Wind on the wrong side of the sails.
Toward the rear of the boat, behind the boat.
At a right angle to the length of the boat.
Off the side, even with the boat.
The "law of the sea."
Toward the stern of the boat.
When a boat is in water too shallow for it to float in; the boat's bottom is resting on the ground.
In the center of the boat.
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. Chain is also not damaged as much as line when lying on rocks. The weight of the chain also helps to absorb changes in the boat's position due to waves.
Also called bow roller. A fitting with a small wheel that allows the anchor and chain to roll over when dropping or raising the anchor. Some anchor rollers also have a provision to store the anchor.
A device used to steer a boat automatically, usually electrical, hydraulic or mechanical in nature. A similar mechanism called a self-steering gear may also be used on a sailing vessel.
A second method of propelling a vessel. On a sailboat this could be an engine.
The direction of an object from the observer.
The lowest part of the interior of the boat where water collects.
One or more pulleys designed to carry a line and change the direction of its travel. A housing around the pulley allows the block to be connected to a spar or to another line. Lines used with a block are known as tackle.
The front of the boat.
A wave that approaches shallow water, causing the wave height to exceed the depth of the water it is in, in effect tripping it. The wave changes from a smooth surge in the water to a cresting wave with water tumbling down the front of it.
With sufficiently strong wind, large waves can form crests even in deep water, causing the wave tops to tumble forward over the waves.
A floating device used as a navigational aid by marking channels, hazards and prohibited areas.
A room inside a boat.
When a boat falls over in the water so that is no longer right side up.
The person who is in charge of a vessel and legally responsible for it and its occupants.
Material used to seal the seams in a wooden vessel, making it watertight.
A method of using the stars, sun and moon to determine one's position. Position is determined by measuring the apparent altitude of one of these objects above the horizon using a sextant and recording the times of these sightings with an accurate clock. That information is then used with tables in the Nautical Almanac to determine one's position.
Maps for boaters are known as charts. Charts are usually issued by government agencies and include information on channels, navigational aids, water depth and hazards.
The location from which the boat is steered, usually toward the middle or rear of the boat.
coordinated universal time
A time standard that is not affected by time zones or seasons. Time measured in coordinated universal time, labeled with the term zulu. It is used so that people around the world can communicate about time without regard to individual time zones.
The direction in which a boat is traveling or intends to travel.
One or more people who aid in the operation of a boat.
The surface on the top of a boat on which people can stand.
An instrument that uses sound waves to measure the distance to the bottom.
Any signal that is used to indicate that a vessel is in distress. Flares, smoke, audible alarms and electronic beacons are types of distress signals.
1) The depth of a boat, measured from the deepest point to the waterline. The water must be at least this depth, or the boat will run aground.
2) A term describing the amount of curvature designed into a sail.
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon. An emergency device that uses a radio signal to alert satellites or passing airplanes to a vessel's position.
An imaginary line around the center of the world at Latitude 0°.
Federal Communications Commission rules governing radio equipment and operation in the United States and its coastal waters.
The distance wind and waves can travel toward land without being blocked. In areas without obstructions, the wind and seas can build to great strength, but in sheltered areas, such as coves and harbors, the wind and seas can be quite calm. Fetch also is used to describe the act of sailing to a location accurately without having to tack.
A construction method using layers of woven glass mats that are bonded together with glue.
A device that burns to produce a bright light, sometimes colored, usually used to indicate an emergency.
Debris floating on the water surface.
A line running from the bow of the boat to the upper part of the mast, designed to pull the mast forward. A forestay that attaches slightly below the top of the mast can be used to help control the bend of the mast. The most forward stay on the boat is also called the headstay.
Used to describe a boat that is having difficulty remaining afloat.
A spar or pole extending diagonally upward from the after side of a mast and supporting a fore-and-aft sail.
The kitchen area on a boat.
Global Positioning System. A system of satellites that allows one's position to be calculated with great accuracy by the use of an electronic receiver.
A circle drawn around the Earth such that the center of the circle is at the center of the Earth. Following such a circle plots the shortest distance between any two points on the surface of the Earth.
A solid mass of water coming aboard instead of just spray.
A line used to hoist a sail or spar. The tightness of the halyard can affect sail shape.
Waves coming from the front of the vessel.
The most forward forestay. The line from the bow or bowsprit to the top of the mast. This keeps the mast from falling toward the rear of the boat. The headstay is the farthest forward of all the stays on the boat.
Stormy conditions, including rough, high seas and strong winds. Probably uncomfortable or dangerous.
The person who is steering the boat.
A storage tank where sewage is stored until it can be removed to a treatment facility.
