Abeam - At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.

Aboard - On or within the boat.

Above Deck - On the deck (not over it - see ALOFT).

Abreast - Side by side; by the side of.

Adrift - Loose, not on moorings or towline.

Aft cabin - Sleeping quarters beneath the aft or rear section of the boat (sometimes called a mid-cabin when located beneath the helm).

Aft Deck - The deck towards the stern of the boat.

Afternoon Tea - A British food tradition of sitting down for an afternoon treat of tea, sandwiches, scones, and cake.

Aground - Resting on or touching the ground or bottom (either unintentionally or deliberately, such as in a drying harbor), rather than afloat.

Ahead - Forward of the bow.

AIS/Automatic Identification System - is an automated system that allows vessels to exchange data including their position, course and speed.

Al Fresco - Eating outside.

Alee - The side of a boat or object away from the direction of the wind.

All hands-on deck - A call for all crew to participate in something.

Aloft - Above deck in the rigging or mast.

Alongside - By the side of a ship or pier.

Amels - Luxury yacht building company.

Amidships - In the center of the yacht.

Anchor Ball - Round black shape hoisted up to show the Yacht is anchored.

Anchor Buoy - A small buoy secured by a light line to an anchor to indicate the position of the anchor on bottom.

Anchor Light - A white light displayed by a ship to indicate that it is at anchor. Two such lights are displayed by a ship over 150 feet (46 m) in length.

Anchor Watch - The crewmen assigned to take care of a ship while it is anchored or moored and charged with such duties as making sure that the anchor is holding, and the vessel is not drifting. Most marine GPS units have an anchor watch alarm capability.

Anchor Winch - A horizontal capstan in the bow used for weighing anchor.

Anchorage - A place suitable for anchoring in relation to the wind, seas and bottom.

Anguilla - An exclusive destination in the Caribbean.

Anti-Fouling Paint - A special paint applied to a boat's hull to prevent marine growth.

Antigua - North of Guadeloupe, a popular destination for superyachts.

Antipasto - Traditional Italian first course of a formal meal.

APA/Advance Provisioning Allowance - The APA is money paid to a bank account for the Captain of the yacht to provision on the charterer's behalf. Key provisioning is fuel, food, drinks, and port fees. The Captain is obligated to keep all receipts and balance the account for the charterer. At the end of the charter, the Captain provides a full account of expenditures, and any amounts not used will be refunded.

Aperitifs/Digestif - Drinks, typically alcoholic, that are normally served before or after a meal.

Arrival Day - The day the charter guests or owners arrive to the yacht to start the trip.

Ashore - On the beach, shore, or land (as opposed to aboard or on board).

Astern - The direction toward or beyond the back of the boat (stern).

Astern - The direction toward or beyond the back of the boat (stern).

Aweigh - An anchor that is off the bottom.

Azimut Yacht - Italian yacht manufacturing company based in Italy.


Backstay - A support for the mast to keep it from falling forward.

Backwash - Water forced astern by the action of the propeller. Also, the receding of waves.

Ballast tank - A device used on ships, submarines and other submersibles to control buoyancy and stability.

Bar - Any large mass of sand or earth formed and raised above the water surface by the surge of the sea. Bars are mostly found at the entrances of great rivers or havens and often render navigation extremely dangerous. They can also act as a barrier against strong waves.

Barbie - Barbeque.

Bareboat - A yacht that you charter and run yourself without a crew.

Barge - A towed or self-propelled flat-bottomed boat, built mainly for river, canal or coastal transport of heavy goods.

Barometer - An instrument for measuring air pressure used in weather forecasting.

Base charter rate - The rate the charter client pays on a charter for the yacht and crew services. The base rate does not typically include provisioning or other expenses such as food, fuel, dockage and gratuity.

Batten Down - Secure hatches and loose objects both within the hull and on deck.

Beaching - Deliberately running a vessel aground to load or unload it (as with landing craft), or sometimes to prevent a damaged vessel from sinking or to facilitate repairs below the waterline.

Beacon - A lighted or unlighted fixed aid to navigation attached directly to the Earth's surface. Examples include lighthouses and day beacons.

Beam - The greatest width of the boat.

Bear Off - To turn away from the wind.

Bearing - The direction of an object expressed either as a true bearing as shown on the chart, or as a bearing relative to the heading of the boat.

Beating - Sailing upwind.

Below - Beneath the deck.

Below deck - In or into any of the spaces below the main deck of a vessel. Also, a popular Bravo reality TV show about the yachting industry.

Benetti - Italian shipbuilding company based in Italy owned by Azimut.

Bermuda - A British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean known for its pink-sand beaches such as Elbow Beach and Horseshoe Bay.

Bermuda Triangle - A section of the North Atlantic Ocean off North America in which more than 50 ships and 20 airplanes are said to have mysteriously disappeared.

Berth - A cabin or other place to sleep aboard a boat. A boat slip at a dock where the boat can be moored.

Bight - The part of the rope or line, between the end and the standing part, on which a knot is formed.

Bilge - The bilge is the lowest compartment on a ship, below the waterline, where the two sides meet at the keel, where water collects.

Biltong - strips of seasoned dried meat similar to jerky.

Bimini top - An open-front canvas top for the cockpit of a boat, usually supported by a metal frame.

Bitter End - The last part of a rope or chain. The inboard end of the anchor rope.

Blue Ensign - A flag flown as an ensign by certain British ships. British-registered yachts belonging to members of certain yacht clubs.

Board - To step onto, climb onto or otherwise enter a vessel. The side of a vessel.

Boat - a small vessel propelled on water by oars, sails, or an engine.

