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Team Ripl
Team Ripl

New to boating or just looking to brush up on your boating speak? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve compiled the most common terms you should know to speak like a captain. 

Know Your Boat
The first step towards speaking like a nautical pro is knowing your way around a boat by learning the most commonly used terms. Here’s the top ones to know for a variety of vessels:

Boat Orientation.png

Bow | The front of the boat
Stern | The back of the boat
Fore | At or toward the front (bow) of the boat
Aft | At or toward the back (stern) of the boat
Starboard | The right side of the boat, when facing the front (bow)
Port | The left side of the boat, when facing the front (bow)
Beam | The widest point of the boat

Additional Terminology  

Bilge  | The lowest part inside the boat, where water usually collects
Bimini  | A canvas or a hard top attached to a boat to provide protection from sun and the elements
Cleat  | A metal or wood fitting used to tie a line. Typically anvil-shaped and on the gunnel
Fender  | Stowable cushion you can place between the boat and dock to prevent damage
Gunwale/Gunnel  | The upper outer edge of the boat's sides where the deck and hull come together
Hatch  | An opening on the deck or cabin used as a door or a window
Helm  | The steering station that houses the wheel, engine controls or joystick piloting
Hull  | The body or shell of the boat
Line  | Rope used on a boat, assigned to a specific task (i.e. fender line, anchor line)
   Insider tip: Refer to any rope aboard a boat as a line
Navigation Lights  | Lights for visibility when boating in low light or at night. Red lights are on portside and green on starboard
Prop  | Short for propeller; a multi-blade device shaped like a fan, located at the bottom of the engine to propel a     boat through water
Rode  | Line, chain, cable or any combination used to connect the anchor to the boat.
   Insider Tip: Always make sure you have enough rode to properly anchor a boat
Rudder  | Vertical plate or fin mounted below the hull at the stern that allows you to control steering
Ski Pylon/Bar  | Bar at the stern to connect a tow line used for watersports
Swim Platform  | A platform fixed to the transom or aft that makes it easier to board the boat from the water or the dock
Transom  | Area at the stern where the outboard is mounted


Engines Types

Inboard | An engine located inside the boat’s hull. Inboard engines are four-stroke automotive engines that have
been modified for use on the water
Outboard  |  A type of boat engine mounted at the transom (back, outside area of boat) that incorporates the motor, driveshaft and propeller
Sterndrive  | Propulsion system composed of an inboard engine 

You’re Ready to Cast Off
You’re more knowledgeable than you were yesterday! Like learning any language - the more you use it, the more fluent you become. 



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