As a diver you will be doing a lot of your diving from boats and maybe even be visiting some shipwrecks. It’s time for you to know the proper terms used for parts of a boat. This will make it easier for you to understand dive briefings, plan dives on wrecks and impress your dive buddies. So here’s some info to get you started…
What’s the pointy end called? That would be the BOW. The bow is the front end of the boat but is not necessarily always pointy. This is commonly where the anchor or mooring line will be attached to the dive boat.
Often divers will use the anchor or mooring line for reference on their ascent and descent so it is commonly used as a meeting point to start the dive. So now you’ll know where to go when the divemater says “meet at the bow”.
The back of the boat is the STERN. On many dive boats this is where you’ll be entering/exiting the water. The actual piece of material (wood, fiberglass, aluminum) that closes the stern of a boat is TRANSOM. This is normally where you will find the name of the vessel.
The watertight body of the boat is the HULL.
When discussing locations on a boat towards the bow (front) or stern (back) of a boat you’ll use the terms FORE and AFT. I think it’s pretty easy to remember fore since it sounds like forward. There’s also PORT and STARBOARD which refer to the left or right side of a boat when standing on it looking towards the bow.
The term starboard comes from the days before ships had rudders on their centerline. Back then they had a large “oar” used the steer the boat. Steering would be done from stern of the vessel but since most people were right handed they would stand and steer with the large oar on the right side of the boat. The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered. Now since this large oar was on the right side of the boat they needed to come to port on the left side of the boat. Making the left side the “port side”.
Where’s the kitchen? There is no kitchen on a boat, it’s the GALLEY. If you’re looking for the toilet it’s called the HEAD. I read once that on old ships that didn’t have toilets sailors would relieve themselves on either side of the bow where the figurehead was fastened. Visiting the figurehead was then shortened to going to the head. No wonder she doesn’t look very happy.
Know some other boat terms that divers should know? Comment and leave them here for everyone to learn.