlebutt was a water barrel with a hole cut into it so that sailors could reach in and dip out drinking water. The scuttlebutt was the place where the ship’s gossip was exchanged. Ship-shape and Bristol fashion - A reference to the precise nature of shipbuilding (and maintenance) as well as the exemplary work that came from Bristol shipyards. Shiver me timbers - one meaning of shiver, which is now largely forgotten, is ‘to break into pieces’. That meaning originated at least as early as the 14th century and is recorded in several Old English texts. So, the sailor’s oath shiver my timbers, is synonymous with (if so and so happens then…) let my boat break into pieces. Skyscraper - A small triangular sail set above the skysail in order to maximise effect in a light wind. Slush fund - A slushy slurry of fat was obtained by boiling or scraping the empty salted meat storage barrels. This stuff called “slush” was often sold ashore by the ship’s cook for the benefit of himself or the crew. The money so derived became known as a slush fund. Son of a gun - When in port, and with the crew restricted to the ship for any extended period of time, wives and ladies of easy virtue often were allowed to live aboard along with the crew. Infrequently, but not uncommonly, children were born aboard, and a convenient place for this was between guns on the gun deck. If the child’s father was unknown, they were entered in the ship’s log as “son of a gun”. Probably a sanitised version of “son of a bitch”, despite the various folk etymologies. A square meal - In good weather, crews’ mess was a warm meal served on square wooden platters. Squared away - On square-rigged vessels, the state of the sails when properly trimmed. Currently, arranged or dealt with in a satisfactory manner. Taken aback - A dangerous situation where the wind is on the wrong side of the sails pressing them back against the mast and forcing the ship astern. Most often this was caused by an inattentive helmsman who had allowed the ship to head up into the wind. Taking the wind out of his sails - Sailing in a manner so as to steal or divert wind from another ship’s sails. Taking turns - Changing watches with the turn of the hour glass. Three sheets to the wind - A sheet is a rope line which controls the tension on the downwind side of a square sail. If, on a three masted fully rigged ship, the sheets of the three lower course sails are loose, the sails will flap and flutter and are said to be “in the wind”. A ship in this condition would stagger and wander aimlessly downwind. Tide over -  At first glance, this would seem to be an obviously nautical term.  Today it means to make a small bit of something, usually money, last until a supply comes in, as in borrowing some money to tide you over till payday.  However, the meaning has changed over the years.  Once upon a time, ships could move under sail power, or in the absence of wind, float along with the tide called a tide over.  One could say the floating would tide the ship over until wind came again to move it along. Toe the line - When called to line up at attention, the ship’s crew would form up with their toes touching a seam in the deck planking. True colours - The current meaning, ‘to reveal yourself as you really are’, actually came about because of the opposite phrase “false colours” – from the 17th century referring to a vessel which sailed under a flag not her own. This tactic was used by almost everyone as a ruse de guerre, but the rules of gentlemanly behaviour (and possibly actual legal rules) required one to raise one’s true colours before opening fire on another ship. Try a different tack - The direction in which a ship moves as determined by the position of its sails and regarded in terms of the direction of the wind (starboard tack). If one tack didn’t bring the ship up properly, one could always attempt another. Turn a blind eye - From Admiral Lord Nelson’s awesome display of badassery at the Battle of Copenhagen. When the signal was given to stop fighting, Nelson held his spyglass to his blind eye and insisted he didn’t see the signal. He then proceeded to kick butt, of course. Under the weather - Keeping watch onboard sailing ships was a boring and tedious job, but the worst watch station was on the “weather” (windward) side of the bow. The sailor who was assigned to this station was subject to the constant pitching and rolling of the ship. By the end of his watch, he would be soaked from the waves crashing over the bow. A sailor who was assigned to this unpleasant duty was said to be “under the weather.” Sometimes, these men fell ill and died as a result of the assignment, which is why today “under the weather” is used to refer to someone suffering from an illness. A related theory claims that ill sailors were sent below deck (or “under the weather”) if they were feeling sick. Warning shot across the bow - From the literal practice of firing a warning shot across another ship’s bow to encourage the captain to strike without engaging. Windfall - A sudden unexpected rush of wind from a mountainous shore which allowed a ship more leeway.

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What does a "ship" mean online, and how do i use it.

When you see someone talking about "ships" on the internet, they're probably not talking about seacraft.

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Relation-ship, the origin of "ships", ships and canons, shipping in life, how to use "ship".

When you see someone talking about "ships" or "shipping" on the internet, there's a good chance they're not talking about seacraft or logistics. Here's what a "ship" means online and how to use it.

On the internet, a "ship" is often an abbreviated slang word for "relationship," and it generally refers to a romantic relationship between two fictional characters. For example, if you're currently watching Titanic, you might say, "There's a ship developing between Jack and Rose."

"Ship" is also commonly used as a verb to show your support for a particular romantic pairing. For example, if you enjoy the chemistry of the leads in Titanic, you could say, "I ship Jack and Rose." The word also communicates a sense of strong interest or affinity for a particular romantic pairing. It's common to see people saying "this is my ship" about a particular pairing as a way to show strong support for it. This is similar to OTP, or "one true pairing."

You should definitely not confuse this for actual ships, which are nautical vessels used to transport people and goods. A good rule of thumb is to check if the poster refers to any romantic relationships in their message. If not, then it might be a reference to actual seacraft.

Don't worry; we won't bore you with the history of nautical navigation. While the word "ship," meaning "boat," has been in the English language for a very long time, its internet slang definition is much more recent. The first entry for "ship" in Urban Dictionary dates back to 2003 and reads "short for a romantic relationship, popularized in fanfiction circles." The site even specifies that it can be used as both a noun and a verb.

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The term was already being used on early fan websites in the 1990s and became even more prominent when fans established communities around media franchises like Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Star Wars. These communities' subgroups would form around romantic pairings of characters and create derivative stories called " fanfiction ."

Eventually, the term would spread to the rest of the internet through social media websites and personal conversations between users. Nowadays, the use of the term "ship" isn't limited to fictional characters. Many people on platforms like Twitter state that they ship couples that are dating in real life. You can even say that you ship two of your friends who are currently seeing each other to support their relationship.

Ships tend to have a surprisingly large influence on both internet culture and broad pop culture. For example, popular ships are used to promote romance movies and TV shows. When Hollywood turned the fantasy-romance book Twilight into a film series, its marketing heavily leaned into the central love triangle. It was a way to tap into Twilight's very large fan community, particularly those who "shipped" the protagonist with different love interests.

Particular ships or pairings would even get "ship names." For example, the pairing of Clark Kent and Lois Lane from Superman is called "Clois," a portmanteau of their first names. Most fandoms have a dedicated "wiki," which is a repository of all information surrounding that work, including their ships.

In some cases, ships even influence the fictional work itself. This ties into another term, "canon," which means elements of a fictional story that are part of the officially released work. Many artists and directors have stated that fan-driven campaigns to make certain "ships" become "canon" have influenced the final output, ultimately resulting in fan-favorite romantic pairings happening in the show. When a ship becomes canon, fans often say "the ship has sailed" as a nautical-themed pun.

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Aside from its place in internet fandom culture, the word "ship" has become a popular verb to show encouragement towards a couple. If you see two of your friends who are in a relationship, it's pretty common to tell them, "I ship you two." This signals that you think they make a good pair and that you support them in continuing their relationship. You could also say, "I ship John and Jane" to a third person who is also aware of their pairing.

You can even use "ship" in a joking manner to refer to things you think belong together. For example, you might message in a group chat, "Pineapples and pizza? I ship it." This indicates that you support having pineapples on your pizza, which might be an unpopular opinion in your friend circle.

Before you start telling people you ship everyone, there are a few things you should remember. This is a very informal slang term and only makes sense to those active in internet circles. On top of that, in messages, it can very easily be confused for a boat or a package shipping service. Use it only when you're being clear that you're referring to a romantic pairing.

Here are a few examples of the slang term "ship" in action:

  • "I ship Romeo and Juliet."
  • "Mark and Marlene make such a great couple! I ship them."
  • "Wow, I can't believe Monica and Chandler ended up together. The ship has sailed!"
  • "I really ship burgers and fries."

Do you want to learn about other popular internet slang terms? Read up on our guides about sus , FML , and WBK , and you'll be a walking web dictionary in no time!

Related: What Does "WBK" Mean, and How Do You Use It?

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21 Common Yachting Terms Explained

Does it ever feel like yacht enthusiasts speak a whole other language? We get it. Everyone was new to yachting once and we all had to learn what different terms mean. Luckily, you have Ahoy Club to show you the ropes. Brush up on your sea vocabulary with some common definitions in our glossary below.


Essentially, parking your yacht so that you can hop over to shore and explore. It also refers to the literal anchor which holds your yacht in place.

APA (Advanced Provisioning Allowance)

A deposit paid by charterers to cover expenses during their trip. Expenses may include taxes, harbour fees, food and alcohol.

Base charter rate

The rate that you pay for the hire of your yacht and its crew. This does not include on board expenses and taxes which are covered by your APA (see above).

The total width of the yacht at its widest point.

The bedrooms on your yacht.

A type of yacht with two hulls. It was designed this way for increased stability on the water.

Explorer yacht

A yacht that is built to go to the farthest corners of the globe and into rough terrains. See examples in our past blog .

The territory under which a yacht is registered. The yacht’s flag state will govern the laws and regulations which it must follow.

A traditional motorised sailing yacht typically found in Turkey.

The main body of the yacht floating in the water; covers the front, sides, back and underside.

A boat or yacht’s speed measured in nautical miles per hour (see below).

A large luxury yacht typically measuring over 70m.

A boat with a single hull. May be a sailing yacht, motor yacht, luxury super- or megayacht. See Catamaran above for comparison.

Motor yacht (or M/Y)

A yacht which is powered with engines. 

Nautical mile

A measure of distance on the water. One nautical mile is equal to 1852 metres or 1-minute of latitude on a navigational chart.

Preference sheet

The questionnaire that guests fill out before beginning their charter. It is meant to provide as much information as possible to the captain, crew and chef so that they may meet your preferences for an excellent trip.

Sailing yacht (or S/Y)

A yacht which is primarily powered with wind sails. Most also have motors as a backup.

The main living or lounge area on your yacht. Pronounced ‘sal-on’ not ‘sal-oon’.

A luxury yacht measuring between 24-69m.

A smaller boat housed on your yacht which can be used for transfers to shore, with your watertoys or on short day trips.

VAT (Value Added Tax)

A compulsory consumption tax set out by the countries you are visiting. See our blogs on the recent changes in Italy and France to learn more.

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With Ahoy Club, you can expect everything about yacht chartering to be simpler. From our digital platform allowing you to browse thousands of yachts to our concierge team here to help with any questions. Check out our yachts for charter and test out your new yachting lingo ASAP.

What does 'shipping' mean? Unpacking the romance-focused internet slang

yacht slang definition

When you hear the word "ship," the image of a large boat probably comes to mind.

But if you're involved in a fandom, you might have a different definition for "ship." Even if you're a casual fan of certain movies, television shows, books or celebrities, you might partake in "shipping" without realizing it.

It's time for a history lesson in fandom culture and a primer on what "ship" means.

What does 'ship' mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, " to ship " is "to wishfully regard (specific people or fictional characters) as being or having the potential to become romantically involved with one another." As a noun, "ship" refers to the pairing of said people or characters.

The term dates back to an "X-Files" fan forum in 1996 , Merriam-Webster reports. Users who were fans of the romantic pairing of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder referred to themselves as "relationshippers." This was later shortened to "shippers."

In a similar sense, "ship" is shortened from "relationship." Therefore, "shipping" refers to creating a relationship between two individuals. This can be applied to books, movies, television shows or anything that has a fandom.

The slang was popularized in the early 2000s, but the action of "shipping" predates it by several decades. One of the earliest ship pairings is Captain Kirk and Spock from "Star Trek" in the 1960s.

Fans might ship their favorite characters based on small interactions or subtext, regardless of the media's canon , or true events. Some fans may make nicknames for their ships by combining the characters' names.

What does 'OTP' mean? Breaking down the fandom term, slang

How to use 'ship' 

Here is how to use "ship" in a conversation:

  • "I ship Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. "
  • "Do you ship Janine and Gregory on ' Abbott Elementary '?"
  • "What's your favorite ' Bridgerton ' ship?"

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Yacht Lingo 101: Beginner Sailing Terms To Know

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Yachting and Boating Glossary of Terms

Yachting Glossary Terms

Which side is "Starboard"? Important yachting and boating terms, all in one place!

The yachting world is full of nicknames and jargon - it can be hard to understand some of the technical language used. Scroll down to read through some of the most popular sailing terms and what they mean! 

aft sailing terminology

Aft deck . On motoryachts, the guest area closest to the back of the boat on the main level. Often the location of the main outdoor dining area. Aft cabin . Sleeping quarters beneath the aft or rear section of the boat (sometimes called a mid cabin when located beneath the helm) Alee . The side of a boat or object away from the direction of the wind. Aloft . Above deck in the rigging or mast. Amidships . In the center of the yacht Anti-fouling paint . A special paint applied to a boat's hull to prevent marine growth. APA . Advance Provisioning Allowance. The APA is monies paid to a bank account for the Captain of the yacht to provision on the charterer’s behalf. Key provisioning is fuel, food, drinks, and port fees.  The Captain is obligated to keep all receipts and balance the account for the charterer. At the end of the charter, the Captain provides a full account of expenditures, and any amounts not used will be refunded. Apparent wind . The direction and speed of the wind as felt in a moving boat - the way it 'appears”. Astern . The direction toward or beyond the back of the boat (stern). Athwartships . Perpendicular to the yacht’s centerline. An 'athwartships berth,” means the bed is parallel to the yacht’s sides instead of to its bow and stern. This can create uncomfortable motion while you sleep. Aweigh . An anchor that is off the bottom. Antigua. North of Guadeloupe , a popular bareboating destination. Anguilla.   An exclusive destination in the Caribbean. 

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what is a bow of a boat

Backstay . Support for the mast to keep it from falling forward. Banyan.  A short period of rest, often a day or so, while on a charter Bareboat . A yacht that you charter and run yourself, without a crew. See our Bareboat Page . Base charter rate . The rate the charterer pays on a charter for the yacht and crew. The base rate does not typically include provisioning or other expenses such as food, fuel, dockage and tip. Beam . Measurement of a boat at its widest point. Also, a transmitted radio, sonar or radar signal. Bearing . Direction to an object from your current position. Bear off . To turn away from the wind. Beating . Sailing upwind. Berth .  1 - A cabin or other place to sleep aboard a boat. 2 - A  boat slip at a dock where the boat can be moored. Bermuda Triangle . A section of the North Atlantic Ocean off North America in which more than 50 ships and 20 airplanes are said to have mysteriously disappeared. Bermuda . A British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean known for its pink-sand beaches such as Elbow Beach and Horseshoe Bay. Bimini . A sun shade or rain cover that covers a portion of a yacht or boat. Blue Peter.   A blue/white flag that indicates the yacht is ready to sail Bow . Forward portion/front of a boat. Bowline. The most popular, and essential knot. It has many uses, and is easily 'broken' even when pulled tight.  Buoy (normally pronounced "boowie”, but sometimes "boy”). An anchored floating object that serves as a navigation aid or hazard warning.  BVI . The British Virgin Islands .  A major sailing and yachting area in the Caribbean, near the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico .


captain only charters

Captain-only charter . A yacht that comes with a captain but no additional crew. The captain drives the yacht, and you take care of everything else, including cooking and housekeeping.  Often called Bareboat with Skipper Charter yacht broker . A person who specializes in booking personalized yacht vacations on behalf of clients. Also, the firm that person works for, as in Charter Yacht Broker Agency . See our article on why you should use a Charter broker . Charter terms . The contract under which you charter a yacht. There are different terms used in different parts of the world. Some give you everything on an all-inclusive basis, some give you all meals aboard, some give you no meals aboard, and so forth. Charter yacht . A yacht that is available for charter/rental. Cockpit . The outdoor area of a sailing yacht (typically in the stern) where guests sit and eat, and from where the captain may steer and control the boat. Commission . The fee a yacht’s owner pays to a charter broker for booking a charter. Note - the charterer does not pay the charter broker’s commission directly. Crew . The team that operates your charter yacht. The crew can include a captain plus any combination of: mate, deckhand, stewardess, engineer and chef. Some crew has additional skills such as wellness/massage therapy and scuba instruction . Crewed charter . The charter of a yacht that has a permanent crew aboard who run and manage all aspects of the yacht and charter. See more about Crewed Charter . CYBA . Charter Yacht Broker Association, one of the primary professional organizations for reputable charter brokers. Corsica.   A French island north of  Sardinia. Cuba . Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba , is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos located in the Caribbean sea .

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what does a draft mean in sailing terminology

Dead Ahead.   Right in front, just ahead. The direction you are sailing/cruising. Dinghy . A small boat that a yacht carries or tows. Used for transfers to and from shore, and short day cruises and, if powerful enough, water sports. Also typically called a tender on larger yachts. Displacement . The weight of water displaced by a hull. Also, a type of hull that smoothly displaces (pushes aside) water as opposed to tipping up and riding on top of it. Dodecanese .  The Dodecanese islands located in the southeastern Aegean Sea, are a group of Greek islands known for their medieval castles, beaches and ancient archaeological sites. Double cabin . A charter yacht cabin that includes a double bed to sleep two guests. Not to be confused with "twin cabin," which means a cabin with two twin-size beds. Draft . The depth of a yacht below the waterline, as measured vertically. It is important when navigating shallow water to assure the boat can pass.


E Flag

e-boat . A boat or yacht powered entirely by electricity (no diesel motor or generator). See more on our electric boat revolution page. Ease . To slacken (loosen) a rope/line. Eco . 1) the spoken term for the letter "E" 2) short for Ecological, eg. good for the environment. Eddy water . Area of calm sea. Electric generator. Equipment that burns fuel to provide electricity aboard when there are no electrical connections or sources.

what is fethiye in sailing terminology

Fathom . Depth measurement equaling six feet. Fethiye . Fethiye is a port on Turkey's southwestern Turquoise Coast First Mate . The second in command on the yacht Fleet . A group of yachts that are under management by the same company, called a fleet manager or  CA. Flank . The maximum speed of a ship Flotilla . A group of yachts cruising together. Flying bridge  (or Flybridge). A raised, second-story helm station (steering area) that often also has room for passengers, providing views and a sun deck. Furling . Rolling or folding a sail on its boom. Many charter yachts today are 'self furling” which take much of the work out of dropping the sails. French Riviera.  A stretch of coastline on the southern part of France. The 'Riviera' doesn't have an official boundary, however, most locals say that from Toulon to the Italian border is considered the  'French Riviera'.  

yachting terms and types of yachts

Galley . The kitchen/cooking area on a yacht. Gulet . A type of motorsailer typically found in Turkey. Gulets originated from sponge boats, but now offer luxury crewed charters, normally with en-suite bathrooms, large deck space and full service. See more about  Gulet Charters . Gunwale  (Gun-ul). The upper edge of the side of a boat. Gybe . Also spelled jibe. To change the course of a boat by swinging a fore-and-aft sail across a following wind (eg the wind is blowing from behind the boat). Gocek.  A popular bareboating sailing destination in Turkey.  Gulf.  Is a sizable amount of the ocean that penetrates the land. See 'Mexican Gulf'. 

what is a harbour

Halyard . Line (rope) used to hoist a sail. Harbour. An area designated for yachts to moor. Harbor fees . Charges paid by the yacht, and normally passed on to the charterer, for docking in certain harbors around the world. The rate depends very much on the season and attractiveness of the port. Harbormaster . The person at a harbor in charge of anchorages, berths and harbor traffic. Head . Toilet room. Heel . To temporarily tip or lean to one side. Monohulls heel more than catamarans. Helm . The steering wheel of the boat or yacht Hull . The structural body of the boat that rests in the water and is built to float.

sailing itineraries

'Inclusive” charter rate . The cost of a charter that includes nearly all expenses, including the yacht and crew, food, alcohol (within reason), fuel and dockage. Itinerary . The course a yacht intends to travel while on charter. The itinerary is normally planned in advance but should remain flexible depending on weather conditions and guest preferences. Idle. When the engines run on 'idle' this means the yacht is just ticking over. Often referred to in fuel rates "Rates include fuel with engines at idel" In Irons. A sailing word to describe a yacht losing her forward momentum when heading into wind. The yacht becomes untearable as she loses her way.  Ischia.   Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples , Italy, known for its mineral-rich thermal waters.  Inboard. When the engine is IN the yacht, as opposed to being attached to the stern - this would be called an OUTboard.  Inshore. Close or near the shoreline so line of sight sailing is possible.  Iron wind. Sailors nickname to the engine.  

what is a jib sail

Jib . Triangular sail projecting ahead of the mast. Jibe . See gybe Jackeline's.  Lines that run from Aft > forward that your harness can be attached to in bad weather.  Jury rig (jerry-rig). A tempory fix to something which has broken on the yacht. 

