Before venturing out into open waters, it’s crucial to have a basic understanding of common boat terms associated with the positions and directions of your boat. We want to make sure you have the best experience possible on your boating journey, therefore, we’ve gathered a few of the most commonly used boating terms for reference. Take a look at our list below!
Bow – refers to the front end of a boat
Stern – refers to the rear end of a boat
Forward – used to describe moving toward the front end of a boat
Aft – used to describe moving toward the rear end of a boat
Hull – the main body of the boat
Underway – when a boat is moving
Ahead – refers to a boat moving in a forward direction
Astern – refers to a boat moving in reverse
Port – when you’re standing at the rear of the boat looking forward, “port” refers to the entire left side of the boat.
Starboard – standing at the rear of a boat and looking forward, “starboard” refers to the entire right side of the boat
Port Bow – refers to the front left of the boat
Port Quarter – refers to the rear left side of a boat
Starboard Bow – refers to the front right of a boat
Starboard Quarter – refers to the rear right of a boat
Amidships – the central part of a boating vessel
Topside – moving from a lower deck to an upper deck
Be sure to add these terms to your repertoire this summer to sound like a true boating professional. For all your other summer boating needs, be sure to check out our Hi-Tide products.
If you are thinking about joining the 18 million Americans who enjoy recreational boating, you probably have an image in your head about the kinds of activities you’ll be doing on the water. The right boat exists for every person, activity, and budget. As experts in the boating industry, we can help you narrow down the search to make sure you find the boat that best suits your needs!
Which type of boat meets my needs?
First, start with the simplest question: What will the boat be used for? Will you be fishing? Are you more into wakeboarding and other exciting water sports? Maybe you’re all about cruising with family and friends while enjoying the local waterways.
Maybe you’ll be enjoying a little bit of everything. It’s important to have in mind what you’re looking for, that way you get your money’s worth and invest in a boat that’s right for you.
Which hull design is right for me?
A hull is the main structural body of the boat. First thing’s first, there is no one perfect type of hull. All boats have different structures and vary in performance, useable space, and cost.
One of the most obvious differences that can exist in hulls is the shape. You’ll typically be choosing from five common hull shapes, which Boats.com outlines below:
Flat Bottom Hulls: a hull that has almost no deadrise
Deep-V Hulls: a wedge-shaped hull from bow to stern
Modified-V Hulls: the most common hull for small boats
Catamarans: two hulls bridged by a deck
Chines and Strakes: molded strips run lengthwise along the hull bottom and are virtually universal on modern planing boats
For more in depth information, check out this article all about the variations of hull designs.
What type of engine should I get for my boat?
Selecting the right type of propulsion system for your boat is foundational and essential to having a safe and enjoyable boat experience. The weight and overall horsepower will impact how your boat performs. If your vessel if underpowered, its engine will continuously work too hard, use too much gas, and will perform poorly. Check out this article from Allstate to help determine just how much horsepower you’ll need.
Should I buy new or used?
This particular question is extremely popular amongst new boaters. We recommend whatever is most comfortable for you and your situation. However, shopping for a new boat first will allow you to gain insight on which boat type you like best and the market price. You can easily comparison shop for similar pre-owned models, but keep warranties in mind when comparing new and pre-owned as well.
How do I learn how to effectively and safely boat?
As recreational boating becomes more prevalent around the country and waterways become busier, there is little room for error when it comes to driving your boat. It’s important to learn how to drive your boat properly from the get-go.
Every person who is considering boating should take a boating safety course. Boating safety courses are inexpensive, easily accessible and necessary for learning the rules of the waterways. You’ll generally find classes offered at boat stores, colleges or community centers, especially in waterfront communities. Check out the availability online in your area!
Once you find the perfect boat for your needs, be sure to protect your investment with the right lift for your boat. Our lift finder tool makes it easy to get started.
A boat is not just a boat to a true boat owner. It’s a home, a way of life, and an escape from reality. As a boater, it is a right of passage (if you will) to give your boat a name. A name so fitting that the boat will project to friends, loved ones and the world who you are every time you pass by.
Why Name Your Boat?
Boat names can reveal a lot about the personality, passion and life experiences of a boat owner. Historically, the majority of vessels were named after female figures, either historical or personal, with names often representing an important woman in a captain’s life.
You certainly wouldn’t want to invest your time and money into buying a boat and then pick a name without any thought. Most people choose a name which has a special significance to them, but be careful not to select one that is too long or obscure. Ideally, it needs to be short, memorable, and you should be able to withstand hearing it repeatedly on a VHF radio.
Tips and Tricks To Name Your Boat
Think Unique. A boat’s name should always be an excerpt of your imagination.
