Each flag represents the letter next to it.


Aback (backwind): The sail filling on wrong side in the case of square rigger may cause the ship to back up.
Abaft: towards the stern.
Abeam: At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.
Able bodied seamen: A member of the deck crew who is able to perform all the duties of an experienced seamen; certificated by examination; must have three years sea service. Also called Able Seamen and A.B.
ABS: American Bureau of Shipping: A U.S.-based private classification, or standards setting society for merchant ships and other marine systems.
Aboard: On or within the boat.
About: On the other tack.
Above Deck: On the deck.
Abrest: Along side or at right to.
Abyss: That volume of ocean lying below 300 fathoms from surface.
Admeasure: Formal measurement of a boat for documentation.
Admiralty Law: The "law of the sea."
Adrift: Floating free with the currents and tide, not under control.
Aft: At near or towards the stern.
After bow spring line: A mooring line fixed to the bow of the boat and leading aft where it is attached to the dock. This prevents the boat from moving forward in its berth. Its opposite, the forward quarter spring line, is used to keep the boat from moving aft in its berth.
Against the Sun-Anti: Clockwise circular motion. Left-handed ropes are coiled against the sun.
Aground: Touching or fast to the bottom.
Aid to navigation: Any fixed object that a navigator may use to find his position, such as permanent land or sea markers, buoys, radiobeacons, and lighthouses.
Altar: Step in a dry dock
Aloft: up above the deck, up the mast or in the rigging
Alongside: Close beside a ship, wharf or jetty.
"Ahoy": Seaman's call to attract attention.
America's Cup: The America's Cup, dating from 1851, is the oldest trophy in is considered yacht racing's Holy Grail.
Amas: The outboard hulls of a trimaran.
Amidships: In the middle of the ship
Anchor: A hook which digs in to the bottom to keep the ship from drifting.
Anchorage-A sheltered place or area where a boat can anchor.
Anchor Ball: A black ball visible in all direction display in the forward part of a vessel at anchor.
Anchor bend: A type of knot used to fasten an anchor to its line.
Anchor Chain: A chain attached to the anchor. The chain acts partially as a weight to keep the anchor lying next to the ground so that it can dig in better.
Anchor Light: A white light visible in all directions display in the forward part of a vessel at anchor.
Anchor Locker: Storage space used for the anchor rode and anchor.
Anchor Watch: A member or members of the crew that keep watch and check the drift of ship.
Anchor windlass: A windlass used to assist when raising the anchor.
Anti-Trip Chine: A flared out aft section of the side/bottom of the boat. The purpose is to prevent the hard chine of the boat catching a wake or small wave on a sharp turn.
Anemometer: A device that measures wind velocity.
Apeak: Said of anchor when cable is taut and vertical.
Apparent Wind: the direction of the wind as is relative to the speed and direction of the boat.
Aspect Ratio: The relationship between the height of a sail and its breadth. i.e. A sail with a height of 30' and a breadth of 20' has an aspect ratio of 3:2.
Astern: behind the boat
Athwart: Across. Transversely.
Athwartships: At right angles to the centerline of the boat; rowboat seats are generally athwartships.
A-trip: Said of anchor immediately it is broken out of the ground.
Auxiliary: A second method of propelling a vessel. On a sailboat this could be a engine.
Avast!: The command to stop, or cease, in any operation.
Aweigh: To raise an anchor off the bottom.
Awash: Water washing over.