Boat Hook - A short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off.

Boat Show - A boat show is a public exhibition or trade fair of current boat models, debuts, concept vessels, or out-of-production classics.

Boathouse - A building designed for the storage of boats, typically located on open water such as a lake or river. Boathouses are normally used to store smaller sports or leisure craft, often rowing boats but sometimes craft such as punts or small motorboats.

Bobotie - Minced South African meat dish.

Boerewors - South African spicy sausage.

Boet - Friend usually a male or female companion.

Bookie - South African term of endearment - honey.

Boot Top - A painted line that indicates the designed waterline.

Bosun - A non-commissioned officer in charge of the deck crew.

Bosun's chair/ Boatswain's chair - A short board or swatch of heavy canvas, secured in a bridle of ropes, used to hoist a man aloft or over the ship's side for painting and similar work. Modern chairs incorporate safety harnesses to prevent the occupant from falling.

Bow - The forward/front part of a boat.

Bow line - A docking line leading from the bow.

Bow thruster - A small propeller or waterjet at the bow, used for maneuvering larger vessels at slow speed. May be mounted externally, or in a tunnel running through the bow from side to side.

Bowline - A knot used to form a temporary loop in the end of a line.

Bra/Bru - friend, buddy, or pal.

Braai - South African word for Barbeque.

Braaibroodjie - South African grilled cheese sandwich.

Breakwater - A structure constructed on a coast as part of a coastal defense system or to protect an anchorage from the effects of weather and longshore drift.

Bridge - The location from which the yacht is navigated from.

Bridle - A line or wire secured at both ends in order to distribute a strain between two points.

Brightwork - Varnished woodwork and/or polished metal.

Bugger - when something goes wrong used by international crew.

Bulbous bow - A protruding bulb at the bow of a ship just below the waterline which modifies the way water flows around the hull, reducing drag and thus increasing speed, range, fuel efficiency and stability.

Bulkhead - A vertical partition separating compartments.

Bullseye - A glass window above the captain's cabin to allow viewing of the sails above deck.

Bunny Chow - traditional Indian curry dish served in South Africa which is served in a half loaf hollowed-out bread.

Buoy - An anchored float used for marking a position on the water, a hazard, a shoal or used for mooring.

Burgee - A small flag, typically triangular, flown from the masthead of a yacht to indicate yacht-club membership.

BVI/British Virgin Islands - A major sailing and yachting area in the Caribbean, near the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.


Cabin - A compartment for passengers or crew.

Caddy - Holder to carry cleaning supplies and products around the vessel.

Canoe stern - A design for the stern of a yacht such that it is pointed like a bow, rather than squared off as a transom.

Capsize - To turn over.

Capstan - A large vertical winch used for anchors or mooring lines.

Captain - The person in charge/command of running and managing a yacht and its crew.

Captain only charter - A yacht that comes with a captain but no additional crew. The captain drives the yacht, and you take care of everything else, including cooking and housekeeping. Often called Bareboat with Skipper.

Cardinal - Four main points on a compass (North, East, South, West).

Cargo ship - Any ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods and materials from one port to another, including general cargo ships (designed to carry break bulk cargo), bulk carriers, container ships, multipurpose vessels.

Caribbean - Region that consists of islands and surrounding coasts. Popular yachting destination all year round but specifically in the winter months.

Cast Off - To let go.

Catamaran - A twin-hulled boat with hulls side by side.

Celestial navigation - Navigation by the position of celestial objects, including the stars, Sun, and Moon using tools aboard ship such as a sextant, chronometer, and compass, and published tables of the position of celestial objects. Celestial navigation was the primary method of navigation until the development of electronic global positioning systems such as LORAN and GPS.

Chafing Gear - Tubing or cloth wrapping used to protect a line from chafing on a rough surface.

Chain locker - A space in the forward part of a ship, typically beneath the bow in front of the foremost collision bulkhead that contains the anchor chain when the anchor is secured for sea.

Chamois - Crew cleaning cloth that absorbs water used on the interior and exterior.

Chart - A map for use by navigators.

Chart plotter - A device used in marine navigation that integrates GPS data with an electronic navigational chart.

Charter terms - The contract under which you charter a yacht.

Charter yacht - A yacht that is available for charter/rental.

Charter yacht broker - A person who specializes in booking personalized yacht vacations on behalf of clients.

Chartplotter - An electronic instrument that places the position of the ship (from a GPS receiver) onto a digital nautical chart displayed on a monitor, thereby replacing all manual navigation functions. Chartplotter also display information collected from all shipboard electronic instruments and often directly control autopilots.

China - SA word for friend

Chine - The intersection of the bottom and sides of a flat or v-bottomed boat.

Chock - A fitting through which anchor or mooring lines are led.

Chow - international word for food/to eat.

Chur - New Zealand word for extreme gratitude, thanks.

Citadel - A fortified safe room on a vessel to take shelter in the event of pirate attack.

Clear - To perform customs and immigration legal issues prior to leaving port

Cleat - A fitting to which lines are made fast. The classic cleat to which lines are belayed is approximately anvil shaped.

Cloche - Tableware cover resembling a bell made from silver although other materials also used to keep food warm.

Clove Hitch - A knot for temporarily fastening a line to a spar or piling.

Coaming - A vertical piece around the edge of a cockpit, hatch, etc. to prevent water on deck from running below.

Cockpit - The outdoor area of a sailing yacht (typically in the stern) where guests sit and eat, and from where the captain may steer and control the boat.

Cockpit - An opening in the deck from which the boat is handled.

Coil - To lay a line down in circular turns.