K is for knot - boatbookings

Knot . Boat speed measured in nautical miles per hour. Kedge. A small anchor that can be thrown overboard to either change the direction of the yacht (pivot point) or to help anchor the yacht further in bad weather. Often used then yachts "raft up".  Ketch. A two-masted yacht.  Kicking strap. A name to the line that pulls the boom down to flatten the sail. 

luxury yacht

Lee . The side furthest away from the wind.   Leeward . The side of an object that is sheltered from the wind. Often pronounced "loo ərd". Lee helm. In strong winds, the yacht can have a tendency to move to the lee without the rudder moving position.  LOA - Length Over All. The length of a charter yacht as measured from 'stem to stern”. This is important because yachts are usually charged a price by the foot for dockage at marinas. Luxury Yacht - a crewed charter yacht the strives to provide 5-star service to its charterers including cuisine, water sports, housekeeping, and navigation. See our  Luxury Yacht Charter Page. Lazy jack. A sail bag attached to the boom where the mainsail can fall into. Leech. The aft part of the sail.  Luff. The forward part of the sail.  Luffing up. Bringing the yacht into wind - moving the luff of the sail (the forward part of the sail called 'the luff' moves into the wind). 

mast terminology

Mainsail . The largest regular sail on a sailboat. Main salon . the primary indoor guest area on a yacht’s main deck. Make fast . To secure a line. Marina . A place where yachts dock and receive services such as provisioning, water and fuel.  Typically marinas offer protection from bad weather, and have hundreds of slips for yachts of various sizes.  Slips are rented long term or by the day. Mast . Vertical spar that supports sails. Master cabin . Typically the best/largest cabin onboard any charter yacht. Megayacht . A large, luxury motoryacht. No hard and fast definition, but normally crewed luxury yachts 100 feet or longer. Similar to Superyacht. Midships . Location near the center of a boat. Monohull . A yacht with one hull, as opposed to a multihull or catamaran that has pontoons.  While most motor yachts are monohulls, the term typically refers to sailing yachts. Motorsailor . A yacht built to sail and cruise under power with equal efficiencies, such as a Gulet.  They typically look like sailing yachts, but have strong engines and are often skippered like they are motor yachts. Motoryacht . A yacht whose primary form of propulsion is engines. Multihull . A yacht with more than one hull - typically a catamaran (two) or trimaran (three). They can be either powerboats or sailboats. MYBA - The Worldwide Yachting Association - originally the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (pronounced 'Mee ba”). An international yacht brokers' association based in the Mediterranean, one of the primary professional organizations for reputable charter brokers.   MYBA Contract . A contract used for luxury yachts, that has become the standard in the Mediterranean and many other parts of the world.  Offers protections for charterers in case of cancellation and clearly states the legal rights of all parties to the charter.

nautical flag for n

Nautical mile . A distance of 6,076.12 feet or 1,852 meters, which is about 15 percent longer than a statute mile. Equivalent to one minute of latitude on a navigation chart. See our Charter Distance and Cost Calculator here . Navigation. All activities that produce a path Nautical. Anything relating to the sea or yachts.  Narrows. A narrow part of a navigable waterway.  Nautical chart. 'Maps' designed specifically for sea navigation.  Nun. Navigational, cone-shaped buoy (in IALA A = port in IALA B = starboard)

o nautical flag

Outboard . An engine that is outside the boat (normally attached to the stern), as is commonly seen on tenders, dinghies, and smaller speed boats. Owner-operator . A person who owns and skippers a charter yacht, instead of hiring a captain to perform charters for guests.

nautical flag p

Painter. The rope that is used to tie the dinghy or tender up to the boat. Passarelle . The passageway you walk on from the dock to the yacht. Often incorrectly called a gangplank. Personal flotation device (PFD). A safety vest or jacket capable of keeping an individual afloat. Pitch . The theoretical distance a propeller would travel in one revolution. Also, the rising and falling motion of a boat's bow and stern. Planing hull . A boat hull designed to ride on top of the water rather than plowing through it. Port (direction). The left side of a boat when facing the bow. Signified by Red. The opposite side from Starboard.  Trick to remember - 'After a party, there’s no red port left'. Port (place). A marina harbor or commercial dock for boats. Port (drink). A strong, sweet, typically dark red fortified wine, originally from Portugal. (Well not exactly a nautical term, but lots of yachties like a good port after dinner!) Power catamaran . A multihulled powerboat with two identical side-by-side hulls. Characterized by excellent fuel mileage and less rolling in the water than a monohull powerboat. Power cruiser . A motor yacht with overnight accommodations, typically up to 40 feet long. Preference sheet . A questionnaire that guests fill out before a crewed charter. It alerts the crew to allergies and medical conditions, as well as to preferences for types of food, wine and service. As such, it is an invaluable document for the crew to plan the charter and assists greatly in customer satisfaction. Private yacht . A yacht that is not available for charter. Provisioning sheet . A questionnaire that guests fill out before a bareboat charter. It tells the management company what foods and other supplies you want to have to wait for you when you arrive for your vacation.  It’s not mandatory, as many bareboaters prefer to provision themselves when they arrive. Pullman berth . A twin-size bed that is atop another bed, in bunk-bed fashion that adds additional sleeping accommodation to the yacht.  It often 'pulls” out of the wall when needed. Pump toilet . A marine toilet that requires the user to pump a handle in order to flush.

nautical flag r

Reach . To sail across the wind. Regatta . A boat race, often with classic yachts. See more on our regatta charter guide . RIB (acronym for Rigid Inflatable Boat). An inflatable boat fitted with a rigid bottom often used as a dinghy or tender. They are great for shallow water and landing on sandy beaches. Rope . A cord used to moor or control a yacht. Note: experienced sailors always refer to ropes as lines. Runabout . A kind of small, lightweight, freshwater pleasurecraft intended for day use.

nautical flag for s

Sailing yacht . A yacht whose primary method of propulsion is sailing. Nearly all sailing yachts have engines in addition to their sails. Sedan cruiser . A type of large boat equipped with a salon and a raised helm or bridge. Semi-displacement hull . A hull shape with soft chines or a rounded bottom that enables the boat to achieve minimal planing characteristics (see Planing hull).  This increases the top potential speed of the yacht. Schooner . A large sailboat with two or more masts where the foremast is shorter than aft mainmast. Skippered bareboat . A bareboat that has been chartered with a skipper, but no other crew. The skipper’s responsibility is navigating the boat and assuring the safety and wellbeing of the charterer.  The skipper may cook and provision, but this is not a requirement. Also known as a captain-only charter or skipper-only charter. Sky lounge . The indoor guest area on the bridge deck of a luxury motor yacht. Often less formal than the main saloon, and sometimes ideal for cocktail parties, happy hour or children’s activities, especially if the weather is not perfect. Starboard . The right side of a boat when facing the bow. Opposite of Port. Stabilizers . A feature that helps to prevent a Motoryacht from rolling too drastically, especially in bad weather, greatly improving the comfort of the guests. The most advanced form is a zero-speed stabilizer, which works both underway and at anchor. Stem . The most forward section of the hull. Stern . Aft (back) portion of a boat. Swim platform . The space at the back of the yacht from which you typically can go swimming or board a dinghy. Lately, these have become entire pool/beach areas on some of the larger luxury yachts.

nautical flag t

Tack (sail). The lower corner of a sail. Tack (sailing). Each leg of a zigzag course typically used to sail upwind. Tandem charter . A charter that includes more than one yacht. Tender . A boat that a yacht carries or tows used for transfers to and from shore, and short day cruises and watersports. Also sometimes called a dinghy. Transom . The rear section of the hull connecting the two sides. True wind . The direction and velocity of wind as measured on land, distinct from apparent wind which is how it appears on a moving yacht. Twin cabin . A yacht cabin that features two twin beds, often best-suited for children or friends.

nautical flag for v

V-berth . A bed or berth located in the bow that has a V-shape. VAT . Value-added tax (TVA in France). An tax sometimes charged to charter guests who book boats in certain nations, most often in Europe. VAT can add 20 percent or more to your bill. Very happy . The state that most charterers are in the majority of the time they are aboard their yacht! VHF . Very high frequency; a bandwidth designation commonly used by marine radios. VICL . Virgin Islands Charter League, an organized group of charter yacht owners in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Membership in this group indicates a yacht owner’s willingness to be part of the larger charter community and to follow its standards. VIP cabin . Typically the second-best cabin onboard any charter yacht.

W in nautical flags

Waterline . The intersection of the hull and the surface of the water. Waypoint . The coordinates of a specific location. Weigh . To raise the anchor. Windlass . Rotating drum device used for hauling line or chain to raise and lower an anchor. Windward . The side of a boat or object that is facing or being hit by the wind - the windy side. Windward Islands .  The Windward Islands are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies Wet head . A bathroom that serves as both the toilet/sink area and the shower compartment, meaning the sink and toilet get wet when you use the showerhead.

Yacht . A sailing or motor yacht designed for pleasure boating that typically ranges from 40 to 100+ feet long. Yachting . The experience of being on a yacht. Yaw . To veer off course.

Zero-speed stabilizers . The most sophisticated type of motor yacht stabilizers that keep the yacht from rolling both underway and at anchor, significantly improving their comfort.

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yacht slang definition

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Slang for yacht.

As you've probably noticed, the slang synonyms for " yacht " are listed above. Note that due to the nature of the algorithm, some results returned by your query may only be concepts, ideas or words that are related to " yacht " (perhaps tenuously). This is simply due to the way the search algorithm works.

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The Urban Thesaurus was created by indexing millions of different slang terms which are defined on sites like Urban Dictionary . These indexes are then used to find usage correlations between slang terms. The official Urban Dictionary API is used to show the hover-definitions. Note that this thesaurus is not in any way affiliated with Urban Dictionary.

Due to the way the algorithm works, the thesaurus gives you mostly related slang words, rather than exact synonyms. The higher the terms are in the list, the more likely that they're relevant to the word or phrase that you searched for. The search algorithm handles phrases and strings of words quite well, so for example if you want words that are related to lol and rofl you can type in lol rofl and it should give you a pile of related slang terms. Or you might try boyfriend or girlfriend to get words that can mean either one of these (e.g. bae ). Please also note that due to the nature of the internet (and especially UD), there will often be many terrible and offensive terms in the results.

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Nautical + Sailing Terms You Should Know [578 Phrases]

Nautical + Sailing Terms You Should Know [578 Phrases]

June 5, 2019 2:05 pm

A seaman’s jargon is among the most challenging to memorize. With over 500 terms used to communicate with a captain, crew, and sailors regarding navigation and more, there’s a word for nearly everything. No need to jump ship, this comprehensive list will have you speaking the lingo in no time.

Abaft the beam: A relative bearing of greater than 90 degrees from the bow. e.g. “two points abaft the port beam.”

Abaft: Toward the stern, relative to some object (“abaft the fore hatch”).

Abandon Ship: An imperative to leave the vessel immediately, usually in the face of some imminent danger.

Abeam: “On the beam”, a relative bearing at right angles to the centerline of the ship’s keel.

Aboard: On or in a vessel. Close aboard means near a ship.

Above board: On or above the deck, in plain view, not hiding anything.

Accommodation ladder: A portable flight of steps down a ship’s side.

Admiral: Senior naval officer of Flag rank. In ascending order of seniority, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral and Admiral of the Fleet (Royal Navy). Derivation reputedly Arabic, from “Emir al Bath” (“Ruler of the waters”).

Admiralty law: Body of law that deals with maritime cases. In the UK administered by the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice.

Adrift: Afloat and unattached in any way to the shore or seabed. It may also imply that a vessel is not anchored and not under control, therefore goes where the wind and current take her, (loose from moorings, or out of place). Also refers to any gear not fastened down or put away properly. It can also be used to mean “absent without leave”.

Affreightment: Hiring of a vessel

Aft: Towards the stern (of the vessel).

Afterdeck: Deck behind a ship’s bridge

Afterguard: Men who work the aft sails on the quarterdeck and poop deck

Aground: Resting on or touching the ground or bottom.

Ahead: Forward of the bow.

Ahoy: A cry to draw attention. A term used to hail a boat or a ship, as “Boat ahoy!”.

Ahull: With sails furled and helm lashed to the lee-side.

Aid to Navigation: ( ATON) Any device external to a vessel or aircraft specifically intended to assist navigators in determining their position or safe course, or to warn them of dangers or obstructions to navigation.

All hands: Entire ship’s company, both officers and enlisted personnel.

All-Round White Light: On power-driven vessels less than 39.4 feet in length, this light may be used to combine a masthead light and sternlight into a single white light that can be seen by other vessels from any direction. This light serves as an anchor light when sidelights are extinguished.

Aloft: Above the ship’s uppermost solid structure; overhead or high above.

Alongside: By the side of a ship or pier.

Amidships (or midships): In the middle portion of the ship, along the line of the keel.

Anchor ball: Black shape hoisted in the forepart of a ship to show that ship is anchored in a fairway.

Anchor buoy: A small buoy secured by a light line to anchor to indicate the position of the anchor on the bottom.

Anchor chain or cable: Chain connecting the ship to the anchor.

Anchor detail: Group of men who handle ground tackle when the ship is anchoring or getting underway.

Anchor light: White light displayed by a ship at anchor. Two such lights are displayed by a ship over 150 feet (46 m) in length.

Anchor watch: Making sure that the anchor is holding and the vessel is not drifting. Important during rough weather and at night. Most marine GPS units have an Anchor Watch alarm capability.

Anchor: An object designed to prevent or slow the drift of a ship, attached to the ship by a line or chain; typically a metal, hook-like object, designed to grip the bottom under the body of water.

Anchorage: A suitable place for a ship to anchor. Area of a port or harbor.

Anchor’s aweigh: Said of an anchor when just clear of the bottom.

As the crow flies: A direct line between two points (which might cross land) which is the way crows travel rather than ships which must go around land.

Ashore: On the beach, shore or land.

Astern: Toward the stern; an object or vessel that is abaft another vessel or object.

ASW: Anti-submarine warfare.

Asylum Harbor: A harbor used to provide shelter from a storm.

Athwart, athwartships: At right angles to the fore and aft or centerline of a ship.

Avast: Stop! Cease or desist from whatever is being done.

Awash: So low in the water that the water is constantly washing across the surface.

Aweigh: Position of an anchor just clear of the bottom.

Aye, aye: Reply to an order or command to indicate that it, firstly, is heard; and, secondly, is understood and will be carried out. (“Aye, aye, sir” to officers).

Azimuth circle: Instrument used to take bearings of celestial objects.

Azimuth compass: An instrument employed for ascertaining the position of the sun with respect to magnetic north. The azimuth of an object is its bearing from the observer measured as an angle clockwise from true north.

Back and fill: To use the advantage of the tide being with you when the wind is not.

Backstays: Long lines or cables, reaching from the rear of the vessel to the mast heads, used to support the mast.

Baggywrinkle: A soft covering for cables (or any other obstructions) that prevents sail chafing from occurring.

Bale Cube (or Bale Capacity): The space available for cargo measured in cubic feet to the inside of the cargo battens, on the frames, and to the underside of the beams.

Ballaster: One who supplies ships with ballast.

Bank (sea floor): A large area of elevated sea floor.

Banyan: Traditional Royal Navy term for a day or shorter period of rest and relaxation.

Bar pilot: A bar pilot guides ships over the dangerous sandbars at the mouth of rivers and bays.

Bar: Large mass of sand or earth, formed by the surge of the sea. They are mostly found at the entrances of great rivers or havens, and often render navigation extremely dangerous, but confer tranquility once inside. See also: Touch and go, grounding. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘Crossing the bar’ an allegory for death.

Bargemaster: Owner of a barge.

Barrelman: A sailor that was stationed in the crow’s nest.

Beacon: A lighted or unlighted fixed aid to navigation attached directly to the earth’s surface. (Lights and daybeacons both constitute beacons).

Beam ends: The sides of a ship. “On her beam ends” may mean the vessel is literally on her side and possibly about to capsize; more often, the phrase means the vessel is listing 45 degrees or more.

Beam: The beam of a ship is its width at the widest point or a point alongside the ship at the mid-point of its length.

Bear away: Turn away from the wind, often with reference to a transit.

Bear down: Turn away from the wind, often with reference to a transit.

Bearing: The horizontal direction of a line of sight between two objects on the surface of the earth.

Bee: Hardwood on either side of bowsprit through which forestays are reeved

Before the mast: Literally, the area of a ship before the foremast (the forecastle). Most often used to describe men whose living quarters are located here, officers being housed behind (abaft) the mast and enlisted men before the mast. This was because the midships area where the officers were berthed is more stable, being closer to the center of gravity, and thus more comfortable. It is less subject to the up and down movement resulting from the ship’s pitching.

Belay: To secure a rope by winding on a pin or cleat

Belaying pins: Bars of iron or hardwood to which running rigging may be secured, or belayed.

Berth: A bed on a boat, or a space in a port or harbor where a vessel can be tied up.

Best bower (anchor): The larger of two anchors carried in the bow; so named as it was the last, best hope.

Bilge: The bilge is the compartment at the bottom of the hull of a ship or boat where water collects so that it may be pumped out of the vessel at a later time.

Bilged on her anchor: A ship that has run upon her own anchor.

Bimini: Weather-resistant fabric stretched over a stainless steel frame, fastened above the cockpit of a sailboat or flybridge of a power yacht which serves as a rain or sun shade.

Bimmy: A punitive instrument.

Binnacle list: A ship’s sick list. The list of men unable to report for duty was given to the officer or mate of the watch by the ship’s surgeon. The list was kept at the binnacle.

Binnacle: The stand on which the ship’s compass is mounted.

Bitter end: The anchor cable is tied to the bitts when the cable is fully paid out, the bitter end has been reached. The last part of a rope or cable.

Bitts: Posts mounted on a ship for fastening ropes

Bloody: An intensive derived from the substantive ‘blood’, a name applied to the Bucks, Scrowers, and Mohocks of the seventeenth centuries.

Blue Peter: A blue and white flag hoisted at the foretrucks of ships about to sail.

Boat: A craft or vessel designed to float on, and provide transport over, water.

Boatswain or bosun: A non-commissioned officer responsible for the sails, ropes, and boats on a ship who issues “piped” commands to seamen.

Bobstay: Rope used on ships to steady the bowsprit

Bollard: From “bol” or “bole”, the round trunk of a tree. A substantial vertical pillar to which lines may be made fast. Generally on the quayside rather than the ship.

Boltrope: Strong rope stitched to edges of a sail

Booby hatch: A sliding hatch or cover.

Booby: A type of bird that has little fear and therefore is particularly easy to catch, hence booby prize.

Boom vang: A sail control that lets one apply downward tension on the boom, countering the upward tension provided by the mainsail. The boom vang adds an element of control to mainsail shape when the mainsheet is let out enough that it no longer pulls the boom down. Boom vang tension helps control leech twist, a primary component of sail power.

Boom: A spar used to extend the foot of a fore-and-aft sail.

Booms: Masts or yards, lying on board in reserve.

Bosun: Boatswain

Bottomry: Pledging a ship as security in a financial transaction.

Bow: The front of a ship.

Bower: Anchor carried at bow of a ship

Bowline: A type of knot, producing a strong loop of a fixed size, topologically similar to a sheet bend. Also, a rope attached to the side of a sail to pull it towards the bow (for keeping the windward edge of the sail steady).

Bowse: To pull or hoist.

Bowsprit: A spar projecting from the bow used as an anchor for the forestay and other rigging.

Brail: To furl or truss a sail by pulling it in towards the mast, or the ropes used to do so.

Bream: To clean a ship’s bottom by burning off seaweed.

Bridge: A structure above the weather deck, extending the full width of the vessel, which houses a command center, itself called by association, the bridge.

Bring to: Cause a ship to be stationary by arranging the sails.

Broaching-to: A sudden movement in navigation, when the ship, while scudding before the wind, accidentally turns her leeward side to windward, also use to describe the point when water starts to come over the gunwale due to this turn.

Buffer: The chief bosun’s mate, responsible for discipline.

Bulkhead: An upright wall within the hull of a ship. Particularly a load bearing wall.

Bulwark: The extension of the ship’s side above the level of the weather deck.

Bumboat: A private boat selling goods.

Bumpkin: An iron bar (projecting outboard from a ship’s side) to which the lower and topsail brace blocks are sometimes hooked. Chains supporting/stabilizing the bowsprit.

Bunt: Middle of sail, fish-net or cloth when slack.

Buntline: One of the lines tied to the bottom of a square sail and used to haul it up to the yard when furling.

Buoy: A floating object of defined shape and color, which is anchored at a given position and serves as an aid to navigation.

Buoyed Up: Lifted by a buoy, especially a cable that has been lifted to prevent it from trailing on the bottom.

Burgee: Small ship’s flag used for identification or signaling.

By and Large: By means into the wind, while large means with the wind. By and large, is used to indicate all possible situations “the ship handles well both by and large”.

By the board: Anything that has gone overboard.

Cabin boy: attendant on passengers and crew.

Cabin: an enclosed room on a deck or flat.

Cable: A large rope; also a measure of length or distance. Equivalent to (UK) 1/10 nautical mile, approx. 600 feet; (USA) 120 fathoms, 720 feet (219 m); other countries use different values.

Cabotage: Shipping and sailing between points in the same country.

Camber: Slight arch or convexity to a beam or deck of a ship.

Canister: A type of anti-personnel cannon load in which lead balls or other loose metallic items were enclosed in a tin or iron shell. On firing the shell would disintegrate releasing the smaller metal objects.

Cape Horn fever: The name of the fake illness a malingerer is pretending to suffer from.

Capsize: When a ship or boat lists too far and rolls over, exposing the keel. On large vessels, this often results in the sinking of the ship.

Capstan: A huge rotating hub (wheel) mounted vertically and provided with horizontal holes to take up the capstan bars (when manually rotated), used to wind in anchors or other heavy objects; and sometimes to administer flogging over.

Captain’s daughter: The cat o’ nine tails, which in principle is only used on board on the captain’s (or a court martial’s) personal orders.

Careening: Cause the ship to tilt on its side, usually to clean or repair the hull below the water line.

Cargo Deadweight Tons: The weight remaining after deducting fuel, water, stores, dunnage and such other items necessary for use on a voyage from the deadweight of the vessel.

Carlin: Similar to a beam, except running in a fore and aft direction.

Cat Head: A beam extending out from the hull used to support an anchor when raised in order to secure or “fish” it.

Cat: To prepare an anchor, after raising it by lifting it with a tackle to the Cat Head, prior to securing (fishing) it alongside for sea. (An anchor raised to the Cat Head is said to be catted).

Catamaran: A vessel with two hulls.

Catboat: A cat-rigged vessel with only one sail, usually on a gaff.

Centreboard: A removable keel used to resist leeway.