A floatation device shaped like a U and thrown to people in the water in emergencies.
The theoretical speed a boat can travel without planing, based on the shape of its hull. This speed is about 1.34 times the square root of the length of a boat at its waterline. Since most monohull sailboats cannot exceed their hull speed, longer boats are faster.
An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots or higher in the North Atlantic Ocean, the Northeast Pacific Ocean (east of the International Date Line) or the South Pacific Ocean (east of 160° east longitude). In other parts of the world, they are known as typhoons, tropical cyclones and severe tropical cyclones.
A shape designed to move efficiently through the water.
Intertropical Convergence Zone
A band of low pressure that forms over the regions of the warmest waters and land masses in the tropics.
An electronic device that converts low-voltage direct current (battery power) into 115-volt alternating current (household electric power). New World uses a PROwatt 800 inverter.
Intertropical Convergence Zone
A manmade structure projecting from the shore. May protect a harbor entrance or aid in preventing beach erosion.
To change direction when sailing in such a manner that the stern of the boat passes through the eye of the wind and the boom changes sides. Careful control of the boom and mainsail are required when jibing to prevent a violent motion of the boom when it switches sides.
1) A method of pulling a boat out of shallow water when it has run aground. A dinghy is used to set an anchor, then the boat is pulled toward the anchor. Those steps are repeated until the boat is in deep enough water to float.
2) A traditionally shaped anchor having flukes perpendicular to the stock of the anchor and connected by a shank. These are less common than modern anchors such as the plow and lightweight anchors.
A flat surface built into the bottom of the boat to reduce the leeway caused by the wind pushing against the side of the boat. A keel also usually has some ballast to help keep the boat upright and prevent it from heeling too much. There are several types of keels, such as fin keels and full keels.
A line attached to a tool.
The direction toward which the wind is blowing. The direction sheltered from the wind.
A small boat used for emergencies, such as when the parent boat is sinking.
An emergency raft used in case of serious problems to the parent vessel, such as sinking.
A lighted navigational aid such as a lighthouse that can be used at night or in poor visibility.
A leaning to one side when not underway. Usually the result of an improperly loaded boat. Heeling is different from a list because it is caused by the forces of wind acting upon a sailboat that is underway. When a boat changes tacks, the direction of the heel will change sides, whereas a list is a continual leaning to the same side under any condition.
A device that allows boats to pass between bodies of water having different water levels, such as in a canal. A boat enters a lock, then large doors close behind it. The water level is then either raised or lowered until a second set of doors can be opened and the boat can pass through.
Any storage place on a boat.
1) A device used to measure the distance traveled through the water. The distance read from a log can be affected by currents, leeway and other factors, so those distances are sometimes corrected to a distance made good. Logs can be electronic devices or paddlewheels mounted through the hull of the boat or trailed behind it on a line.
2) A written record of a boat's condition, usually including items such as boat position, boat speed, wind speed and direction, course and other information.
Imaginary lines drawn through the North and South Poles on the globe, used to measure distance east and west. Greenwich, England, is designated as 0°, with other distances being measured in degrees east and west of Greenwich.
An electronic instrument using radio waves from various stations to find one's position. The LORAN system is being replaced by the GPS system and will be obsolete in a few years. Many LORAN stations have already stopped providing service.
The tallest (possibly only) mast on a boat.
Any vertical pole on the boat that sails are attached to. If a boat has more than one mast, they can be identified by name.
An internationally recognized distress signal used on a radio to indicate a life-threatening situation. Mayday calls have priority over any other radio transmission and should be used only if there is an immediate threat to life or vessel. More urgent than a pan pan or securite call.
1) An engine.
2) The act of using an engine to move a boat.
1) An attachment point for another object.
2) The act of putting an object on its mount.
Having to do with boats, ships or sailing.
Distance at sea is measured in nautical miles, which are about 6,067.12 feet, 1.15 statute miles or exactly 1,852 meters. Nautical miles have the unique property that 1 minute of latitude is equal to 1 nautical mile. (There is a slight error, because the earth is not perfectly round.) Measurement of speed is done in knots, where 1 knot equals 1 nautical mile per hour. A statute mile is used to measure distances on land in the United States and is 5,280 feet.
Away from land, toward the water.
Wind that is blowing away from the land, toward the water.
A location that is not sheltered from the wind and seas.
out of trim
Sails that are not properly arranged for the point of sail that the boat is on. The sails may have improper sail shape, or the boat may be heeling too much. These conditions will slow the boat down.
In the water outside of the vessel.
A painted line on the side of a boat at the waterline. The color usually changes above and below the waterline, and the boat is painted with special anti-fouling paint below the waterline.
