Terminology Every Boater Should Know

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran boater or fresh out of boating school, you should be fluent in both the navigation and language of the water. Boaters use specific terms for a reason; it’s the easiest way to communicate among people who enjoy the same niche. This special boating terminology allows boaters to communicate concisely during emergency situations also. And, it gets everyone “on board” with a specific course of action.

Read our cheat sheet of nautical language that will help boaters navigate the open sea below.

Aboard: means on or within a boat.

Ahead: term used to describe a boat moving forward.

Astern: term used to describe a boat moving backward.

Berth: is the sleeping quarters located on a boat.

Bow: is the front end of a boat.

Capsize: means to turn over.

Current: refers to the horizontal motion of water.

Gunwale: the upper edges of the sides of a boat.

Headway: forward moving direction of a boat.

Knot: refers to the tying of two small ropes.

Leeway: term used to describe the sideways movement of a boat.

Port: refers to standing at the rear of the boat and looking ahead.

Stern: refers to the rear end of a boat.

Underway: this is the term boaters use when referring to the motion of the boat, either by motor or wind.

Windward: refers to a course of direction dependent on the winds.

Yaw: term used to describe the direction of a boat when it is steered off course.

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