Do you know your berths from your biminis? Your scuppers from your spreaders? Or your galleys from your gunwales?

Nautical jargon is something that really sets apart the novices from the seasoned pros.

Getting to grips with this obscure offshore language can feel rather intimidating, but it will only help to turn you into a more fluent, efficient and knowledgeable seafarer.

So if you're someone who finds boat terminology mystifying - and we don't blame you! - Mylor Rigging have put sailing boats under the microscope, zeroing in on some of the most significant aspects in our go-to glossary...

Ballast

A high-density weight used to add extra stability to a boat.

Berth

A word used to define the sleeping quarters on your vessel and a specific place, such as a harbour, where the boat is moored.

Bilge

The very lowest compartment of a boat where water that cannot be drained away is collected.

Bimini

A folding canvas cover used to shield passengers or crew from harsh weather conditions such as sun or rain.

Block

The correct marine term to describe a pulley.

Bow

The front section of a boat.

Bulkhead

An internal structure inside the hull made up of a series of compartments and walls used to support the deck and give the vessel its rigidity.

Boom

A pole positioned along the bottom of a rigged sail, designed to keep it tight and lengthen the foot of the mainsail

Cabin

The enclosed room on a boat used for resting, relaxing or evading bad weather.

Cabintop

The raised surface that acts as the cabin roof and curved deck surface, usually surrounded by small windows.

Chine

The section of a boat where the hull meets the bottom - can either be defined as hard or soft to describe the sharpness of the hull's curvature.

Centreboard

A blade positioned in the centre of the underside of a boat, designed to counteract movement from either side of the vessel.

Cleat

A t-shaped component made from metal or wood on which ropes are safely attached.

Coaming

A raised vertical frame on the deck of a boat designed to prevent water from infiltrating a hatch or cabin

Deck

The flat exposed upper surface of a boat designed for walking and working on.

Foredeck

The section of the main deck that exists in front of the mast.

Galley

'The ship's kitchen' where food is prepared on-board the vessel.

Gunwale

The upper raised edges surrounding the perimeter of boat. The name is derived from the reinforced level of the gun deck on a warship.

Hatch

A hinged door on the deck or cabintop, usually featuring a built-in window, allowing passengers and crew into the cabin or space below deck.

Head

A boat's toilet or bathroom - the name harks back to the days when old ships used to have toilets in the head or bow.

Helm 

Where the wheel, steering controls or tiller are positioned on a boat.

Hull

The name given to the entire underside of a boat that is submerged in water.

Inboard Engine

An engine built into the hull of a sea vessel.

Jib 

A jib is a small triangular sail positioned forward of the mast and designed to create a bigger sail surface area, helping to catch more wind and sail faster.

Lifelines

Boat lines or ropes used to stop crew, passengers or equipment from falling overboard.

Lines

Any length of rope or similar cable on your vessel.

Livewell

A special container or tank filled with water used to store bait and live fish that have been caught.

Mainsail

The largest sail on a boat rigged towards the stern and usually controlled by a jib.

Mast

The tall, central, vertical spar on which the sails are attached.

Keel

A flat fin or blade attached to the bottom of the hull used to counteract sideways wind and to keep a boat the right way up.

Outboard Engine

A self-contained external engine fixed to the outside of a boat. Used typically to give smaller vessels propulsion.

Rigging

A network of ropes and cables used to bolster and control the mast.

Rubrail

A strip running around the hull used to protect the boat from scratches or impact.

Rudder

A flat underwater fin positioned at the stern or rear of a boat used for steering.

Scupper

Openings in the side of a boat used to drain water from the deck edge into the sea.

Shrouds & Stays

The ropes and wires used to stabilise, support and prevent a mast from falling over.

Spreader

Spars protruding from the mast to reinforce the shrouds, improving the supportive strength of the mast.

Stern

The back end of a boat.

Tiller

A control stick attached to the top of the rudder used to steer the vessel.

Toerail

A rail running around the perimeter of a boat's deck, usually made from decorative wood or fibreglass materials.

Transom

The square ended aft-most point of a boat where outboard motors are usually situated.

Waterline

The point or threshold on a boat where the hull and water meet.


Post By Ed Mason

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