Chafing Gear: Material applied to a line or spar to prevent or reduce chafing. See Baggywrinkle.

Chafing: Wear on the line or sail caused by constant rubbing against another surface.

Chain-wale or channel: A broad, thick plank that projects horizontally from each of a ship’s sides abreast a mast, distinguished as the fore, main, or mizzen channel accordingly, serving to extend the base for the shrouds, which supports the mast.

Chine: A relatively sharp angle in the hull, as compared to the rounded bottoms of most traditional boat hulls.

Chock: Metal casting with curved arms for passing ropes for mooring ship.

Chock-a-block: Rigging blocks that are so tight against one another that they cannot be further tightened.

Clean bill of health: A certificate issued by a port indicating that the ship carries no infectious diseases.

Clean slate: At the helm, the watch keeper would record details of speed, distances, headings, etc. on a slate. At the beginning of a new watch the slate would be wiped clean.

Cleat: A stationary device used to secure a rope aboard a vessel.

Clew: Corner of sail with a hole to attach ropes.

Clew-lines: Used to truss up the clews, the lower corners of square sails.

Club: hauling the ship drops one of its anchors at high speed to turn abruptly. This was sometimes used as a means to get a good firing angle on a pursuing vessel.

Coaming: The raised edge of a hatchway used to help keep out water.

Cocket: Official shipping seal; customs clearance form.

Cofferdam: Narrow vacant space between two bulkheads of a ship.

Cog: Single-masted, square-sailed ship with a raised stern.

Companionway: A raised and windowed hatchway in the ship’s deck, with a ladder leading below and the hooded entrance-hatch to the main cabins.

Compass:   Navigational instrument that revolutionized travel.

Complement: The full number of people required to operate a ship. Includes officers and crewmembers; does not include passengers.

Cordage: Ropes in the rigging of a ship.

Corrector: a device to correct the ship’s compass.

Courses: The mainsail, foresail, and mizzen.

Coxswain or cockswain: The helmsman or crew member in command of a boat.

Cringle: Loop at the corner of a sail to which a line is attached.

Crosstrees: Horizontal crosspieces at a masthead used to support ship’s mast.

Crow’s nest: Specifically a masthead constructed with sides and sometimes a roof to shelter the lookouts from the weather, generally by whaling vessels, this term has become a generic term for what is properly called masthead. See masthead.

Cube: The cargo carrying capacity of a ship, measured in cubic feet.

Cuddy: A small cabin in a boat.

Cunningham: A line invented by Briggs Cunningham, used to control the shape of a sail.

Cut and run: When wanting to make a quick escape, a ship might cut lashings to sails or cables for anchors, causing damage to the rigging, or losing an anchor, but shortening the time needed to make ready by bypassing the proper procedures.

Cut of his jib: The “cut” of a sail refers to its shape. Since this would vary between ships, it could be used both to identify a familiar vessel at a distance and to judge the possible sailing qualities of an unknown one.

Cut splice: A join between two lines, similar to an eye-splice, where each rope end is joined to the other a short distance along, making an opening which closes under tension.

Cutline: The “valley” between the strands of a rope or cable. Before serving a section of laid rope e.g. to protect it from chafing, it may be “wormed” by laying yarns in the cuntlines, giving that section an even cylindrical shape.

Daggerboard: A type of centerboard that is removed vertically.

Davit: Device for hoisting and lowering a boat.

Davy Jones (Locker): An idiom for the bottom of the sea.

Daybeacon: An unlighted fixed structure which is equipped with a dayboard for daytime identification.

Dayboard: The daytime identifier of an aid to navigation presenting one of several standard shapes (square, triangle, rectangle) and colors (red, green, white, orange, yellow, or black).

Deadeye: A round wooden plank which serves a similar purpose to a block in the standing rigging of large sailing vessels.

Deadrise: The design angle between the keel (q.v.) and horizontal.

Deadweight Tons (DWT): The difference between displacement, light and displacement, and loaded. A measure of the ship’s total carrying capacity.

Deadwood: Timbers built into ends of a ship when too narrow to permit framing.

Deckhand: A person whose job involves aiding the deck supervisor in (un)mooring, anchoring, maintenance, and general evolutions on deck.

Deck supervisor: The person in charge of all evolutions and maintenance on deck; sometimes split into two groups: forward deck supervisor, aft deck supervisor.

Deckhead: The under-side of the deck above. Sometimes paneled over to hide the pipework. This paneling, like that lining the bottom and sides of the holds, is the ceiling.

Decks: the structures forming the approximately horizontal surfaces in the ship’s general structure. Unlike flats, they are a structural part of the ship.

Demurrage: Delay of the vessel’s departure or loading with cargo.

Derrick: A lifting device composed of one mast or pole and a boom or jib which is hinged freely at the bottom.

Directional light: A light illuminating a sector or very narrow-angle and intended to mark a direction to be followed.

Displacement, Light: The weight of the ship excluding cargo, fuel, ballast, stores, passengers, and crew, but with water in the boilers to steaming level.

Displacement, Loaded: The weight of the ship including cargo, passengers, fuel, water, stores, dunnage and such other items necessary for use on a voyage, which brings the vessel down to her load draft.

Displacement: A measurement of the weight of the vessel, usually used for warships. Displacement is expressed either in long tons of 2,240 pounds or metric tons of 1,000 kg.

Disrate: To reduce in rank or rating; demote.

Dodger: Shield against rain or spray on a ship’s bridge.

Dog watch: A short watch period, generally half the usual time (e.g. a two-hour watch between two four hour ones). Such a watch might be included in order to slowly rotate the system over several days for fairness  or to allow both watches to eat their meals at approximately normal times.

Dolphin: A structure consisting of a number of piles driven into the seabed or riverbed in a circular pattern and drawn together with wire rope.

Downhaul: A line used to control either a mobile spar or the shape of a sail.

Draft, Air: Air Draft is the distance from the water line to the highest point on a ship (including antennas) while it is loaded.

Draft: The distance between the waterline and the keel of a boat; the minimum depth of water in which a boat will float.

Dressing down: Treating old sails with oil or wax to renew them, or a verbal reprimand.

Driver: The large sail flown from the mizzen gaff.

Driver-mast: The fifth mast of a six-masted barquentine or gaff schooner. It is preceded by the jigger mast and followed by the spanker mast. The sixth mast of the only seven-masted vessel, the gaff schooner Thomas W. Lawson, was normally called the pusher-mast.

Dromond: Large single-sailed ship powered by rowers.

Dunnage: Loose packing material used to protect a ship’s cargo from damage during transport. Personal baggage.

Dyogram: Ship’s chart indicating compass deflection due to ship’s iron.

Earrings: Small lines, by which the uppermost corners of the largest sails are secured to the yardarms.

Embayed: The condition where a sailing vessel is confined between two capes or headlands, typically where the wind is blowing directly onshore.

Ensign: Large naval flag.

Escutcheon: Part of ship’s stern where name is displayed.

Extremis (also known as “in extremis”): The point under International Rules of the Road (Navigation Rules) at which the privileged (or stand-on) vessel on a collision course with a burdened (or give-way) vessel determines it must maneuver to avoid a collision. Prior to extremes, the privileged vessel must maintain course and speed and the burdened vessel must maneuver to avoid a collision.

Fairlead: Ring through which rope is led to change its direction without friction.

Fardage: Wood placed in the bottom of the ship to keep cargo dry.

Fathom: A unit of length equal to 6 feet (1.8 m), roughly measured as the distance between a man’s outstretched hands.

Fender: An air or foam filled bumper used in boating to keep boats from banging into docks or each other.

Fiddley: Iron framework around hatchway opening.

Figurehead: Symbolic image at the head of a traditional sailing ship or early steamer.

Fireship: A ship loaded with flammable materials and explosives and sailed into an enemy port or fleet either already burning or ready to be set alight by its crew (who would then abandon it) in order to collide with and set fire to enemy ships.

First Lieutenant: In the Royal Navy, the senior lieutenant on board; responsible to the Commander for the domestic affairs of the ship’s company. Also known as ‘Jimmy the One’ or ‘Number One’. Removes his cap when visiting the mess decks as a token of respect for the privacy of the crew in those quarters. Officer i/c cables on the forecastle. In the U.S. Navy the senior person in charge of all Deckhands.

First Mate: The Second in command of a ship.

Fish: To repair a mast or spar with a fillet of wood. To secure an anchor on the side of the ship for sea,otherwise known as “catting”.

Flag hoist: A number of signal flags strung together to convey a message, e.g. “England expects…”.

Flagstaff: Flag pole at the stern of a ship.

Flank: The maximum speed of a ship. Faster than “full speed”.

Flatback: A Great Lakes slang term for a vessel without any self-unloading equipment.

Flemish Coil: A line coiled around itself to neaten the decks or dock.

Flog: To beat, to punish.

Fluke: The wedge-shaped part of an anchor’s arms that digs into the bottom.

Fly by night: A large sail used only for sailing downwind, requiring little attention.

Following sea: Wave or tidal movement going in the same direction as a ship.

Foot: The bottom of a sail.

Footloose: If the foot of a sail is not secured properly, it is footloose, blowing around in the wind.

Footrope: Each yard on a square-rigged sailing ship is equipped with a footrope for sailors to stand on while setting or stowing the sails.

Fore: Towards the bow (of the vessel).

Forebitt: Post for fastening cables at a ship’s foremast.

Forecabin: Cabin in the fore part of a ship.

Forecastle: A partial deck, above the upper deck and at the head of the vessel; traditionally the sailors living quarters. Pronounced “foc-sle”. The name is derived from the castle fitted to bear archers in time of war.

Forefoot: The lower part of the stem of a ship.

Foremast: Mast nearest the bow of a ship

Foresail: The lowest sail set on the foremast of a square-rigged ship.

Forestays: Long lines or cables, reaching from the front of the vessel to the mast heads, used to support the mast.

Forward: The area towards the bow.

Founder: To fill with water and sink → Wiktionary.

Frap: To draw a sail tight with ropes or cables.

Freeboard: The height of a ship’s hull (excluding superstructure) above the waterline. The vertical distance from the current waterline to the lowest point on the highest continuous watertight deck. This usually varies from one part to another.

Full and by: Sailing into the wind (by), but not as close-hauled as might be possible, so as to make sure the sails are kept full. This provides a margin for error to avoid being taken aback (a serious risk for square-rigged vessels) in a tricky sea. Figuratively it implies getting on with the job but in a steady, relaxed way, without undue urgency or strain.

Furl: To roll or wrap a sail around the mast or spar to which it is attached.

Futtock: Rib of a ship.

Gaff: The spar that holds the upper edge of a fore-and-aft or gaff sail. Also, a long hook with a sharp point to haul fish in.

Gaff-topsail: Triangular topsail with its foot extended upon the gaff.

Galley: The kitchen of the ship.

Gangplank: A movable bridge used in boarding or leaving a ship at a pier; also known as a “brow”.

Gangway: Either of the sides of the upper deck of a ship

Garbled: Garbling was the (illegal) practice of mixing cargo with garbage.

Garboard: The strake closest to the keel (from Dutch gaarboard).

Genoa: Large jib that overlaps the mainsail

Global Positioning System (GPS): A satellite-based radio navigation system providing continuous worldwide coverage. It provides navigation, position, and timing information to air, marine, and land users.

Grain Cube (or Grain Capacity): The maximum space available for cargo measured in cubic feet, the measurement being taken to the inside of the shell plating of the ship or to the outside of the frames and to the top of the beam or underside of the deck plating.

Grapnel: Small anchor used for dragging or grappling.

Gross Tons: The entire internal cubic capacity of the ship expressed in tons of 100 cubic feet to the ton, except certain spaces which are exempted such as: peak and other tanks for water ballast, open forecastle bridge and poop, access of hatchways, certain light and air spaces, domes of skylights, condenser, anchor gear, steering gear, wheelhouse, galley and cabin for passengers.

Groundage: A charge on a ship in port.

Gudgeon: Metal socket into which the pintle of a boat’s rudder fits.

Gunnage: Number of guns carried on a warship.

Gunwhale: Upper edge of the hull.

Gybe: To swing a sail from one side to another.

Halyard or Halliard: Originally, ropes used for hoisting a spar with a sail attached; today, a line used to raise the head of any sail.

Hammock: Canvas sheets, slung from the deckhead in mess decks, in which seamen slept. “Lash up and stow” a piped command to tie up hammocks and stow them (typically) in racks inboard of the ship’s side to protect the crew from splinters from shot and provide a ready means of preventing flooding caused by damage.

Hand Bomber: A ship using coal-fired boilers shoveled in by hand.

Handsomely: With a slow even motion, as when hauling on a line “handsomely.”

Hank: A fastener attached to the luff of the headsail that attaches the headsail to the forestay. Typical designs include a bronze or plastic hook with a spring-operated gate or a strip of cloth webbing with a snap fastener.

Harbor: A harbor or haven is a place where ships may shelter from the weather or are stored. Harbors can be man-made or natural.

Haul wind: To point the ship so as to be heading in the same direction as the wind, generally not the fastest point of travel on a sailing vessel.

Hawse: Distance between ship’s bow and its anchor.

Hawse-hole: A hole in a ship’s bow for a cable or chain, such as for an anchor, to pass through.

Hawsepiper: An informal maritime industry term used to refer to a merchant ship’s officer who began his or her career as an unlicensed merchant seaman and did not attend a traditional maritime college/academy to earn the officer license.

Hawser: Large rope for mooring or towing a ship.

Head of navigation: A term used to describe the farthest point above the mouth of a river that can be navigated by ships.

Head: The toilet or latrine of a vessel, which for sailing ships projected from the bows.

Headsail: Any sail flown in front of the most forward mast.

Heave down: Turn a ship on its side (for cleaning).

Heave: A vessel’s transient up-and-down motion.

Heaving to: To stop a sailing vessel by lashing the helm in opposition to the sails. The vessel will gradually drift to leeward, the speed of the drift depending on the vessel’s design.

Heeling: The lean caused by the wind’s force on the sails of a sailing vessel.

Helm: Ship’s steering wheel.

Helmsman: A person who steers a ship.

Hogging or hog: The distortion of the hull where the ends of the keel are lower than the center.

Hold: In earlier use, below the orlop deck, the lower part of the interior of a ship’s hull, especially when considered as storage space, as for cargo. In later merchant vessels, it extended up through the decks to the underside of the weather deck.

Holiday: A gap in the coverage of newly applied paint, slush, tar, or other preservatives.

Holystone: Sandstone material used to scrape ships’ decks

Horn: A sound signal which uses electricity or compressed air to vibrate a disc diaphragm.

Horse: Attachment of sheets to the deck of the vessel (Main-sheet horse).

Hounds: Attachments of stays to masts.

Hull: The shell and framework of the basic flotation-oriented part of a ship.

Hydrofoil: A boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull.

Icing: A serious hazard where cold temperatures (below about -10°C) combined with high wind speed (typically force 8 or above on the Beaufort scale) result in spray blown off the sea freezing immediately on contact with the ship.

Idlers: Members of a ship’s company not required to serve watches. These were in general specialist tradesmen such as the carpenter and the sailmaker.

In Irons: When the bow of a sailboat is headed into the wind and the boat has stalled and is unable to maneuver.

In the offing: In the water visible from on board a ship, now used to mean something imminent.

Inboard: Inside the line of a ship’s bulwarks or hull.

Inboard-Outboard drive system: A larger Power Boating alternative drive system to transom mounted outboard motors.

Jack: Ship’s flag flown from jack-staff at the bow of a vessel.

Jack-block: Pulley system for raising topgallant masts.

Jack-cross-tree: Single iron cross-tree at the head of a topgallant mast.

Jacklines or Jack Stays: Lines, often steel wire with a plastic jacket, from the bow to the stern on both port and starboard. The Jack Lines are used to clip on the safety harness to secure the crew to the vessel while giving them the freedom to walk on the deck.

Jackstaff: Short staff at ship’s bow from which the jack is hoisted.

Jackyard: Spar used to spread the foot of a gaff-topsail

Jib: A triangular staysail at the front of a ship.

Jibboom: Spar forming an extension of the bowsprit.

Jibe: To change a ship’s course to make the boom shift sides.

Jigger-mast: The fourth mast, although ships with four or more masts were uncommon, or the aft-most mast where it is smallest on vessels of less than four masts.

Junk: Old cordage past its useful service life as lines aboard ship. The strands of old junk were teased apart in the process called picking oakum.

Jurymast: Mast erected on a ship in place of one lost.

Kedge: Small anchor to keep a ship steady.

Keel: A boat’s backbone; the lowest point of the boat’s hull, the keel provides strength, stability and prevents sideways drift of the boat in the water.

Keel: The central structural basis of the hull.

Keelson: Lengthwise wooden or steel beam in ship for bearing stress.

Kentledge: Pig-iron used as ballast in ship’s hold.

Killick: A small anchor. A fouled killick is the substantive badge of non-commissioned officers in the RN. Seamen promoted to the first step in the promotion ladder are called “Killick”. The badge signifies that here is an Able Seaman skilled to cope with the awkward job of dealing with a fouled anchor.

Ladder: On board a ship, all “stairs” are called ladders, except for literal staircases aboard passenger ships. Most “stairs” on a ship are narrow and nearly vertical, hence the name. Believed to be from the Anglo-Saxon word “hiaeder”, meaning ladder.

Lagan: Cargo jettisoned from the ship but marked by buoys for recovery.

Laker: Great Lakes slang for a vessel who spends all its time on the 5 Great Lakes.

Landlubber: A person unfamiliar with being on the sea.

Lanyard: Rope or line for fastening something in a ship.

Larboard: The left side of the ship.Derived from the old ‘lay-board’ providing access between a ship and a quay.

Lastage: Room for stowing goods in a ship.

Lateen: Triangular sail rigged on ship’s spar.

Lateral System: A system of aids to navigation in which characteristics of buoys and beacons indicate the sides of the channel or route relative to a conventional direction of buoyage (usually upstream).

Laveer: To sail against the wind.

Lay down: To lay a ship down is to begin construction in a shipyard.

Lay: To come and go, used in giving orders to the crew, such as “lay forward” or “lay aloft”. To direct the course of the vessel. Also, to twist the strands of a rope together.

Lazaret: Space in ship between decks used for storage.

League: A unit of length, normally equal to three nautical miles.

Lee shore: A shore downwind of a ship. A ship which cannot sail well to windward risks being blown onto a lee shore and grounded.

Lee side: The side of a ship sheltered from the wind (opposite the weather side or windward side).

Leeboard: Wood or metal planes attached to the hull to prevent leeway.

Leech: The aft or trailing edge of a fore-and-aft sail; the leeward edge of a spinnaker; a vertical edge of a square sail. The leech is susceptible to twist, which is controlled by the boom vang and mainsheet.

Lee helm: If the helm was centered, the boat would turn away from the wind (to the lee). Consequently, the tiller must be pushed to the lee side of the boat in order to make the boat sail in a straight line.

Leeward: In the direction that the wind is blowing towards.

Leeway: The angle that a ship is blown leeward by the wind. See also “weatherly”.

Length at Waterline (LWL): The ship’s length measured at the waterline.

Length Overall (LOA): The maximum length of the ship.

Length: The distance between the forwardmost and aftermost parts of the ship.

Let go and haul: An order indicating that the ship is in line with the wind.

Lifeboat: A small steel or wood boat located near the stern of a vessel. Used to get the crew to safety if something happens to the mothership.

Line: The correct nautical term for the majority of the cordage or “ropes” used on a vessel. A line will always have a more specific name, such as mizzen topsail halyard, which describes its use.

Liner: Ship of The Line: a major warship capable of taking its place in the main (battle) line of fighting ships. Hence the modern term for most prestigious passenger vessel: Liner.

List: The vessel’s angle of lean or tilt to one side, in the direction called the roll.

Loggerhead: An iron ball attached to a long handle, used for driving caulking into seams and (occasionally) in a fight. Hence: “at loggerheads”.

Loxodograph: Device used to record the ship’s travels.

Lubber’s line: A vertical line inside a compass case indicating the direction of the ship’s head.

Luff: The forward edge of a sail. To head a sailing vessel more towards the direction of the wind.

Luffing: When a sailing vessel is steered far enough to windward that the sail is no longer completely filled with wind. The flapping of the sail(s) which results from having no wind in the sail at all.

Lugsail: Four-sided sail bent to an obliquely hanging yard.

Lutchet: Fitting on ship’s deck to allow the mast to pivot to pass under bridges.

Lying ahull: Waiting out a storm by dousing all sails and simply letting the boat drift.

Mainbrace: The brace attached to the mainmast.

Mainmast (or Main): The tallest mast on a ship.

Mainsail: Principal sail on a ship’s mainmast.

Mainsheet: Sail control line that allows the most obvious effect on mainsail trim. Primarily used to control the angle of the boom, and thereby the mainsail, this control can also increase or decrease downward tension on the boom while sailing upwind, significantly affecting sail shape. For more control over downward tension on the boom, use a boom vang.

Mainstay: Stay that extends from the main-top to the foot of the foremast.

Man overboard: A cry let out when a seaman has gone overboard.

Manrope: Rope used as a handrail on a ship.

Marina: A docking facility for small ships and yachts.

Martingale: Lower stay of rope used to sustain the strain of the forestays.

Mast: A vertical pole on a ship which supports sails or rigging.

Master: Either the commander of a commercial vessel, or a senior officer of a naval sailing ship in charge of routine seamanship and navigation but not in command during combat.

Masthead Light: This white light shines forward and to both sides and is required on all power-driven vessels.

Masthead: A small platform partway up the mast, just above the height of the mast’s main yard. A lookout is stationed here, and men who are working on the main yard will embark from here. See also Crow’s Nest.

Matelot: A traditional Royal Navy term for an ordinary sailor.

Mess: An eating place aboard ship. A group of the crew who live and feed together.

Midshipman: A non-commissioned officer below the rank of Lieutenant. Usually regarded as being “in training” to some degree.

