10 Commonly Confused Boating Terms

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Lifestyle

How often are you the confused one on the boat? Boaters have developed a language of their own which makes it hard for the typical landlubber to join the conversation. No worries, we are here to help you out. Check out these 10 commonly confused boating terms to feel like an expert the next time you are on the water.
Salty old sailor man with a white beard
  • More commonly known as the steering wheel. The helm varies in shape and size based on the type of boat. It can also be used to control the boat’s rudder.
Knots per hour
  • For nautical craft, this is the rate at which speed is measured. Knots measure nautical miles per hour: (1.151 MPH). Come on it’s knot that hard!
Port and Starboard
  • Left and right of the boat in relation to which you are traveling. Sailors use port and starboard instead of left and right to eliminate confusion. If you are facing the front of the boat or the bow, then the port is your left side, and starboard is on your right. 
  • An easy way to remember this is to count the letters in each word. Left has 4 letters and so does port, this automatically makes the right starboard because they both have more letters.


  • The very cute animal that you have to meet at least once in your life, but also a man made marine structure that extends above the water level. Now you don’t know which one to look for when someone says “look there’s a dolphin”!


  • The bow is the front of the boat and the stern is the back of the boat. Just go against your natural instinct of thinking of back and bow and you will remember just fine.


  • You would think this was the front of the boat or the main room, but low and behold – it is the bathroom. Maybe this time your boater friends won’t snicker when you are headed to the bathroom, I mean head.  


  • Not gallery, galley. A kitchen or a cooking area in general on a boat is called a galley.


  • Is a line a rope or is a rope a line? Depending on how seriously you take boating, ropes are lines. Take caution the next time you ask for help with your “lines”.

Let us know what you think!

Are there any we missed? What boating terms confuse you? Share in the comments below!

Come sail away with us!

Let others know where you are, find your way, and stay safe – whatever vocabulary you use.

Download the RaftUp App!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *