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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CABIN

A compartment for passengers or crew.

CAPACITY PLATE

A placard permanently mounted on the stern describing the total weight limit allowed onboard. Includes people, engine, fuel & gear that can be safely carried.

CAPSIZE

To turn over. A situation where one or both of the gunnels becomes submersed.

CARBURETOR BACK FLAME ARRESTOR

A safety device made of a mesh construction to prevent explosion from engine exhaust backfire.

CAST OFF

Undo mooring lines in preparation for departure.

CATAMARAN

A twin-hulled boat, with hulls side by side.

CHANNEL

1.  That part of a body of water deep enough for navigation through an are 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.

CHAFING GEAR

Tubing or cloth wrapping used to protect a line from chafing on a rough surface.

CHART

A sea going 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 gyroscopic (showing true north)

COURSE

The direction in which a boat is steered.

CUDDY

A small shelter cabin in a boat.

CURRENT

The horizontal movement of water.

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