Cold Towel - scented damp towel offered to guests to cool down and refresh.

Come about - To maneuver the bow of a sailing vessel across the wind so that the wind changes from one side of the vessel to the other.

Come to - To stop a sailing vessel, especially by turning into the wind.

Commission - The fee a yacht's owner pays to a charter broker for booking a charter.

Companionway - A raised and windowed hatchway in a ship's deck, with a ladder leading below and the hooded entrance-hatch to the main cabins.

Corsica - A French island north of Sardinia.

Course - The direction in which a boat is steered.

Crestron - American privately held multinational corporation and manufacturer/distributor of audiovisual automation and integration equipment used on many yachts.

Crew - The team that operates your charter yacht.

Crew Mess - The area the crew eat and socialize onboard away from guests.

Crew Quarters - The area the crew sleep and live.

Crewed charter - The charter of a yacht that has a permanent crew aboard who run and manage all aspects of the yacht and charter.

Crossing - When a vessel is going from one location to another crossing a body of water.

Crow's nest - A masthead constructed with sides and sometimes a roof to shelter the lookouts from the weather. The term has also become generic for what is properly called a masthead.

Cruise ship - A passenger ship used for pleasure voyages.

Cuba - Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos located in the Caribbean sea.

Cuddy - A small shelter cabin in a boat.

Current - The horizontal movement of water.

Cuz/Cuzzy - International word for friend.

CV/Curriculum Vitae - Overview of someone's life's work, aka resume.

CYBA/Charter Yacht Broker Association - One of the primary professional organizations for reputable charter brokers.


Davit - A spar formerly used on board ships as a crane to hoist the flukes of the anchor to the top of the bow without injuring the sides of the ship. A crane, often working in pairs and usually made of steel, used to lower things over the side of a ship, including lifeboats.

Davy Jones' Locker - An idiom for the bottom of the sea.

Day head - Typically a restroom accessible to all guests.

Daywork - Casual work onboard a yacht paid for daily.

Dead Ahead - Directly ahead.

Dead Astern - Directly aft.

Dead in the water - Not moving (used only when a vessel is afloat and neither tied up nor anchored).

Dead wake - The trail of a fading disturbance in the water.

Deadlight - A strong shutter fitted over a porthole or other opening that can be closed in bad weather.

Debarkation or disembarkation - The process of leaving a ship or aircraft or removing goods from a ship or aircraft.

Deck - A permanent covering over a compartment, hull or any part thereof.

Delta - American shipbuilding company based out of Seattle, Washington.

Departure Day - The day the charter guests or owners plan to leave the yacht.

Dinghy - A small boat that a yacht carries or tows. Used for transfers to and from shore, and short-day cruises. Typically called a tender on larger yachts.

Displacement - The weight of water displaced by a hull. Also, a type of hull that smoothly displaces (pushes aside) water as opposed to tipping up and riding on top of it.

Displacement Hull - A type of hull that plows through the water displacing a weight of water equal to its own weight even when more power is added.

Dock - A protected water area in which vessels are moored. The term is often used to denote a pier or a wharf.

Dock-walking - Walking along a dock to try and gain employment from a vessel by speaking with crew and providing a resume.

Dockyard - A facility where ships or boats are built and repaired.

Doghouse - A slang term (in the US, mostly) for a raised portion of a ship's deck. A doghouse is usually added to improve headroom below or to shelter a hatch.

Dolphin - A group of piles driven close together and bound with wire cables into a single structure.

Draft - The depth of a yacht below the waterline, as measured vertically.

Draft - The depth of water a boat draws.

Drop off - When the guests depart the vessel after a trip.

Drydock - A narrow basin or vessel used for the construction, maintenance, and repair of ships, boats, and another watercraft that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform.


Ebb - A receding current.

Embarkation - Loading passengers onto the vessel.

Engine room - One of the machinery spaces of a vessel, usually the largest one, containing the ship's prime mover (usually a diesel or steam engine or a gas or steam turbine). Larger vessels may have more than one engine room.

Engineer - Crew members who work in the engineer room and oversee the safe and efficient running of the vessel.

EPIRB/Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon - is a device to alert search and rescue services (SAR) in case of an emergency out at sea.

Esky - Cooler.

ETA - Estimated time of arrival.

Exumas - District of Bahamas extremely popular with yachts consisting of 365 islands/cays.

Eye splice - A closed loop or eye at the end of a line, rope, cable, etc. It is made by unraveling its end and joining it to itself by intertwining it into the lay of the line.


Fair Lead - Device used to guide a line, rope or cable around an object, out of the way or to stop it from moving laterally.

Fashion boards - Loose boards that slide in grooves to close off a companionway or cabin entrance.

Fathom - Six feet.

Feadship - Custom Dutch shipbuilder.

Fend off - A command given to the crew to stop what they are now doing and to immediately manually prevent the boat from banging into the docks or other boats.

Fender - A cushion, placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage.

Fethiye - Fethiye is a port on Turkey's southwestern Turquoise Coast.

Figure eight knot - A knot in the form of a figure eight, placed in the end of a line to prevent the line from passing through a grommet or a block.

Fire Extinguishers - You will cover this in Basic Fire Fighting STCW 95.

First Mate (Chief Officer) - Second in Command to the Captain.

Flag State - The country or government entity under whose laws a vessel is registered or licensed.

Flare - The outward curve of a vessel's sides near the bow. A distress signal.

Flatware - Eating utensils used by front-of-house guests for food consumption.

Fleet - A group of yachts that are under management by the same company called a fleet manager.

Flood - An incoming current.

