Do you live for the open sea?
Chances are you’re one of the 14.5 million boat owners in the U.S., continuing a tradition that stretches back to 10,000 years ago.
The oldest boats discovered were simply hollowed-out tree trunks, known to researchers as dugout boats. These stone-age boats were the precursors to modern-day canoes.
Most of today’s boating terms also owe their origins to 17th-century nautical history.
Take a deep dive into more boating terminology!
Popular Boat Types to Know
Are you a brand new boat owner or sailing for the first time?
Let’s get to know your vessel.
Popular recreational boats include:
- Cabin cruisers
- Deck boats
- Pontoons boats
- Traditional sailboats
- Personal watercrafts
- Ski boats
If you’re chartering a boat, an expert can show you around the vessel, explaining each part.
Get to Know Your Sailboat
Let’s assume you bought a new sailboat.
First, identify the bow at the front of the boat. The stern is located in the back. The bow and the stern are part of the hull, which is considered the boat’s body.
The hull is one of four primary boat segments, including the rigging, mast, and sales.
The hull also includes the following elements:
The hull also include’s the cockpit. Plus, safety lights on the sides of the boat.
Next, observe your sailboat’s mast, ensuring the vertical pole and placement are angled slightly off-center. Identify your sailboat’s boom and how it works. Get a feel for your sails and rigging gear, including cables, mast steps, batten cars, and more.
You can also locate your model in a boaters guide to learn more about specific parts.
Port vs. Starboard
Communication is critical for ensuring boating safety, especially during rocky weather. If you’re new to sailing, choose a popular sailing area with experienced boaters. Don’t attempt to sail at night, either.
At first, you may be confused by some of the terms.
For example, when facing ahead, instead of using the word “left” to describe something to the left of the boat, you would use the term “port.” Likewise, you wouldn’t use the word “right” but rather the term “starboard.”
Hence, you may hear a boater say, “the lights are flashing port and starboard.”
Points of Sail Boating Terms
The term “point of sail” refers to the vessel’s wind direction.
There are six primary points of sail terms. For example, if someone is yelling “In Irons” that means you’re sailing your boat directly toward the wind. “In Irons” is a warning for the captain to pivot.
Other points of sail include:
If you’re caught in a storm, it’s important to communicate loudly. You need a reliable intercom at the helm of the boat, where the captain steers the vessel.
When you hear the term “heeling,” you know it’s about to get exciting! Heeling occurs when the wind picks up and puffs up your sails, speeding the boat forward.
Tackle the Language of Boating
Boating is a liberating experience. Get in the spirit with these basic boating terms. Invest in a dream boat or seabound adventure!
Don’t stop with boating. Discover your next passion with the latest tips and trends.