Back: To back an anchor is to carry out a smaller one ahead of the one by which the vessels rides to take off some of the strain.
Backstay: Mast support running to aft deck or another mast.
Backslice: A method of weaving the end of a rope to keep it from unraveling.
Backstaff: A navigation instrument used to measure the apparent height of a landmark whose actual height is known, such as the top of a lighthouse. From this information, the ship's distance from that landmark can be calculated.
Backwinded: When the wind pushes on the wrong side of the sail, causing it to be pushed away from the wind. If the lines holding the sail in place are not released, the boat could become hard to control and heel excessively.
Bail: Ironrod partially circling the boom to which sheet block is attached 2 To remove water from a boat, as with a bucket or a pump.
Baggywrinkle: chafing gear made from old ropes.
Ballast: Either pigs of iron, stones, or gravel, which last is called single ballast; and their use is to bring the ship down to her bearings in the water which her provisions and stores will not do. Trim the ballast, that is spread it about, and lay it even, or runs over one side of the hold to the other.
Bar: Shallow water usually made of sand or mud, usually running parallel to the shore. Bars are caused by wave and current action.
Barratry: Any wrongful act knowingly done by the master to the detriment of the owner of either ship or cargo; done without knowledge or consent of owner.
Barge: 1) A long, narrow, light boat, employed to carry the principal sea officers, such as admirals and captains of ships of war, to shore. 2) A long vessel with a flat bottom used to carry freight on rivers. Barges are usually not powered, being pushed or towed by a tugboat instead.
Bare Poles: Condition of a vessel when she has no sails set.
Bark: Three-Masted with square-rigged on fore-and-main mast.
Barnacle: A shell-fish often attached to the submerged parts of a vessel.
Barque: Sailing vessel with three or more masts: fore and aft rigged on aftermast, square rigged on all others. Barkentine: Three-Masted with square rigging on foremast only.
Barograph: An instrument used to keep a record of atmospheric pressure, such as on a paper drum.
Barometric pressure: Atmospheric pressure as measured by a barometer.
Batten: a short piece of wood or plastic inserted in a sail to keep it taut.
Batten pockets: Pockets in a sail where battens can be placed to stiffen the sail.
Batten down: Secure hatches and loose objects both within the hull and on deck.
Beacon: A lighted or unlighted fixed aid to navigation attached directly to the earth's surface.
Beam: The widest part of the boat.
Beams Ends: Vessel said to be "on her beam ends" when she is lying over so much that her deck beams are nearly vertical. Method used to repair or paint hull before drydocks.
Beam reach: a point of sail where the boat is sailing at a right angle to the wind.
Beaufort wind scale: A method of measuring the severity of the force of wind, named after Admiral Beaufort who created the system. 0 is no wind, whereas 12 would be a hurricane.
Bear Off: 1) To thrust away; to hold off. 2) To steer off wind, shore or approaching object.
Bearing: The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing as shown on the chart, or as a bearing relative to the heading of the boat.
Bear Up: to steer up to the eye of the wind, shore or object.
Belay: Change order;: To make a line secure to a pin, cleat or bitt.
Belay pin: Iron or wood pin fitted into railing to secure lines to.
Below: Beneath the deck.
Bend: to fasten one line to another.
Berth: 1) A place for a person to sleep. 2) A place where the ship can be secured.
Bible: A large Holystone.
Bight: any part of the rope between the two end.
Bilge: The lowest part of the interior hull below the waterline.
Bilge Pump-A mechanical, electrical, or manually operated pump used to remove water from the bilge.
Binnacle: A wooden case or box, which contained compasses, log-glasses, watch-glasses and lights to show the compass at night.
Bitter end: the final inboard end of chain or line.
Bitt: A vertically posted above deck used to secure line.
Beaufort Scale: is a system for estimating wind strengths.
Block: A pulley used to gain mechanical advantage,
Block and tackle: A combination of one or more blocks and the associated tackle necessary to give a mechanical advantage.
Bluewater sailing: open ocean sailing, as opposed to being in a lake or sound.
Bobstaycable: Chain or rod holding down the end of the bowsprit.
Boat: A fairly indefinite term. A waterborne vehicle smaller than a ship. One definition is a small craft carried aboard a ship.
Boat hook: A short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off.
Boatswain: (pronounced bosun) A crew member responsible for keeping the hull, rigging and sails in good condition.
Bolt rope: A line rope: sewn into the luff of a sail. The bolt rope fits in a notch in the mast or other spar when the sail is raised.
Bollard: Vertical post on dock for securing lines.
Bone in her teeth: Sailing well underway such that spray is thrown out at the stem of the boat.
Boom: A horizontal spar attached to the bottom edge of of a sail, riding on the mast and controlled by sheet.
Boomkin: A spar projecting from the stern to which is attached a backstay or sheet.
Boom Vang: Any system used to hold the boom down. This is useful for maintaining proper sail shape, particularly when running or on a broad reach.
Boot stripe: a different color strip of paint at the waterline.
Bow: The forward part of the vessel.
Bow line: A docking line leading from the bow.
Bowline: A knot use to form an eye or loop at the end of a rope.
Bowsprit: a long spar attached to the Jibboom in the bow; used to secure head sails.
Breaker: A wave that approaches shallow water, causing the wave height to exceed the depth of the water it is in.
Breast line: A line attached laterally from a boat to a dock, preventing movement away from the dock.
Bridge: The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled. "Control Station" is really a more appropriate term for small craft.
Brig: A two-masted vessel with both masts square rigged. On the sternmost mast, the main mast, there is also a gaff sail.
Brigantine: A two-masted vessel fore mast being square rigged.
Bright work: varnished woodwork or polished metal.
Broach: a turning or swinging of the boat that puts the beam of the boat against the waves, creating a danger of swamping or capsizing.
Broad reach: a point of sail where the boat is sailing away from the wind, but not directly downwind.
Bulkhead: Below deck walls within vessel.
Bulkward: Solid rail along ship side above deck to prevent men and gear from going overboard.
Bung: A round wood plug inserted in hole to cover a nail scre or bolt.
Bunk: A sleeping berth.
Buoy: A floating navigation aid.
Buoyage: 1) The act of placing buoys. 2) Establishment of buoys and buoyage systems. Applied collectively to buoys placed or established.
Buoyancy: Degree of floatability.
Burdened Vessel: That vessel which, according to the applicable Navigation Rules, must give way to the privileged vessel.
Burgee: A type of flag used to identify a boater's affiliation.
By the Board: Overboard and by the ship's side.
By the Head: Bow lower then stern.
By the Lee: Sailing with the wind coming from behind, and slightly to the side, that the sails are on.
By the Stern: Stern lower then bow.
By the Wind: Close hauled to wind.


Cabin: A compartment for passengers or crew.
Cabin sole: The bottom surface of the enclosed space under the deck of a boat.
Cable: 1) The rope or chain made fast to the anchor. 2) Nautical unit of distance, having a standard value of 1/10th of a nautical mile (608 ft.) or 100 fathoms.
Cardinal points: The points of North, South, East and West as marked on a compass rose.
Carlins: Structural pieces running fore and aft between the beams.
Carrick bend: A knot used to tie two lines together.
Carvel planking: Solid wood planks, butted together, fastened to the frames, with a flexible caulking between the planks.
Catamaran: A twin hulled boat. Catamaran sailboats are known for their ability to plane and are faster than single hulled boats (monohulls) in some conditions.
Catboat: A sailboat rigged with one mast and one sail.
Chafe: damage to a line caused by rubbing against another object.
Chafe gear: gear used to prevent damage by rubbing.
Cam cleat: A mechanical cleat used to hold a lineline automatically. It uses two spring loaded cams that come together to clamp their teeth on the line.
Camel: 1) Hollow vessel of iron, steel or wood, that is filled with water and sunk under a vessel. When water is pumped out, the buoyancy of camel lifts ship. Usually employed in pairs. At one time were usual means of lifting a vessel over a bar or sandbank. 2) Wooden float use between dock and ship.
Can Bouy: A cylindrical buoy painted green and having an odd number used in the United States as a navigational aid.
Can Hooks: Two flat hooks running freely on a wire or chain sling.
Hooks are put under chime of casks, weight is taken on chain sling or wire. Weight of lift prevents unhooking.
Canal: A manmade waterway used to connect bodies of water that do not connect naturally.
Canoe stern: A pointed stern, such as those on a canoe.
Canvas: slang for sail. Originally sails were made of canvas.
Capstan: the drum-like part of the windlass, which is a machine used for winding in rope, cables or chain connected to an anchor cargo.
Capsize: To turn over.
Captain: The person who is in charge of a vessel and legally responsible for it and its occupants.
Car: A sliding fitting that attaches to a track allowing for the adjustment of blocks or other devices attached to the car.
Cardinal points: The points of North, South, East and West as marked on a compass rose.
Carline Wood stringer support for hatches and cabins.
Carrick Bend-.: A knot used to tie two lines together.
Cast Off: to release lines holding boat to shore or mooring, to release sheets.
Catboat-: A sailboat rigged with one mast and one sail.
Catenary: The sag in a line strung between two points.such as the anchor line.
Calk: To fill wooden vessel seams with oakum and cotton using caulking irons and hammer.
Caulking: Material used to seal the seams in a wooden vessel, making it watertigh.
Celestial navigation: to calculate your position using time, the position of celestial bodies, and mathematical tables.
Centerboard: a fin shaped, often removable, board that extends from the bottom of the boat as a keel.
Center line: The imaginary line running from bow to stern along the middle of the boat.
Center of effort: The center of wind pressure on the sail plan .
Chafe: damage to a line caused by rubbing against another object.
Chafe gear: Gear used to prevent damage by rubbing.
Chain plate: A steel plate or bar by which the standing rigging is attached to the hull.
Channel: 1) That part of a body of water deep enough for navigation through an area otherwise not suitable. It is usually marked by a single or double line of buoys and sometimes by range markers. 2) The deepest part of a stream, bay, or strait, through which the main current flows. 3) A name given to a large strait, for example, the English Channel.
Chart datum: The water level used to record data on a chartchart. Usually the average low tide water level.
Chart table: A table designated as the area in the boat where the navigator will study charts and plot courses.
Chart: A map for use by navigators.
Chanty: Shanties are the work songs that were used on the square-rigged ships of the Age of Sail. Their rhythms coordinated the efforts of many sailors hauling on lines.
Charley noble: galley stove-pipe.
Check: To ease a rope a little, and then belay it.
Cheek block: A block with one end permanently attached to a surface, such as on the sides of the mast.
Chine: The intersection of the bottom and sides of a flat or v-bottomed boat.
Chock: A fitting through which anchor or mooring lines are led. Usually U-shaped to reduce chafe.
Chockablock: When a line is pulled as tight as is can go, as when two blocks are pulled together. also know as "two blocks".
Chop-Small: Steep disorderly waves.
Cleat: A wood or metal fitting with two horn around which ropes are made fast.
Clew- Lower aft corner of the fore and aft sail or the lower corners of a square sail.
Clipper bow: A bow where the stem has a forward curve and sides have a lot of flair. Also called a schooner bow. Close hauled: sails and boom pulled in tight, enabling the boat to point as high as possible to the direction the wind is coming from.
Close reach: Sailing with the wind coming from the direction forward of the beam of the boat. A close reach is the point of sail between a beam reach and close hauled.
Clove Hitch: Attach a rope to a pole, this knot provide a quick and secure result.
Clipper: Was first a generic name to describe a very fast sailing ship.
Coaming: The raised border around the cockpit, or a hatch to keep out water.
Cockpit: The area, below deck level, that is somewhat more protected than the open deck, from which the tiller or wheel is handled.
Coil: To lay a rope down in circular turns.
Companionway: Staircase that leads to the cabin.
Compass: Navigation instrument, either magnetic (showing magnetic north) or gyro (showing true north).
Compass Card: Part of a compass, the card is graduated in degrees, to conform with the magnetic meridian-referenced direction system inscribed with direction system inscribed with direction which remains constant.
Compass rose: The resulting figure when the complete 360° directional system is developed as a circle with each degree graduated upon it, and with the 000° indicated as True North. Also called true rose. This is printed on nautical charts for determining direction.
Colors: The national flag and or other flags.
Cordage: Any rope or line.
Course: compass heading or the angle of the boat in sailing against the wind.
Courtesy Flag- A smaller version of the flag of the country being visited. It is flown from the starboard spreader.
Cringle: A fitting in a sail that allows a line to fasten to it.
Crosstrees: horizontal pieces of wood that cross the mast up high, acting as spreaders for the topmast shrouds.
Crow's Nest: protected look-out position high on the foremast.
Current-The horizontal movement of water.
Club footed jib: A jib with a boom or "club" on the foot of the sail.
Cutter- A sailboat with one mast and rigged a mainsail and two headsails. Also see sloop.


Daggerboard: A blade shaped centerboard that is lifted out of a case when raised. Usually only suitable for small boats.
Daybeacon: fixed navigation aid structure used in shallow waters upon which is placed one or more daymarks. Daymark: A signboard attached to a daybeacon to convey navigational information presenting one of several standard shapes (square, triangle, rectangle) and colors (red, green, orange, yellow, or black). Daymarks usually have reflective material indicating the shape, but may also be lighted.
Davite: Small cranes, usually located aster, that are used to raise and lower smaller boats from the deck to the water.
Dead ahead: Directly ahead.
Dead astern: Directly aft or behind.
Dead reckoning: A calculation of determining position by using course speed last known position.
Deadeye: A block with three hole in use to receive the laniard of a shroud ora stay to adjust tension. Deadhead: A floating log.
Deck: A permanent covering over a compartment, hull or any part of a ship serving as a floor.
Deck plate: A metal plate fitting on the deck that can be opened to take on fuel or water.
Deep Vee: A hard chine power boat having a 15 degree or more angle deadrise at the transom.
Dinghy: A small boat, usually carried on hauled behind a bigger boat.
Displacement: The weight of the water displaced by the vessel.
Displacement hull: A type of hull that plows through the water, displacing a weight of water equal to its own weight, even when more power is added.
Displacement speed hull speed: The theoretical speed that a boat can travel without planing This speed is 1.34 times the length of a boat at its waterline.
Ditty bag: a small bag for carrying or stowing all personal articles.
Ditty Box: Small wooden box, with lock and key, in which seamen of R.N. keep sentimental valuables, stationery, and sundry small stores.
Dock: A protected water area in which vessels are moored. The term is often used to denote a pier or a wharf.
Dog Watch-Half watches of two hours each, from 4 to 6 and from 6 to 8 P.M..
Dorade-A horn type of vent designed to let air into a cabin and keep water out.
Dory-Small, flat-bottomed rowing boats manned by one or two fishermen. Used for cod-fishing off Newfoundland. The name is derived from the Portuguese pescadores meaning fishermen.
Double Headsail Rig: Two sails forward of the mast as in a cutter.
Downhaul: A rope used to haul down jibs, staysails and studding sails.
Double Sheetbend: Join small to medium size rope douse To drop a sail quickly.
Draft: The depth of water required float a vessel.
Drift: A vessel leeway.


Ease: To slacken or relieve tension on a line.
Ease Sheet: To let the sheet out slowly loosen a line while maintaining control.
Ebb: tide passing from high to low, with the current going out to sea.
El Niño: a warm inshore current annually flowing south along the coast of Ecuador. About every seven to ten years it extends down the coast of Peru , where it has a devastating effect.
EPIRB: Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. An emergency device that uses a radio signal to alert satellites or passing airplanes to a vessel's position.
Even keel: When a boat is floating on its designed waterline, it is said to be floating on an even keel.
Eye splice: A splice causing a loop in the end of a line, by braiding the end into itself or similar methods.
Eye of the wind:The direction that the wind is blowing from.


