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Parts of a Boat

Here are the correct terms for describing the parts of motor boats, personal watercraft (like JetSkis), and sailboats.

Motor Boats - Starboard Side

Starboard side of the boat

  1. Bow (pronounced "bough") - the front of the boat
  2. Green sidelight - the green light on the side of a boat that is visible to another boat approaching from the starboard side or head-on
  3. Hull - the main body of the boat
  4. Starboard - as you are looking toward the bow, the direction to your right
  5. Gunwale (pronounced "gunnel") - the top of the sides of the boat
  6. Cleat - a metal fitting for attaching ropes
  7. Stern - the back end of the boat

Motor Boats - Port Side

Port side of the boat

  1. Red sidelight - the red light on the side of a boat that is visible to another boat approaching from the port side or head-on
  2. Freeboard - the minimum distance from the surface of the water to the gunwale
  3. Draft - the depth of the boat below the waterline
  4. Overall length - the length of the hull excluding any attachments
  5. Waterline - the line on a hull to which a boat sinks
  6. Port - as you are looking toward the bow, the direction to your left
  7. All-around white light - a white light able to be seen by other boats from any direction

Personal Watercraft

Parts of a personal watercraft

  1. Steering (handlebars) - connection to the steering nozzle (#5) that controls the direction of the boat
  2. Safety lanyard - connection to the cutoff switch so if you fall off, the engine stops
  3. Drive shaft - connection between the engine (#7) and the impeller (#4)
  4. Impeller - device used to pump and force water under pressure through the steering nozzle (#5)
  5. Steering nozzle - device that directs the stream of water to port or starboard at the stern of the boat, which steers the boat
  6. Water intake grate - inlet for the water, which is pulled in through the impeller (#4) and forced out through the steering nozzle (#5)
  7. Engine - device that provides the power for the boat
  8. Throttle - control that adjusts the speed of the boat

Sailboats

  1. Mast - the main support for the sails
  2. Main halyard - the line (called a "sheet") used to raise and lower the mainsail (#3)
  3. Mainsail - the principal sail on the mast (#1)
  4. Boom - the support for the foot of the mainsail (#3)
  5. Jib sheet - the line (sheet) used to control the angle of the jib, or headsail (#11), to best catch the wind
  6. Tiller - the lever used to turn the rudder (#8), which steers the boat
  7. Main sheet - the line (sheet) used to control the angle of the mainsail (#3) to best catch the wind
  8. Rudder - the underwater device that connects to the tiller (#6) and controls the direction of the boat
  9. Keel - the underwater projection that gives the boat stability
  10. Hull - the main body of the boat
  11. Jib or headsail -the front sail
  12. Jib halyard - the line (sheet) used to raise or lower the jib, or headsail (#11)
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