Nautical Glossary of Terms for Sea Port Model Works Kits

AFT or ABAFT or ASTERN- STERN-Rear of vessel, towards the stern.
BEAM–width of a vessel at its widest point. The wider a vessel is it increases its initial stability.
BITT-Post on deck used to fasten lines, secure hawsers or for any purpose where heavy strains are to be taken.
BOLLARD– From “bol” or “bole” the round trunk of a tree. A substantial vertical pillar usually on a pier or wharf, used to attach the mooring lines of a vessel
BOOM- spar attached to the foot of a fore-and –aft sails. A spar for lifting cargo, or maneuvering objects.
BOW-Front of vessel.
BULWARK-The extension of vessel’s side above the level of the weather decks.
CAPSTAN-A vertical, spool shaped rotating drum around which a chain, cable, or hawser is wound for hoisting anchor, sails, & other objects of heavy weight.
CLEAT-A fitting (usually bolted to the deck fore and aft next to the bulwark on both starboard and port sides) for securing a line without a hitch (knot)
COCKPIT-In a lobster boat or sailboat it is that exposed area towards the stern of the vessel but within the freeboard where one would sit or control the rudder from
COMPANIONWAY –A raised and windowed hatchway in the ship’s deck, with a ladder leading to compartments below
COWL VENT-Cowl vents allow air into the engine room, or other lower compartments, while water (spray & rain) is kept out. It can be turned in any direction to scoop air into the boat or turned in the opposite direction to pull air out. There is most often a gooseneck “U” passage in the bottom of the vent to catch any water and let it drain overboard before getting into the boat.
DAVIT-A small crane-like arm, usually to handle a lifeboat or anchor..
FENDERS-Pieces of rope, wood or old tires hung over the side of a vessel to keep it from damaging other vessels or piers that may contact it
FLOOD LIGHT-Powerful lights to provide night light on the deck of a working vessel
GALLOUS FRAMES-These steel fabrications allow the net to be pulled aboard by getting the net high enough to get over the bulwarks.
GUNWALE-Pronounced gun-el on an open boat, the top of the sides of the boat, the molding at the top of the sides from where the transom and the sides meet to the stem..
HULL-The outer skin/shell and framework of a vessel.
KEEL-The lowest and principal timber of a vessel, running fore and aft the entire length and supporting the frames.
MIDSHIP-Center of vessel in relationship to bow and stern
OTTER BOARDS-Device used to spread netting while dragging for fish
PILOTHOUSE-Cabin on deck for vessel control, communications and navigation. (wheelhouse)
PORT-Left side of vessel, looking forward
PORT HOLE-Window/round
RIGGING-A general term applying to all lines, shrouds & stays
RUBBING STRAKE-An extra plank fitted to the outside of a hull, usually at deck level, to protect the topsides.
RUDDER-A steering device which can be placed aft, externally relative to the keel, submerged.
SAMPSON POST. -A strong post mounted forward & aft for anchor & mooring lines.
SCUPPER-Originally a series of pipes fitted through the ships sides from inside the thicker deck waterway to the topside planking to drain water overboard. Larger quantities of water were drained through freeing ports, which are openings in the bulwarks
SEARCH LIGHT-Usually mounted in the center of the pilothouse directly over the helmsman’s position.
SIDE LIGHTS-Also referred to as “running lights”. There are two sidelights, one red (port) and green (starboard). These are mounted on the pilothouse roof and are used for approaching vessels to determine what direction the vessel is moving in relationship to the observing vessel. A screen is required so the lights only show directly ahead to 22 degrees abaft the beam.
SPREADER-Spar or other firm platform resting down slightly from the top of mast set perpendicular to boom.
STARBOARD-Right side of vessel, looking forward
STAYS-Wire or other line running from top of mast to sides and ends of vessel for the purpose of securing the mast in position
TRANSOM-The flat or slightly curved portion of the hull at the stern, where an outboard motor would be clamped
WATERLINE-The point on the sides of the vessel that the water comes to when afloat in still water.
WINCH-A round barrel, vertically placed to the deck (wood or metal) that a line is secured to and wrapped around which when turning allows the line to “let out” or “let in” in a controlled careful way. It may be powered.
Updated 8/6/16