Fairlead: 1) A means of leading a rope in the most convenient way 2) a fitting used to change the direction of a line without chafing.
Fall: The hauling part of the tackle to which power is applied.
Fake: One circle of a coil or rope. To coil or arrange a rope ornamentally with each fake flat, or almost flat, on the deck, usually in a circle or figure-of-eight pattern.
Fantail: Rear or aft overhang of vessel.
Fast: Said of an object that is secured to another.
Fathom: Measurement of six feet.
Fender: Cushions used over the side to protect a vessel from chafing when alongside another vessel or dock.
Fetch: The distance that wind and seas (waves) can travel toward land without being blocked. In areas without obstructions the wind and seas can build to great strength, but in areas such as sheltered coves and harbors the wind and seas can be quite calm. Fetch is also used to describe the act of sailing to a location accurately and without having to tack.
Fid: A pointed tool used to separate strands of rope.
Fiddle: A small rail on tables and counters used to keep objects from sliding off when heeled or in heavy seas.
Fife Rail-A rail around the mast with hole for belaying pins.
Figurehead: carved figure on the front of the ship.
Figure Eight knot: A stopper knot for the end of the rope fix -- the determined boat's position.
Flame arrester -A safety device, such as a metal mesh protector, to prevent an exhaust backfire from causing an explosion; operates by absorbing heat.
Flare: The outward curve of a vessel's sides near the bow. A distress signal.
Flood: incoming tidal current.
Flotsam: floating items of a ship or its cargo at sea, floating debris.
Flying bridge: An added set of controls above the level of the normal control station for better visibility. Usually open, but may have a collapsible top for shade.
Fluke: the digging end of the anchor; also wind irregularity.
Following Sea -An overtaking sea that comes from astern. .
Fo’c'sle / fore castle: The extreme forward compartment of the vessel.
Foot: the bottom part of a sail.
Force 8: Gale force wind on the Beaufort Wind Scale.
Fore: The forward part of the vessel.
Foredeck: The forward part of a boat's main deck.
Foremast: The mast in the forepart of a vessel, nearest the bow.
Foresail: Is set on the foremast of a schooner or the lowest square sail on the foremast of square riggers Fore and aft: In a line parallel to the keel.
Forward: Toward the bow of the boat.
Fouled: Any piece of equipment that is jammed or entangled, or dirtied.
Founder: When a vessel fills with water and sinks.
Frames: the wooden ribs that form the shape of the hull.
Freeboard: The minimum vertical distance from the surface of the water to the gunwale.
Fronts: Used in meteorology to describe bounderies between hot and cold air masses. This is typically where bad weather is found.
Full keel: A keel that runs the length of the boat. Full keels have a shallower draft than fin keels.
Fully battened -A sail having battens that run the full horizontal length of the sail.
Furl: to fold or roll a sail and secure it to its main support


Gaff: a free-swinging spar attached to the top of the sail.
Galley: The kitchen of a ship.
Gallows: A frame used to rest the boom when the sail is down.
Gang Plank: Board or ramp used as a walkway from ship to dock.
Gasket: Line used to secure a furled sail to the boom or yards.
Gear: A general term for ropes, blocks, tackle and other equipment.
Genoa: Also known as genny, usually the biggest jib on the boat.
Gimball: A device to suspend items, such as a compass or ships' stove, to keep it level.
Gimblet: To turn an anchor round by it's stock.
Give-way-vessel: A term, from the Navigational Rules, used to describe the vessel which must yield in meeting, crossing, or overtaking situations.
GMT: Greenwich Meridian Time, also known as Universal Time or Zula Time.
GPS: global positioning system; is a satellite-based radionavigation used to determine position.
Gooseneck: The fitting which secures the boom to the mast.
Great Circle: a course plotted on the surface of the globe that is the shortest distance between two points.
Ground Tackle: A collective term for the anchor and anchor gear.
Gunwale (gunnel): The upper railing of a boat's side.
Gunkholing: Cruising in shoal water or overnighting in small coves.