Mizzen staysail: Sail on a ketch or yawl, usually lightweight, set from, and forward of, the mizzen mast while reaching in light to moderate air.

Mizzen: Three-masted vessel; aft sail of such a vessel.

Monkey fist: A ball woven out of line used to provide heft to heave the line to another location. The monkey fist and other heaving-line knots were sometimes weighted with lead (easily available in the form of foil used to seal e.g. tea chests from dampness) although Clifford W. Ashley notes that there was a “definite sporting limit” to the weight thus added.

Moonraker: Topmost sail of a ship, above the skyscraper.

Moor: To attach a boat to a mooring buoy or post. Also, to a dock a ship.

Navigation rules: Rules of the road that provide guidance on how to avoid collision and also used to assign blame when a collision does occur.

Net Tons: Obtained from the gross tonnage by deducting crew and navigating spaces and allowances for propulsion machinery.

Nipper: Short rope used to bind a cable to the “messenger” (a moving line propelled by the capstan) so that the cable is dragged along too (Used because the cable is too large to be wrapped around the capstan itself). During the raising of an anchor, the nippers were attached and detached from the (endless) messenger by the ship’s boys. Hence the term for small boys: “nippers”.

Oakum: Old ropes untwisted for caulking the seams of ships.

Oreboat: Great Lakes Term for a vessel primarily used in the transport of iron ore.

Orlop deck: The lowest deck of a ship of the line. The deck covering in the hold.

Outhaul: A line used to control the shape of a sail.

Outrigger: Spar extended from the side of the ship to help secure mast.

Outward bound: To leave the safety of the port, heading for the open ocean.

Overbear: To sail downwind directly at another ship, stealing the wind from its sails.

Overfall: Dangerously steep and breaking seas due to opposing currents and wind in a shallow area.

Overhaul: Hauling the buntline ropes over the sails to prevent them from chaffing.

Overhead: The “ceiling,” or, essentially, the bottom of the deck above you.

Overreach: When tacking, to hold a course too long.

Overwhelmed: Capsized or foundered.

Owner: Traditional Royal Navy term for the Captain, a survival from the days when privately-owned ships were often hired for naval service.

Ox-Eye: A cloud or other weather phenomenon that may be indicative of an upcoming storm.

Painter: Rope attached to the bow of a boat to attach it to a ship or a post.

Pallograph: Instrument measuring ship’s vibration.

Parrel: A movable loop, used to fasten the yard to its respective mast.

Patroon: Captain of a ship; coxswain of a longboat.

Pay: Fill a seam (with caulking or pitch), or to lubricate the running rigging; pay with slush (q.v.), or protect from the weather by covering with slush. See also: The Devil to pay. (French from paix, pitch).

Paymaster: The officer responsible for all money matters in RN ships including the paying and provisioning of the crew, all stores, tools, and spare parts. See also: purser.

Pilot: Navigator. A specially knowledgeable person qualified to navigate a vessel through difficult waters, e.g. harbor pilot, etc.

Pipe (Bos’n’s), or a Bos’n’s Call: A whistle used by Boatswains (bosuns or bos’ns) to issue commands. Consisting of a metal tube which directs the breath over an aperture on the top of a hollow ball to produce high pitched notes. The pitch of the notes can be changed by partly covering the aperture with the finger of the hand in which the pipe is held. The shape of the instrument is similar to that of a smoking pipe.

Pipe down: A signal on the bosun’s pipe to signal the end of the day, requiring lights (and smoking pipes) to be extinguished and silence from the crew.

Piping the side: A salute on the bos’n’s pipe(s) performed in the company of the deck watch on the starboard side of the quarterdeck or at the head of the gangway, to welcome or bid farewell to the ship’s Captain, senior officers and honored visitors.

Pitch: A vessel’s motion, rotating about the beam axis, so the bow pitches up and down.

Pitchpole: To capsize a boat end over end, rather than by rolling over.

Pontoon: A flat-bottomed vessel used as a ferry or a barge or float moored alongside a jetty or a ship to facilitate boarding.

Poop deck: A high deck on the aft superstructure of a ship.

Port: Towards the left-hand side of the ship facing forward (formerly Larboard). Denoted with a red light at night.

Preventer (Gybe preventer, Jibe preventer): A sail control line originating at some point on the boom leading to a fixed point on the boat’s deck or rail (usually a cleat or pad eye) used to prevent or moderate the effects of an accidental jibe.

Primage: Fee paid to loaders for loading ship.

Privateer: A privately-owned ship authorized by a national power (by means of a Letter of Marque) to conduct hostilities against an enemy. Also called a private man of war.

Propeller walk or prop walk: Tendency for a propeller to push the stern sideways. In theory, a right-hand propeller in reverse will walk the stern to port.

Prow: A poetical alternative term for bows.

Purser: Ship’s officer in charge of finances and passengers.

Quarterdeck: The aftermost deck of a warship. In the age of sail, the quarterdeck was the preserve of the ship’s officers.

Quartering: Sailing nearly before the wind.

Quayside: Refers to the dock or platform used to fasten a vessel to.

Radar reflector: A special fixture fitted to a vessel or incorporated into the design of certain aids to navigation to enhance their ability to reflect radar energy. In general, these fixtures will materially improve the visibility for use by vessels with radar.

Radar: Acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging. An electronic system designed to transmit radio signals and receive reflected images of those signals from a “target” in order to determine the bearing and distance to the “target”.

Rake: The inclination of a mast or another part of a ship.

Range lights: Two lights associated to form a range (a line formed by the extension of a line connecting two charted points) which often, but not necessarily, indicates the channel centerline. The front range light is the lower of the two, and nearer to the mariner using the range. The rear light is higher and further from the mariner.

Ratlines: Rope ladders permanently rigged from bulwarks and tops to the mast to enable access to topmasts and yards. Also, serve to provide lateral stability to the masts.

Reach: A point of sail from about 60° to about 160° off the wind. Reaching consists of “close reaching” (about 60° to 80°), “beam reaching” (about 90°) and “broad reaching” (about 120° to 160°).

Reef points: Small lengths of cord attached to a sail, used to secure the excess fabric after reefing.

Reef: To temporarily reduce the area of a sail exposed to the wind, usually to guard against adverse effects of strong wind or to slow the vessel.

Reef-bands: Long pieces of rough canvas sewed across the sails to give them additional strength.

Reef-tackles: Ropes employed in the operation of reefing.

Reeve: To pass a rope through a ring.

Rigging: the system of ropes, cables, or chains employed to support a ship’s masts and to control or set the yards and sails.

Righting couple: The force which tends to restore a ship to equilibrium once a heel has altered the relationship between her center of buoyancy and her center of gravity.

Rigol: The rim or ‘eyebrow’ above a port-hole or scuttle.

Roach: Curved cut in the edge of sail for preventing chafing.

Roband: Piece of yarn used to fasten a sail to a spar.

Roll: A vessel’s motion rotating from side to side, about the fore-aft axis. List (qv) is a lasting tilt in the roll direction.

Rolling-tackle: A number of pulleys, engaged to confine the yard to the weather side of the mast; this tackle is much used in a rough sea.

Rostrum: Spike on the prow of warship for ramming.

Rowlock: Contrivance serving as a fulcrum for an oar.

Royal: Small sail on the royal mast just above topgallant sail.

Running rigging: Rigging used to manipulate sails, spars, etc. in order to control the movement of the ship. Cf. standing rigging.

Sailing Certification : An acknowledgment of a sailing competence from an established sailing educational body (like NauticEd).

Sail-plan: A set of drawings showing various sail combinations recommended for use in various situations.

Saltie: Great Lakes term for a vessel that sails the oceans.

Sampson post: A strong vertical post used to support a ship’s windlass and the heel of a ship’s bowsprit.

Scandalize: To reduce the area of a sail by expedient means (slacking the peak and tricing up the tack) without properly reefing it.

Scud: To sail swiftly before a gale.

Scudding: A term applied to a vessel when carried furiously along by a tempest.

Scuppers: An opening on the side rail that allows water to run off the deck.

Scuttle: A small opening, or lid thereof, in a ship’s deck or hull. To cut a hole in, or sink something.

Scuttlebutt: Cask of drinking water aboard a ship; rumour, idle gossip.

Scuttles: Portholes on a ship.

Sea anchor: A stabilizer deployed in the water for heaving to in heavy weather. It acts as a brake and keeps the hull in line with the wind and perpendicular to waves.

Sea chest: A valve on the hull of the ship to allow water in for ballast purposes.

Seaman: Generic term for a sailor.

Seaworthy: Certified for, and capable of, safely sailing at sea.

Self-Unloader: Great Lakes slang term for a vessel with a conveyor or some other method of unloading the cargo without shoreside equipment.

Shaft Horsepower (SHP): The amount of mechanical power delivered by the engine to a propeller shaft. One horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts in the SI system of units.

Shakes: Pieces of barrels or casks broken down to save space. They are worth very little, leading to the phrase “no great shakes”.

Sheer: The upward curve of a vessel’s longitudinal lines as viewed from the side.

Sheet: A rope used to control the setting of a sail in relation to the direction of the wind.

Ship: Strictly, a three-masted vessel square-rigged on all three masts, though generally used to describe most medium or large vessels. Derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “scip”.

Ship’s bell: Striking the ship’s bell is the traditional method of marking time and regulating the crew’s watches.

Ship’s company: The crew of a ship.

Shoal: Shallow water that is a hazard to navigation.

Shrouds: Standing rigging running from a mast to the sides of ships.

Sickbay: The compartment reserved for medical purposes.

Sidelights: These red and green lights are called sidelights (also called combination lights) because they are visible to another vessel approaching from the side or head-on. The red light indicates a vessel’s port (left) side; the green indicates a vessel’s starboard (right) side.

Siren: A sound signal which uses electricity or compressed air to actuate either a disc or a cup-shaped rotor.

Skeg: Part of ship connecting the keel with the bottom of the rudderpost.

Skipper: The captain of a ship.

Skysail: A sail set very high, above the royals. Only carried by a few ships.

Skyscraper: A small, triangular sail, above the skysail. Used in light winds on a few ships.

Slipway: Ramp sloping into the water for supporting a ship.

Slop chest: A ship’s store of merchandise, such as clothing, tobacco, etc., maintained aboard merchant ships for sale to the crew.

Small bower (anchor): The smaller of two anchors carried in the bow.

Snotty: Naval midshipman.

Sonar: A sound-based device used to detect and range underwater targets and obstacles. Formerly known as ASDIC.

Spanker: Sail on the mast nearest the stern of a square-rigged ship.

Spanker-mast: The aft-most mast of a fore-and-aft or gaff-rigged vessel such as schooners, barquentines, and barques. A full-rigged ship has a spanker sail but not a spanker-mast (see Jigger-mast).

Spar: A wooden, in later years also iron or steel pole used to support various pieces of rigging and sails. The big five-masted full-rigged tall ship Preussen (German spelling: Preußen) had crossed 30 steel yards, but only one wooden spar—the little gaffe of its spanker sail.

Spindrift: Finely-divided water swept from the crest of waves by strong winds.

Spinnaker pole: A spar used to help control a spinnaker or other headsail.

Spinnaker: A large sail flown in front of the vessel while heading downwind.

Spirketing: Inside planking between ports and waterways of a ship.

Splice: To join lines (ropes, cables, etc.) by unraveling their ends and intertwining them to form a continuous line. To form an eye or a knot by splicing.

Sponson: Platform jutting from ship’s deck for gun or wheel.

Sprit: Spar crossing a fore-and-aft sail diagonally.

Spritsail: Sail extended by a sprit.

Squared away: Yards held rigidly perpendicular to their masts and parallel to the deck. This was rarely the best trim of the yards for efficiency but made a pretty sight for inspections and in the harbor. The term is applied to situations and to people figuratively to mean that all difficulties have been resolved or that the person is performing well and is mentally and physically prepared.

Squat effect: Is the phenomenon by which a vessel moving quickly through shallow water creates an area of lowered pressure under its keel that reduces the ship’s buoyancy, particularly at the bow. The reduced buoyancy causes the ship to “squat” lower in the water than would ordinarily be expected.

Standing rigging: Rigging which is used to support masts and spars, and is not normally manipulated during normal operations. Cf. running rigging.

Starboard: Towards the right-hand side of a vessel facing forward. Denoted with a green light at night. Derived from the old steering oar or ‘steerboard’ which preceded the invention of the rudder.

Starbolins: Sailors of the starboard watch.

Starter: A rope used as a punitive device.

Stay: Rigging running fore (forestay) and aft (backstay) from a mast to the hull.

Staysail: A sail whose luff is attached to a forestay.

Steering oar or steering board: A long, flat board or oar that went from the stern to well underwater, used to control the vessel in the absence of a rudder.

Steeve: To set a ship’s bowsprit at an upward inclination.

Stem: The extension of the keel at the forward of a ship.

Stemson: Supporting timber of a ship.

Stern tube: The tube under the hull to bear the tail shaft for propulsion (usually at the stern).

Stern: The rear part of a ship, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter to the taffrail.

Sternlight: This white light is seen only from behind or nearly behind the vessel.

Sternpost: Main member at the stern of a ship extending from keel to deck.

Sternway: Movement of a ship backward.

Stevedore: Dock worker who loads and unloads ships.

Stokehold: Ship’s furnace chamber.

Strake: One of the overlapping boards in a clinker-built hull.

Studding-sails (pronounced “stunsail”): Long and narrow sails, used only in fine weather, on the outside of the large square sails.

Stunsail: Light auxiliary sail to the side of principal sails.

Supercargo: Ship’s official in charge of business affairs.

Surge: A vessel’s transient motion in a fore and aft direction.

Sway: A vessel’s motion from side to side. Also used as a verb meaning to hoist. “Sway up my dunnage.”

Swigging: To take up the last bit of slack on a line such as a halyard, anchor line or dock line by taking a single turn round a cleat and alternately heaving on the rope above and below the cleat while keeping the tension on the tail.

Swinging the compass: Measuring the accuracy in a ship’s magnetic compass so its readings can be adjusted – often by turning the ship and taking bearings on reference points.

Swinging the lamp: Telling sea stories. Referring to lamps slung from the deckhead which swing while at sea. Often used to indicate that the storyteller is exaggerating.

Swinging the lead: Measuring the depth of water beneath a ship using a lead-weighted sounding line.

Taffrail: Rail around the stern of a ship.

Tail shaft: A kind of metallic shafting (a rod of metal) to hold the propeller and connected to the power-engine. When the tail shaft is moved, the propeller may also be moved for propulsion.

Taken aback: An inattentive helmsmen might allow the dangerous situation to arise where the wind is blowing into the sails “backward”, causing a sudden (and possibly dangerous) shift in the position of the sails.

Tally: The operation of hauling aft the sheets, or drawing them in the direction of the ship’s stern.

The Ropes: Refers to the lines in the rigging.

Thole: Pin in the side of a boat to keep an oar in place.

Three sheets to the wind: On a three-masted ship, having the sheets of the three lower courses loose will result in the ship meandering aimlessly downwind.

Tiller: Handle or lever for turning a ship’s rudder.

Timberhead: Top end of ship’s timber used above the gunwale.

Timenoguy: Rope stretched from place to place in a ship.

Timoneer: From the French, “timonnier”, is a name given on particular occasions to the steersman of a ship.

Ton: The unit of measure often used in specifying the size of a ship. There are three completely unrelated definitions for the word. One of them refers to weight, while others refer to volume.

Tonnage: A measurement of the cargo-carrying capacity of merchant’s vessels. It depends not on weight, but on the volume available for carrying cargo. The basic units of measure are the Register Ton, equivalent to 100 cubic feet, and the Measurement Ton, equivalent to 40 cubic feet. The calculation of tonnage is complicated by many technical factors.

Topgallant: Mast or sail above the topmast and below the royal mast.

Topmast: The second section of the mast above the deck; formerly the upper mast, later surmounted by the topgallant mast; carrying the topsails.

Topsail: The second sail (counting from the bottom) up to a mast. These may be either square sails or fore-and-aft ones, in which case they often “fill in” between the mast and the gaff of the sail below.

Topsides: The part of the hull between the waterline and the deck. Also, Above-water hull.

Touch and go: The bottom of the ship touching the bottom, but not grounding.

Towing: The operation of drawing a vessel forward by means of long lines.

Traffic Separation Scheme: Shipping corridors marked by buoys which separate incoming from outgoing vessels. Improperly called Sea Lanes.

Tranship: To transfer from one ship to another.

Transire: Ship’s customs warrant for clearing goods.

Transom: A more or less flat surface across the stern of a vessel.

Travellers: Small fittings that slide on a rod or line. The most common use is for the inboard end of the mainsheet; a more esoteric form of traveler consists of “slight iron rings, encircling the backstays, which are used for hoisting the top-gallant yards, and confining them to the backstays”.

Treenail: Long wooden pin used to fix planks of the ship to the timbers.

Trice: To haul in and lash secure a sail with a small rope.

Trick: A period of time spent at the wheel (“my trick’s over”).

Trim: Relationship of ship’s hull to the waterline.

Trunnel: Wooden shipbuilding peg used for fastening timbers.

Trysail: Ship’s sail bent to a gaff and hoisted on a lower mast.

Tuck: Part of the ship where ends of lower planks meet under the stern.

Turtleback: Structure over ship’s bows or stern.

Turtling: When a sailboat (in particular a dinghy) capsizes to a point where the mast is pointed straight down and the hull is on the surface resembling a turtle shell.

Under the weather: Serving a watch on the weather side of the ship, exposed to wind and spray.

Underway: A vessel that is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.

Underwater hull or underwater ship: The underwater section of a vessel beneath the waterline, normally not visible except when in drydock.

Unreeve: To withdraw a rope from an opening.

Vanishing angle: The maximum degree of heel after which a vessel becomes unable to return to an upright position.

Wake: Turbulence behind a ship.

Wales: A number of strong and thick planks running length-wise along the ship, covering the lower part of the ship’s side.

Walty: Inclined to tip over or lean.

Wardroom: Quarters for ship’s officers.

Washboard: Broad thin plank along ship’s gunwale to keep out sea water.

Watch: A period of time during which a part of the crew is on duty. Changes of watch are marked by strokes on the ship’s bell.

Watching: Fully afloat.

Watercraft: Water transport vessels. Ships, boats, personal watercraft.

Waterline: The intersection of a boat’s hull and the water’s surface, or where the boat sits in the water.

Waveson: Goods floating on the sea after a shipwreck.

Wear: To turn a ship’s stern to windward to alter its course

Weather deck: Whichever deck is exposed to the weather—usually either the main deck or, in larger vessels, the upper deck.

Weather gage: Favorable position over another sailing vessel to with respect to the wind.

Weather side: The weather side of a ship is the side exposed to the wind.

Weatherboard: Weather side of a ship.

: If the helm was centered, the boat would turn towards the wind (weather). Consequently, the tiller must be pulled to the windward side of the boat in order to make the boat sail in a straight line. See lee helm.

Weatherly: A ship that is easily sailed and maneuvered; makes little leeway when sailing to windward.

Weatherly: Able to sail close to the wind with little leeway.

Weigh anchor: To heave up (an anchor) preparatory to sailing.

Wells: Places in the ship’s hold for the pumps.

Wheelhouse: Location on a ship where the steering wheel is located, often interchanged with pilothouse and bridge.

Whipstaff: Vertical lever controlling ship’s rudder.

White Horses: Waves in wind strong enough to produce foam or spray on the wave tops.

Wide berth: To leave room between two ships moored (berthed) to allow space for a maneuver.

Windage: Wind resistance of the boat.

Windbound: A condition wherein the ship is detained in one particular station by contrary winds.

Windlass: A winch mechanism, usually with a horizontal axis. Used where mechanical advantage greater than that obtainable by block and tackle was needed (such as raising the anchor on small ships). Modern sailboats use an electric “Windlass” to raise the anchor.

Windward: In the direction that the wind is coming from.

Xebec: Small three-masted pirate ship.

Yard: Tapering spar attached to ship’s mast to spread the head of a square sail.

Yardarm: The very end of a yard. Often mistaken for a “yard”, which refers to the entire spar. As in to hang “from the yardarm” and the sun being “over the yardarm” (late enough to have a drink).

Yarr: Acknowledgement of an order, or agreement.

Yaw: A vessel’s motion rotating about the vertical axis, so the bow yaws from side to side.

Yawl: Ship’s small boat; sailboat carrying mainsail and one or more jibs.

Zabra: Small Spanish sailing vessel.

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Yacht : modern meaning of the term and types of boats

Minimal Logo

The etymology of the term yacht comes from the Dutch word ‘jacht’, which was used in the past to define the fast sailing vessels used to hunt down pirates along the coasts of northern Europe.

Today, the term ‘yacht’ is used to describe all recreational vessels, whether sailing or motor-powered, with at least one cabin that allows the crew to sleep on board.

There is no established definition for the length of this family of boats, but common usage tends to define a yacht as a vessel longer than 33 feet, or about 10 meters.

As mentioned above, a yacht may be equipped with sailing, motor or mixed propulsion. It can have more than one hull, and if it exceeds 25 meters it also deserves the definition of superyacht . When a yacht is over 50 meters it is called a megayacht and, more and more frequently, when it exceeds 100 meters it becomes a gigayacht.

A yacht normally flies a flag that corresponds to the country where the vessel is registered, not least because, if it does not, it may be captured and taken to the nearest port for ‘flag survey’. As far as international maritime law is concerned, the yacht is considered in all respects to be the territory of the country of the flag it flies, to whose sovereignty the crew is subject.

A yacht flying the flag of a country, unless there is well-founded suspicion of illegal activity, can only be stopped for inspection by the military vessels of that country. When a yacht enters the territorial waters of a country other than that of its flag, it is obliged to fly a courtesy flag.

This is tantamount to a declaration of submission to the navigational laws of the country in which it is sailing.

