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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SCOPE

Technically, the ratio of length of anchor rode in use to the vertical distance from the bow of the vessel to the bottom of the water. Usually seven to one for calm weather and more scope in storm conditions.

SCREW

A boat's propeller.

SCUPPERS

Drain holes on deck, in the toe rail, or in bulwarks or (with drain pipes) in the deck itself.

SEA COCK

A through hull valve, a shut off on a plumbing or drain pipe between the vessel's interior and the sea.

SEAMANSHIP

All the arts and skills of boat handling, ranging from maintenance and repairs to piloting, sail handling, marlinespike work, and rigging.

SEA ROOM

A safe distance from the shore or other hazards.

SEAWORTHY

A boat or a boat's gear able to meet the usual sea conditions.

SECURE

To make fast.

SET

Direction toward which the current is flowing.

SHIP

A larger vessel usually thought of as being used for ocean travel. A vessel able to carry a "boat" on board.

SLACK

Not fastened; loose. Also, to loosen.

SOLE

Cabin or saloon floor. Timber extensions on the bottom of the rudder. Also the molded fiberglass deck of a cockpit.

SOUNDING

A measurement of the depth of water.

SPRING LINE

A pivot line used in docking, undocking, or to prevent the boat from moving forward or astern while made fast to a dock.

SQUALL

A sudden, violent wind often accompanied by rain.

SQUARE KNOT

A knot used to join two lines of similar size. Also called a reef knot.

STANDING PART

That part of a line which is made fast. The main part of a line as distinguished from the bight and the end.

STAND-ON VESSEL

That vessel which has right-of-way during a meeting, crossing, or overtaking situation.

STARBOARD

The right side of a boat when looking forward.

STEM

The forward most part of the bow.

STERN

The back part of the boat.

STERN LINE

A docking line leading from the stern.

STOW

To put an item in its proper place.

SWAMP

To fill with water, but not settle to the bottom.


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