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General Sailing Terminology

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Aft:
toward the rear, or transom, of a ship.

Anchor:
a heavy iron instrument, usually connected to the vessel by a chain or rope, that is used to grip the sea bottom to hold the boat in place.

B

Bank:
underwater plateau that rises up from the ocean floor, creating shallow water where fish feed.

Beam:
a boatís widest point, usually near the middle of the boat.

Beam trawling:
method of fishing which uses a beam to hold open a net at its mouth.

Below:
beneath or under the deck.

Block and tackle:
arrangement of pulleys and line which increases hoisting power for heavy work, such as pulling in the sail in a strong breeze.

Boom:
long piece of wood which runs perpendicular to the mast, to which the foot (bottom edge) of the sail is attatched.

Bow:
the front section of a boat.

Buoy:
a distinctively marked object that floats in the water as a navigational marker.

Buoyancy:
ability to float or rise in a fluid.

C

Chart:
a map of part of the sea, showing currents, depths, islands, coasts, etc.

Compass:
an instrument for showing the directions of north, south, west, & east.

D

Dragging:
method of fishing in which a net is pulled behind the boat.

F

Fathom:
unit of water depth equivalent to 6 feet.

Flotsam:
any "stuff" floating - trees, driftwood, wreckage, etc.

Forward:
toward the bow or stem.

H

Hull:
the body of a boat.

J

Jetsam:
those things that sink in the water - they donít float like flotsam.

Jettison:
to throw overboard.

K

Knot:
speed through water; the velocity in nautical miles (6,080 feet) per hour. Also, turns taken in a line for fastening.

L

Landlubber:
what you are if youíre not a seaman.

Ledges:
underwater rock ridges and mountains that rise near the surface of the sea.

Legend:
a group of symbols and definitions on a chart or map.

Log:
a record of details of a voyage made by a shipís captain or crew. Also. A device for measure.

M

Maiden voyage:
a new boatís first trip.

Maritime:
located on or near the sea.

N

Nautical mile:
a measurement used by sailors that equals 6,080 feet (a land mile is 5,280 feet) .

Navigate:
to steer or manage a ship, to sail or voyage over water.

P

Port:
left side of vessel when facing forward.

S

Shoal:
an area of the sea that is shallow, especially at low tide.

Skipper:
the captain of a ship.

Starboard:
right side of the vessel when facing forward.

Staterooms:
private cabins in a ship.

Stern:
the rear section of the boat.

W

Windjammer:
large ship powered by wind and sails, used for pleasure cruising.


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Updated by OBS on July 4, 1996; comments to adventure@obs-us.com.