Boating Glossary of Terms

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
backing down
Maneuvering in reverse when offshore fishing while attempting to land a fish.
backstay
A support for the mast to keep it from falling forward.
bail
To remove water with a bucket or pump. Also, a component that controls fishing line on a spinning reel.
bait station
Area on a fishing boat for preparing bait.
baitwell
Compartment on a fishing boat for holding live bait, usually with a pump to circulate the water and an aerator to provide oxygen.
ballast
Weight added to the bottom of a boat to improve stability.
bass boat
Low-profile, outboard-powered boat, generally no more than 22 feet long and typically equipped with rod lockers, casting decks with pedestal seats and livewells.
bay boat
Low-profile, inshore fishing boat intended for use in protected coastal waters, and frequently made with rolled-edge construction.
beach catamaran
Small, lightweight sailboat less than 25 feet long that can be easily launched and retrieved from a beach.
beam
Measurement of a boat at its widest point. Also, a transmitted radio, sonar or radar signal.
bear off
To turn away from the wind.
bearing
Direction to an object.
beating
Sailing upwind.
berth
A place to sleep aboard a boat. Also, a boat slip.
bilge
Lowest section inside a boat's hull where water collects.
bimini top
A canvas cover over the helm or cockpit area.
bitt
Vertical post extending above the deck to secure docking lines.
bluewater fishing boat
Mid-size to large deep-V boats suitable for offshore fishing. They are typically fitted with outriggers, fish boxes, aluminum towers, a host of electronics and large fuel tanks.
boom
A spar attached to a sail at its foot.
bow
Forward portion of a boat.
bow eye
A stainless steel U-bolt on a boat's bow stem used to secure tow lines or trailer winch hooks.
bow stop
Rubber blocks on a boat trailer into which the boat's stem rests.
bowrider
A runabout boat with open-bow seating.
bowsprit
A spar extending forward of the bow on a sailboat.
breakaway lanyard
Emergency safety cable on a boat trailer that activates trailer brakes in the event the trailer comes detached from the tow vehicle while underway.
bridge clearance
Distance from waterline to a boat's highest point.
bulkhead
Transverse wall in a boat that usually bears weight and supplies hull support.
bunks
Long carpeted sections of a boat trailer that support the boat's weight.
buoy
An anchored floating object that serves as a navigation aid. Also used to mark a mooring spot.
burgee
Small flag that bears a yacht club's symbol.