Boating Glossary

When you're new to boating some nautical words might not be easy to understand, so we have provided a basic introduction to some of the most common terminology.

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BATTEN DOWN

Secure hatches and loose objects both within the hull and on deck.

BEAM

The greatest width of the boat.

BEARING

The direction of an object (vessel, buoy, etc.) from an observer; bearings can be visual, or by radio or radar.

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.

BILGE

The lowest point of a vessel's interior hull.

BILGE BLOWER

The electric fan that blows gasoline fumes out of the bilge.

BITTER END

The extreme end of any line. The inboard end of the anchor rode.

BLOWER

A device that blows fuel vapors trapped inside the vessel to the outside. Blowers should be run for about 5 minutes prior to starting a boat's inboard engine to reduce the risk of explosion..

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.

BOOT TOP

A painted line that indicates the designed waterline.

BOW

The forward part of a boat.

BOW LINE

A docking line leading from the bow.

BOWLINE

A knot used to form a temporary loop in the end of a line.

BRIDGE

The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled. "Control Station" is really a more appropriate term for small craft.

BRIDLE

A line or wire secured at both ends in order to distribute a strain between two points.

BRIGHTWORK

Varnished woodwork and/or polished metal.

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.

BURDENED VESSEL

That vessel which, according to the applicable Navigation Rules, must give way to the privileged vessel. The term has been superseded by the term "give-way".

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