Beginner’s Boating Lingo: Parts of a Boat



When you first start boating, it is very useful to first familiarize yourself with some of the most common boating terminology. Having just a basic knowledge of the following boat terms will go a long way to boosting your confidence and improving communication on board.

Parts of a Boat:

Bilge:  the lowest inner part, or bottom point, on a boat,  designed to collect excess water.

Bow: The front or forward part of a boat.
(TIP: Remember that when a person bows, they bend forwards, not backwards…)

Cleat: A piece of metal fitting on a boat that that a line can be secured to.

Freeboard: The distance from the waterline to the deck.

Gunwale: The upper edge of the side of the boat (pronounced “gunnel”).

Helm: The steering apparatus.

Hull: The main body of the boat, up to the rub rail.

Keel: A beam, on the bottom of a boat, that runs down the middle from bow to stern.

Port: When facing forward, the left side of the boat.
(TIP:Remember that “left” and “port” have the same number of letters.)

Starboard: When facing forward, the right side of the boat.

Stern: The back or rear end of a boat.

Transom: The rearmost flat-facing part of the vessel, typically where the engine is mounted.

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