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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TACHOMETER

A gauge that measures engine revolutions per minute.

TACK

1. The lower forward corner of a triangular sail
2. The direction that a boat is sailing with respect to the wind. A sailboat cannot sail directly into the wind, and must therefore sail a zig zag course to windward, at about a 45 degree angle to the wind.
3. To change a boat's direction, bringing the bow through the eye of the wind.

TENDER

1. A small boat accompanying a yacht or other pleasure vessel, used to transport persons, gear, and supplies; sometimes called a dinghy.
2. Most commonly refers to one who tends to a drawbridge. Boaters contact the bridge tender to get the bridge raised so they can pass under.

TETHER

A line attached between a safety harness and a secure part of the boat.

THROTTLE

Regulates the flow of fuel, and thus the speed, of an internal combustion engine.

THROUGH HULL

A fitting or object that goes all the way through a hull.

THWARTSHIPS

At right angles to the centerline of the boat.

TIDAL CURRENT

The horizontal movement of the water due to tide.

TIDE

The periodic rise and fall of water level in the oceans.

TIDE TABLE

A publication predicting the time and height of high tide and low tide.

TILLER

A bar or handle for turning a boat's rudder or an outboard motor.

TILLER EXTENSION

Hinged extension of the tiller which allows the skipper to control the tiller while hiking or sitting forward.

TONGUE WEIGHT

The measurement of trailer weight when loaded with a boat on the hitch ball.

TOPSIDES

The sides of a vessel between the waterline and the deck; sometimes referring to onto or above the deck.

TOWING

Assisting a vessel unable to maneuver by pulling, pushing or towing alongside.

TRAILER WINCH

Device that uses a crank and cable to assist in launching and retrieving a boat.

TRANSDUCER

An electronic sensing device mounted in a boat's bilge or at the bottom of the transom to provide data for a depth sounder.

TRANSOM

The stern cross-section of a square sterned boat.

TRIM

Fore and aft balance of a boat. To set and adjust sails.

TRIM TAB

An adjustable section of the rudder that allows the rudder to be corrected for lee helm or weather helm.

TROUGH

The bottom of a wave.

TURTLE

1. To tip the boat over so that the boat is upside down with the mast pointing down to the sea bottom.
2. A bag in which a spinnaker or other large sail can be stowed with the lines attached so that it can be rapidly raised.

TWO CYCLE ENGINE

A gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engine that takes two cycles or strokes of the piston to complete its power phase. Also called two-stroke engine.


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