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Essential Boat Terms to Know

Apr 25, 2022

Image 0694: 3Boating terms may seem hard to understand or completely alien to someone new to the world of yachting or general boating. Understanding the different nautical terms for boaters to use is an essential step in becoming better and better at the activity you love so much. Yacht Management South Florida Inc., providers of the best Yacht Management services in all of South Florida, has created this quick introductory guide to the basic boating terms to know before you hit the water. There are many boat terms, and this list is certainly not a complete boating dictionary, but it is a great place to start if you are getting into yachting.

Basic Boat Direction Terms
Some of the first terms for boating that confuse newcomers are those used in relation to direction. These boat terms are exclusive to the nautical world and sometimes sound like a completely different language! So, let’s take a quick look at the most important ones to know. 

  • Starboard: Starboard is one-half of the two most famous boating terms you’re bound to have heard. It is essentially a substitute for right. It is used instead of the typical “right” since in the open ocean things can become a bit complicated direction-wise. 
  • Port: This is the second half of the boat terms you’ve probably heard. And if you guessed that it is left since starboard is right, then you’d be correct. A great way to distinguish the two is to always remember that both port and left have four letters each.
  • Windward: This is a term that you’re more likely to have heard from a sailor as opposed to someone operating a motorized vessel. This term is used to identify from which place the wind is blowing.
  • Leeward: This term is used to mean the opposite of windward. Distinguish these two by knowing they both have the word “ward” in their names, and the one that says “wind” is signaling just that.
  • Astern: Behind. This term is used to describe the area directly behind your ship. Keeping track of this term isn’t too difficult when considering what the opposite is called in boat terms.
  • Ahead: This term has made its way into the lexicon of everyday use. Just in case you haven’t heard this term before, this means directly in front of the vessel.

Boat Layout Terms to Familiarize Yourself With
Boat terms that describe the layout of vessels can be equally difficult to understand when you’re first becoming a yachter. Luckily our South Florida yacht management team is here to help!

  • Helm: Where the wheel is. The helm is the home of whoever is currently navigating the waters.
  • Bow: The bow refers to the very front of a ship. On yachts, the bow often is used as a great place to relax.
  • Cockpit: This term is more commonly associated with airplanes, but in boat terms, it means a very similar thing. It is the often-enclosed space where the helm can be found. There are often a few seating areas for people other than the primary navigator to keep them company.
  • Cabin: The inside of your vessel is known as the cabin. You’re likely going to be relaxing here often, so you’re sure to grow very accustomed to using this term while on your yacht.
  • Stem: The stern is the back of the vessel in boat terms. It is where you will often find tables, chairs, lounge areas, and sometimes even barbeques!

This beginner’s guide to boat terms is sure to get you off on the right foot when building your boating dictionary and vocabulary skills! Be sure to use the proper language when navigating the waters and always get the best upkeep for your yacht by contracting the perfect team for the job!

South Florida Yacht Management Services
If you require yacht management to keep your vessel in fantastic condition while also not breaking the bank with yacht upkeep costs, be sure to contact our team! Our experts have years of experience providing excellent service from our Fort Lauderdale boatyard and would be glad to be a part of your yachting experience! Be sure to also read some of our other articles to learn more about all things yachting.  

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