Harbor: A safe anchorage, protected from most storms; may be natural or man-made, with breakwaters and jetties; a place for docking and loading.
Hard over: turning the wheel as far as possible.
Halyards: lines used to haul up the sail and the wooden poles (boom and gaff) that hold the sails in place.hanks -- metal hooks used to secure a sail to a stay; to hank on a sail is to hook it on a stay using the hanks.
Hard over: Turning the wheel as far as possible.
Harden up: To steer closer to the wind, usually by pulling in on the sheets.
Hatch: An opening in the deck for entering below.
Haul around: Change from a run to a reach.
Hawse hole: A hole in the hull for mooring lines to run through.
Head: 1) Ship toilet. 2) Also the upper corner of a triangular sail.
Head to Wind: The bow turned into the wind, sails luffing.
Heading: The direction in which a vessel's bow points at any given time.
Heads up: Watch out.
Headsails: Any sail foreward of the foremast.
Headstay: A wire support line from the mast to the bow.
Headway: The forward motion of a boat. Opposite of sternway.
Heave to: To bring a vessel up in a position where it will maintain little or no headway, usually with the bow into the wind or nearly so.
Heel: To tip to one side.
Helm: Steering apparatus.
Helmsman: the member of the crew responsible for steering.
Hike: leaning out over the side of the boat to balance it.
Hitch: A knot used to secure a rope to another object or to another rope, or to form a loop or a noose in a rope.
Hoist: to raise aloft.
Hold: the space for cargo below the deck of the ship.
Hogged: A vessel whose bow and stern have dropped.
Hook: Anchor.
Horse/Traveler: Metal or rope traveler to sheet a sail.
Hull: The main body of the boat, not including the deck,mast or cabin.
Hull speed: the fastest a sailboat will go, usually dependent on length of the hull at the waterline the longer the faster.
Hurricane: A strong tropical revolving storm of force 12(65 mph) or higher in the northern hemisphere. Hurricanes revolve in a clockwise direction.
Hypothermia: The loss of body heat, is the greatest danger for anyone in the water. As the body loses its heat, body functions slow down. This can quickly lead to death.


In irons: A sailboat with its bow pointed directly into the wind, preventing the sails from filling properly so that the boat can move.
Inboard: More toward the center of a vessel; 2 a motor fitted inside the boat.
Inverter: eElectrical power converter; converts square-wave DC current to sine-wave AC current.
I/O (Inboard/Outboard)- A propulsion system that uses an inboard motor, mounted at the transom, with a propeller assembly, similar to the bottom of an outboard, mounted on the outside of the transom, bolting to the motor with the transom sandwiched between.
Iron spinnaker: Auxiliary engine.


Jack line: A strong line, or a wire stay running fore and aft along the sides of a boat to which a safety harness can be attached.
Jacobs ladder: A rope ladder.
Jettison: To throw overboard.
Jetty: A man made structure projecting from the shore. Breakwater protecting a harbor entrance.
Jib: a triangular foresail in front of the foremast.
Jib Sheet: The lines that lead from the clew of the jib.
Jibboom: Spar forward of bowsprit.
Jibe: To go from one tack to the other when running with the wind coming over the stern.
Jigger: Aft sail on the mizzen mast of a yawl or a ketch. After mast (4th mast) on schooner or sailing ship carrying a spanker.
Junk: A native sailing vessel common to the Far East Seas.


Kedge: To use an anchor to move a boat by hauling on the anchor rode, a basic anchor type.
Keel: centerline of a boat running fore and aft; the timber at the very bottom of the hull to which frames are attached.
Keel Haul: To drag a person backwards and forwards under a ship's keel, for certain offences.
Keel stepped: A mast that is stepped (placed) on the keel at the bottom of the boat rather than on the deck. Keel stepped masts are considered sturdier than deck stepped masts.
Ketch: Two-masted boats, the after mast shorter, but with a ketch the after mast is forward of the rudder post King spoke: Marked top spoke on a wheel when the rudder is centered.
Knees: Supporting braces used for strength when two parts are joined.
Knockabout: a type of schooner without a bowsprit.
Knot: A speed of one nautical mile per hour. (6076 feet) per hour. Approximently 1 1/4 mph.


Launch: A large, open motorboat.
Lanyard: A short line used for making anything fast.
Latitude: The distance north or south of the equator measured and expressed in degrees.
Lazyjacks: Lines from topping lifts to under boom which act as anet to catch the sails when lowered.
Lazarette: A storage compartment in the stern.
League: measure of distance three miles in length.
Lee: The side sheltered from the wind.
Lee cloths: a cloth hung on the lee side of a berth (the down side when the boat has heel to it) to keep one from rolling out of their bunk.
Lee shore: A shore that wind blows onto. It is best to stay well off a lee shore in a storm.
Leeward: The direction away from the wind. Downwind.
Leeway: The sideways movement of the boat caused by either wind or current.
Leech: After edge of a fore and aft sail.
Lifeline: stout line around the deck of the boat to keep crew from falling overboard.
List: Inclination of a boat due to excess weight on one side or the other.
Lines: ropes used for various purposes aboard a boat.
Log: 1) A navigation instrument used to estimate a ship's speed. 2) A record of courses or operation..
Longitude: The distance in degrees east or west of the meridian at Greenwich, England.
Lubber's line: A mark or permanent line on a compass indicating the direction forward; parallel to the keel when properly installed.
Luff Up: To steer the boat more into the wind, thereby causing the sails to flap or luff.


Mainmast: the tallest mast of the ship; on a schooner, the mast furthest aft.
Mainsail: The sail set on the mainmast.-the lowest square sail on the mainmast.
Marlinspike: A tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing.
Mast: A large wooden pole used to hold up the sails.
Measured mile: A course marked by buoys or ranges measuring one nautical mile.
Messenger: A small line used to pull a heavier line or cable.
Mizzen: The shorter mast behind the main mast on a ketch or yawl.
Monohull: A boat with one hull.
Mooring: An arrangement for securing a boat to a mooring buoy or a pier.
Mooring buoy: A buoy secured to a permanent anchor sunk deeply into the bottom.