Sailing and motor-powered yachts

The first major distinction is between sailing yachts and motoryachts. The current worldwide spread of these two families has shifted decisively towards motor yachts, which make up about 75% of the total sailing fleet.

Progress and design have produced many different categories of motor yachts, so let’s discover them together.


Seen from the stern, a flybridge yacht is often equipped with a “beach club”, a platform that facilitates access to the sea and on which water toys are placed or simply used for diving. A staircase, or even two symmetrical staircases, leads from this platform to the main deck. Sometimes there is a “garage” between these two staircases to house the engine room, a tender and other on-board equipment.

The main deck is characterized by the presence of a helm station, inside of which a large open-space salon houses settees and a galley. The helm station often leads below deck, also known as the lower deck, where the sleeping quarters, or cabins, are normally located.


The foredeck often has a large sundeck bordered by a “bowplate” for hauling anchor. The bow is often “fenced in” by the handrails, which are vital grips for safety at sea.

Let’s get to why a yacht is called a flybridge. The flybridge is an upper deck, open 360 degrees and often covered by a hard-top, a roof usually made of fibreglass. The flybridge usually has an additional helm station to steer from a more panoramic position. An additional galley is often located on the flybridge, as well as additional lounge seating and sun decks.

Open Yachts

An open yacht has no flybridge and its main deck is commonly all open. The helm station can frequently be sheltered by a T-Top. Below deck, depending on the length of the yacht, there are living spaces for the crew which may include dinette, cabins and facilities. Open yachts can be walk-around, i.e. with the possibility for passengers of walking freely around the perimeter of the boat, or they can have an enclosed bow and thus have a raised deck.

yacht 1

A coupe yacht is a yacht without a flybridge, characterized by a sporty design, with the main deck open aft. Very often it has a sunroof and is always equipped with side-decks connecting the stern to the bow. It is a vessel that, depending on its size, is suitable for medium to long-distance cruising.

coupe yacht

This is an important type of yacht, which has its origins on the American East Coast where it was used to catch lobsters. It has a romantic, sometimes vintage aesthetic, and is endowed with sinuous lines that, for some, are evocative of the 1950s. Very suitable for cruising and conviviality, thanks also to a large sofa in the cockpit, the lobster is an iconic boat that offers plenty of comfort and space below deck for at least one cabin and one head.


The trawler is essentially a yacht for owners who want to spend a lot of time on board. This is why interior volumes are maximized and the upper deck is always present. Also part of the trawler family are the famous Menorcan boats, inspired by the llaüts of the Menorca island..

Increasingly popular among motor yachts, too, is the multihull, due to its inherent features of stability and capacity. In most cases it is a catamaran designed for long stays at sea.

Sailing yacht

Sailing yachts are vessels where propulsion should mainly rely on the power transmitted by the wind. In the past, sailing yacht engines were low-powered and mainly used for entering and leaving ports, but today, for obvious reasons of practicality and ease of use, they have enough power to make the sailing yacht cruise at a speed at least equal to its theoretical hull speed. This means that sailing yachts can be used efficiently even in the total absence of wind.

A sailing yacht can be rigged in many different ways, these being the most common in modern times:

Sloop : this is the most common rigging on modern boats, characterized by the presence of a single mast with a mainsail and a jib or genoa. Sloop rigging has become popular over the years because it is the easiest to handle with a small crew and also offers the best ease of use/sailing performance ratio.

Cutter : Widely used for long distance sailing, it is characterized by the presence of a mainsail and two jibs rigged on a single mast. Normally the two jibs are a genoa and foresail that are used individually, depending on the weather conditions.

Ketch : this is the most commonly used rig on two-masted sailing yachts, with a mainmast, rigged with a mainsail and genoa, and a mizzenmast, forward of the rudder shaft, rigged with a single mainsail. The splitting of the sails makes this type of yacht suitable for sailing in bad weather.

Yawl : exactly the same as a ketch but with the mizzen mast located aft of the rudder shaft.

Sailing yachts can be monohulls or multihulls, i.e. catamarans or trimarans, but in all cases they can be divided into these categories:

sailing yacht

Easy to handle and with plenty of space above and below deck, this type of yacht is normally characterized by an unbalanced length/width ratio favouring the latter, a small sail area and more powerful than average engines.

The interiors are fully equipped and sophisticated, with each cabin often having its own en-suite head.

The deck plan and sailing equipment are simplified, often electrified and minimal.


sail-powered yacht

This yacht, while still featuring a luxurious and complete interior, also has all the equipment needed for sail fine-tuning and a generous sail area.

This is a category where special attention is paid to both the overall weight of the boat and the hull shape.

The hull lines are in fact designed to enhance performance and, inevitably, this results in a slightly smaller interior than that of pure cruising yachts of the same length.



The owner who buys this type of yacht has already competed in club competitions and now wants to engage in higher level racing. The hulls are light and can sometimes be made of carbon, and all the sail adjustments are fine-tuned to achieve maximum performance.

The deck plan is definitely designed for crewed racing and the sail area/displacement ratio is unbalanced in favour of the former, making this yacht more difficult to handle with a smaller crew but, conversely, capable of performance similar to a pure racing yacht.

A pure racing yacht is a sailing yacht built exclusively for racing. Free from any commercial constraints, it is built according to the type of race to be competed in and, above all, the rating to be obtained. The interiors of this boat are minimal. This yacht is capable of planing and sailing upwind at very low wind angles, but is almost never used for recreational purposes.


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aback: the wind is on the wrong side of the sails

abaft : at the rear or back of the yacht

abeam : at a right angle of the length of the yacht

abreast : side-by-side with the yacht

aft : toward the stern of the yacht

aground : the yacht’s bottom has scraped the ground in shallow water

amidships : at the center of the yacht

anchor locker : a locker used for storing the yacht’s anchor

astern : toward the stern (behind) of the yacht

autopilot : a device that automatically steers the yacht

BST : basic safety training

backstay : rope or cable used to support the mast on a sailing yacht

ballast : weights at the bottom of the yacht used for stability

bare boat : a sailing or motor yacht for hire without crew

beam : the widest part of the yacht

bearing: the direction a vessel or object appears to be heading in relation to the observer

berth : a place where the yacht is secured

bilge : the lowest part of the yacht where water collects

bilge pump : removes water from the bilge

Bimini : covers the cockpit and protects it from the sun

bosun : on a sailing yacht, the crew member responsible for keeping the sails and all of its related rigging and equipment in repair

bow : the front of the yacht

breaking seas : large waves with crests

bulwarks : the sides of the yacht above the upper deck

cabin : rooms on yachts where passengers and crew members sleep

captain only yacht charter : a sailing or motor yacht for hire with a captain as the only crew member

cast off : to detach the mooring lines

chine : the place on the yacht where the hull and the deck intersect

cook only yacht charter : a sailing or motor yacht for hire with a cook as the only crew member

chartering : renting a sailing or motor yacht by the week; renting a yacht for the day is simply called renting

cockpit : where the helm of the ship is located

course : the direction the yacht is traveling or planning to travel

crewed : a sailing or motor yacht for hire with a complete crew

daywork : term for a temporary worker on a yacht

deck : the areas surrounding each level of the yacht where people can stand, walk, or lounge

depth sounder : instrument used to determine how deep the water is an a specific location

dinghy or tender : a small boat attached to the yacht that is used for transporting people from the yacht to shore

dock : anyplace where the yacht can tie up to and be secured

draft : the depth of the yacht

dry dock : a location where the yacht is pulled out of the water; major maintenance or repairs are usually performed at a dry dock

fore, forward: toward the front of the yacht

fore and aft : from one end of the yacht to the other

forepeak : the storage unit on a yacht that is closest to the front of the vessel

founder : a yacht that is having difficulty staying afloat

GMDSS : global maritime and distress safety system

GT : gross tonnage

galley : the yacht’s kitchen

global positioning system : like GPSs used on land, these are used to help crew members stay on course

green water : water that washes aboard the yacht in one wall of water rather than spray

harbormaster : the person at each harbor who is in charge

head : the toilets onboard a yacht

heading : the course the yacht is traveling at a specific point in time

headseas : waves coming from the front of the yacht

heeling : when the yacht shifts away from the wind

helm : the wheel or tiller of the yacht, which is used for steering

helmsman : the crew member at the helm

high tide : a point of time in a day when the ocean is at its highest at a certain location

hull : the basic body of the yacht

IMO : International Maritime Organization

ISM : International Safety Management

iron sail : what some people call an engine on a sailboat

keel : a flat surface attached to the bottom of the yacht that helps keep it stabilized in the water and against the wind

knot : the rate of speed a yacht can travel; one knot equals one nautical mile per hour

lee : the direction the wind is blowing

lee side: the part of a ship most protected from the wind

life boat or life raft : small boat required to be attached to each yacht, it is used during emergencies

lines: ropes

list : a list describes the yacht leaning to one side or the other when it is not in operation

log: tracks all the miles the yacht has traveled

logbook : where the yacht’s log is kept

low tide : a point of time in a day when the ocean is at its lowest at a certain location

MARPOL : the international convention for the prevention of pollution by ships

MCA : Maritime and Coast Guard Agency of the United Kingdom

make fast : to attach a line to an object so that it does not move

marina : seaside location where ships and boats of all kinds can find fuel, provisions, and other needed services

master : person in charge of the yacht, usually the captain

mate : the captain’s assistant

nautical mile : equal to approximately 6,067 feet

navigation : the process of plotting the course of the yacht from its current position to its destination

navigator : the person responsible for navigating the yacht

offshore : located away from land

parallel : latitude line

passage : getting from one place to another via a boat

personal flotation device : an object used to keep someone afloat in the water in case of an emergency

poop deck : the deck closest to the yacht’s stern

prevailing winds : the winds that are common at a specific location

provisioning : food and beverages for the cruise

prow : the part of the brow at the forward part of the yacht, where it leaves the waterline

rail : the yacht deck’s edges

ride out : waiting for a storm to pass through, whether you are at sea or anchored

right : to return a yacht or boat to an upright position

roll : a side-to-side motion of the yacht, usually due to high waves or rough waters

STCW : Standards of training, certification, and watchkeeping developed by the IMO

SOLAS : Safety of Life at Sea

sea anchor : an anchor used to stop a yacht while at sea, usually in inclement or rough weather

seagoing : a vessel designed to endure ocean crossings

shove off : to push a boat away from another boat or a dock

squall : sudden, intense wind storm

starboard : the right side of the yacht

stern : the aft portion of the yacht

stow : put away

swell : large waves that don’t break

toe rail : small rail that surrounds the decks

transom : the aft side of the yacht’s hull

USCG : United States Coast Guard

underway : a yacht that has begun its journey

wake : waves created by other boats in the water

weigh anchor : a command given to bring up the anchor from the ocean floor in preparation of setting sail

wheelhouse : room on a yacht where the steering takes place

yacht charter broker : an agent that arranges charters

yacht broker : an agent that sells yachts

yaw : when a yacht or boat veers off-course, usually due to rough seas

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Boating Beast

A to Z of Nautical Terms: A Complete Glossary of Boat Terminology

John Sampson

Are you a new boat owner? Whether you bought a jet ski or a 40-foot cabin cruiser, you’re going to need to understand the lingo while you’re out on the water. Here’s a glossary of basic nautical terms to have you sounding like a sailor.

Toward the stern of the vessel.

A sail position with the wind striking on its leeward side.

Around or near the stern of the vessel.

At a right-angle to the boat’s center-line.

Lashing the helm to the leeward side to ride out bad weather without the sails set.

The center of the deck of the vessel between the fore-and-aft.

Automatic Identification System.

Apparent Wind

The speed and direction of the wind combined with the boat’s movement and the true wind speed and direction.

To look behind the boat while driving in reverse.

Automatic Radar Plotting Aid.


At a right-angle to the aft-and-fore line of the vessel.

The act of measuring the angular distance on the horizon circle in a clockwise method, typically between a heavenly body and an observer.

When the wind starts to shift in an anti-clockwise direction.

Back a sail

Sheeting the sail to the windward direction, so the wind fills the sail on the leeward side.

The stay supports the aft from the mast, preventing its forward movement.


The teased-out plaited rope wound around the stays or shrouds preventing chaffing.

Iron or lead weights are fixed in a low-access area of the vessel or on the keel to stabilize the boat.

A flexible and lightweight strip feeds into the sail leech’s batten pocket, supporting the roach.

Ballast Keel

A ballast bolted to the keel, increasing the vessel’s stability to prevent capsizing.

The widest point of the vessel or a traverse member supporting the deck. On the beam, objects are at a right-angle to the center-line.

Taking the action of steering the vessel away from the wind.

To tag a zig-zagging approach into the wind or close-hauling with alternate tacks.

The object’s direction from the observer measured in magnetic or true degrees.

To fasten the rope around the cleat using a figure-8 knot.

Securing the sail to the spar before hoisting it or connecting two ropes using a knot.

A sleeping quarters on a boat or a slip occupied by a vessel in a marina or harbor.

The loop or bend in a knot.

The round, lower part of the hull where the water collects.

The pulley fixed inside a plastic or wooden casing with a rope running around a sheave and changing to pulling direction.


The narrow-colored stripe is painted between the topside enamel and bottom paint.

The heeling action of the boat when it slews to the broadside while running downwind. Abroach usually occurs in heavy seas.

Broad Reach

The point of sailing the vessel between a run and the beam reach with the wind blowing over the quarter.

The partitioning wall in the vessel athwartship.

A measurement of distance equal to 0.1-sea mile, 185-meters, or 200-yards.


The center of the vessel along the aft-to-fore line.


A board lowers through a slot on the keel for reducing leeway.

The fitting slipping over the boom like a claw. It attaches to the main sheet after you finish reefing the sail.

Chart Datum

The reference level on the charts below which the low tide level. The sounding features below the chart datum. The datum level varies depending on country and area.

The metal, wooden, or plastic fitting used to secure ropes.


The skill of sailing close to the wind, also known as beating.

The lower, aft corner of the sail where the leech and foot meet.

Close Reach

The point where you’re sailing between the beam reach and the close-hauled or when the wind blows toward the forward of the beam.

The direction that you steer the vessel in degrees. Mariners can use true or magnetic readings or use a compass to plot the course.


The act of sailing a boat close to the wind.

The rope loop at either end of the line reef points or an eye in a sail.

The difference between the direction indicated by the magnetic meridian and the compass needle, caused by carrying metal objects aboard the vessel.

Sailing with the wind blowing to the aft, in line with the center-line of the vessel.


The displacement hull design displaces boat weight in the water and is only supported by its buoyancy.

The weight of the water displaced by the vessel is equal to the vessel’s weight.

The rope used to pull down the spar or sail.

To float the vessel with the wind or current. Or the distance covered by the boat while drifting in the current, measured in time.

The distance between the lowest point on the keel and the center-line of the vessel measured as a vertical distance.

The sea anchor thrown over the stern of a life raft or boat or to reduce drift.

Digital Selective Calling (a function on Marine radios ).

A retractable keel drawn into the vessel’s hull.

Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon.

Estimated Position.

Estimated Time of Departure.

Estimated Time of Arrival.

The fitting adjusting the feeding line allows you to change the direction of the lead line.

The raised border on cabin tables, chart tables, preventing objects from falling off the surface.

Measurement of water depth and rope lengths.

  • 1 Fathom = 6-feet = 1.83-meters.

The vessel positioning plotted by two or more positioning lines.

The vertical distance between the top of the deck and the waterline.

The closest stay running between the masthead and stemhead, hankering the mainsail.

A large-size headsail is available in various sizes, overlapping the mainsail before hoisting in fresh to light winds on all sailing points.

Two concentric rings pivot at right-angles to keep objects horizontal despite the swaying motion of the boat.

Global Navigation Satellite System.

Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

To change tack by turning the boat into the eye of the wind.

Booming out the headsail in a windward position using the whisker pole to hold it on the opposite side of the mainsail.

The fitting anchoring the mast to the boom, allowing free movement in all directions.

This metal rail surrounds the boat’s edges, allowing easy gripping to prevent falling overboard.

Turning the stern through the wind to change from one tack to another.

The spinnaker guy controls the steadying rope for the spar through the aft-fore position of the spinnaker pole. The foreguy keeps the spinnaker pole in the forward position.

Global Positioning System.

The rope hoisting the lower sails.

Highest Astronomical Tide.

The fitting for attaching the sail’s luff to a stay.

The deck opening provides the crew with access to the berth or cabin interior.

The streamlined surround of a forestay featuring the groove allows for the sliding attachment of the luff sides of the headsail.


When the bow of the vessel points into the direction of the wind.

The forward motion of the vessel through the water.

The toilet.

The action of backing the jib and lashing the tiller to the leeward side in rough weather conditions. The heave-to encourages the vessel to reduce headway and lie quietly.

When the vessel exaggeratedly leans to one side.

International Maritime Organization.

International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

International Telecommunication Union

The lines on weather maps joining places with equal atmospheric pressure.

The temporary device for replacing damaged or lost gear.

The line running from aft-to-fore on both sides of the vessel. The jackstays allow for the clipping attachment of safety harnesses to prevent being lost at sea when falling overboard.

A secondary, smaller, lightweight anchor.

A dual-masted sailboat featuring a mizzen mast that’s slightly smaller than its mainmast, with a stepped forward position of the rudder post/stock.

The center-line of the vessel features the attachment of the ballast keel, allowing for the lowering of the center-board.

Kicking Strap

The line for pulling down the boom or keeping it in the horizontal position when on a run or reach.

A short length of line attached to an important object that you don’t want to lose, such as the jet ski key. The lanyard can connect to your wrist or lifejacket.

The aft edge of the triangular sail. Both side-edges of a square sail.

Lowest Astronomical Tide.

The shore on which the wind is blowing.

The natural tendency of vessels to bear away from the direction of the wind.

Moving in a direction away from the wind. The direction in which the wind is blowing.

The vessel’s leaning to one side due to improper distribution of weight in the boat’s hull.

The leading edge of the sail. Luffing up is turning the head of the boat into the wind.

The sideways motion off course resulting from the wind blowing on one side of the hull and sails.

The instrument for measuring the distance and speed of a boat traveling through the water. It is also the act of recording the details of a voyage in a logbook.

Marinized engine

A car engine or motorbike motor adapted for use in watercraft.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

The keel socket locating the base of the mast.

Measured Mile

The distance marked on charts measures one nautical mile between islands at sea or onshore ranges.

The short after-mast on the yawl or ketch.

This imaginary longitudinal line circling the earth, passing through both poles, cutting at right-angles through the equator.

Mean Low Water Neaps.

Mean High Water Neaps.

Mean High Water Springs.

Mean Low Water Springs.

Maritime Mobile Service Identity.

The rope used for pulling out the sail’s foot.

Overall Length (LOA)

The extreme length of the vessel. The measurement from the aftmost point of the stern to the foremost points of the bow. This measurement excludes the self-steering gear, bowsprit, etc.

An emergency call requesting immediate assistance.

The bowline on a tender or dinghy for towing or making fast.

To gradually let out the rope.

The left-hand side of the vessel when looking forward.

Point of Sailing

The angles of the wind allowing for the sailing of the boat. Or the boat’s course relative to its direction and the direction of the wind.

Your vessel is on its port track when the wind is striking the boat’s port side first, and the mainsail is out to the starboard side.

Line of Position/Position Line

The line on charts shows the bearing of the vessel and the position where the boat mist lie. Or two positional lines providing a location fix.

The steel guard rail fitted to the bow to provide additional safety for the crew when working around the boat’s edge.

The steel guard rail fitted around the stern of the boat to prevent the crew from falling overboard.

The section of the vessel midway between the beam and the stern.

The difference in water levels between the high and low tides is the range of tides. Or the distance at which you can see the light.

The act of reducing the sail surface area through folding or rolling additional materials onto the forestay or boom.

Reefing Pennant

The sturdy line allowing you to pull down the leech cringle or luff to the boom while reefing.

When sailing with the wind blowing onto the beam, with all sailing points between close-hauled and running.

Riding Sail

The small sail you hoist to maintain the steerage way during stormy weather.

The imaginary line cuts through all meridians at the same angle. Or the course of the vessel moving in a fixed direction.

Rigging Screw

The deck fitting allowing for tensioning of the standing rigging.

The act of sailing with the wind to the aft of the vessel and with the sails eased into the wide-out, full position.

The curve in a leech sail extending beyond the direct line formed from clew to head.

Running Rigging

All moving lines like halyards and sheets used for trimming and setting sails.

Search and Rescue.

A vessel with two or more masts and the mainmast featured in the aftermost position.

Search and Rescue Transponder.

The toe-rail holes allowing water to drain off the deck.

The room in which the vessel can maneuver clear of submerged dangers.

The shut-off valve for the underwater outlet or inlet passing through the vessel’s hull.

This is French for “radio silence.” You’ll use it when reporting a distress call or incident at sea.

The act of hoisting a sail. Or how the sails fit or the direction of a tidal stream or current.

A procedure word for identifying safety calls.

A steel link featuring a removable bolt crossing the open end. The shackle comes in various designs, from “S” to “U” shapes and more.

The cables or ropes typically fund in pairs, leading from the mast to the chainplates at the deck level. These shrouds prevent the mast from falling to the side, and it’s part of your standing rigging.

The rope attaching to the boom to the sail’s clew allows for the trimming and control over the sail.

Skin Fitting

A through-hull fitting featuring a hole in its skin allows for air and water passing. The seacock is the accessory used for sealing the cavity when not in use.

A boat with a single-masted design for one headsail and one mainsail.

The general term for any metal or wooden pole on board a boat. The pole gives shape to the sails.

Safety of Life at Sea.

Speed Over the Ground

A lightweight, large balloon-shaped sail for running or reacting.

The horizontal struts attach to the mast and extend to the shrouds to assist with supporting the mast.

The act of joining wires or ropes using a weaving process interlacing the fibers in the cable or rope.

The sail will stall if the airflow over the sail surface breaks up, causing the vessel to lose its momentum.