Floorboards - The surface of the cockpit on which the crew stand.

Flotilla - A group of yachts cruising together.

Fluke - The palm of an anchor.

Flying bridge (or Flybridge) - A raised, second-story helm station (steering area) that often also has room for passengers, providing views and a sun deck.

Following Sea - An overtaking sea that comes from astern.

Fore and Aft - In a line parallel to the keel.

Forepeak - A compartment in the bow of a small boat.

Forward - Toward the front/bow of the boat.

Fouled - Any piece of equipment that is jammed or entangled or dirtied.

Fraser - Leading yacht company specializing in sales and charters.

Freeboard - The minimum vertical distance from the surface of the water to the the upper edge of the side of a boat or ship.

French Riviera - A stretch of coastline on the southern part of France.


Galleon - A large, multi-decked sailing ship used primarily by European states from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Galley - The kitchen/cooking area on a yacht.

Gangplank - A movable bridge used in boarding or leaving a ship at a pier.

Gangway - The area of a ship's side where people board and disembark.

Gear - A general term for ropes, blocks, tackle and other equipment.

Give-way Vessel - A term used to describe the vessel which must yield in meeting, crossing or overtaking situations.

Grab rails - Hand-hold fittings mounted on cabin tops and sides for personal safety when moving around the boat.

Graving dock - A narrow basin usually made of earthen berms and concrete closed by gates or by a caisson into which a vessel may be floated and the water pumped out leaving the vessel supported on blocks; the classic form of drydock.

Green Crew/Greenie - Crew member who is new to the industry and has little to no experience working on yachts.

Green-to-green - A passage of two vessels moving in the opposite direction on their starboard sides, so called because the green navigation light on one of the vessels faces the green light on the other vessel.

Ground Tackle - A collective term for the anchor and its associated gear.

Grounding - When a ship (while afloat) touches the bed of the sea or runs aground.

Gulet - A type of motorsailer typically found in Turkey. Gulets originated from sponge boats, but now offer luxury crewed charters.

Gulf - Is a sizable amount of the ocean that penetrates the land. See 'Mexican Gulf'.

Gunwale - The upper edge of a boat's sides.

Gunwale (Gun-ul) - The upper edge of the side of a boat.

Gybe (also spelled jibe) - To change the course of a boat by swinging a fore-and-aft sail across a following wind (e.g., the wind is blowing from behind the boat).


Halyard - Line (rope) used to hoist a sail.

Halyard - Line (rope) used to hoist a sail.

Harbor - An area designated for yachts to moor.

Harbor fees - Charges paid by the yacht, and normally passed on to the charterer, for docking in certain harbors around the world. The rate depends very much on the season and attractiveness of the port.

Harbor Master - The person at a harbor in charge of anchorages, berths and harbor traffic.

Harbormaster - The person at a harbor in charge of anchorages, berths and harbor traffic.

Hard Chine - An abrupt intersection between the hull side and the hull bottom of a boat so constructed.

Hargrave - Custom build yacht company

Hatch - An opening in a boat's deck fitted with a watertight cover.

Head - Toilet/Bathroom.

Head - A marine toilet. Also, the upper corner of a triangular sail.

Heading - The direction in which a vessel's bow points at any given time.

Heads and beds - bathrooms and cabins - usually taken care of by the housekeeping stew.

Headway - The forward motion of a boat. Opposite of sternway.

Heavy weather - A combination of high winds and rough seas that may be dangerous for a ship or boat, sometimes requiring changes to a passage plan (such as a precautionary diversion to a safe harbor), heaving to, running under bare poles, or other similar survival strategies.

Heel - To temporarily tip or lean to one side. Monohulls heel more than catamarans.

Hell - To temporarily tip or lean to one side. Monohulls heel more than catamarans.

Helm - The wheel or tiller controlling the rudder.

Helmsman - The person who steers the boat.

Hitch - A knot used to secure a rope to another object or to another rope or to form a loop or a noose in a rope.

Hoezit/Howzit - Another way to say Hello, how are you? How is it going? South African.

Hold - A compartment below deck in a large vessel used solely for carrying cargo.

Hors d'oeuvres - A small savory dish, typically one served as an appetizer at the beginning of a meal.

Hours of Rest - defined as hours outside hours of work.

Hull - The structural body of the boat that rests in the water and is built to float.

Hydrofoil - A boat with wing-like foils mounted on struts below the hull, lifting the hull entirely out of the water at speed and therefore greatly reducing water resistance.


Icebreaker - A special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice-covered waters.

In Irons - A sailing word to describe a yacht losing her forward momentum when heading into wind. The yacht becomes untearable as she loses her way.

In-water Survey - A method of surveying the underwater parts of a ship while it is still afloat instead of having to drydock it for examination of these areas as was conventionally done.

Inboard - When the engine is IN the yacht, as opposed to being attached to the stern - this would be called an Outboard.

Inboard - More toward the center of a vessel; inside; a motor fitted inside a boat.

Inboard motor - An engine mounted within the hull of a vessel, usually driving a fixed propeller by a shaft protruding through the stern. Generally used on larger vessels. See also sterndrive and outboard motor.

Inshore - Close or near the shoreline so line of sight sailing is possible.

Intracoastal Waterway - ICW: bays, rivers, and canals along the coasts (such as the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts), connected so that vessels may travel without going into the sea.

Iron Mike - A slang term for autopilot.

Iron wind - Sailors nickname to the engine.

Ischia - Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, known for its mineral-rich thermal waters.

Itinerary - The course a yacht intends to travel while on charter. The itinerary is normally planned but should remain flexible depending on weather conditions and guest preferences.