Nautical mile: One minute of latitude; approximately 6076 feet: about 1/8 longer than the statute mile of 5280 feet.
Navigable: An area with sufficient depth of water to permit vessel passage.
Navigation: The art of getting vessel from one port to the next port.
Net Tonnage: Vessels measurement of cargo carrying capacity.
Nun Bouy: Red tapered navigation bouy.


Oakum: Tarred hemp or manila fibers made from old and condemned ropes which have been picked apart. They were used for caulking the seams of decks and sides of a wooden ship in order to make them watertight.
Old salt: a very experienced and/or old sailor.
Outboard: Toward or beyond the boat's sides. A detachable engine mounted on a boat's stern.
Outhaul: the line that adjust tension along the foot of the sail along the boom.
Outdrive: A propulsion system for boats with an inboard engine operating an exterior drive, with drive shaft, gears, and propeller. Also called stern-drive and inboard/outboard.
Overboard: Over the side or out of the boat.


Painter: A line attached to the bow of a boat for use in towing or making fast.
Parcel a rope: Is to put a narrow piece of canvass round it before the service is put on.
Pay out: To feed line over the side of the boat, hand over hand.
Peak: Outer end of the gaff -upper aft corner of a gaff sail.
Pennant: a triangular flag.
PFD: Personal Flotation Devices. Better known as life jackets.
Pilothouse: A small cabin on the deck of the ship that protects the steering wheel and the crewman steering.
Pier: A loading/landing platform extending at an angle from the shore.
Piloting: Navigation by use of visible references.
Pinch: to sail as close as possible towards the wind.
Pitch: 1) The alternate rise and fall of the bow of a vessel proceeding through waves. 2) The theoretical distance advanced by a propeller in one revolution. 3) Tar and resin used for caulking between the planks of a wooden vessel.
Pitching: The movement of a ship, by which she plunges her head and after-part alternately into the hollow of the sea.
Pitchpoling: Boat being thrown end-over-end in very rough seas.
Planing hull: A type of hull shaped to glide easily across the water at high speed.
Preventer: Line and/or tackle which limits the movement of the boom, usually for the purpose of preventing accidents or an extra rope, to assist another.
Propeller: A rotating device, with two or more blades, that acts as a screw in propelling a vessel.
Planking: Wood boards that cover the frames outside the hull.
Point: to turn closer towards the wind (point up).
Port: left side of the ship when facing forward.
Port tack: sailing with the wind coming from the port side, with the boom on the starboard side.
Privileged vessel: The ship with the right of way.
Purchase: Any sort of mechanical power employed in raising or removing heavy bodies. Purchase To purchase the anchor, is to loosen it out of the ground.


Q flag: All yellow signal flag meaning "My vessel is healthy and I request free pratique".
Quarter: The sides of a boat forward of the stern aft of the shrouds.
Quartering Sea: Winds and waves on a boat's quarter.
Quay: wharf used to discharge cargo.
Queen topsail: small stay sail located between the foremast and mainmast.


Reach: sailing with a beam wind.
Ready about: prepare to come about.
Reef: to reduce the size of a sail.
Reefing: The operation of reducing a sail by taking in one or more of the reefs.
Reef-bands: Pieces of canvass, about six inches wide, sewed on the fore part of sails, where the points are fixed for reefing the sail.
Reef Points: Short line thu the reef band to secure the foot of the sail.
Rigging: The lines that hold up the masts and move the sails (standing and running rigging).
Rode: The anchor line and/or chain.
Rudder: a fin or blade attached under the hull's stern used for steering.
Running Lights: Navigation lights tell other vessels not only where you are, but what you are doing.
Running Rigging: Lines which run through pulleys and block and tackle, that are used to adjust the sails and yards.


