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
camber
Curvature of a sail.
can buoy
Cylindrical navigation buoy with a flat top, generally green in color.
capsize
To flip a boat over.
capstan
A winch used for hauling heavy objects such as anchors.
cast off
To unfasten all lines in preparation for departure.
casting platform
Elevated deck clear of obstruction used by anglers to make casts, often equipped with pedestal chairs.
catamaran
A twin hulled boat, either power or sail.
catboat
Small, simple sailboat with one mast and sail set far forward.
cavitation
Inefficient low-pressure pockets on propellers form bubbles that collapse against the blades resulting in premature wear.
center console boat
Fishing boat with the helm station located amidships for maximum walk-through space around the perimeter of the boat.
centerboard
A keel-like pivoting device, typically in a trunk, that can be lowered or raised to act as a keel.
channel
The navigable portion of a waterway.
chart plotter
Electronic navigation device that displays charts for use in plotting a course.
chart recorder
An electronic depth sounder that records bottom structure data on paper.
charts
Paper or electronic navigation maps.
chine
Portion of the hull where the bottom and sides intersect (can be rounded or angled).
chopped fiberglass
Fiberglass strands cut and simultaneoulsy mixed with resin by and applied to a boat mold by using a chopper gun.
chumming
Placing fish or fish parts in the water to attract gamefish.
class I hitch
Trailer hitch with a weight-carrying capacity up to 2,000 pounds; available as a bumper mount, step bumper or bumper/frame mount.
class II hitch
Frame-mounted trailer hitch with a weight-carrying capacity of up to 3,500 pounds.
class III hitch
Frame-mounted trailer hitch with a weight-carrying capacity of up to 5,000 pounds.
class IV hitch
Frame-mounted trailer hitch with a weight-carrying capacity of up to 10,000 pounds.
cleat
Hardware piece on a boat or a dock to which lines are attached.
clew
The after-most corner of a sail.
close-hauled
Sailing as close to the wind as possible.
coaming
A raised edge, as around the cockpit or around a hatchway, to keep water out.
Coast Guard safety package
Basic safety gear required by federal law consisting of personal flotation device, throwable flotation device, visible distress signals, fire extinguisher and a horn, whistle or bell.
cockpit
Deck space for the crew of a boat, typically recessed.
COLREGS
Coast Guard term for the navigation rules of the road; full name is International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
come about
To tack or change heading relative to the wind.
companionway
Entryway from the deck to the belowdeck cabin area.
convertible
A bluewater fishing boat typically more than 35 feet long with a full cruising salon, a fish-fighting cockpit and many other saltwater fishing features.
coring material
Any of a variety of lightweight materials used between layers of fiberglass laminates to add strength.
Corinthian
Amateur yachtsman.
counter rotation
The act of two propellers spinning in opposite directions on a single shaft.
coupler
Component on a boat trailer that connects to the hitchball.
course
Direction in which a boat is steered.
cruiser
A boat with overnight accommodations.
cuddy cabin
Belowdecks accommodations in the bow area for overnighting and stowage.
cure
Hardening process for resin-soaked fiberglass laminates.
curtains
Attachable front and side enclosures that protect the helm area from weather.
cutter
Single-masted sailboat similar to a sloop, but with the mast farther aft to allow for a double headsail.