Jackeline - Lines that run from Aft > forward that your harness can be attached to in bad weather.

Jacobs Ladder - A rope ladder, lowered from the deck, as when pilots or passengers come aboard.

Jandals - Flip Flops.

Jetty - A man-made pier in a marina or open water, typically made of wood or rocks and rising several feet above high tide in order to create a breakwater, shelter, channel, erosion control, or other function.

Jib - Triangular sail projecting ahead of the mast.

Jibe - To change the course of a boat by swinging a fore-and-aft sail across a following wind (e.g. the wind is blowing from behind the boat).

Jol - South African word for party, having fun.

Jonah - A person (either a sailor or a passenger) who carries a jinx, one whose presence on board brings bad luck and endangers the ship.

Jumper - Sweater.

Jury rig (jerry-rig) - A temporary fix to something which has broken on the yacht.

Just Now - SA meaning for later.


Kak - SA word for nonsense, rubbish.

Kaleidescape - Luxury marine movie service for yachts.

Keel - The centerline of a boat running fore and aft; the backbone of a vessel.

Keelhauling - A type of maritime punishment by which one is dragged under the keel of a ship.

Ketch - A two-masted fore-and-aft-rigged sailboat with the aft mast (the mizzen) mounted (stepped) afore the rudder.

Kicking strap - A name to the line that pulls the boom down to flatten the sail.

Kief/Kiff - SA word for cool, wonderful.

Kiwi - New Zealander.

Knot - A fastening made by interweaving rope to form a stopper, to enclose or bind an object, to form a loop or a noose, to tie a small rope to an object, or to tie the ends of two small ropes together.


Lanyard - A rope that ties something off.

Latitude - The distance north or south of the equator measured and expressed in degrees.

Lazaret - (also lazarette or lazaretto) - A small stowage locker at the aft end of a boat.

Lazy jack - A sail bag attached to the boom where the mainsail can fall into.

Lee - The side furthest away from the wind.

Lee helm - In strong winds, the yacht can tend to move to the lee without the rudder moving position.

Leech - The aft part of the sail.

Leeward - The direction away from the wind. Opposite of the windward.

Leeway - The sideways movement of the boat caused by either wind or current.

Leg - In navigation, a segment of a voyage between two waypoints.

Lekker - SA word for great, good, tasty, fun.

Life raft - An inflatable, sometimes covered, raft used in the event of a vessel being abandoned or in the evacuation of an aircraft after a water landing.

Lifeboat - (shipboard lifeboat) A small boat kept on board a vessel and used to take crew and passengers to safety in the event of the ship being abandoned. (Rescue lifeboat) A small boat usually launched from shore and used to rescue people from the water or from vessels in difficulty.

Line - Rope and cordage used aboard a vessel.

Line-Crossing Ceremony - is an initiation rite that commemorates a person's first crossing of the Equator.

Lofting - The technique used to convert a scaled drawing to full size used in boat construction.

Log - A record of courses or operation. Also, a device to measure speed.

Longitude - The distance in degrees east or west of the meridian at Greenwich, England.

Loose cannon - An irresponsible and reckless individual whose behavior (either intended or unintended) endangers the group he or she belongs to.

Lubbers Line - A mark or permanent line on a compass indicating the direction forward parallel to the keel when properly installed.

Luff - The forward part of the sail.

Luffing up - Bringing the yacht into wind - moving the luff of the sail (the forward part of the sail called 'the luff' moves into the wind).

Luxury Yacht - A crewed charter yacht that strives to provide 5-star service to its charterers including cuisine, water sports, housekeeping, and navigation.


M/V - abbreviation for Motor Vessel.

M/Y - commonly used in yachting to indicate a Motor Yacht.

Main deck - The uppermost continuous deck extending from bow to stern.

Main salon - The primary indoor guest area on a yacht's main deck.

Mainsail - The largest regular sail on a sailboat.

Make fast - To secure a line.

Making way - When a vessel is moving under its own power.

Man overboard - An emergency call that alerts the crew that someone aboard has gone overboard and must be rescued.

Manifest - A document listing the cargo, passengers, and crew of a ship for the use of customs and other officials.

Marina - A place where yachts dock and receive services such as provisioning, water and fuel.

Mariner - Sailor.

Marlinspike - A tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing.

Mast - Vertical spar that supports sails.

Master cabin - Typically the best/largest cabin onboard any charter yacht.

MCA - Maritime and Coastguard Agency - responsible for maritime safety in the UK.

Megayacht - A large, luxury motor yacht. No hard and fast definition, but normally crewed luxury yachts 100 feet or longer. Like Superyacht.

Midships - Location near the center of a boat.

Missus - Word used to describe a significant female partner.

MLC/Maritime Labor Convention - seafarers bill of rights which defines the requirements and conditions for the employment of seafarers on commercial yachts.

Monohull - A yacht with one hull, as opposed to a multihull or catamaran that has pontoons.

Mooring - An arrangement for securing a boat to a mooring buoy or a pier.

Motorsailor - A yacht built to sail and cruise under power with equal efficiencies, such as a Gulet. They typically look like sailing yachts but have strong engines and are often skippered like they are motor yachts.

Motoryacht - A yacht whose primary form of propulsion is engines.

Mozzie - Mosquito.

Multihull - A yacht with more than one hull - typically a catamaran (two) or trimaran (three). They can be either powerboats or sailboats.

MYBA Contract - A contract used for luxury yachts, that has become the standard in the Mediterranean and many other parts of the world. Offers protections for charterers in case of cancellation and clearly states the legal rights of all parties to the charter.


