September 14, 2021


Before venturing out into open waters, it’s important to have a basic understanding of common boat terms associated with the positions and directions of your boat. To the uneducated ear, even the simplest of boating terms can sound like a second language. Knowing these terms will make it easier to communicate with people aboard the boat as well. We want to make sure that you have the best experience possible on your boating journey, so here’s our list of 10 basic boating terms.

Bow – The front of the boat

Stern – Back of the boat 

Hull – The main body of the boat (including bottom, sides and deck)  

Port – The left side of the boat (a good trick to remember this is that “left” and “port” have the same amount of letters)

Starboard – The left side of the boat 

Forward – When you are moving towards the front of the boat (to the bow)

Aft – When you are moving towards the back of the boat (to the stern)

Ahead – When the boat is moving in a forwards direction

Astern – When the boat is moving backwards

Underway – When the Boat is in motion

Having this vocabulary under your belt will be a great accpmodation when entering the world of boating. These terms come in handy when talking to dock staff, mates, captains, passengers, Coast Guard patrols, and all others. Once you start using the lingo when on the water you’ll have them memorized in no time!