As I occasionally talk about our boat, I thought perhaps it would help my reader(s) to understand a few basic nautical terms.

I would also like to say that the following definitions are not in alphabetical order because that would entail more thought than my brain can produce on only one cup of coffee. So here goes…

Dock: An area where you tie the boat between voyages and where it spends 95% of it’s time due to mechanical, structural and cosmetic problems which keep the boat owner in a continuous downward financial spiral.

Engine: Mechanical device that produces the energy to move the boat. Also a device that the captain develops a closer relationship with than with his spouse. This device will fail to start prior to departing for your voyage, and will sputter to a stop (probably more than once) during your voyage. A “gentle” tap with a hammer and a few choice words of encouragement will be needed to get it running again.

Aboard: Being on the boat. This is not an actual board, although it’s a good idea having one on the boat in case repairs are required or it’s needed when your engines have failed, you can’t find the oars and you need to direct the boat away from that rather fast approaching BIGGER boat.

Overboard: No longer on the boat, but now resting somewhere beneath the water line of the boat. This includes, but is not limited to the crew, cell phones, the boat keys, or anything of value that you brought aboard and have since dropped, lost control of and slipped out of your hands, pocket, purse or brown paper bag.

Port: Left side of the boat. Also a delightful beverage that can be enjoyed while on the boat.

Starboard: Right side of the boat, which is where (many many many years ago) the boat was steered from, thus making the board used for the oar a “star” piece of wood resulting in the term “star board” or starboard.

Head: The toilet. Which is where those who don’t take well to the boats swaying have their heads hanging over.

Log Boom: A collection of errant logs waiting to be towed to a sawmill, that (not wanting to meet that fate) break loose of their bindings the closer your boat or your body (if you’re no longer aboard) enter the area causing you to participate in a game of Dodge The Log Boom.

PFD: Personal Flotation Device is worn to keep you afloat, should you decide that boating isn’t for you and you’d rather take your chances in the water where the device will keep you afloat as you wait for the next wave from a passing boat to send you toward shore, during which time you’ll be able to practice playing Dodge The Log Boom.

Anchor: Although designed to hold the boat in place when your engine fails, it’s more of a device used to test your patience while it sweeps the rivers bottom only to (assuming the rope and chain are still attached to both anchor AND boat) finally secure the boat as it comes into contact with a log boom, at which time you automatically lose the game.

Bow: Front part of the boat, where the anchor is located, and so when trying to release it, the crew member has to bow down, revealing to whom ever is at the helm, a little too much moon.

Helm: Where the steering and controls are located, and where a barrage of verbal expletives often takes place from the Captain or crew member manning it.

Stern: The back of the boat. Also the look the Captain gives me….I mean gives the crew member when she controls the boat in such a manner as to cause other boaters nearby to test out their PFD’s.

Propeller: Has 3 blades that “propel” the boat forward until it (the propeller) comes in contact with debris in the water such as logs, fishing lines and another boats anchor chain, leading you to shut down the engine, release your anchor, tighten your PFD, and grab the oars while your Captain shouts “Arrrr… Let the games begin!”

Well I hope this has helped prepare you if you’re given the opportunity to go on a boat, whether it sits tied to the dock or heads out on a voyage in open water.

Ahoy!  I’m off to find me a delightful beverage….I mean coffee 🙂


  1. B-J Said,

    July 21, 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    Good to know, thanks just so I’m prepared for when we rent that boat again in Florida.

  2. Belinda Said,

    July 24, 2010 @ 10:36 am

    I chuckled so much that Gideon stopped nursing to find out what was so funny.

  3. Cathy Turney Said,

    August 15, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    Hey, Simone! The e-mail address I have for you is not working – wanted to send you a lnk to my page – I finally got my guru to add your blog to my “Favorite Blogs” list! Yay!! Can’t wait till your next story!
    XO, Cathy

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment