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Boating Glossary and Terms at

Boating Terms A - E
Boating Terms F - J
Boating Terms K - P
Boating Terms Q - Z
Boating Laws PDF Download free acrobat reader
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Glossary of Boating Terms - A thru E

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

ABAFT - Toward the rear (stern) of the boat. Behind.
ABEAM - At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.
ABOARD - On or within the boat.
ABOVE DECK - On the deck (not over it - see ALOFT).
AFT - Toward the stern of the boat.
AGROUND - Touching or fast to the bottom.
AHEAD - In a forward direction.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION (AtoN) - Artificial objects to supplement natural landmarks to indicate safe and unsafe waters.
ALOFT - Above the deck of the boat.
AMIDSHIPS - In or toward the center of the boat.
ANCHOR - A heavy metal device, fastened to a chain or line, to hold a vessel in position, partly because of its weight, but chiefly because the designed shape digs into the bottom.
ANCHORAGE - A place suitable for anchoring in relation to the wind, seas and bottom.
ASTERN - In back of the boat, opposite of ahead.
ATHWARTSHIPS - At right angles to the centerline of the boat; rowboat seats are generally athwartships.


BATTEN DOWN - Secure hatches and loose objects both within the hull and on deck.
BEACON - A lighted or unlighted fixed aid to navigation attached directly to the earth's surface. (Lights and daybeacons both constitute "beacons.")
BEAM - The greatest width of the boat.
BEARING - The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing as shown on the chart, or as a bearing relative to the heading of the boat.
BELOW - Beneath the deck.
BIGHT - The part of the rope or line, between the end and the standing part, on which a knot is formed. A shallow bay.
BILGE - The interior of the hull below the floor boards.
BITTER END - The last part of a rope or chain. The inboard end of the anchor rode.
BLOCK- A wooden or metal case enclosing one or more pulleys and having a hook, eye, or strap by which it may be attached.
BOAT - A fairly indefinite term. A waterborne vehicle smaller than a ship. One definition is a small craft carried aboard a ship.
BOAT HOOK - A short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off.
BOW - The forward part of a boat.
BOW LINE - A docking line leading from the bow.
BOW SPRING LINE - A bow pivot line used in docking and undocking, or to prevent the boat from moving forward or astern while made fast to a pier.
BOWLINE KNOT - A knot used to form a temporary loop in the end of a line.
BOWSPRIT - A spar extending forward from the bow.
BRIDGE - The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled. "Control Station" is really a more appropriate term for small craft.
BULKHEAD - A vertical partition separating compartments.
BUOY - An anchored float used for marking a position on the water or a hazard or a shoal and for mooring.

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CABIN - A compartment for passengers or crew.
CAPSIZE - To turn over.
CAST OFF - To let go.
CATAMARAN - A twin-hulled boat, with hulls side-by-side.
CHAFING GEAR - Tubing or cloth wrapping used to protect a line from chafing on a rough surface.
CHANNEL - 1. That part of a body of water deep enough for navigation through an area otherwise not suitable. It is usually marked by a single or double line of buoys and sometimes by range markers. 2. The deepest part of a stream, bay, or strait, through which the main current flows. 3. A name given to a large strait, for example, the English Channel.
CHART - A map for use by navigators.
CHINE - The intersection of the bottom and sides of a flat or v-bottomed boat.
CHOCK - A fitting through which anchor or mooring lines are led. Usually U-shaped to reduce chafe.
CLEAT - A fitting to which lines are made fast. The classic cleat to which lines are belayed is approximately anvil-shaped.
CLOVE HITCH - A knot for temporarily fastening a line to a spar or piling.
COAMING - A vertical piece around the edge of a cockpit, hatch, etc. to prevent water on deck from running below.
COCKPIT - An opening in the deck from which the boat is handled.
COIL - To lay a line down in circular turns.
COMPASS - Navigation instrument, either magnetic (showing magnetic north) or gyro (showing true north).
COMPASS CARD - Part of a compass, the card is graduated in degrees, to conform with the magnetic meridian-referenced direction system inscribed with direction which remains constant; the vessel turns, not the card.
COMPASS ROSE - The resulting figure when the complete 360° directional system is developed as a circle with each degree graduated upon it, and with the 000° indicated as True North. True North is also known as true rose. This is printed on nautical charts for determining direction.
CURRENT - The horizontal movement of water.

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DAYBEACON - A fixed navigation aid structure used in shallow waters upon which is placed one or more daymarks.
DAYMARK - A signboard attached to a daybeacon to convey navigational information presenting one of several standard shapes (square, triangle, rectangle) and colors (red, green, orange, yellow, or black). Daymarks usually have reflective material indicating the shape, but may also be lighted.
DEAD AHEAD - Directly ahead.
DEAD ASTERN - Directly aft or behind.
DEAD RECKONING - A plot of courses steered and distances traveled through the water.
DECK - A permanent covering over a compartment, hull or any part of a ship serving as a floor.
DISPLACEMENT - The weight of water displaced by a floating vessel.
DISPLACEMENT HULL - A type of hull that plows through the water, displacing a weight of water equal to its own weight, even when more power is added.
DOCK - A protected water area in which vessels are moored. The term is often used to denote a pier or a wharf.
DRAFT - The depth of water a boat draws.

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EASE - To slacken or relieve tension on a line.
EBB TIDE - A receding tide.
EVEN KEEL - When a boat is floating on its designed waterline, it is said to be floating on an even keel.
EYE OF THE WIND - The direction from which the wind is blowing.
EYE SPLICE - A permanent loop spliced in the end of a line.

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