Narrows - A narrow part of a navigable waterway.

Nautical - Anything relating to the sea or yachts.

Nautical chart - 'Maps' designed specifically for sea navigation.

Nautical mile - A distance of 6,076.12 feet or 1,852 meters, which is about 15 percent longer than a statute mile. Equivalent to one minute of latitude on a navigation chart.

Navigation - All activities that produce a path.

Navigation Rules - The regulations governing the movement of vessels in relation to each other, generally called steering and sailing rules.

Networking - One of the ways to achieve success in the industry.

Now Now - South African term for shortly.

Nun - Navigational, cone-shaped buoy (in IALA A = port in IALA B = starboard)


Old salt - Slang for an experienced mariner.

On the hard - A boat that has been hauled and is now sitting on dry land.

On the rocks - Serve with ice.

Outboard - Toward or beyond the boat's sides. A detachable engine mounted on a boat's stern.

Outboard motor - A motor mounted externally on the transom of a small boat. The boat may be steered by twisting the whole motor, instead of or in addition to using a rudder.

Over-reaching - Holding a course too long while tacking.

Overboard - Over the side or out of the boat.

Overhead - The ceiling of any enclosed space below decks in a vessel, essentially the bottom of the deck above.

Owner - the person who owns that yacht that you work for.

Owner-operator - A person who owns and skippers a charter yacht, instead of hiring a captain to perform charters for guests.

Ox-eye - A cloud or other weather phenomenon that may be indicative of an upcoming storm.


Painter - A rope attached to the bow of a vessel, used to make the vessel fast to a dock or a larger vessel, including when towed astern.

Parley - A discussion or conference, especially between enemies, over terms of a truce or other matters.

Passageway - An interior corridor or hallway on a ship.

Passarelle - The passageway you walk on from the dock to the yacht. Often incorrectly called a gangplank.

Personal flotation device (PFD) - A safety vest or jacket capable of keeping an individual afloat.

Pick up - When the guests arrive onboard to begin the trip.

Pier - A loading platform extending at an angle from the shore.

Pile - A wood, metal or concrete pole driven into the bottom. Craft may be made fast to a pile; it may be used to support a pier (see PILING) or a float.

Piling - Support, protection for wharves, piers etc.; constructed of piles (see PILE).

Pilot - A especially knowledgeable person qualified to navigate a vessel through difficult waters, e.g., harbor pilot, etc.

Pilot boat - A type of boat used to transport maritime pilots between land and the inbound or outbound ships that they are piloting.

Pilot ladder - A highly specialized form of rope ladder, typically used to embark and disembark pilots over the side of a ship. Sometimes confused with Jacob's ladders, but the design and construction of pilot ladders is governed tightly by international regulation and includes spreaders - elongated versions of the standard machined step - rather than the type of steps generally found on Jacob's ladders.

Piloting - Navigation by use of visible references, the depth of the water, etc.

Pitch - The theoretical distance a propeller would travel in one revolution. Also, the rising and falling motion of a boat's bow and stern.

Planing - A boat is said to be planing when it is essentially moving over the top of the water rather than through the water.

Planing hull - A boat hull designed to ride on top of the water rather than plowing through it.

Playing Hull - A type of hull shaped to glide easily across the water at high speed.

Pontoon - A flat-bottomed vessel used as a ferry, barge, or car float, or a float moored alongside a jetty or a ship to facilitate boarding.

Poop deck - A high deck on the aft superstructure of a ship.

Port (drink) - A strong, sweet, typically dark red fortified wine.

Port (place) - A marina harbor or commercial dock for boats.

Port of registry - The port listed in a vessel's registration documents and lettered on her stern. Often used incorrectly as a synonym for home port, meaning the port at which the vessel is based, but it may differ from the port of registry.

Port tack - When sailing with the wind coming from the port side of the vessel. Vessels on port tack must give way to those on starboard tack.

Porthole - Exterior window onboard a yacht.

Power catamaran - A multihulled power boat with two identical side-by-side hulls. Characterized by excellent fuel mileage and less rolling in the water than a monohull powerboat.

Power cruiser - A motor yacht with overnight accommodations, typically up to 40 feet long.

Preferences/ Preference sheet - A questionnaire that guests fill out before a crewed charter. It alerts the crew to allergies and medical conditions, as well as to preferences for types of food, wine and service. As such, it is an invaluable document for the crew to plan the charter and assists greatly in customer satisfaction.

Princess Yachts - British luxury yacht manufacturer.

Private yacht - A yacht that is not available for charter.

Pump toilet - A marine toilet that requires the user to pump a handle in order to flush.

Purser - Like a chief stewardess the purser helps with the smooth running of the yacht.


Quarter - The sides of a boat aft of amidships.

Quartering Sea - Sea coming on a boat's quarter.


Radar - Collision avoidance system.

Raft - Any flat structure for support or transport over water.

Reach - To sail across the wind.

Red-to-red - A passage of two vessels moving in the opposite direction on their port sides, so called because the red navigation light on one of the vessels faces the red light on the other vessel.

Reef - (noun) Rock or coral that is either partially submerged or fully submerged but shallow enough that a vessel with a sufficient draft may touch or run aground. (verb) To temporarily reduce the area of a sail exposed to the wind, usually to guard against adverse effects of strong wind or to slow the vessel.

Reefing - This is a way of reining in the sails in strong winds.

Regatta - A series of boat races, usually of sailboats or rowboats but occasionally of powered boats.

Repatriation - the return of someone to their own country.

RIB/rigid inflatable boat - An inflatable boat fitted with a rigid bottom often used as a dinghy or tender.

Ripper - Really great.

Rode - The anchor line and/or chain.

Rope - In general, cordage as it is purchased at the store. When it comes aboard a vessel and is used it becomes line.

Rudder - A vertical plate or board for steering a boat.

Run - To allow a line to feed freely.

Runabout - A kind of small, lightweight, freshwater pleasurecraft intended for day use.

Running Lights - Lights required to be shown on boats underway between sundown and sunup.


S/Y - commonly used in yachting to indicate a Sailing Yacht

Safe harbor - A harbor that provides safety from bad weather or attack.

Safe haven - A safe harbor, including natural harbors, which provide safety from bad weather or attack.

Saffer/Saffa - South African.

Sailing yacht - A yacht whose primary method of propulsion is sailing. Nearly all sailing yachts have engines in addition to their sails.

Saloon/Salon - living room.

Salty dog - Slang for a sailor, especially for a seaman in the Navy.

Satellite Navigation - A form of position finding using radio transmissions from satellites with sophisticated on-board automatic equipment.

Schooner - A type of sailing vessel characterized using fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts with the forward mast being no taller than the rear masts, first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century.

Scope - Technically, the ratio of length of anchor rode in use to the vertical distance from the bow of the vessel to the bottom of the water. Usually, six to seven to one for calm weather and more scope in storm conditions.

Screw - A boat's propeller.

Scuppers - Drain holes on deck, in the toe rail, or in bulwarks or (with drainpipes) in the deck itself.

Sea anchor - A stabilizer deployed in the water for heaving to in heavy weather. It acts as a brake and keeps the hull in line with the wind and perpendicular to the waves. Often in the form of a large bag made of heavy canvas.

Sea Cock - A through hull valve, a shut off on a plumbing or drainpipe between the vessel's interior and the sea.

Sea Room - A safe distance from the shore or other hazards.

Sea trial - The testing phase of a boat, ship, or submarine, usually the final step in her construction, conducted to measure a vessel's performance and general seaworthiness before her owners take delivery of her.

Seabob - High end performance watercraft.

Seafarer - Someone who works aboard a watercraft

Seaman Book - A full record of a seaman's career experience and certifications. Every seafarer must carry this document while on board.

Seamanship - All the arts and skills of boat handling, ranging from maintenance and repairs to piloting, sail handling, marlinespike work, and rigging.

Seasick - suffering from sickness or nausea caused by the motion of a ship at sea.

Seaworthy - A boat or a boat's gear able to meet the usual sea conditions.

Secure - To make fast.

Sedan cruiser - A type of large boat equipped with a salon and a raised helm or bridge.

Semi-displacement hull - A hull shape with soft chines or a rounded bottom that enables the boat to achieve minimal planing characteristics (see Planing hull). This increases the top potential speed of the yacht.

Set - Direction toward which the current is flowing.

Sextant - A navigational instrument used to measure a ship's latitude.

Shackle - U-shaped iron, with a screw pin at the open end used for securing stays to sails, allowing easy removal.

Shipwreck - The remains of a ship that has sunk. The remains of a ship that has run aground such that she is no longer seaworthy. An event in which a ship sinks or otherwise becomes a wreck.

Shipwright - A person who designs, builds, and repairs ships, especially wooden ones.

Shipyard - A facility where ships or boats are built and repaired. Routinely used as a synonym for dockyard, although dockyard is sometimes associated more closely with a facility used for maintenance and basing activities, while shipyard sometimes is associated more closely with a facility used in construction.

Shoal - Shallow water that is a hazard to navigation.

Shore leave - Free time given to crew when they are off duty and allowed to disembark and spend time on land.

Silver Service - High end table service where the crew member transfers food from the serving dish directly to the guests plate, always from the left using silver serving utensils.

Skeleton crew - A minimal crew, usually employed during an emergency or when a vessel is inactive, generally consisting of the minimum number of personnel required to maintain or operate the vessel.

Skippered bareboat - A bareboat that has been chartered with a skipper, but no other crew. The skipper's responsibility is navigating the boat and assuring the safety and wellbeing of the charterer. The skipper may cook and provision, but this is not a requirement. Also known as a captain-only charter or skipper-only charter.

Sky lounge - The indoor guest area on the bridge deck of a luxury motor yacht. Often less formal than the main saloon, and sometimes ideal for cocktail parties, happy hour or children's activities, especially if the weather is not perfect.

Slack - Not fastened; loose. Also, to loosen.

Slops Bucket - A pail used to hold food waste for disposal.

Sole - Cabin or saloon floor. Timber extensions on the bottom of the rudder. Also the molded fiberglass deck of a cockpit.

Sounding - A measurement of the depth of water.

Sous Chef - The chef under the Executive Chef, who is responsible for managing daily operations.

Spinnaker - A large sail flown in front of the vessel while heading downwind. A headsail set windward when running before the wind. The bargeman's spinnaker is his topmast staysail, tacked to the mast, and sheeted round the weather crosstree.

Spring Line - A pivot line used in docking, undocking, or to prevent the boat from moving forward or astern while made fast to a dock.

Squall - A sudden, violent wind often accompanied by rain.

Square Knot - A knot used to join two lines of similar size. Also called a reef knot.

Squeegee - Cleaning tool for interior or exterior to wipe water.

Stabilizers - A feature that helps to prevent a Motoryacht from rolling too drastically, especially in bad weather, greatly improving the comfort of the guests. The most advanced form is a zero-speed stabilizer, which works both underway and at anchor.

Stand on Vessel - That vessel which has right-of-way during a meeting, crossing, or overtaking situation.

