What are Parts of a Boat called? (Bow to Stern)

Have you ever wondered what all the different parts of a boat are called (bow to stern)? There are many names for the different parts, enough to make your head spin.

I have spent some time researching the anatomy of a boat to provide clarity on the different parts of a boat.

The basic parts of a boat are Bow, Stern, Starboard side, Portside, Hatch, Deck, Hull, Cockpit, Coaming, Ballast, Berth, Bulkhead, Bimini, Bilge, Cleat. Just to name a few. There are many more parts of a boat that I have listed below.

If any of those terms are unfamiliar or confusing to you, don’t be concerned. I am going to sort that out right now.

Boat Ballast

What is the Ballast on a boat? The ballast on a boat is the weight in some form of heavy material like heavy foam, metal or stone that placed in the hull provides stability to the boat.

Boat BOW

What is the bow of a Boat? The bow is simply the front of the boat The bow has a pointed front that cuts a “path” through the water. The term “Bow” is universal for all types of watercraft, whether is a canoe, kayak, or boat.

Boat Berth

What is the berth on a boat? The term berth refers to sleeping quarters in a boat. Typically a small bunk or bed.

Boat Bilge

What is the boat bilge? Bilge on a boat refers to the lowest part of the boat. It plays an important function by collecting excess water from a central collection point. Bilge (excess water) is normally pumped out.

Boat Bimini

What is Bimini on a boat? Bimini on a boat is a canvas or composite top attached to a boat. They are used to protect against the sun and rain. It is normally collapsed when not in use.

Boat Bulkhead

What is the Bulkhead on a boat? The bulkhead on a boat is the upright wall within the hull of a boat. There are a number of reasons for having a bulkhead. These include adding structural integrity, divide rooms/compartments, or for carrying equipment or gear.

Boat Cleat

What is the Cleat on a boat? The cleat on a boat is a wood, plastic, or metal fitting used to tie up your boat. Normally used for mooring a boat on a jetty etc

Boat Stern

What is the stern of a Boat? The stern of the boat is the back of the boat. The opposite of the bow. Like the “Bow”, the stern is the universal term of the rear of a boat.

Boat Transom

What is the Transom on a boat? The transom on a boat is the width or cross-section of the stern.

Boat Keel or Centreline?

What is keel or centreline of a Boat? The keel or centreline on a boat is the part of the boat that runs from bow to stern.

Boat Starboard Side

What is the Starboard side of a boat? The starboard side of the boat is the right-hand side of the boat. This is a universal term for all watercraft.

Boat Port Side

What is the Port side of a boat? The port side of the boat is the left-hand side of the boat. Again, this a universal term of all watercraft.

Boat Deck

So what is the Deck of a boat? The deck of a boat is the top of the boat. The purpose of the deck, besides making the boat streamlined it serves the purpose of keeping water out. This is especially important when going through rough seas. The deck can also be used to store equipment and gear.

Boat Hull

What is a Hull of a Boat? The Hull of a boat refers to the whole underside of the boat. The term hull is a universal term used for all watercraft

Boat Cockpit

What is the Cockpit of a boat? The cockpit of a boat is the area where the boat is usually steered or controlled. Same as a plane or kayak.

Boat Console

What is the console on a boat? The console on a boat is normally a raised structure on the deck of a boat. It usually holds the helm. May include a toilet or storage space in the compartment below.

Boat Dinette

What is dinette on a boat? The boat dinette is the area of the boat with a table and seats used for dining.

Boat Galley

What galley of a boat? The galley of a boat is the compartment of a ship where food is cooked and prepared (kitchen). The galley might be on inside the boat or outside on the deck.

Boat Gunwhale

What is the gunwale on a boat? The gunwale on a boat is typically the top edge of the hull of a ship.

Boat Hatch

What is a Hatch on a boat? The hatch on a boat is a compartment for storing gear. Hatch might provide access to the engine that might be situated (if internal engine) or access to inside the boat.

Boat Toggle or Grab Handle

What is a toggle or grab handle on a boat? A toggle or grab handle on a boat is the part normally at the front (bow) and stern (front) of the boat. It is used to rope for tying down and securing for transport.

Further Information

Below are some of our other popular resources;

How hard is kayaking? (for beginners)

Can 2 person kayak be used by one person?

How to paddle a kayak, basic strokes

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