Standing Part

The part of the line you don’t use when making a knot. Or the part of a rope you use to tie around the knot.

The metal post bolted to the deck in an upright position to support the guard railing.

Standing Rigging

The stays and shrouds provide permanent support to the mast.

Starboard Tack

The vessel is on the starboard tack when the boom is out to post, and the wind strikes the boat’s starboard side.

The right-hand side of the vessel when looking forward.

The rope or wire supports the mast in the fore-and-aft direction. It is a part of the standing rigging for your boat.

The sternward movement of the vessel towards the backward direction.

Steerage Way

The vessel has steerage when it reaches sufficient speed, allowing for steering or answering the helm.

The loop of rope or wire attaches the spar to the block to make a sling.

The railing around the vessel’s stern prevents the crew from falling overboard. Modern yachts do not have the elegant wooden railing of older models. Instead, they feature tubular steel or aluminum railings, called Pushpits.

Telegraph Buoy

The buoy marks the position of a submerged cable.

To pull on the end of the rope or cable, wound around a winch.

The compass mounted over the captain’s berth, allowing for the easy reference to what’s going on in the vessel’s helm.

The metal fitting forming eyes at the end of cables, wires, or ropes.

A description for any small boat, usually inflatable models. These boats will take supplies and people between a larger vessel and the shore.

Thermal Wind

The wind occurring from the difference in the heating of the sea and the land by the sun. The sun heats the land faster than the sea, resulting in the onshore wind from the sea replacing the air rising over the land, causing the “sea breeze” phenomenon.

Thumb Cleat

A small cleat featuring a single horn.

The wooden pegs featuring vertical pairs in the gunwale for constraining the oars for rowing.

Topping Lift

The rope linking the mast to the boom end. It supports the boom, allowing for its lowering and raising.

The progress on the vessel’s journey over the ocean. The trajectory line of the boat.

The sides of the hull between the waterline and the deck.

The netting stretching across the hulls of a catamaran.

A watch period or watch duty at the helm of the vessel.

Traverse beams forming part of the stern and fixed to the sternpost of a wooden ship.

Tricolor Lamp

A lamp displaying red in proper port sectors, green in the starboard sectors, and white astern. Some authorities permit the tri-color light on smaller boats instead of conventional stern and bow lights.

Turk’s Head

A decorative knot featuring variable numbers of interwoven strands that form a closed loop.

The direction and velocity of wind measured by stationary observers. Apparent wind is wind experienced by moving objects.

Sturdy steel fittings used for attaching standing rigging to the spar or mast.

The low, forward corner of the sail. Or the action of turning the boat through the wind to get it to blow on the other side of the sails.

Sailing close-hauled to work windward on an alternate course. The wind is on one side then the other.

The low strip of steel, wood, or strapping running along the edge of the deck. You’ll use it in combination with the hand railing to hold your feet to the deck to prevent falling overboard.

The rise and fall of the ocean are caused by the moon’s gravitational effect on the earth and the ocean.

The line moving from the mast had to the spar or the boom used in raising it.

To adjust the sail angle using sheets to achieve optimal efficiency from the sail. Or it describes the action of adjusting the load, influencing the fore-and-aft angle at which it floats.

The course of the boat making good on its travel plan. A fitting of on the boom or mast to the slide on the sail fit. The fitting along which the traveler runs for altering the sheet tension.

The speed and direction of the wind when anchored, stationary on the water, or land.

Turn Buckle

The apparatus used for tightening the standing rigging on the vessel.

A line used in raising something like a spinnaker pole vertically.

The vessel is underway when it releases it fastening to shore when it is not aground or at anchor.

See kicking strap.

The wind will veer when shifting in a clockwise direction. Veering can also mean paying out anchor rope or cable in a controlled manner.

Velocity Made Good

Very High Frequency

The disturbed water left behind (astern) the boat as it moves forward in the water, usually caused by a motor.

Weather Helm

The tendency of the vessel to turn into the wind.

The distance between the radio waves.

Weather Side

The side of the vessel to which the wind is blowing.

World Geodetic Survey of 1984 (most common chart datum).

A mechanical device featuring a cable or line attached to a motor. The winch pulls the boat aboard the trailer and helps with the vessel’s launch from the trailer. The winch also gives more pulling power to withdrawing nets or other apparatus from the water.

Whisker Pole

A lightweight pole used for holding the clew out of the headsail when on a run.

The winch features a vertical handle and a horizontal shaft used in hauling up the anchor chain.

The parts of the vessel that increase the drag on the boat. Examples would be the spars, rigging, etc.

The direction from which the wind blows toward the wind (the opposite way to leeward).

Cross Track Error. The perpendicular distance between two waypoints off track.

A dual-masted vessel with its mizzen stepped aft of its rudder post/stock.

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John is an experienced journalist and veteran boater. He heads up the content team at BoatingBeast and aims to share his many years experience of the marine world with our readers.

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Glossary of Nautical Terms: The Ultimate Guide to 500+ Boating and Sailing Terms

Navigating the world of boating and sailing requires a good understanding of many nautical terms. From the anatomy of a boat to the mechanics of sailing, there are many terms that any boater or sailor needs to know.

Knowing some basic nautical terms is vital for safety, effective communication, and mastering the art of boating and sailing, whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice.

In this article, we’ve gathered 500+ nautical terms to cover general boating and sailing jargon. Enhance your knowledge and sail with confidence!

Let’s dive into the fascinating language of boating!

Nautical terms list

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.

Aback – when the wind strikes the sails from the opposite side of the vessel than intended (lee side).

Abaft – toward the stern or rear of the boat.

Abaft the beam – a point on the boat’s side or stern that is behind a line perpendicular to the beam, which is the widest part of the boat.

Abeam – at right angles to the centerline of a boat.

Aboard – on or in a boat.

Abreast – side by side.

Adrift – a boat that is floating without any propulsion or anchor holding it in place.

Aft – toward the back of the ship (stern).

Aground – a boat that has run aground or is stuck on a reef or sandbar.

Ahead – forward of the ship, in forward direction.

Ahoy – a nautical greeting used to call or draw attention.

back to top

Aids to Navigation – navigational tools such as lighthouses, buoys, and beacons, that supplement natural landmarks, to help boats navigate safely.

AIS – Automatic Identification System.

Alee – side of the boat that is sheltered from the wind, opposite to windward.

Aloft – overhead, above the deck of the boat. .

Amidship – at or near the middle part of the boat.

Anchor – a heavy object used to grip to the ground underwater and keep a boat in place.

Anchorage   – a suitable place in a body of water where boats can anchor or moor.

Apparent wind – The perceived wind speed and direction experienced the crew on a moving boat.

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aid.

Astern – behind or towards the rear of a boat. Opposite to ahead.

Athwartships – perpendicular to the centerline of a ship or boat.

Aweigh – the position of an anchor when it is being lifted from the seabed.

Azimuth – horizontal angle between a fixed reference point and the direction or bearing of an object. Typically measured in degrees and clockwise direction.

Back a sail – process of reversing the direction of a sail in order to slow down or stop a boat.

Backstay – a wire or rope that supports the mast from the stern of the boat and prevents its forward movement.

Backwinded – when the wind hits a sail on the opposite side to which it was intended to be set.

Baggywrinkle – protective covering that is placed on the rigging of a sailing vessel to prevent wear and tear from the sails.

Bail – to remove water from a boat using a bucket or other container.

Bailers – devices used for removing water from a boat.

Bale – a large bundle or package of goods or supplies that are tightly bound together for storage or transportation on a boat.

Ballast – a heavy material that is placed in the hull of a ship or boat to increase its stability and control its buoyancy.

Ballast keel – type of keel designed to provide ballast to a sailing vessel, typically a sailboat or yacht.

Bar – a shallow area of water that forms at the entrance or exit of a harbor or river.

Barber hauler – a line or wire attached to the jib or spinnaker sheet used to adjust its angle.

Batten – a thin, flat piece of wood or metal used to reinforce a sail.

Batten down – to secure hatches and other openings on a boat to prevent water from entering.

Beam – the widest part of a boat, usually in the middle.

Beam reach – a point of sail where the wind is blowing perpendicular to the side of the sailboat.

Bear away /  Bear off – to steer the boat away from the wind.

Bearing – compass direction of an object relative to the boat’s position and expressed in degrees from true or magnetic north.

Beat – to sail upwind by tacking back and forth (zigzag) at an angle to the wind.

Belay – to secure a rope or line to a cleat or other fitting to prevent it from running out.

Below – lower deck or level of a boat.

Bend – to tie or fasten a rope or line to an object, such as a sail or anchor, using a knot or hitch.

Berth – (1) a place in a harbor where a boat can be docked or moored. (2) a bed or sleeping area on a boat.

Bight – bend or loop in a rope.

Bilge – the lowest part of a boat’s hull where water that enters the boat collects.

Binnacle – a case that holds a boat’s compass.

Bitter end – the end or final part of a line or chain.

Blanketing – a tactical sailing maneuver where one boat blocks the wind from reaching another boat to slowing it down.

Block – a pulley used to change the direction or mechanical advantage of a rope.

Bluewater sailing – to sail on the open ocean as opposed to coastal or lake sailing.

Boat – a craft or vessel designed to float on water and typically propelled by oars, sails, or an engine. Can be used for transportation, recreation, or commercial purposes.

Boat hook – device used for reaching or pulling objects in the water, or for pushing off from docks or other boats.

Boatswain – (pronounced “bosun”) a crew member responsible for the maintenance of the boat and its equipment.

Bobstay – supporting wire stay that runs from the bow of a boat to the end of the bowsprit, helping to hold it steady and secure.

Bollard – a short, thick post used for securing ropes or cables on a ship or dock.

Bolt Rope – a rope sewn onto the edge of a sail, to attach the sail to the rigging of the boat.

Boom – horizontal spar that extends from the mast of a sailboat and holds the foot of the sail. 

Boom Crutch – a device used to hold the boom up and in place when the sail is not in use, usually while the boat is anchored or moored.  The crutch is stowed when the boat is sailing.

Boom vang – a device on a sailboat that helps control the shape and tension of the mainsail by applying downward force to the boom. Helps to control the sail’s twist, and keep the boom from lifting.

Boot stripe – painted stripe on the hull of a boat that runs the length of the boat at or near the waterline.

Boot tope – a boot stripe at the boat’s designed waterline.

Bow – the front or forward section of the boat.

Bowline – (1) a docking line at the bow or forward part of the boat.(2) knot used to create a fixed loop at the end of a line that will not slip or come undone under load.

Bow thruster – a device used to maneuver a boat in tight spaces.

Bowsprit – a spar extending forward from a ship’s bow, primarily used to anchor the forestay for the jib or other headsails.

Breast line – a dock line going perpendicular from the centerline of the boat to the dock. Used to temporarily hold a boat close to the dock .

Bridge – the area of a ship from which it is navigated and controlled.

Bridle – line or wire attached to the boat at both ends and used to distribute the load. 

Brightwork – varnished or polished surfaces such as wood or metal on a boat.

Broach – when a boat suddenly turns broadside to the wind and waves, causing it to heel over excessively and potentially leading to a loss of control.

Broad reach – point of sail where the wind is coming from behind the boat but not directly downwind.

Bulkhead – a dividing wall or partition separating different compartments within a boat.

Bullseye – a block with one or more holes through the center used for leading lines, halyards, or sheets.

Bulwark – vertical extension of the boat’s hull that increases the height of the sides and helps to prevent water from coming on board and to keep the crew in.

Bunk – narrow bed often built into the wall or arranged in tiers to maximize space.

Buoy – a floating device used as a navigational aid or to mark the location of hazards or obstructions.

Burdened vessel – a vessel that, according to navigational rules must give way to a “privileged vessel”. It is more commonly called a “give-way” vessel.

Cabin – an enclosed area on a boat used for living quarters or storage.

Cabin sole – the floor or deck of the cabin on a boat.

Cable – (1) Heavy chain or rope attached to an anchor. (2) A unit of length equal to 120 fathoms or 720 feet (219 meters) in US customary units (USCS).

Can – a type of navigational buoy.

Canvas – material used for sails in the early days. Still used for boat covers, dodgers, biminis, and other accessories.

Capsize – to turn over or flip a boat.

Capstan – a machine used to raise heavy objects such as anchors.

Cargo – goods or materials transported by ship or other means of transport.

Cast off – to untie a boat from a mooring or dock, or to release a line from a cleat or bollard.

Catamaran – a boat with two parallel hulls.

Catboat – sailboat with a single sail mounted on a mast set well forward in the bow of the boat.

Celestial navigation – method of navigating a boat by using the positions of celestial bodies such as stars, the moon, and planets.

Centerboard – a board lowered through a slot in the centerline or keel to help reduce sideways drift. Also spelled centreboard.

Centerline – line at the center of a sailboat, from the bow (front) to the stern (rear), that divides the boat into port and starboard halves.

Chafe – damage to a line, or cable caused by rubbing against a rough surface or another object.

Chafe gear/ Chafing gear – gear used to prevent chafe. Chafe gear materials commonly include rubber, canvas, and leather.

Chain plates – metal plates that are part of the sailboat rigging system, and are used to attach shrouds and stays to the deck.

Chart – a map used for navigation.

Chart datum – level surface provided on a chart and used by boaters to determine water depth at any given point and to ensure safe passage.

Chine – intersection between the bottom and sides of a boat, that creates an angle or ridge along the hull. Not found in round bottom boats.

Chock – a fitting attached to the deck and used to guide anchor, mooring or dock lines.

Clear the decks – to remove or tidy up everything from a boat’s decks to prepare for action or to clean the ship.

Cleat – a fitting on a boat’s deck to which a rope or chain can be tied.

Clew – the lower aft corner of a triangular sail or the lower corners of a four-sided sail.

Close hauled – a point of sail where the boat is sailing as close to the wind as possible.

Close reach – point of sail where the wind is coming over the side of the boat at an angle between a beam reach and a close hauled.

Clove hitch – a type of knot used to attach a line to a post, pole, or another line.

Coaming – raised edge or border around an opening or a raised area on a boat to prevent water from entering the cockpit, hatch, or other openings.

Cockpit – the area of a boat or ship where the steering and navigation equipment is located.

Coil – to arrange a line in a series of circular loops, ready for stowing.

Comms – short for “communications”, referring to communication equipment and systems on a ship.

Companionway – a stairway or ladder leading from one deck to another.

Compass – a navigational instrument used to determine direction relative to the Earth’s magnetic poles.

Compound sheer – curvature of a boat’s deck from the bow to the stern, where the height of the deck changes both horizontally and vertically. .

Container ship – a type of ship designed to transport standardized shipping containers.

Course – the intended direction of a boat’s movement.

Coxswain – the person who steers and directs a small boat.

CQD – a distress signal used in radio communication before the adoption of SOS . A combination of two signals: “CQ” (“sécu“, from the French word sécurité) which means “alert message to all stations”, and “D” to indicate “distress”. See meaning of CQD .

Crane – a machine used for lifting and moving heavy objects on a boat.

Crew – the people who operate a boat.

Cringle – small eye or grommet in a sail used to attach lines or fittings.

Cuddy – small shelter on a boat used for storage or for the crew to take refuge from the weather.

Cunningham – a control line that is used to adjust the tension of the luff (forward edge) of a sail.

Current – the flow of water in a particular direction, often caused by tides or winds.

Cutter rig – a type of sailboat rigging that features two or more head sails, or foresails, mounted on the forestay.

D signal – a signal used in maritime communication to indicate “keep clear, I am maneuvering with difficulty.” It is represented by a yellow and blue square flag (Delta flag).

Daggerboard – similar to a centerboard, it slides up and down in a slot in the hull. Common on catamarans, trimarans, and some small monohull sailing boats.

Davit – a crane-like device used for lowering or raising small boats on a ship.

Dead ahead – Directly in front of the boat and its centerline.

Dead astern – Directly behind the boat or straight aft.

Dead reckoning (DR)/ Deduced reckoning – estimated position based on course, speed, and time from a known past position.

Dead run – when the wind is directly behind a sailboat. The boat is running directly downwind.

Deadhead – a floating log or piece of timber that poses a hazard to navigation.

Deadlight – a type of weather cover designed to fit into a larger opening in a boat’s hull or deck and used to close off an opening in bad weather.

Deck – the horizontal surface of a boat’s hull above the waterline.

Deck plate – a metal or plastic plate that covers an opening in the deck of a boat, providing access to equipment or storage spaces such as the bilge or fuel tank.

Depth sounder – a device used to measure the depth of water.

Deviation – difference between the true north and magnetic north which affects the accuracy of the compass. Is caused by a vessel’s own magnetic field or metallic objects.

Dinghy –  small boat often used as tenders to larger boats, to ferry people and supplies to and from shore.

Displacement – (1) the weight of the water displaced by the boat when afloat. (2) the weight of the boat itself, including all the equipment, fuel, and supplies on board.

Displacement hull – a hull design that displaces a volume of water equal to the boat’s weight for improved buoyancy.

Dock – a structure built along the shore or waterfront for boats to moor, tie up, or load and unload passengers or cargo.

Dodger – cover that extends above the cockpit of a boat to provide shelter from wind, spray, and rain.

Double ender – a type of boat or ship that has a pointed bow and stern, which are similar in shape and size, allowing for better stability and maneuverability.

Downhaul – a line used to apply downward tension or pull on a sail or other piece of equipment.

Downwind – when the wind is blowing from behind a vessel or in the same direction the boat is traveling. Sailing away from the wind.

Draft – the depth of a boat’s hull below the waterline.

Drift – distance and direction a vessel is carried off course due to external forces such as wind, waves, or current.

Drogue – sea anchor device that is attached to the boat by a line and deployed overboard to create drag and slow down drift.

Drop keel – a retractable keel that can be lowered and raised as needed.

Dry dock – a structure used for repairing, building, and maintaining boats out of the water.

DSC – Digital Selective Calling, a method of communication used in maritime radio systems.

Ease – to slacken or loosen.

Ebb – the flow of tidewater away from land, usually occurs between high and low tide.

EP – Estimated Position.

EPIRB – Emergency position indicating radio beacon, a device used to alert search and rescue services in case of an emergency.

ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival.

ETD – Estimated Time of Departure.

Fairlead – a fitting on a boat’s deck used to guide ropes or cables.

Fairway – a navigable channel or area of water.

Fall off – to steer a vessel away from the wind. Also known as Head Down.

Fathom – a unit of measurement equal to 6 feet (1.83m), used to measure water depth.

Fender – a cushioning device, placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage.

Ferry – a boat or ship used to transport passengers and vehicles across a body of water.

Fiddle – a raised guard around the edge of a table, counter, or other flat surfaces to prevent objects from falling off.

Figure Eight Knot – a type of stopper knot, that looks like the number eight, and is used to prevent the end of a rope from passing through a retaining device such as a ring, grommet, or block.

Figurehead – a carved ornament mounted on the bow of a boat.

Fix – the vessel position determined by taking bearings or sightings on three or more objects or landmarks.

Flare – (1) a device used to signal for help or to mark the location of a person or object in the water. (2) the outward curve of a boat.

Fleet – a group of ships.

Float – a buoyant object used for marking channels or hazards in the water.

Flood – the incoming or rising tide. Opposite to ebb.

Flotsam – debris or wreckage from a ship that is floating on the surface of the water.

Fluke – the part of an anchor that digs into the seabed to hold the vessel in place.

Foghorn – a loud horn used to signal in foggy conditions.

Following sea – wave pattern approaching a vessel from astern, following the vessel’s direction of travel.

Force 8 – gale level winds with average speeds of 34 to 40 knots (39 to 46 mph) according to the Beaufort Wind Scale. Level 12 is a hurricane .

Fore – towards the front or bow of a ship.

Forecastle – Sometimes abbreviated fo’c’sle, the forward-most part of the ship, often used as the crew’s living quarters.

Foredeck   –  the boat’s deck at the bow or front of the vessel.

Foremast – the mast located nearest to the bow (front) on a boat with more than one mast. Usually the second tallest mast.

Forepeak   – small compartment at the forward end of a ship, below deck, and used for storage of equipment, sails, or anchors.

Foresail – sail located forward of the mast on a sailing vessel.

Forestay – a stay that supports the mast from the front of the boat.

Foretriangle – the triangular area of sail between the forestay, mast, and deck of a sailing vessel.

Forward – towards the front or bow of a boat.

Fouled – Fouled- entangled or obstructed.

Fractional rig – Fractional rig- sailing rig in which the forestay does not run to the top of the mast but instead attaches at a point below the top, or “fractional” point.

Freeboard – the vertical distance between the waterline and the main deck of a boat.

Furl – to roll up and secure a sail.

Gaff – a spar positioned diagonally across the mast and used to support and control the sail.

Galley – the ship’s kitchen or cooking area.

Gangway – a movable ramp or platform used for boarding or disembarking a boat.

Gasket – a rope used to secure a sail to a spar or mast. Term mainly used in square-rigged ships.

Gear – various pieces of equipment and supplies used to operate and maintain a boat, including sails, lines, winches, anchors , electronics, safety gear, etc.

Genoa – a type of headsail that is larger than the jib and overlaps the mainsail. It is said the sail originated in Genoa Italy, hence its name.

Gimbals – a device used to keep a compass or other instrument level and stable.

Give – a vessel that requires taking action and keeping clear of the Stand-on vessel.

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

GMT – Greenwich Meridian Time. Became Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in 1972.

GNSS – Global Navigation Satellite System.

Go about – to turn the boat through the wind during the tack.

Going to weather – sailing against wind and seas.

Gooseneck – fitting that attaches the boom of a sailboat to the mast. Designed to allow the boom to pivot up and down and side to side.

GPS – Global Positioning System, a satellite-based navigation system used for determining location and navigation path.

Grab rails – cabin fittings for hand-holding and personal safety when moving around the boat.

Great Circles – method of defining the shortest distance between two points on the globe’s surface.

Grog – a mixture of rum and water served to sailors in the 18th century.