An urgent message used on a radio regarding the safety of people or property. A mayday call is used when there is an immediate threat to life or property. A pan pan situation may develop into a mayday situation. Pan pan and mayday messages have priority on radio channels and should not be interrupted. In the case of a less urgent safety message, the securite signal is used.
A journey from one place to another.
An individual with specific knowledge of a harbor, canal, river or other waterway, qualified to guide vessels through the region. Some areas require that boats and ships be piloted by a licensed pilot.
The act of guiding a vessel through a waterway.
point of sail
The position of a sailboat in relation to the wind. A boat with its head into the wind is known as "head to wind" or "in irons." The point of sail with the bow of the boat as close as possible to the wind is called close-hauled. As the bow moves further from the wind, the points of sail are called: close reach, beam reach, broad reach and running. The general direction a boat is sailing is known as its tack.
1) The left side of the boat from the perspective of a person at the stern of the boat, looking toward the bow. The opposite of starboard.
2) A place where ships go to dock.
3) A porthole. A window in the side of a boat, usually round or with rounded corners. Sometimes portholes can be opened; sometimes they are fixed shut.
A sailboat sailing on a tack with the wind coming over the port side and the boom on the starboard side of the boat. If two boats under sail are approaching, the one on port tack must give way to the boat on starboard tack.
A window in the side of a boat, usually round or with rounded corners. Sometimes portholes can be opened; sometimes they are fixed shut.
The typical winds for a particular region and time of year.
An object with two or more twisted blades, designed to propel a vessel through the water when spun rapidly by the boat's engine.
An electronic instrument that uses radio waves to find the distance and location of other objects. Used to avoid collisions, particularly in times of poor visibility.
An instrument that uses electromagnetic waves to communicate with other vessels. VHF (very high frequency) radios are common for marine use, but are limited in range. SSB (single sideband) radios have longer ranges.
A navigational aid that emits radio waves for navigational purposes. The radio beacon's position is known and the direction of the radio beacon can be determined by using a radio direction finder.
1) To partially lower a sail so that it is not as large. This helps prevent too much sail from being in use when the wind gets stronger.
2) A line of rock and coral near the surface of the water.
A line that passes through all meridians at the same angle. When drawn on a Mercator chart, the rhumb line is a straight line, because the Mercator chart is a distortion of a spherical globe on a flat surface. The rhumb line results in a longer course than a great circle route.
The wires, lines, halyards and other items used to attach the sails and spars to the boat. The lines that do not have to be adjusted often are known as standing rigging. The lines that are adjusted to raise, lower and trim the sails are known as running rigging.
To return a boat to its upright position.
A region between 40° South and 50° South where westerly winds circle the earth unobstructed by land.
A side-to-side motion of the boat, usually caused by waves.
A method of moving a boat with oars. The person rowing the boat faces backward, bringing the blade of the oars out of the water and toward the bow of the boat, then pulling the oars through the water toward the stern of the boat, moving the boat forward.
To take a boat into water that is too shallow for it to float in; the bottom of the boat is resting on the ground.
Navigational lights that are required to be used when a vessel is in motion.
A device worn around a person's body that can be attached to lines to help prevent the person from becoming separated from the boat.
A boat which uses the wind as its primary means of propulsion.
The shape of a sail, with regard to its efficiency. In high winds, a sail would probably be flatter, in low winds rounder. Other circumstances can cause a sail to twist. Controls such as the outhaul, halyards, sheets and the bend of the main mast all can affect sail shape.
The position of the sails relative to the wind and desired point of sail. Sails that are not trimmed properly may not operate efficiently. Visible signs of trim are excessive heeling and the flow of air past telltales.
Navigation using information transmitted from satellites.
To run before the wind in a storm.
A method of moving a boat by using a single oar at the stern.
To sink a boat.
1) A body of salt water. A very large body of fresh water.
2) Any body of salt water when talking about its condition or describing the water around a boat. Heavy seas for example.
The average level of the oceans, used when finding water depths or land elevations.
A vessel designed to be able to cross oceans.
The ability of a person to motor or sail a vessel, including all aspects of its operation.
To make fast. To stow an object or tie it in place.
A message transmitted by radio to warn of impending storms, navigational hazards and other potential problems that are not an immediate threat to life or property. Less serious than mayday and pan pan messages.
1) To put an object in place.
2) The manner in which an object is in place.
3) The direction that a current is moving.
severe tropical cyclone
An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots or higher in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (west of 160° east longitude) or in the Southeast Indian Ocean (east of 90° east longitude). In other parts of the world, they are known as hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones.
