HomeMaritime TerminologyCommon Maritime Terminology Used In Ships (P-W)

Common Maritime Terminology Used In Ships (P-W)

  • Propeller: It is a rotating device much like a fan attached to the engine shaft used to propel the ship in a forward direction. What it actually does is to push or displace water backward which then applies resultant force on ship pushing it ahead. All ships, large and medium-sized boats have propeller; and the one that does not have stern drive outboard motor.
  • Port: It is used to refer to both one side of a boat/ship and a harbor or a place at which ships are secured, loaded or unloaded.
  • Port Bow: It is a marine terminology used to refer to the left front side of the ship or boat.
  • PFD: It refers to the word “Personal Floatation Device”. It is much like a vest or jacket with buoyant capabilities to help you swim and remain afloat in water.
  • Pier: A pier is a loading and unloading platform for ships reaching out at sea connected to the land. It basically allows bigger vessels to easily dock; which would otherwise not came close to land due to low draft.
  • Port Hole: An opening in the ship’s hull fitted with a thick glass window to allow natural light and fresh air to come inside. They are generally circular in shape with one side of it strategically hinged.
  • Port Track: It is a term referred to as sailing your boat forward when the wind is coming from the port direction. This will finally way your boat a little towards the port side in time.
  • Pilot: A pilot is a trained navigator assigned by the port authorities to help the captain navigate through coastal waters near port. A pilot has detailed information on local situations and topography and tide patterns.
  • Rudder: A rudder is a wooden or metallic flat structure that helps steer the ship. In other words, it can be called a control device fitted on boats, ships, and submarines; that push the water on one side producing required thrust in the steering direction.
  • Rigging: It is the system of sails, mast, ropes, and wires in action supporting each other.
  • Radar reflector: A device that allows your ship or boat to be identified on other’s radar systems for longer distances. It basically improves your visibility on radar and thus helps with navigation.
  • Reefing: In sailboats, we need to sometimes reduce the effective area of the sail in bad weather. Such a step to reduce sail effective surface area to protect against adverse effects of strong winds is known as reefing.
  • Rolling: The sideways movement of the boat or ship about its central axis is called rolling. In this, the vessel tilts to port followed by a similar tilt in the starboard direction and so on. Actually there is a minimum roll angle from which a vessel can never recover completely without stabilizer.
  • Run: To allow free movement of a line or chain.
  • Radar: It is an electronic device that uses radio frequencies to detect nearby vessels. It can detect their locations, speed, and direction in real-time. All modern ships are now equipped with radar to help with their navigation and avoid collisions.
  • Scupper: The drains on board a ship or boat with its drain pipes that are used to drain rainwater off the deck directly to the sea.
  • Seamanship: The art and skill to properly handle a boat or ship in all accounts; piloting, navigation, maintenance, rigging, emergency duties, sail handling, and record keeping.
  • Sextant: It is a navigation instrument used by a seaman to locate its vessel position at sea; based on the position of the sun, stars, and moon in the sky. In old times it was used as the only means of navigation at sea but nowadays used only as a backup navigation tool or in an emergency.
  • Skipper: The captain or main pilot of a boat or ship is called skipper.
  • Sounding: On the ship’s all tanks levels are checked by lowering a sounding tape and the process is called sounding. In simple words, it is defined as the process of determining the depth of a tank on a ship or boat. The sounding tape is a thin brass tape with a bob at the end.
  • Squall: A sudden change in weather followed by strong wind and rain.
  • Starboard: The right side of a boat or ship with its bow facing forward.
  • Stow: To put an item or object to its designated place on a ship.
  • Stern: The back or rear portion of a boat or ship.
  • Stern Drive: It is a special type of propulsion system used in boats that utilize the best of both inboard and outboard propulsion system. In this, the engine is situated just past the transom while the propulsion/drive unit lies outside.
  • Saloon: A recreational living space on a boat is termed as the saloon. Basically it is a place to socialize and meet new peoples on boat or ship.
  • Smoke Room: A designated recreational room on the ship where only you can smoke. Otherwise smoking on the ship is strictly prohibited outside that smoke room.
  • Sidelights: It is part of the navigation light that used distinct color lamps to show a particular side of a boat or ship.

  • Tiller: A bar on which ship’s rudder is supported and steered or turned. In the outboard motor type, it is the handle that is used to steer the boat.
  • Trim: It is the net difference between the draft of a ship or boat at its front and stern section. It is generally used to represent the net balancing of a ship or vessel. For example, if the ship is trimmed by the stern steps are taken to balance the trim.
  • Tide: At sea and large water bodies water moves in a periodic manner due to the effects of moon position and wind. This periodic movement of low and high water levels is called a tide.
  • Toe rail: It is a boat fitting used to prevent its crew from falling off into the water.
  • Transom: The cross-section of a boat at its stern.
  • Watchkeeping: It is the duty performed by the sailor for a defined period. For example, on ships, there is a 4 hours watch for each officer on duty.
  • Waterline: A marine terminology used for the markings on ship’s and boat hull; representing how much the vessel has sunk in water.
  • Weather side: The side of the boat or ship exposed to the wind.
  • Wake: It is the turbulence created in the water behind the ship or boat due to its forward motion in water.
  • Watertight: It is a marine terminology used to represent the capability of a door, wall or surface to not allow water to pass from its one side to another.
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