Ground tackle – equipment used to anchor a boat. Includes the anchor, anchor chain or rope, and any other equipment required for anchorage.

Grounding – when a boat runs aground on a shallow area or rocks.

Guard rail – also known as a lifeline, is a safety railing system that runs around the perimeter of a boat, to prevent crew and passengers from falling overboard.

Gunwale – the upper edge of a boat’s side.

Guy – a steadying line used to control the end of a spar.

Gybe – another term for jibe.

Half – a flag flown at a lowered position as a sign of mourning.

Halyard – a rope or line used for hoisting or lowering a sail.

Hanks – metal fittings or hooks used to attach a sail to a stay of a sailboat.

Hard alee – a command given on a sailing vessel to turn the helm and have the bow of the boat through the wind as quickly as possible.

Hard Chine – hard or abrupt intersection between the bottom and sides of a boat, that creates an angle or ridge along the hull. Not found in round bottom boats.

Hard over – to turn the steering wheel as fast as possible.

HAT – Highest Astronomical Tide.

Hatch – an opening in a boat’s deck used for access or ventilation.

Hawser – a large rope used for towing or mooring a ship.

Head – (1) the toilet or bathroom on a boat (2) the upper corner or end of a triangular sail.

Head Down – to steer a vessel away from the wind. Also known as Fall Off.

Head to Wind – when the bow of the boat points directly into the wind.

Header – when wind direction changes, causing the boat to head down.

Headfoil – streamlined rod surrounding the forestay, and used to furl and unfurl the headsail.

Heading – the direction in which a boat bow is pointed or aimed. Usually expressed as an angle in degrees relative to the north or another reference.

Headsail – sail located forward of the mast on a sailing vessel. See Foresail.

Headstay – a stay that supports the mast from the front of the boat. See Forestay.

Headway – forward motion or progress made by a vessel through the water. opposite to sternway.

Heave to – to stop a boat’s forward progress.

Heel – the lean of the boat to one side and caused by the winds force on the sails.

Helm – the steering apparatus of a boat, including the wheel or tiller .

Helmsman – crew member at the helm and responsible for steering the boat.

Helmsperson – person who steers the boat. See Helmsmans.

Hike – to lean out over the side of the boat to balance it.

Hike out – the practice of leaning over the windward side of a sailboat in order to keep it balanced and prevent it from tipping over.

Hiking stick – a device used to control the tiller from a certain distance.

Hitch – a knot used to attach a rope or line to an object, such as a post, ring, or hook.

Hoist – to raise something, usually a sail, up a mast or spar using halyards or other lines.

Hold – the interior space of a ship or vessel used for storing cargo or goods.

Hook – slang for anchor.

Hove to – see heave to.

Hull – the main body or frame of a boat.

Hull speed – the maximum speed at which a keelboat can travel through the water.

Icebreaker – a type of ship designed to navigate through ice-covered waters.

IMO – International Maritime Organisation.

In irons – when a sailboat heads directly into the wind, becomes stuck or stalled, and is unable to move forward or steer effectively.

Inboard – inside the hull of a boat, as opposed to outside or outboard.

IOR – International Offshore Rating.

IRPCS – International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

Isobars – lines that connect points of equal atmospheric pressure on a weather map.

ITU – International Telecommunication Union.

Jack line – a length of webbing or wire that is secured to a boat’s deck, running fore and aft, that is used to attach a safety harness and tether to the boat.

Jackstay – a line or wire that runs between two points on a vessel to support or guide a load between those points.

Jacobs Ladder  – a rope ladder that is used to climb aboard a ship or to climb up to the crow’s nest of a mast.

Jetsam – goods or materials intentionally thrown overboard from a ship in distress to lighten the ship’s load. Different from flotsam, where items are accidentally lost and float at sea.

Jetty – a long structure that extends from the shore into a river or ocean.  Used as a platform for fishing or for docking boats. Typically made of concrete, stone, or other materials.

Jib – a triangular sail at the front of a boat.

Jibe – to turn a sailboat so the wind hits the sail from the opposite side by turning the boat’s stern through the wind. Also Gybe.

Jiffy reefing – a technique used to quickly reduce the sail area of a sail in high winds.

Jury – a temporary arrangement or makeshift repair used to replace damaged or lost gear.

Kedge – small, secondary anchor of a boat.

Keel – the centerline structure running along the bottom of a boat’s hull.

Keelson – a longitudinal beam or structure that runs along the bottom of a boat hull, parallel to the keel, typically found in larger vessels.

Ketch – a two-masted sailboat, with the main mast located forward and the smaller mizzen mast aft. 

Kicking strap – also known as a boom vang or simply a vang, is a line or mechanical device used to control the boom on a sailboat.

Knot – a unit of speed equal to one nautical mile per hour (1 knot = 1.15 miles per hour = 1.85 kilometers per hour).

Landfall – the first sighting or arrival at land after a voyage at sea.

Lanyard – a line used for securing or attaching equipment on a boat.

LAT – Lowest Astronomical Tide.

Latitude – a measure in degrees of a boat’s position north or south of the equator.

Launch – (1) to put a boat into the water from a dry dock or trailer (2) a small, open motorboat used for short trips to and from shore or ship.

Lazarette – small storage compartment on a boat, typically located aft and below the cockpit or deck.

Lazy jac k –  lines used to help control the mainsail of a sailboat when it is being lowered.

Lead – term used to indicate the direction in which a line runs.

Lee – the sheltered side of a boat, away from the wind.

Lee cloths – pieces of fabric or netting used to create a barrier along the side of a berth (sleeping area) to prevent the user to slide out due to boat movement.

Lee helm – condition where the boat tends to steer away from the wind.

Lee shore – a coast or shoreline located to the lee (downwind) of a boat. It is generally recommended to keep a safe distance from lee shores when navigating in windy or rough conditions.

Leech – the rear edge of a sail, typically the edge of the sail that is not attached to a mast, spar, or another rigging.

Leech Line – a line used to tighten the leech.

Leeward – the direction away from the wind. Opposite to Winward.

Leeway – the sideways drift of a boat caused by wind force or currents.

Life Jacket – A buoyancy aid that helps a person float and stay afloat in the water, reducing the risk of drowning. Also known as a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) .

Lifeline – a line or cable used to prevent crew members from falling overboard.

Lifesaving equipment – devices used to save lives in case of an emergency, such as lifeboats, life rafts, and life jackets .

Light – a navigational aid used to indicate the location of hazards or to guide ships into port.

Lighthouse – a tower or structure with a bright light used to guide ships at sea.

Line – a rope or cable used on a boat for various purposes, such as securing cargo or tying up to a dock.

List – the leaning or tilting of a boat to one side due to uneven weight distribution.

Log – (1) device used to measure a boat’s speed and distance traveled (2) a record of the details of a voyage. See logbook.

Logbook – a record of a boat’s activities, including its course, speed, and events.

Longitude – a measure, in degrees,  of a boat’s position east or west of the Prime Meridian.

Lubber’s line – reference line or mark on a boat’s compass that helps the user determine the boat’s heading or direction of travel.

Luff – the edge of a sail closest to the wind.

Mainsail (Main) – the largest and most important sail on a sailboat, is typically attached to the mast and boom.

Mainsheet – the line that controls the position and tension of the mainsail. It is typically attached to the aft end of the boom and runs aft to the cockpit.

Manning – the act of providing personnel to operate a ship.

Mariner – a person who navigates or operates a ship.

Marlinspike – a tool used for working with ropes and knots. Has a pointed end for separating strands, and a flattened end for splicing.

Mast – a tall vertical pole that supports the sails.

Mast step – fitting or structure on a sailboat that supports the bottom of the mast and attaches it to the hull.

Masthead rig – type of rig in which the forestay attaches to the mast at the very top of it, or masthead.

Mayday – distress signal used in radio communications to signal a life-threatening emergency on board.

MCA – Maritime and Coastguard Agency (UK).

Measured mile – one nautical mile, typically marked with buoys or other navigational aids, used to measure the speed and performance of a boat.

Meridian – a line of longitude that runs north-south and passes through both the North and South Poles.

MHWN – Mean High Water Neaps.

MHWS – Mean High Water Springs.

Midship – Approximately the central section of a boat, typically the widest part of the hull.

Mizzen – the aft-most mast on a ship.

MLWN – Mean Low Water Neaps.

MLWS – Mean Low Water Springs.

MMSI – Maritime Mobile Service Identity.

Mooring – the act of securing a boat to a dock or buoy.

Motor – when sails and motor are used simultaneously on a sailboat.

Nautical mile – a unit of distance used in navigation, equal to one minute of latitude. A nautical mile is slightly more than a standard mile. 1 nautical mile = 1.15 miles = 1.85 kilometers. 

Navigation – the process of planning and directing the course of a boat.

Navigation Rules – set of regulations that govern the safe navigation of vessels on the water, including rules for preventing collisions , signaling, and right of way.

Navigator – a person who plans and directs the course of a boat.

Nun – a navigation aid used to indicate the edge of a navigable channel or the location of a hazard.

Oar – a long, narrow paddle used to row a boat.

Offing – refers to the open sea, particularly a safe distance from the shore.

Old salt – experienced sailor who has spent a significant portion of their life at sea.

Onboard – on or in the ship.

Outboard – (1) away from the centerline of a boat  (2) a detachable engine mounted on the stern of a boat.

Outhaul – a line that controls the tension and position of the sail along the boom.

Overall length (OAL) – the maximum length of a vessel, measured from the outermost point at the bow to the outermost point at the stern, including any protrusions or extensions.

Overboard – over the side of the ship.

P Flag – also called Blue Peter flag,  is a nautical signal flag that indicates a ship is preparing to leave port. It is a blue flag with a white square in the center.

Paddle – a flat blade used for propelling a small boat through the water.

Painter – a rope or cable used to secure or tow a small boat to a larger ship or dock.

Pan Pan – radio call to request assistance from other vessels or authorities. Unlike Mayday, Pan-pan is used when there is no immediate danger to life or the vessel’s safety.

Pay out – to let out a rope or cable gradually. Opposite to paying out is “taking in” or “reeling in”.

Pedestal – column or base used to elevate and secure equipment, such as the steering wheel and controls, for easy access and stability.

Pennant – long, narrow, triangular flag that is typically used on boats and ships for signaling or identification purposes.

PFD – personal flotation device, also known as a life jacket.

Pier – raised structure that extends from the shore over the water and is used for docking  boats, as well as for recreational activities.

Piling – a vertical support used to anchor a dock or pier.

Pilot – a person who navigates a ship through difficult or unfamiliar waters.

Pitch – the angle of a ship’s hull relative to the horizontal plane.

Planing – when a boat rises up and glides over the surface of the water, rather than displacing water as a traditional boat would.

Point of sail – the direction that a sailing vessel is traveling relative to the wind, e.g. beam reach, broad reach, upwind, downwind, etc.

Polaris – a star located in the constellation Ursa Minor, commonly known as the North Star or Pole Star. Used for centuries as a navigational aid.

Port – the left side of a boat when facing forward.

Port tack – sailing with the wind coming from the port side of the boat, and the sail is set to the starboard side of the boat.

Preventer – a line used to prevent the boom from accidentally jibing (moving suddenly and dangerously from one side to the other).

Privileged vessel – vessel that has the right of way over other vessels in certain situations as defined by navigation rules.

Proa – a traditional outrigger canoe with a single sail and a long, narrow hull.

Propeller – a device used to propel a boat through the water.

Pulpit – safety railing located at the bow of a boat that helps prevent people from falling overboard.

Q flag – a yellow flag that is flown by boat to indicate that it is healthy and to request free pratique (permission to enter a port or receive officials from shore).

Quarter – the side of a ship between the stern and amidships.

Quay – pronounced as “key” or “kee.” Is a wharf used for loading and unloading cargo or passengers from ships.

Radar – a device that uses radio waves to detect the presence and location of objects, used for navigation and collision avoidance .

Ratchet – a mechanism that allows a rope to be tightened in one direction only.

Reach – point of sail where the wind is coming from the side of the boat, at an angle between a close-hauled course (where the boat is sailing as close to the wind as possible) and a run (where the wind is coming directly from behind the boat). The three types of reach are close reach, beam reach, and broad reach, depending on the angle of the wind relative to the boat.

Ready about – to signal to the crew that the boat is about to tack, or turn into the wind.

Reef – to reduce the size of a sail by folding or rolling a portion of it.

Reeling in –  to retrieve a fishing line or reel.

Rhumb line – a line that crosses all meridians of longitude at the same angle. Also called a loxodrome.

Rigging – the system of ropes, cables, and other devices used to support and control the sails of a boat.

Right of way – the privilege of a vessel to maintain its course over others based on established navigational rules. it is determined by the vessel type,  position, course, speed, and other factors.

Roach – the curved portion of the sail that extends beyond a straight line drawn between the head and clew.

Rocker – upward curvature of a boat’s keel to the bow and stern.

Rode – the line or chain attached to the anchor and used to hold the boat in place while at anchor.

Roller reefing – to shorten the sail area by wrapping a sail around a boom or forestay.

Rope – cordage or line used aboard a vessel, including halyards, sheets, dock lines, and anchor lines. In nautical terminology, Line is frequently used instead of rope.

Rudder – a flat plate or blade attached to the stern of a boat and used to steer it.

Run aground – to ground a boat on a shallow area or rocks.

Run/running – to sail with the wind aft or directly behind the boat, which is the most downwind point of sail.

Running lights – lights required to be displayed on a boat underway between sunset and sunrise. Consist of red and green sidelights and a white stern light .

Running rigging – the lines such as sheets or halyards used to adjust the position of the sails.

Sail – a piece of fabric attached to a mast or spar and used to capture the wind to propel a boat.

Sail trim – the adjustments made to the sails on a sailboat to optimize their performance in different wind and sea conditions.

Sampan – a flat-bottomed boat typically used in China and Southeast Asia for transportation and fishing.

Samson post – a vertical post or bitt located on the deck or hull of a ship used for securing mooring lines or tow lines.

SAR – Search and Rescue.

SART – Search and Rescue Transponder.

Sat Nav – short for “satellite navigation” refers to the use of GPS to determine a boat’s position and navigate from one location to another.

Schooner – a sailing ship with two or more masts and fore-and-aft sails on the mainmast.

Scope – the ratio between the length of an anchor rode and the water depth. A higher scope, such as 7:1 or 10:1, means that more rode is paid out and the anchor is more securely set in the bottom, providing greater holding power for the boat.

Scull – a method of propulsion in a small boat where a single oar is moved back and forth behind the boat, with the oar pivoting at the stern rather than the side of the boat.

Scupper – a hole or channel in a boat’s deck that allows water to drain off.

Scuttle – to intentionally sink a boat by creating holes in the hull or opening its seacocks to let water in. Also refers to a small hatch or opening in a ship’s deck or hull that is used for ventilation, drainage, or access to equipment.

Scuttlebutt – a drinking fountain on a boat, or gossip among sailors.

Sea anchor – a device used to slow down or stabilize a boat in heavy seas.

Sea chest – a compartment in the ship’s hull for pumping seawater.

Sea Cock – a valve fitted to a boat’s hull which allows water to enter or exit through a hose or pipe. Used for draining water from the bilge or for providing water to the engine or other onboard systems.

Sea level – the level of the ocean’s surface used as a reference point for measuring elevation.

Sea room – a safe distance or area available for a boat to maneuver and navigate safely in open waters without colliding with other vessels, obstacles or running aground.

Seafarer – a person who travels by sea, especially for work or adventure.

Seamanship – skills, knowledge, and practices for operating a boat, as well as maintaining and caring for it.

Seaworthy – a boat’s capability to withstand harsh conditions and challenges of the sea.

Sécurité   – term (french) used in marine radio communication to indicate a message that is about to be transmitted concerning the safety of navigation or important meteorological warnings.

Seelonce – term (French) used in marine radio communication to indicate that a distress call is being made and that all other radio traffic should cease.

Self – a feature in boats where any water that enters the cockpit is automatically drained or pumped out.

Set – (1) the trim of a sail (2) the direction in which a vessel is moving in relation to its intended course or direction (3) dropping an anchor and allowing it to settle.

Sextant – a navigational instrument used to determine a boat’s position by measuring the angles between the horizon and celestial objects such as the sun and stars.

Shackle – metal fastener with a removable pin or bolt used to connect two parts of a chain or rigging together or to attach a line or cable to an object.

Sheave – grooved wheel or roller of a block pulley used to guide and redirect lines.

Sheet – a line used to adjust the position of a sail.

Ship – a large seagoing vessel.

Ship’s bell – a bell used to mark time aboard a ship.

Shipshape – in good order and condition.

Shipwreck – the remains of a sunken ship.

Shore – the land bordering a body of water, typically where it meets the water.

Shroud – a rope or cable used to support the mast of a boat.

Skeg – a structural extension of the keel that runs aft beneath the boat’s hull.

Skipper – the captain or person in charge of a ship or boat.

Slack – to loose or not taut lines or cables. Lack of tension or looseness in a sail or other piece of equipment.

Sloop – a sailing vessel that has a single mast with one mainsail and a headsail.

Snubber – a device used to relieve tension on a boat’s anchor chain, prevent the chain from chafing against the boat’s bow, and reduce shock loads on the anchor and chain.

SOG – Speed Over the Ground.

SOLAS – Safety of Life at Sea. An international treaty established in 1914 that sets minimum safety standards for ships.

Sole – the floor or bottom surface of a boat’s cabin or cockpit.

Sonar – a device that uses sound waves to detect the presence and location of underwater objects, used for navigation and detecting hazards.

SOS – Morse code distress signal used as an international standard for emergency situations. Listen to an SOS signal .

Soundings – measurements of the depth of water in a particular area.

Spar – a long, slender pole used to support sails on a boat.

Speed log – a device used to measure a boat’s speed through the water.

Spinnaker – a large sail used for downwind sailing.

Splice – join two ropes to form a permanent loop in a single rope. Involves weaving the strands of the rope together to create a strong, permanent bond.

Spreaders – horizontal struts that are attached to a sailing boat’s mast to keep the mast from bending and to help control the shape of the sails.

Spring line – a line used to control the position of a boat while it is docked.

Squall – a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed, regularly accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightning.

Square knot – also known as a reef knot, is a basic knot used to join two ropes of equal size. 

Stall – when the sail loses its ability to generate lift or control due to a lack of airflow.

Stanchion – vertical pole or post, made of metal or plastic, used to support a railing or guardrail.

Stand – a vessel that has the right-of-way and requires keeping her course and speed.

Standing part – the part of a line that is not actively used to perform a task, such as tying a knot or securing a line to a cleat.Opposite to the working end.

Standing Rigging – fixed lines or wires on a sailboat that support the mast and keep it in place. This includes the forestay, backstay, and shrouds. Different from the running rigging, which is used to control the sails and is adjusted frequently.

Starboard – the right side of a boat when facing forward.

Starboard tack – sailing with the wind coming from the starboard side of the boat, and the sail is set to the port side of the boat.

Stay – a line or wire that supports a mast from the bow (forestay), stern (backstay), or either side (sidestays).

Staysail – a type of sail that is set on a stay instead of a mast.

Steerage way – when a boat moving forward has enough water flowing over its rudder(s) to enable it to be steered effectively.

Stem – the forward-most part of a boat’s bow that curves upward to provide a shape for the hull to cut through the water efficiently.

Stern – the rear or aft part of a boat.

Stern line – a line used to secure the stern of a vessel to a dock, pier, or other mooring point.

Sternpost – the vertical post at the back of the ship’s hull.

Sternway – the reverse or backward motion of a boat.

Stores – the supplies or provisions needed for a vessel’s operation during a voyage.

Stow – to pack or store cargo or equipment on a ship.

Strake – a continuous line of planking or plating along the hull of a boat.

Sump pump  – a device used to remove water that has accumulated in a pit or shower basin.

Swell – a long, rolling wave caused by wind or distant storms .

Tabernacle   – a hinged support structure that enables a mast to be lowered and raised easily. Is a useful feature for sailboats that need to pass under low bridges or power lines.

Tack – (1) the lower forward corner of the sail. (2) To turn a sailboat’s bow through the wind so that the wind catches the opposite side of the sail. (3) noun used to indicate the direction the sailboat is sailing with respect to the wind e.g. port tack or starboard tack.

Tackle – a system of ropes and pulleys used to hoist or move heavy objects on a boat.

Taffrail – the rail or railing around the stern of a vessel,  and is primarily used for safety.

Taking in – furling or reefing a sail to reduce its area.

Tang – metal fitting used to attach standing rigging, such as shrouds and stays, to a mast or spar.

Telltales – thin strips of cloth or yarn that are attached to a sail, used to indicate airflow and sail trim.

Tender – small boat used to ferry people and supplies to and from shore. Also called dinghy .

Thwart – a crosswise seat in a boat.

Tidal range – the difference in water level between high tide and low tide in a particular area.

Tide – the periodic rise and fall of water level caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.

Tiller – a handle or lever used to steer a boat.

Toe rail – a narrow strip of wood, metal, or fiberglass molding along the edge of a sailboat’s deck near the hull, mainly used to secure a foothold for crew moving around the deck.

Tonnage – the total weight or volume of cargo that a vessel can carry, and usually expressed in either gross tonnage (GT) or net tonnage (NT).

Topmast – a mast situated above the lower mast on a ship.

Topsail – a sail set on the top of a ship’s mast.

Topside – the upper part of a boat’s hull.

Track – a device or structure that allows a sail or other object to move along a fixed path.

Trampoline – netting that is stretched between the hulls of a catamaran or trimaran, providing a stable and comfortable surface for passengers to relax on.

Transom – the flat, vertical surface at the stern of a boat.

Trapeze – wire and equipment used on a sailing boat to allow crew members to hang out outboard to counterbalance the force of the wind on the sails.

Traveler – device that allows the mainsail to be moved horizontally along the boat.

Trim – to adjust the sails or ballast to maintain a boat’s stability and speed.

