Boating Safety – Nautical Terms

We are going to begin a series of articles on our website that will help local and visiting boaters become safer while on the water. The articles will cover such topics as safety equipment, anchoring, rules of the road, and trailering. We have 16 articles planned for this series and hope that topics you would like to learn more about are covered. As they are written they will be posted on the MARINE SCIENCE section of this website. We will begin with NAUTICAL TERMS.

Going over terms used in boating may seem like a trivial exercise but clear communication between captain and crew, captain and other vessels, and captain and dockhands can make situations flow smoothly. Here are a few nautical terms for this article but there are 49 more listed on the full document on the MARINE SCIENCE section of this website and plenty of others not listed. We recommend referring to Chapman’s Piloting for those not listed. Of course you can always contact your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, or your Sea Grant Agent. Our next article will discuss equipment.


Port – the left side of the vessel if facing forward (red light) OR (porthole) opening within the deck to allow light or air in

Dock – is the water in which the boat lies when she is “made fast” to shore or pier

Slip – area formed by pilings where vessels are berthed

Wharf – wooden/concrete structure that runs parallel with the shoreline

Line – term used for rope on a vessel

Spring line – lines to lead from the bow aft or the from the stern forward

Rode – term for anchor line

Scope – the amount of rode used to anchor vessel (depends on depth of water)

Fenders – rubber or plastic air filled objects used to keep vessel off a pier or catwalk


Posted: January 24, 2014

Category: Water
Tags: Boating, Boating Safety, Nauticla Terms

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories