Common Safe Boating Terminology
Abaft: A direction toward the stern.
Abeam: A direction at right angles to the pleasure craft.
Aid to Navigation: Any device or object, outside the pleasure craft, that can be used for navigation. It may be placed specifically for navigation, or it may be a man-made or a natural structure not specifically placed for navigation purposes.
All Round Light: A navigation light on a pleasure craft showing an unbroken arc of the horizon over 360 degrees.
Anchor: A device used to hold a pleasure craft in position by attaching it to the bottom, using line or chain.
Anchor Light: A white light on a pleasure craft showing an unbroken arc of the horizon over 360 degrees.
Astern: A direction behind the stern.
Bilge: Nearly horizontal portion of the vessel's bottom, inside or out.
Bow: The forward portion of the pleasure craft.
Buoy: Floating Aid to Navigation
Compass: Instrument, magnetic or electronic, used for finding directions.
Fenders: Devices used to protect the side of a pleasure craft and absorb shock.
Gale Warning: Sustained winds at speeds from 34 to 47 knots inclusive.
Give-Way Vessel: The pleasure craft that must yield in any crossing, overtaking or meeting situation.
Hull: Main body of the pleasure craft not including masts, sails, rigging, equipment or machinery.
Hypothermia: Medical condition caused by the body losing heat faster than it can produce heat.
Light Winds: Sustained winds at speeds less than 15 knots.
Mayday: International emergency radio call for life-threatening distress.
Masthead Light: White light on pleasure craft centre line showing an arc of visibility for a total of 225 degrees, from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on port and starboard sides.
Moderate Winds: Sustained winds at speeds from 15 to 19 knots inclusive.
Operator: The person in charge of, and in control of, a pleasure craft who is responsible for the pleasure craft.
Personal Watercraft (PWC): A type of pleasure craft featuring an enclosed hull with no cockpit and a water jet drive.
PFD: Short form for Personal Flotation Device.
Planning Hull: Hull form designed to operate on top of the water.
Pleasure Craft: Any boat, vessel or watercraft that is designed primarily for pleasure use and does not carry passengers or goods for hire, reward, remuneration or any object of profit.
Port: The left side of the pleasure craft when facing forward.
Running Lights: Lights that must be displayed when a vessel is underway at night or in restricted visibility.
Sailing Vessel: Any vessel under sail provided that propelling machinery, if fitted, is not being used. (Collision Regulations, Rule 3, General Definitions)
Sidelights: Red on the port, green on the starboard, showing an arc of visibility from dead ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on their respective sides.
Small Craft Warning: Sustained winds at speeds from 20 to 33 knots inclusive.
Stand-On Vessel: The pleasure craft with the right of way in any crossing, overtaking or meeting situation.
Starboard: The right side of the pleasure craft when facing forward.
Stern: The after portion of the pleasure craft.
Stern light: White light at pleasure craft's stern showing an arc of visibility from dead astern to 67.5 degrees forward on both sides.
Storm Warning: Sustained winds at speeds from 48 to 63 knots inclusive.
Strong Winds: Sustained winds at speeds from 20 to 33 knots inclusive.
Trip Plan: Document that outlines the pleasure craft's intended route and time of arrival. Usually includes vessel description and list of passengers. Given to a responsible person.
Underway: A pleasure craft that is not at anchor or tied to shore.
Wake: Disturbed column of water around and behind a pleasure craft as it makes its way through the water.
Wash: Loose and broken water left behind by a pleasure craft including the water thrown aft by the propeller.
Way: The actual movement of pleasure craft through the water as in, Making Way.
Windward: Upwind, toward the wind.