A metal U-shaped connector that attaches to other fittings with the use of a pin that is inserted through the arms of the U.
All boats are referred to as female.
A pin attaching one part to another that is designed to break if excessive loads are applied; for example, to connect the propeller to the propeller shaft so that the pin can break if the propeller strikes something, preventing damage to the propeller and engine.
A covering to protect the bottom of a boat.
1) A large vessel.
2) To take an object aboard, such as cargo or water.
3) To put items such as oars on the boat when not in use.
Neat, orderly and ready to use.
The edge of the land near the water.
Where the land meets the water.
Green and red lights on the starboard and port sides of the boat, required for navigation at night. Each light is supposed to be visible through an arc of 112.5°, beginning from directly ahead of the boat to a point 22.5° aft of the beam.
1) To go to the bottom of the water.
2) To cause an object to go to the bottom of the water.
A small boat.
A metal fitting with a arm that uses a spring to close automatically when connected to another object.
1) To measure the depth of the water.
2) A long wide body of water that connects other large bodies of water.
3) A long, wide ocean inlet.
A sudden intense wind storm of short duration, often accompanied by rain. Squalls often accompany an advancing cold front.
A vertical pole on which flags can be raised.
1) To stop moving.
2) Air is said to stall when it becomes detached from the surface it is flowing along. Usually air travels smoothly along both sides of a sail, but if the sail is not properly trimmed, the air can leave one of the sides of the sail and begin to stall. Stalled sails are not operating efficiently.
A sailboat sailing on a tack with the wind coming over the starboard side and the boom on the port side of the boat. If two boats under sail are approaching, the one on port tack must give way to the boat on starboard tack.
Sailors' slang for a powerboat.
Supplies on a boat.
To put something away.
To fill with water.
Large smooth waves that do not break. Swells are formed by wind action over a long distance.
1) The lower forward corner of a triangular sail.
2) The direction that a boat is sailing with respect to the wind.
3) To change a boat's direction, bringing the bow through the eye of the wind.
A small line free to flow in the direction of the breeze. It is attached to sails, stays in the slot and in other areas, enabling the helmsman and crew to see how the wind is flowing. Proper use of the telltales can help sailors improve their sail trim.
Also called tidal stream. The flowing of water caused by the rising and lowering tidal waters.
The predictable, regular rising and lowering of water in some areas due to the pull of the sun and the moon. Tidal changes can happen approximately every six or 12 hours, depending on the region. To find out the time and water levels of different tides, you can use tide tables for your area. The period of high water level is known as high tide, and the period of low water level is known as low tide.
A boat that has too much weight up high. This can adversely affect the boat's stability.
To pull a boat with another boat, such as a tugboat towing a barge.
Winds in certain areas known for their consistent strength and direction. Trade winds are named because of their reliability, allowing for planned voyages along the routes favored by those winds.
Also called a range. Two navigational aids separated in distance so that they can be aligned to determine that a boat lies on a certain line. Transits can be used to determine a boat's position or to guide it through a channel.
1) To haul in on a sheet to adjust the sail trim.
2) Sail trim.
3) A properly balanced boat that floats evenly on its waterline. Improperly trimmed boats may list or lie with their bow or stern too low in the water.
An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots or higher in the Southwest Indian Ocean. In other parts of the world, they are known as hurricanes, typhoons and severe tropical cyclones.
Also called storm trysail. A very strong
A small, powerful boat used to help move barges and ships in confined areas.
An intense tropical weather system with a well-defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots or higher in the Northwest Pacific Ocean (west of the International Date Line). In other parts of the world, they are known as hurricanes, tropical cyclones and severe tropical cyclones.
A vessel in motion is underway.
A shifting of the wind direction, clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
1) Very High Frequency radio waves.
2) A radio that transmits in the VHF range. VHF radios are the most common communications radio carried on boats, but their range is limited to "line of sight" between the transmitting and receiving stations.
Waves generated in the water by a moving vessel.
The line where the water comes to on the hull of a boat. Design waterline is where the waterline was designed to be. Load waterline is the waterline when the boat is loaded. The painted waterline is where the waterline was painted. Actual waterline is where the waterline really is at any given time.
Completely filled with water.
A river, canal or other body of water that boats can travel on.
The progress of a boat. If a boat is moving it is considered to be "making way."
One of two methods used to steer a boat. A wheel is turned in the direction that the helmsman wants the boat to go. On smaller boats, a tiller usually is used, and it steers in the opposite manner.
The wind-driven electrical generator aboard New World.
A sailboat or powerboat used for pleasure, not a working boat.
A gentle breeze. The west wind.