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personal flotation device (PFD)

A safety vest or jacket capable of keeping an individual afloat.

personal watercraft (PWC)

A small, lightweight craft designed to be either sat-on or stood-on with motorcycle-like handlebars and squeeze throttle, usually jet-propelled.


A post driven into the ground below the waterline to support a pier, dock, etc.

pilot house

A fully enclosed helm compartment.


Theoretical distance a propeller would travel in one revolution. Also, the rise and fall of a boat's bow and stern.

planing hull

A boat hull designed to ride on top of the water rather than plowing through it.

pleasure boating

Recreational day boating in runabouts, deck boats, pontoon boats, bowriders and sportboats.


To plan a navigation course using a chart.

poling platform

Small elevated stand on a flats boat used by a fisherman to silently pole through shallow water and scout for fish.

pontoon boat

A type of boat with a flat deck attached to airtight flotation tubes or logs.


The left side of a boat when facing the bow. Also, a marina harbor or commercial dock.

power catamaran

A multihulled powerboat with two identical side-by-side hulls.

power cruiser

A powerboat with overnight accommodations, typically up to 40 feet long.


A rotating multi-blade device that propels a boat through the water.


Forward deck and railing structure at the bow of a boat.


See personal watercraft.