Glossary of Boating Terms

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | 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.