Trimaran – a type of multihull boat consisting of a main hull and two smaller outrigger hulls called amas, attached to the main hull with lateral struts.

True north – the direction of the North Pole.

True wind – actual speed and direction of the wind experienced when there is no other movement or influence.

Tuning – process of adjusting the rigging and sails of a sailboat to optimize performance and balance in different wind and sea conditions.

Turnbuckle – device used for adjusting the tension or length of lines, cables, tie rods, and other tensioning systems.

Turning mark – buoy or other fixed object used in sailing or boat racing to mark a course change.

Turtling – when a boat capsizes, with the mast pointing down towards the sea bottom.

Underway – a boat that is in motion.

Unmoor – to release a boat from its moorings.

Uphaul – a line used to hoist a sail, flag, or spar up to the masthead.

Upwind – the direction that is facing or heading towards the wind. See beat.

V berth – bed in “V shape” typically found in the forward cabin of a boat. .

V bottom – also known as a V-hull, is a type of boat hull design that features a V-shaped hull that slices through the water.

Vang – see boom vang and kicking strap.

Veer – (1) change of wind direction clockwise. (2) To pay out or let out more line or chain, allowing a vessel to move farther away from its anchor point.

Vessel – a general term for any type of watercraft.

VHF – Very High Frequency.

Victuals – food or other provisions.

Vittles – see victuals.

VMG (Velocity Made Good) – speed at which a sailboat can make progress towards its destination while accounting for the effects of wind direction and currents.

Wake – the trail of disturbed water left behind by a moving ship.

Warship – a ship equipped for combat.

Watch – period of time during which one or more crew members are responsible for operating a vessel.

Waterline – the line where a boat’s hull meets the water.

Wavelength – distance between two consecutive points of the same phase on a radio wave.

Way – the forward movement of a boat through the water.

Waypoint – a predetermined location on a boat’s course.

Weather deck – the uppermost deck exposed to the elements on a ship.

Weather helm – the tendency of a boat to turn into the wind when the helm is released.

Wheel – a circular steering device used to steer a boat.

Whisker pole – also known as a spinnaker pole, is a horizontal spar used for jibing and holding out the clew of a jib or spinnaker.

Winch – mechanical device used to wind in or let out a cable or rope under tension.

Wind rose – a graphic tool used to visualize the distribution of wind directions and speeds at a particular location over a specific period of time.

Windage – the effect of wind on a boat or parts of it, that can cause it to drift or experience a lateral force.

Windlass – a mechanical device used on a boat to help with the raising and lowering of heavy equipment such as an anchor or sails.

Windward – the direction from which the wind is blowing. Opposite to Leeward.

Working end – the part of a line that is actively used to perform a task, such as tying a knot or securing a line to a cleat. Opposite to the standing part.

XTE (Cross Track Error) – perpendicular distance between a vessel’s actual position and its intended track.

Yacht – a pleasure boat used for cruising or racing.

Yard – a horizontal spar attached to a mast used to support a sail.

Yaw – movement or rotation of a vessel around its vertical axis that occurs when the boat is underway.

Yawl – a type of sailboat with two masts, with the smaller mizzen mast located aft the rudder post.

Zincs – type of sacrificial anodes used to protect boats and other underwater structures from corrosion.

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After bodies recovered from Patapsco River, where does Baltimore bridge recovery stand now?

Ciara Wells | [email protected]

March 28, 2024, 9:40 AM

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Listen to WTOP online  and on the radio at 103.5 FM or 107.7 FM for our team coverage.

As recovery efforts slow down and long-term investigations begin into how a large cargo ship crashed into a pillar of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday, officials are evaluating how they can remove the cargo ship and debris from the downed section of the bridge.

Maryland State Police said they will continue to search for the remains of the construction workers who fell into the Patapsco River when the bridge collapsed after dangerous debris from the bridge has been cleared.

WTOP reporter Luke Lukert reported from Baltimore early Thursday morning that barges and cranes were headed to the river to begin lifting the wreckage out of the water

In addition to trying to clear the channel floor of the bridge debris, officials will need to assess the damage to the Dali and ensure it doesn’t leak fuel or sink. Investigators found damage to at least 13 containers on the ship.

The Dali will then likely be towed back to the port, and the cargo offloaded.

At a White House press briefing earlier Wednesday, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Pierre Gautier said the top priority is restoring the waterway for shipping and removing the container ship.

The party responsible for the Singapore-flagged ship, Resolve Marine Incorporated, has begun “mobilizing resources to take the next steps appropriate to refloat the vessel and remove it,” which Gautier said is required by the Coast Guard.

Gautier said that the Army Corps of Engineers is leading the efforts to assess and restore the waterway.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen said President Joe Biden has ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to “do everything necessary to clear the channel,” adding that the federal government will pick up the costs to do that.

“I saw preliminary estimates between $40 million and $50 million, but they’re very preliminary. But the bottom line is the Army Corps will pick up the cost,” Van Hollen said.

More Key Bridge collapse coverage:

  • Previous accident, propulsion and mechanical issues reported in ship that hit Key Bridge
  • Biden: Federal government should pay to rebuild Key Bridge after collapse
  • Neighbors react to ‘great big noise’ of Key Bridge collapse
  • How did container ship strike bring down Baltimore’s Key Bridge? An expert weighs in
  • Economic impact of Baltimore bridge collapse: ‘Uncharted territory’
  • GALLERY: Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses after being struck by ship

Ship lost power before the crash

On Wednesday evening, officials with the National Transportation Safety Board spoke to the public, sharing that the large cargo ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday morning had lost power before it crashed into one of the bridge’s pillars, causing it to crumble and fall apart within seconds.

NTSB officials boarded the ship to recover information from its electronics and paperwork and to interview the captain and other crew members, Chair Jennifer Homendy said during a news conference.

Twenty-three people, including two pilots, were on the ship when it crashed, she said, but no injuries were reported.

U.S. Coast Guard search and recovery officers were able to recover a voyage data recorder that tracked the ship’s movement from its departure at 12:39 a.m. until the collision around 1:30 a.m.

Marcel Muise, NTSB investigator in charge of the incident, explained how the ship’s pilot made mayday calls for several minutes — calling on nearby tugboats for help, dropping its anchor, and issuing steering commands and rudder orders — before the crash occurred. All lanes of traffic on the bridge were preemptively closed down by the Maryland Transportation Authority — likely saving more lives

“Around 1:29:33, the VDR audio recorder sounds consistent with the collision of the bridge,” Muise said at the press conference.

NTSB investigators

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Finding the workers in the wreckage.

At least eight people fell into the water after the collision; two were rescued after one ran from the bridge and the other swam to shore, but the other six — all workers part of a construction crew that was repairing potholes on the bridge — were missing for hours. Two of the men were recovered deceased, trapped inside a pickup truck on Wednesday evening.

Authorities identified the two workers recovered on Wednesday as Alejandro Fernandez Fuentes, 35, of Baltimore, and Dorlian Castillo Cabrera, 26, of Dundalk. Fuentes was originally from Mexico, while Cabrera was from Guatemala.

The other four have yet to be recovered.

Two of the other men who are assumed to be dead were identified by CASA, an immigrant rights group based in Maryland, as Miguel Luna, originally from El Salvador, and Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, who immigrated from Honduras about 18 years ago.

Brawner Builders, the construction company the men worked for, released a statement after the workers were killed while doing bridge maintenance work.

“Highway workers are engaged in one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States and yet they go out every day on our highways to make things better for everyone,” the company said. “Safety has always been a prime consideration for our workers, and we have always taken every step necessary to provide safety for our workers in this dangerous occupation.”

Jack Murphy, the owner of the company, said he and other senior personnel had met with each family of the “very valued and loved employees who have perished in this tragedy.”

“Our company is in mourning over the loss of these fine people. But of course, our sense of loss cannot in any way compare to what their families are feeling,” the statement said. “As to the one individual who was hospitalized, we pray for a full recovery. For those who have perished in this tragedy our prayers are with them and their families.”

Col. Roland Butler with Maryland State Police said the operation is moving from recovery mode to a “salvage operation.”

“Because of the superstructure surrounding what we believe are the vehicles and the amount of concrete and debris, divers are no longer able to safely navigate or operate around that. We have exhausted all search efforts.”

He clarified that once the wreckage is removed, divers would go back and “bring those people closure.”

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said Wednesday evening when the two bodies were recovered that the efforts were not a conclusion but a continuation.

“I can’t stress enough the heroism of these folks,” Moore said earlier Wednesday of the rescuers. “They are in frigid conditions, they are down there in darkness where they can literally see about a foot in front of them. They are trying to navigate mangled metal. And they’re also in a place that it is now presumed that people have lost their lives.”

Economic impact after major shipping hub shuts down

Baltimore’s Key Bridge was built in 1977 and named for the writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It spans the Patapsco River, a vital artery that, along with the Port of Baltimore, is a hub for shipping on the East Coast.

Ship traffic entering and leaving the Port of Baltimore is suspended until further notice. During a briefing at the bridge collapse scene, Maryland Rep. David Trone said state and federal officials estimated the port’s closure would cost the economy at least $15 million per day.

The crash will disrupt the country’s shipping industry and undoubtedly create headaches for commuters who rely on the bridge.

Biden said the federal government should pay for rebuilding the bridge , and Gov. Moore said he’s discussing his legislative options to speed up the recovery with Maryland’s General Assembly and the Biden administration.

“We know that this is going to have to be all hands on deck when we’re talking about the long-term recovery and for what it’s going to mean, not just for elements of the Key Bridge, but all the other elements that this has impacted,” Moore said.

Trone, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, echoed that it will be a team effort to rebuild.

“Right now, at the federal level, we’re actively exploring the use of ‘quick release’ emergency relief funds in partnership with Secretary Buttigieg and the urgent deployment of Congressionally approved funding,” Trone wrote in a statement Wednesday.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says it’s too early to say how long it will take to reopen the Port of Baltimore or replace the destroyed bridge. He noted it initially took five years to build the bridge.

Buttigieg also plans to meet Thursday with supply chain officials.

Moore said he’s “overwhelmed” by the amount of support from fellow governors, philanthropists and others looking to help.

“Maryland, we really appreciate the love that’s been coming from around the country and the support,” Moore said. “I tell them, the people who need it most are these families.”

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli, Jessica Kronzer, Thomas Robertson and Abigail Constantino and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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Baltimore Key Bridge collapse

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March 27, 2024 - Baltimore Key Bridge collapse

By Kathleen Magramo , Antoinette Radford, Alisha Ebrahimji , Maureen Chowdhury , Elise Hammond , Tori B. Powell and Aditi Sangal , CNN

Our live coverage of the Baltimore bridge collapse has moved here .

Here's what you should know about the Key Bridge collapse

From CNN staff

A Marine Emergency Team boat passes the wreckage of the Dali cargo vessel in Baltimore on Tuesday.

Officials recovered the bodies of two construction workers who were on Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed early Tuesday morning after a 984-foot-long cargo ship collided into a pillar.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore called the collapse Wednesday " a global crisis ."

"The national economy and the world's economy depends on the Port of Baltimore. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other port in the country," Moore said.

Here's what you should know:

  • The victims: The six people who are presumed dead were from Mexico Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to Col. Roland L. Butler Jr, the superintendent of Maryland State Police. Two bodies were recovered and have been identified as Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes from Mexico and Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera from Guatemala. The two workers were filling potholes on the bridge and were later found trapped in a red pickup truck in about 25 feet of water, Butler said. The FBI is handling notifying the victims' families, Butler said.
  • Recovery efforts: Authorities are pausing search efforts for the four other workers who are presumed dead, because additional vehicles are encased in concrete and other debris, making it unsafe for divers, Butler said. Once salvage operations clear the debris, divers will search for more remains, he said.
  • The investigation: The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the fatal incident, according to the agency's chair Jennifer Homendy. During a Wednesday news conference, Homendy said there were 21 crew members and two pilots on board the Dali cargo ship when it crashed into the bridge. She also said a senior NTSB hazmat investigator identified 56 containers of hazardous material, and that some containers are in the water. The agency received six hours of voyage data from the ship and the investigation could take 12 to 24 months to complete, Homendy said. She emphasized that NTSB will not analyze information collected or provide conclusions while on scene of the collapse.
  • Looking forward: Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said rebuilding the bridge will not be "quick or easy" but that it will get done. He said there are four main focus points ahead: reopening the port, dealing with supply chain issues until its reopening, rebuilding the bridge and dealing with traffic issues until the bridge is rebuilt. Biden  pledged the full support  of the federal government in the response and recovery efforts. His administration has already conveyed a sense of urgency to open up federal funding to remove debris and ultimately rebuild the bridge. Maryland has submitted a request to the Biden administration for emergency relief funds "to assist in our work going forward," Moore said Wednesday.

It's almost impossible to place people on the bow of ship due to the unstable structure, fire official says

 From CNN's Sarah Engel

Baltimore City Fire Chief James Wallace said Wednesday that the cargo ship's bridge structure and containers at the bow remain unstable.

"It's going to be very difficult, if not impossible, and very dangerous, to place people on the bow of that boat right now," Wallace told CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

"Naturally, we're still very cognizant of the fact that there are hazardous materials on board the vessel itself," Wallace said, alluding to the National Transportation Safety Board saying earlier that 56 containers were carrying hazardous materials.

Wallace said his team is relying heavily on aerial recognizance, including drones. "That's the only way we're able to see in," he said.  

He added that the aerial surveillance has "been able to really assure us right now we have no [chemical] reactions on board." 

"It's just utter devastation," NTSB chief says of the bridge collapse site

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, called the site of the Key Bridge collapse "devastating."

"It's pretty devastating, certainly, seeing not just what's going on with the cargo containers, but just looking at what was a bridge span — three bridge spans that is pretty much gone. It's just utter devastation," she said at Wednesday evening's news briefing.

She added that she is thinking of families who lost loved ones and those who are waiting to reunite with their lived ones.

NTSB interviewed the Dali's captain and some other crew members today, agency chief says

The National Transportation Safety Board has interviewed the ship's captain, his mate, the chief engineer and one other engineer today, according to Chair Jennifer Homendy.

The two pilots on board the Dali at the time of collision will be interviewed tomorrow, she added.

Cargo ship's voyage data recorder is basic when compared to an airplane's, NTSB chair says

From CNN's Tori B. Powell

The voyage data recorder on the cargo ship Dali was a "newer model" but is considered basic when compared to that on an airplane, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

"But it is very basic compared to say, a flight data recorder, where we would have 1,000 parameters," she said at a news conference on Wednesday.

The NTSB chief investigator Marcel Muise added:

"It's not a ship-wide system recorder, so most of the sensors that are being recorded are from the bridge. So things like GPS, the audio, rudder feedback, rudder commands are recorded on there. But not engineering, the temperature of each cylinder, power distribution sensors."

There were no tug boats with Dali at the time of the collision. That's normal, NTSB chief says

People look at the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge while visiting Fort McHenry in Baltimore on Wednesday.

There were no tugs with Dali when the cargo vessel collided with Baltimore's Key Bridge, which is normal protocol, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

Remember: At 01:26:39 on Tuesday, Dali's pilot made a general very high frequency (VHF) radio call for tugs in the vicinity to assist, the NTSB investigator Marcel Muise had said.

"The tugs help the vessel leave the dock, leave the port and get into the main ship channel. And then they leave. Once it's on its way, it's a straight shot through the channel. So there are no tugs with the vessel at the time. So they were calling for tugs," she said.

NTSB chair says she saw some containers that were carrying hazardous materials in the water

National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy said she did see some of the 56 containers that were carrying hazardous materials in the water.

When asked how many

When asked how many containers of hazardous materials were in the water, Homendy said:

"I did see some containers in the water, and some breached significantly on the vessel itself," she said. "I don't have an exact number, but it's something that we can provide in an update."

Homendy said that a preliminary report should be out in two to four weeks.

This post has been updated with more quotes from Homendy.

Bridge did not have any redundancy, unlike the preferred method for building bridges today, NTSB chair says

Baltimore's Key Bridge did not have any redundancy, which is included in the preferred method of building bridges in the present day, according to National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy.

"The bridge is a fracture critical," she explained. "What that means is if a member fails that would likely cause a portion of, or the entire bridge, to collapse, there's no redundancy. The preferred method for building bridges today is that there is redundancy built in, whether that's transmitting loads to another member or some sort of structural redundancy. This bridge did not have redundancy," Homendy said.

There are 17,468 fracture critical bridges in the United States out of 615,000 bridges total, she said, citing the Federal Highway Administration.

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Biden Administration Finalizes Rule Curbing Use of Short-Term Health Plans

The new regulation reverses a Trump-era policy that expanded access to health plans with fewer benefits than those sold on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces.

A man rides a bicycle on a street past signs advertising Obamacare and insurance.

By Noah Weiland

Reporting from Washington

The Biden administration announced on Thursday that it had finalized a new regulation that curbs the use of short-term health insurance plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act, reversing a move by the Trump administration to give consumers more access to cheaper but skimpier plans.

Under the new rule , the short-term plans will be able to last for only 90 days, with an option for a one-month extension.

In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule allowing the plans to last for just under a year , with the option of renewing them for a total duration of up to three years. Previously, under an Obama-era policy, the plans were required to last for less than three months.

The plans, often with lower premiums than those found on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, do not have to cover people with pre-existing conditions. They are also free from the health law’s requirement that plans offer a minimum set of benefits, like prescription drug coverage and maternity care.

Democrats deride the so-called short-term, limited-duration plans as “junk” insurance, and the Obama-era policy was meant to ensure that healthy consumers could not use that option to sidestep the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, leaving a sicker pool of customers enrolling in the comprehensive plans offered under the health law.

The White House cast the new rule as a way to fortify the marketplaces. In a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Neera Tanden, President Biden’s domestic policy adviser, said that 45 million Americans were now covered through the marketplaces or the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. More than 20 million people signed up for plans on the marketplaces during the most recent open enrollment period.

“President Biden is not taking his foot off the gas,” Ms. Tanden said.

Supporters of the short-term plans have said that the less expensive options are well suited for people who are unable to afford a marketplace plan. Brian Blase, who worked on the 2018 rule as a White House official under President Donald J. Trump, said the plans were also ideal for contract and self-employed workers, including those with incomes too high to qualify for more generous subsidies on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces.

Mr. Blase said the new rule could cause insurers offering marketplace plans to face less competition. Sick consumers buying a three-month plan could also lose coverage without a better immediate option, he added.

“Nobody benefits,” he said.

But critics of the short-term plans have warned that insurers can mislead consumers who enroll in them, including people who might be eligible for free coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. The new regulation requires insurers to provide a disclaimer explaining what the short-term plans cover.

In its announcement on Thursday, the White House cited a man in Montana who accumulated over $40,000 in health costs because his cancer was considered a pre-existing condition, and a woman in Pennsylvania who underwent an amputation and received roughly $20,000 in bills that her plan would not cover.

Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms, said the plans often showed up prominently when consumers searched online for health insurance, with deceptive advertising.

“Often the marketing materials say they cover hospitalizations and prescription drugs,” she said. “To the average consumer it looks like a real health insurance plan.”

Georgetown researchers last year conducted a so-called secret shopper study , calling 20 sales representatives to ask about health plans for people who had lost Medicaid coverage and were eligible for free marketplace plans. They found that none of the representatives mentioned the availability of the free plans. The brokers often used aggressive and misleading tactics to sell short-term plans without providing written plan information, the researchers found.

Ms. Corlette said that brokers typically received higher commissions for selling short-term plans than they did for more comprehensive options.

As a consumer, she said, “you have to be so savvy and careful.”

After the Trump administration issued its rule in 2018, some states moved on their own to limit the sale of short-term plans. Democratic lawmakers urged the Biden administration to reverse the regulation, and the administration issued a proposed rule to do so last summer.

Noah Weiland writes about health care for The Times. More about Noah Weiland

Biden curtailing short-term health insurance plans that critics say amount to junk

President Joe Biden delivers a speech about healthcare at an event in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday,...

(AP) - President Joe Biden on Thursday announced new steps to protect consumers who buy short-term health insurance plans that critics say amount to junk.

A new rule finalized by the Democratic president’s administration will limit these plans to just three months. And the plans can only be renewed for a maximum of four months, instead of up to the three years that were allowed under Biden’s predecessor, Republican Donald Trump.

The Biden administration is also requiring short-term plans to provide consumers with clear explanations of the limits of their benefits.

The White House said the rule is part of Biden’s efforts to reduce costs for consumers, which he has been promoting extensively as he seeks reelection in November.

“The president really believes the American people do not want to be taken for suckers and junk insurance takes them for suckers,” Neera Tanden, Biden’s domestic policy adviser, said during a call the White House arranged to discuss the rule with reporters.

Short-term insurance is meant to be temporary, providing a safety net for consumers as they transition between jobs, for example, or retire before they are eligible for Medicare.

But short-terms plans — critics call them “junk insurance” — too often mislead consumers into thinking they were buying comprehensive health coverage, Tanden said. Consumers would later be surprised to learn when they tried to use the insurance that their benefits were capped or certain coverages were not provided.

Tanden said Trump and other Republican-elected officials undermined the Affordable Care Act by allowing insurance companies to exploit loopholes and sell short-term plans that often leave consumers surprised when confronted by thousands of dollars in medical bills.

The ACA was signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. Biden and his administration have spent this week marking the 14th anniversary of the landmark law’s enactment.

Short-term plans were expanded in 2018 during the Trump administration as a cheaper alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s costlier comprehensive insurance. Trump, who had promised to repeal and replace the law, has praised short-term plans as “much less expensive health care at a much lower price.”

In 2020, a divided federal appeals court upheld the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the Trump administration had the legal authority to increase the duration of the health plans from three to 12 months, with the option of renewing them for 36 months. The plans do not have to cover people with preexisting conditions or provide basic benefits like prescription drugs.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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  1. Yacht Pronunciation

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