Sail: A piece of cloth that catches the wind and so powers a vessel.
Sailing rig: the equipment used to sail a bost, including sails, booms and gaffs, lines and blocks.
Salon: also saloon; main social cabin of a boat.
Sandbagger: A type of broad shallow open or partly decked center board.
boat sailing boat which originated around the 1850  They carried tremendous sail area for their size.
Schooner: Sailing ships with at least 2 masts (foremast and mainmast) with the mainmast being the taller. Word derives from the term "schoon/scoon" meaning to move smoothly and quickly. (A 3-masted vessel is called a "tern").
Scull: Moving the rudder or oar in the stern back and forth in an attempt to move the boat forward.
Sea Anchor: Any device used to reduce a boat's drift before the wind.
Sea Cock: A through hull valve, a shut off on a plumbing or drain pipe between the vessel's interior and the seaboat.
Scuppers: Holes through the ship sides which drain water at deck level over the side.
Scrimshaw: A sailors carving or etching on bones, teeth, tusks or shells.
Scurvy: Disease historically common to seaman -- was caused by lack of Vitamin C.
Secure: To make fast.
Shackle: A metal link which can be open and closed for joining chain to anchor, etc.
Shake out: To release a reefed sail and hoist the sail aloft.
Sheet: Piece of line fastened to the sail and used to position relative to the wind.
Sheetbend: A knot used to tie two ropes of unequal thickness together.
Sheepshank: Shortening knot, which enables a rope to be shortened non-destructively.
Sheave: The wheel of a block pulley.
Shroud: A line or wire running from the top of the mast to the spreaders, then attaching to the side of the vessel.
Sloop: A single-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailing vessel with a single headsail set from the forestay.
Spanker: The after sail of a sailing ship or bark.
Spar: A pole or a beam.
Spreaders: Small spars between the mast and shrouds.
Spring line: A line tied between two opposing forces that has a neutralizing effect. At the dock with a bow line and stern line tied off, a spring line is often added to limit the movements of a vessel even more..
Sole: The inside deck of the ship.
Square Knot: Used for tying two ropes together.
Squareuall: A sudden violent blast of wind.
Stay: A line or wire from the mast to the bow or stern of a ship, for support of the mast (fore, back, running, and triadic stays).
Starboard: right side of the ship when facing forward.
Standing Rigging shrouds and stays that secure the yards and mast in place.
Stay sail: any sail attached to a stay.
Stem: the timber at the very front of the bow.
Stern: after end of a vessel.
Surf: The breaking of the sea upon the shore.
Surge: A large, swelling wave. 2.To surge a rope or cable, is to slack it up suddenly where it renders round a pin, or round the windlass of a capstan.


Tack: The lower forward corner of the sail.
Taffrail log: A propeller drawn through the water that operates an meter on the boat registering the speed and distance sailed.
Tender: a small boat used to transport crew and equipment from shore to a larger boat.
Tide: The rise and fall of water level in the a result of the attraction of the sun and the moon.
Tiller: A bar or handle which fits into the head of the rudder used for turning a boat.
Topmast: A second spar carried at the top of the fore or main mast,used to fly more sail.
Topping lift: a line or wire for lifting the boom.
Top Sail: A sail set above the gaff.
Topsail Schooner: A schooner with a square rigged sail on forward mast.
Transom: Tthe planking that forms the stern and closes off the sides.
Traveler: A device that the mainsheet may be attached to which allows its position to be adjusted.
Trim: To adjust the sails, also the position of the sails.
True wind: The actual direction from which the wind is blowing.
Tuning: The adjustment of the standing rigging, the sails and the hull to balance the boat for optimum performance.
Turnbuckle: A threaded, adjustable rigging fitting, used for stays, lifelines, and sometimes other rigging.


Underway: Vessel in motion, when not moored, at anchor, or aground.


V-berth: Usually the forward berth of the boat, located in the bow.
Vane: A small flag worn at each mast head to show wind direction.
VHF: Very high frequency radio.


Wake: Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving thu the water.
Water-line:- The line made by the water's edge when a ship has her full proportion of stores,and crew on board.
Waterline length: The length of the boat at the waterline.
Weigh: To haul up; as, weigh the anchor.
Wheel: Device used for steering a boat .
Whip: To bind the strands of a line with a small cord.
Whisker pole: a light spar which holds the jib out when sailing downwind.
Wide berth: To avoid something by a large distance.
Winch: A small horizontal drum device used to assist in hoisting.
Wind scoop: A funnel used to force wind in a hatch and ventilate the below decks area.
Wing and wing: The situation of a fore-and-aft vessel when she is going dead before the wind, with her forsail hauled over on one side and her mainsail on the other.
Windjammer: a non nautical term describing square rigged sailing ships and large sailing merchantman, especially in the last day of commerical sailing. The orginal term windjamer was intented as insult from the crews of steamships. The return insult from the sailors was stinkpotter.
Windlass: A mechanical device used to pull in cable or chain, such as an anchor rode.
Widow-maker: A term for the bowsprit (many sailors lost their lives falling off the bowsprit while tending sails.
Windward: Upwind.



Yacht: A sailboat or powerboat used for pleasure, not a working boat.
Yankee: A fore-sail flying above and forward of the jib, usually seen on bowsprit vessels.
Yard: A spar usually fixed horizontally to a mast to support a sail.
Yardarm: is what the top of the square sail is tied to.
Yarn: A sea tale.
Yawl boat: Smaller powered boat used to provide steerage-way when not under sail.
Yawing: The motion of a ship when she deviates from to the right or left.


  Zenith: The point of the celestial sphere which is directly overhead.
Zephyr: A gentle breeze. The west wind.
Zula time: GMT - Greenwich Meridian Time, also known as Universal Time Q.