Standing Orders - Rules and procedures written by the captain to follow.

Standing Part - That part of a line which is made fast. The main part of a line as distinguished from the bight and the end.

Starboard - The right side of a boat when facing the bow. Opposite of Port.

STCW - International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Stem - The most forward section of the hull.

Stern - Aft (back) portion of a boat.

Stern Line - A docking line leading from the stern.

Sterndrive - A propeller drive system similar to the lower part of an outboard motor extending below the hull of a larger power boat or yacht, but driven by an engine mounted within the hull. Unlike a fixed propeller (but like an outboard), the boat may be steered by twisting the drive. See also the inboard motor.

Stow - To put an item in its proper place.

Stowaway - A trespasser on a ship; a person aboard a ship without permission and/or without payment, who usually boards undetected, remains hidden aboard, and jumps ship just before making port or reaching a port's dock; sometimes found aboard and imprisoned in the brig until the ship makes port and the prisoner can be transferred to the custody of police or military.

Stubbie - NZ word for bottle of beer.

Sun deck - This is usually upper deck of a ship that is exposed to the most sun.

SUP - Standup Paddle boarding.

Superyacht - Large and luxurious pleasure vessel.

Swamp - To fill with water, but not settle to the bottom.

Sweet as (sweet-az) - No problem, thanks, okay, nice one.

Swim platform - The space at the back of the yacht from which you typically can go swimming or board a dinghy. Lately, these have become entire pool/beach areas on some of the larger luxury yachts.

Swim Platform - The space at the back of the yacht from which you typically can go swimming or board a dinghy. Lately, these have become entire pool/beach areas on some of the larger luxury yachts.


Tableware - Includes flatware, drinking and serving tools such as glasses, plates, forks and knives.

Tack (sail) - The lower corner of a sail.

Tack (sailing) - Each leg of a zigzag course typically used to sail upwind.

Takkies - SA word for sport shoe.

Tandem charter - A charter that includes more than one yacht.

Tea Time - Break time for crew usually twice a day in the morning and afternoon.

Teak - Durable, cleanable, wood used mainly on the exterior of deck surfaces.

Tender - A boat that a yacht carries or tows used for transfers to and from shore, and short day cruises and watersports. Also sometimes called a dinghy.

Thruster - A bow thruster or stern thruster is a transversal propulsion device built into, or mounted to, either the bow or stern, of a ship or boat, to make it more maneuverable.

Tide - The periodic rise and fall of water level in the oceans.

Tiller - A bar or handle for turning a boat's rudder or an outboard motor.

Togs - Another word for swimsuit, board-shorts.

Topsides - The sides of a vessel between the waterline and the deck; sometimes referring to onto or above the deck.

Transom - The rear section of the hull connecting the two sides.

Trim - Fore and aft balance of a boat.

Trinity Yachts - US Gulf Coast yacht building company.

True wind - The direction and velocity of wind as measured on land, distinct from apparent wind which is how it appears on a moving yacht.

Turn around - This is the time between guests departing and arriving.

Turn down - When the cabins are set up for the night for guests.

Turn up - when the cabins are cleaned in the morning

Twin cabin - A yacht cabin that features two twin beds, often best-suited for children or friends.


Underway - Vessel in motion, e.g. when not moored, at anchor, or aground.

USCG - United States Coast Guard - coastal defense, search and rescue, and maritime law enforcement branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the country's eight uniformed services.


V-berth - A bed or berth located in the bow that has a V-shape.

VAT - Value-added tax (TVA in France). A tax sometimes charged to charter guests who book boats in certain nations, most often in Europe. VAT can add 20 percent or more to your bill.

VHF - Very high frequency; a bandwidth designation commonly used by marine radios.

VICL - Virgin Islands Charter League, an organized group of charter yacht owners in the U.S.

VIP Cabin - Typically the second-best cabin onboard any charter yacht.

Virgin Islands - Membership in this group indicates a yacht owner's willingness to be part of the larger charter community and to follow its standards.


Wake - Moving waves, track or path that a boat leaves behind it, when moving across the waters.

Watch - A division of crew into shifts

Waterline - The intersection of the hull and the surface of the water.

Way - Movement of a vessel through the water such as headway, sternway or leeway.

Waypoint - The coordinates of a specific location.

Weigh - To raise the anchor.

Weight - To raise the anchor.

Welcome Drink - a beverage, typically an alcoholic cocktail (champagne), that you receive upon arrival to the yacht.

Wet head - A bathroom that serves as both the toilet/sink area and the shower compartment, meaning the sink and toilet get wet when you use the showerhead.

Wheel or ship's wheel - The usual steering device on larger vessels: a wheel with a horizontal axis, connected by cables to the rudder.

Wheelhouse - the bridge of a ship is the room or platform from which the ship can be commanded.

Winch - Horizontal rotating drum, turned by crank or by motor or other power source also known as a windlass.

Windlass - Rotating drum device used for hauling line or chain to raise and lower an anchor.

Windlass - Rotating drum device used for hauling line or chain to raise and lower an anchor.

Windward - Toward the direction from which the wind is coming.

Windward Islands - The Windward Islands are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles, within the West Indies.


Yacht - A sailing or Motoryacht designed for pleasure boating that typically ranges from 40 to 100+ feet long.

Yachtie - A person whose occupation it is to maintain and navigate a luxury yacht · A yachtsman whose duty is to keep the overindulgences, idiotic ideas, and beloved secrets onboard the world’s richest play toys · The only person with the skills and patience to perform 5-star service on the high seas

Yachting - The experience of being on a yacht.

Yard - A dockyard or shipyard.