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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WAKE

Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving across the waters.

WATERLINE

The imaginary line drawn on the hull by the water's surface where a boat settles when loaded normally.

WAY

Movement of a vessel through the water such as headway, sternway or leeway.

WAYPOINT

A location defined by navigational coordinates, especially as part of a planned route.

WEIGH ANCHOR

To heave up (an anchor) preparatory to sailing.

WHEEL

The usual steering device on larger vessels: a wheel with a horizontal axis, connected by cables to the rudder.

WHEELHOUSE

Location on a ship where the wheel is located; also called pilothouse or bridge.

WHITECAPS

Foam or spray on wave tops caused by stronger winds (usually above Force 4).

WIDE BERTH

To leave room between two ships moored (berthed) to allow space for maneuver.

WIND-OVER-TIDE

Sea conditions with a tidal current and a wind in opposite directions, leading to short, heavy seas.

WINDAGE

Wind resistance of the boat.

WINDLASS

A winch mechanism, usually with a horizontal axis. Used where mechanical advantage greater than that obtainable by block and tackle is needed (such as raising the anchor on small ships).

WINDWARD

Toward the direction from which the wind is coming.


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