Boat Parts

Know the Parts of Your Boat. Boats come in many styles and shapes, but the names of the different parts remain consistent. Every boat operator should know the following terms and definitions:

Beam: The maximum width of a vessel.
Gunwale: The upper edge of the side of a boat.
Hull: The structural body of the boat that rests in the water.
Keel: The bottom-most portion or longitudinal centerline of a hull. The extension of the hull that increases stability.
Propeller: A rotating multi-blade device that propels a boat through the water forward or backward.
Draft: Is the vertical distance that the boat penetrates the water. The depth of water needed to float a vessel.
Freeboard: Vertical distance between the waterline and the top of the hull side. 
Starboard: The right side of the boat looking toward the bow. 
All-Round White Light: Indicates rear of a vessel.
Stern: Rear of a vessel or aft portion of a boat. 
Cleat: Metal fitting on which a rope can be fastened to secure a rope aboard a vessel.
Port: The left side of a boat when facing the bow. Also, a marina harbor or commercial dock. 
Red and Green Sidelights: Directional indicators on front of a vessel, red (port) and green (starboard).
Bow: The front of a vessel. 
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To learn more about different boating terms and definitions visit our boating glossary page.