Language and Sayings of The Sea

Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 8:20AM

Language and Sayings of The Sea

When you travel to a new country, you might bring along a pocket dictionary or app to help you communicate the new language.


But as you cruise to those new, exciting destinations, you don’t need to practice your new tongue just yet—you just need the language of the water!


As you gear up for your next on‐the‐water adventure, read up on the universal language of boating—its pervasive influence, and how to make trips easier than ever to enjoy. Keep on reading!


Language and Sayings of The Sea


It’s true: Old sailors’ sayings have made their way into our everyday vocabulary. Don’t believe us? Just look at terms like “all hands on deck,” “don’t rock the boat,” or even “leeway”!


So, whether you’re a beginning boater or simply want to brush up on your on‐the‐water know‐how, read up on the following 10 Sayings of the Sea:


  • Bow: This is the front of your boat—the part that faces forward, whose typically curved, triangular shape provides plenty of room for looking ahead (or kicking back!).
  • Stern: The back of your boat.
  • Port: The left side of your boat from the stern, looking ahead. While you might be tempted to just say “left,” using the term “port” lets you communicate more easily with passengers or fellow boaters, instead of needing to clarify “my left or yours?”
  • Starboard: This refers to the right side of your boat when you’re
  • standing at the stern.
  • Aft: Refers to the stern/rear area of your boat.
  • Forward: Refers to the front end of your boat.
  • Amidships: From sailing tradition, a fun way to say the center of the boat.
  • Topside: Heading above deck from a lower level.
  • Beam: The widest part of your boat—a helpful term to keep in mind when considering turns, water sports, and other maneuverings.
  • Ballast: Weight added in strategic ways to your boat, in order to perfect your turns.


Now that you’ve brushed up on the basics, you can learn more about putting them to use on the water…


Terms Used For Turns


To ensure safety and smooth maneuvers on the water, the US Coast Guard established a few simple signals and gestures boaters should use universally. You read that right: You can cruise alongside another country’s boats and ships and still be “in the know.”


For international waters, “power‐driven vessels” should use one quick blast to say “I’m altering my course to starboard,” or two to say “I’m altering my course to port.” The same applies to warning signals and other sounds, like a longer blast to say “watch out” or “I’m leaving the dock,” or a quick succession of blasts to warn others of a potential risk.


Effortless Communication


As you practice these simple signals and gestures, one you must not forget is common courtesy! It doesn’t take a mariner’s handbook to understand a smile or gesture of goodwill at the marina. Whether at home or far away, practicing looking out for your fellow boaters, wishing them well and helping them out when needed makes all the difference in your ease of enjoying the water.


Now that you have brushed up on your on-the-water knowhow and become more familiarized with the sayings of the sea, it’s time to take your Monterey out and have some fun! You can also check out our events calendar and join us at a boat show near you!

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