Keep It Simple. The name of your boat should never be too long to where it doesn’t fit comfortably in the area of your choosing. If the name is short, memorable, and catchy, it won’t be puzzling to friends, family members and other boat owners.
Keep It Clean. Or in other words, “Keep it classy.” Using a name that includes profanity could give off the wrong impression, especially if children are involved.
Have Fun With Puns. Short puns, clichés or other play on words can add a lot of character to the boat.
Find Your Inspiration.Family, friends, hobbies, a favorite song or movie serve as excellent sources of inspiration.
Location Is Key. In addition to choosing a name, you’ll also need to take into consideration the best place to put it. When it comes to designing your boat name or choosing the right color scheme and font to accentuate your boat well, you can go the DIY route or hire professionals to help you visualize your ideal boat name layout.
Make It Official
In addition to the location of your name, you can either have the lettering done by professionals or order the vinyl letters and apply them yourself. Below are tips to keep in mind when placing the letters on the desired spot of the boat.
Choose a large, open area on the boat. Leave inches of boat space above, below, and around the name to make easier to apply and stand out.
Do not wax the boat prior to putting on your new lettering. The adhesive will not stick to the wax.
Last, but surely not least, make sure to apply the letters when the boat is out of the water.
When on the water, you want to know someone’s got your back. Conditions can quickly change, accidents happen, and unexpected engine trouble or other unknowns can come fast. Of course, many of us prepare for the worst (and hope for the best) when we go boating but preparation can only do so much. We could all use a safety net in a worst case scenario, and that’s just what a float plan provides.
What is a Float Plan?
New boaters may not be familiar with the idea of a float plan but simply stated, it is a document that shares vital information about your planned trip. Before your trip, you can fill out this extensive form that includes specifics on your vessel, identification information, passengers and planned timelines/itinerary for your trip that could all help in your rescue, should you need it.
Once completed, this form should be left with a reliable person who will not be joining you on your trip. Let them know when you are expected to return, as well as your trip plans (locations, planned course, timetables). Update this person if your plans change, as they may mistakenly alert authorities if you are later than expected.
Why Do I Need a Float Plan?
You may look at the idea of a float plan as an unnecessary trouble, it is anything but that. As we stated at the top, there are plenty of ways even the best-planned boating trips can go south. The sheer amount of unknowns is enough to warrant this extra measure that could literally save your life in a worst-case scenario.
Not just cruisers or yachts need float plans either. Jet Skiers, kayakers, rafters, canoers and more should all prepare and share float plans as well–yes, even if the planned trip is a relatively short one.
Regardless of your vessel, the length of your planned trip or the extent of your planning, you could always use someone who has your back just in case the worst happens when you’re on the water. As they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and this is certainly one of those times. Be safe out there, complete a float plan and we’ll see you on the water.
Shopping for a used vehicle is a fairly run-of-the-mill process for most people. You go do a dealership, give the vehicle a lookover, maybe take it for a test drive, perhaps call a mechanic for a quick inspection and settle on a price. What many people don’t have quite as much experience with is buying a used boat. So, if you find a used boat that seems like a steal, what should you do to make sure it’s not a money pit in the making? We’ve got a few tips that may be just what you need.
Tips to Consider Before Buying a Used Boat
Start Your Engines: Do not buy a boat if the seller doesn’t first let you start the motor(s). A lot can be learned from simply seeing how an engine or motor turns over and idles. Is there smoke? Excessive shaking or noise? Does it take a few tries to get started? All can be signs of engine trouble (but are not necessarily dealbreakers).
Check the Oil: The condition of boat’s oil can be a great barometer for how the engine is performing. If it appears overly dark, gritty or even watered down, you may want to investigate further.
Inspect the Electronics: Rewiring can be a pain, and faulty electronics can lead to serious fire or electrocution risks. Be sure that there are no signs of melted, burned or frayed wires before putting your money down.
Look for Damage: This one may seem a bit basic, but any visual signs of hull cracking or water damage on the deck should be closely inspected to ensure they’re easy fixes or simply cosmetic issues. Be wary of boats that have a history with collisions, as they may have serious damage hidden just below the surface.
Ask an Expert: Just like with used cars, when in doubt, ask an expert to provide an inspection. You may not be a boat mechanic, but especially if anything doesn’t seem quite right about the vessel, you should absolutely ask a professional to come in and provide insight that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
By testing the engine, checking the oil, inspecting electronics and wiring, looking for damage and calling in an expert, you can buy a used boat with a bit more confidence. Rule of thumb, however, if you’re unsure about the boat, it’s probably not worth the risk of buying a lemon. Happy hunting and we hope to see you on the water soon!