Part 9 – Ship Terminology

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AFT: Toward the stern (back-end) of the boat.


AGROUND: Touching or fast to the bottom.


AMIDSHIPS: In or toward the center of the ship.


BEARING: The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing as shown on the chart, or as a bearing relative to the heading of the boat.


BILGE: The interior of the hull below the floor boards.


BOW: The forward part of a boat.


BRIDGE: The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled.


BULKHEAD: A vertical partition separating compartments.


DISPLACEMENT: The weight of water displaced by a floating vessel (a ships weight).


DRAFT: The depth of water a boat draws.


GANGWAY: The area of a ship’s side where people board and disembark.


HEEL: Constant roll angle – such as caused by a side wind or turning of the vessel. Heeling Moments describes the angles the ship takes in this respect.


HELM: The wheel controlling the rudder.


HULL: The main body of a vessel.


KEEL: The centerline of a boat running fore and aft; the backbone of a vessel.


KNOT: A measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (=1.852Klm) per hour.


MIDSHIP: Approximately in the location equally distant from the bow and stern.


PORT: The left side of a boat looking forward.


SOUNDING: A measurement of the depth of liquid in a ship’s tank.


STARBOARD: The right side of a boat when looking forward.


STERN: The after part (back side) of the boat.


WAKE: Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving across the waters.


WATERLINE: A line painted on a hull which shows the point to which a boat sinks when it is properly trimmed

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