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Yacht Terms Glossary

The most commonly used terms in the nautical world. 

Nautical Terms

Adrift - A yacht that is not attached to a mooring and is not anchored.

Aft - Towards the rear of the ship (stern).

Aft Deck - Back deck of a yacht.

AIS - Automatic Identification System used on yachts and ships to determine the location of other ships so as to prevent collision.

Anchor - A large metal object attached to a ship that is released to the ocean floor to prevent being adrift.

Anti Fouling - The process of applying a coating to the hull to prevent damage to the hull.

Ballast - Weight placed low in the yacht, in order to create stability. 

Berth - Boat slip.

Bosun - Main deckhand.

Bow - Front of the yacht.

Bridge - The control station of the yacht.

Bulkhead - Partition placed in hull below deck to prevent flooding of entire ship.

Bulwarks - Guard rail around ship to prevent crew from falling off. At least one meter in height.

Bunker - Marine Fuel

Bunkering - Refueling.

Buoy - A floating device used for navigation or hazard purposes.

Cabin - Crew living quarters, usually below deck.

Captain - Person in charge of a yacht and in charge of the safety and security of all crew members and passengers. 

Catamaran - A yacht with two hulls. Can travel at faster speeds than monohull yacht.

Charter - Yacht rental for a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Course - The direction in which a yacht is being navigated.

Day Head - Bathroom used by all guests. Usually does not include a shower.

Davit - Crane mounted on a yacht. Used for moving tender on and off the yacht.

Deckhand - Crew member responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the deck, hull, and structure of the yacht.

Desalinization Machine - Machine that converts seawater in to drinkable water through the process of reverse osmosis. 

Dinghy - Small boat carried aboard a yacht. Also known as a tender.

Draft - The distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull.

Ensign - The national flag of the nation in which a yacht is registered in. 

Fire Door - Fire Proof door used as an obstruction to prevent the spreading of fire from one room to another.

Galley - Kitchen of the yacht.

Gangway - Portion of ship used for embarking and dis-embarking.

Harbormaster - Person in charge of a harbor or port.

Head - Bathroom on a yacht.

Heave - Up and down motion (rising and falling) of entire ship.

Heeling - Leaning of the yacht, from port to starboard.

Helm - Steering mechanism that controls the rudder.

Inboard - Engine located inside of a yacht hull. Yachts usually have multiple engines.

Keel - Fin on the bottom of the yacht that provides stability.

Knot - Rate of Speed measurement in water. One Knot is equivalent to 1.15078 Miles Per Hour on ground surfaces.

LOA - Length Over All. Length of a yacht from its stern to tip of the bow.

Log - Ship's record of operation, usually maintained by the Captain.

Mast - Vertical boat spar.

Monohull - A yacht that has one hull.

Mooring - A place where a yacht can be attached.

Multihull - A yacht that has multiple hulls, such as a catamaran or trimaran. 

Nautical Chart - Map used for navigation purposes.

Nautical Mile - Length of 1.1508 Miles or 6076 Feet (1.852 Kilometers).

Naval Architect - Also known as a Yacht Designer. A naval architect is responsible for the design and construction of sea vessels or ships.

Pilot - Certified naval navigator, also referred to as Captain.

Pitch - Up and down seesaw motion of ship, with bow and stern rising and falling.

Port - The left side of the yacht.

Port of Call - A port that a yacht stops at in order to re-fuel, to re-supply, or to get repairs.

Roll - Tilting motion of the ship, from port to starboard.

Rudder - Submerged vane controlled by ship's helm, allowing helmsman to control the direction of the ship

Ship - Sea Vessel.

Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) - Emergency transmission system on yacht used to alert authorities that yacht is at risk.

Stand on Vessel - Also known as a privileged vessel. A ship that has the right of way and must maintain its course and speed, except to avoid collision. 

Starboard - The right side of the yacht.

Stateroom - The bedroom on a yacht. A yacht usually has multiple staterooms.

Stern - The rear of the yacht.

Superyacht - Ship that is longer than 72 feet (24 Meters).

Sway - Sideways sliding motion of ship.

Tender - Small boat, usually 10 meters in length, used to ferry supplies between Superyachts and shore.

Trimaran - A yacht that has three hulls.

Vessel - Ship.

Waterline - Intersection where yacht hull meets the surface of the water.

Windlass - Anchor chain winch.

Yacht - Ship that is longer than 39 feet (13 Meters).

Yaw - Spinning motion of ship.

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