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Insights, Advice

A beginners guide to boating terminology

Many of the people visiting our marina to view our various models are completely new to the boating sector, so we thought we would put together a handy guide to boat terminology – starting with parts of a boat. We asked our helpful team to explain some of the lingo!


Ballast: A weight that sits at the bottom in the hull to increase stability of the vessel

Berth: A bed or bunk to sleep or relax in. In addition, a berth can mean a mooring

Bilge: The bilge is the lowest part of a boat, below the waterline, where rainwater, sea water and water from leaks is collected

Bimini: A bimini is a type of folding open canvas that protects passengers from the elements, including rain, wind, or the hot sun. Biminis feature heavily across our Interboat range

Bow: The bow is the very front or the most forward-facing part of the vessel

Bow Thruster: This is a propulsion device that provides lateral thrust, thereby making the boat more manoeuvrable

Cabin: An easy one. A sheltered part of the boat for the crew to relax and sleep within. Look how spacious the cabins are across our Haines portfolio

Cleat: A fitting onto which you tie or loop a line. This can be on a boat or a dock

Console: Elevated structure on the deck that holds the helm or steering station. On some vessels it will also incorporate a toilet or stowage space below

Deck: Any flat surface on the exterior of a boat

Foredeck: The most forward-facing deck on any boat

Galley: The galley is the area on a boat where food is usually prepared

Gunwale: The top edge of a boat’s hull sides – typically where the deck and hull come together.

Helm: The area of the boat where you steer the boat, including engine controls. We have some fantastic action shots of drivers at the helm on the Intercruiser section of our website!

Hull: The body of a boat is called its hull.

Keel: A keel is important for stability and ease of manoeuvrability, as featured on InterboatIntercruiser and Haines, which all have full length keels

Line: Simply the ropes that are kept on-board

Port: Sailing terminology for the left side of a boat

Rubbing Strake: This will provide protection to the sides of the boat

Rudder: The rudder is primarily used to steer the vessel. It is typically located at the back of the boat

Sprayhood: This is the front section of an open day boat canopy, providing vital protection

Starboard: Sailing terminology for the right side of a boat

Stern: The stern is the back end of a vessel

Swim Platform: Used by passengers to enter or exit the water for a swim. This structure will often incorporate steps or a ladder, like the Corsiva range

Tiller: A handle that is intended to steer the boat by attaching it directly to the outboard or rudder

Tonneau Cover: A flat section of cover to protect the boat when not in use

Topside: The area of the boat’s hull that sits above the waterline

Waterline: The waterline is where the hull meets the surface of the water. This can often discolour if it isn’t properly maintained. Check out our boat maintenance services to keep your vessel in top condition

Windlass: A windlass is a device used on boats to let-out and heave-up equipment – for instance, controlling deployment of an anchor

We hope you’ve found this first guide useful – and answered everything you need to know – but if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate in getting in touch: