Superyacht terminology you need to know


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Superyacht terminology you need to know

25 June 21

Have you been reading about superyachts and found words that you weren’t quite familiar with? 

Fortunately, Alexander Marine Australia is here to explain all the technical wording for you. 




ABAFT – Toward the rear or stern of the boat

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 - but NOT over it

ABREAST – by the side of the boat

ADRIFT – Loose, not on moorings or towline.

AFT – An area towards the stern of the boat

AFT CABIN - Sleeping quarters below the aft/rear section. This can sometimes be referred to as the mid cabin if it is located below the helm.

AFT DECK – The deck which you’ll find towards the stern of the boat

ALOFT - Above deck in the rigging or mast.

AMIDSHIPS - The area which is in the centre of the yacht.

ANCHORAGE – A place suitable for anchoring in relation to the wind, seas and bottom.

ANCHOR BALL – a black ball which shows the yacht is anchored.

ANTI-FOULING PAINT - a paint which is applied in order to avoid marine growth on the yacht.

APPARENT WIND - The speed of the wind as it is felt within a moving yacht.

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

AWEIGH - An anchor that is off the bottom.

Ocean Alexander divergence 45



BACKSTAY - Support for the mast which prevents it from falling forward

BAREBOAT - A yacht that is chartered without a crew. 

BASE CHARTER RATE - How much you pay when you charter a boat, minus extra expenses.

BEAM - The widest point of the yacht.

BEAR OFF - Turning away from the wind.

BEATING - To sail upwind.

BERTH -  This can have numerous meanings: 

Either a cabin or other place to sleep aboard a boat

A  boat slip at a dock where the boat can be moored.

BOW - The front of a yacht

BOWLINE - A knot which creates a temporary loop at the end of a line

BUOY -  A floating object which is used for navigational purposes or for hazard warnings




CABIN – An area of the yacht for passengers or crew.

CAPSIZE – When the yacht is turned over

CAPSTAN – A large vertical winch used for anchors or mooring lines.

CAST OFF – To let go.

CHAFING GEAR – a covering which is placed over a line to prevent it from chafe.

CHART – A map for use by navigators.

CHARTER YACHT BROKER - those who specialise in booking personalised yacht vacations for clients

CHOCK – A guide for a mooring line

CLOVE HITCH – A knot which is used to temporarily fasten a line to a spar.

COAMING – A vertical piece around the edge of a cockpit which prevents the water on deck from running below.

COCKPIT – The outdoor area of the yacht; an area where the captain may steer the boat.

COIL –  Placing a line down in circular turns

COURSE – The direction in which a boat is steered.

CUDDY – A small shelter cabin within the yacht.

CURRENT – The horizontal movement of the ocean.

yacht on ocean




DECK - The permanent covering over the hull

DINGHY - A smaller boat that a yacht tows, which is used for transfers to and from shore. 

DISPLACEMENT - The weight of water displaced by a hull

DOCK - An area where the vessels are moored 

DRAFT - The depth of water a boat draws




FATHOM - six feet

FIGURE EIGHT KNOT - A knot in rope which forms the figure eight. This is often found at the end of the line and prevents the line from passing through a block. 

FLEET - A group of yachts managed by the same company 

FLOTILLA - A group of yachts that are cruising together

FORWARD - An area toward the bow of the boat

FOULED - equipment which is jammed, tangled or dirty

FURLING - Folding or rolling a sail on its boom




GALLEY - the cooking area of the boat

GEAR - equipment which is used on the yacht, including ropes, blocks and tackles.

GRAB RAILS - Fittings which are mounted on the top and side of cabins which help ensure the personal safety of persons on the yacht.

GULF - A sizeable amount of ocean almost surrounded by land, with a narrow mouth

GYBE - changing course of the boat by swinging the sail across a following wind. Also spelled jibe.




HALYARD - a rope used to hoist a sail

HARBOUR - An area which yachts moor

HATCH - An opening within the boat’s deck which has a watertight cover

HEAD - Toilet room

HEEL - temporarily leaning to one side

HULL - the main body of the vessel




INBOARD - an engine which is in the yacht, instead of being attached to a stern




JETTY - A structure which protrudes from the shore

JIB - A triangular sail project which is ahead of the mast

JIBE - See gybe.




KEEL - the centreline of a boat

KNOT - Boat speed; this is measured in nauticles miles per hour

KNOT - A fastening on a rope which forms a loop, ties two objets together 




LATITUDE - The distance north of south of the equator 

LEE - The side which is furthest away from the wind

LEEWARD - The side which is sheltered from the wind

LEEWAY - When the boat moves sideways due to wind or current

LINE - Rope used on the yacht

LOG - A record of operations

LONGITUDE - The distance east or west of the meridian at Greenwich, England

LUFF - The forward part of the sail

LUXURY YACHT - A large, luxurious yacht





MAINSAIL - The largest sail found on a sailboat

MAIN SALON - The main indoor guest area on a yacht

MAKE FAST - securing a line

MARINA - A place where yachts dock

MAST - A vertical spar which supports sails

MASTER CABIN - The biggest cabin which you will find onboard a yacht

MEGAYACHT - A large, luxury motor yacht

MOORING - Securing a yacht or boat to a buoy or pier





NAUTICAL MILE - A unit used to measure distances at sea - this is equal to 1,852 metres.

NAUTICAL CHART - Maps used for sea navigation

NAVIGATION - Conducting a boat safely from one point to another




OVERBOARD - Out of or over the side of the boat





PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE - A safety vest or jacket which is used to keep a person afloat

PIER - A platform which protrudes from the shore, generally at an angle

PILING - Protection from wharves and piers 

PLANNING HULL - A type of hull which is shaped to glide easily across the water, particularly at high speeds

PORT - a commercial dock for boats



QUARTER - The sides of a boat aft of amidships 





REACH - To sail across the wind

REEFING - Reining in the sails when there are strong winds

RIGID INFLATABLE BOAT (RIB) - An inflatable boat which is often used as a dinghy 

ROPE - When a rope is aboard a vessel, it becomes referred to as a line

RUDDER - A board for steering a boat

RUN - A line which is allowed to run freely




SAILING YACHT - A yacht whose primary method of propulsion is sailing

SATELLITE NAVIGATION - Position finding using radio transmissions from satellites 

SCREW - A boat’s propeller

SEAMANSHIP - The skills of boat handling

SEAWORTHY - A boat which is able to meet the usual sea conditions

SECURE - To make fast

SET - Direction the current flows

SHIP - A larger vessel which is generally used for ocean travel. A ship is able to carry a boat on board.

SKY LOUNGE - The indoor guest area within a luxury yacht

SLACK - To loosen

SOLE - Cabin floor

SQUARE KNOT - A knot which is used to join two lines of similar size

STEM - The forward section of the hull

STERN - The back portion of the boat

STOW - To return an item in its correct place

SWIM PLATFORM - The area at the back of yacht which you are able to go swimming




TACK - The lower corner of a sail

TANDEM CHARTER - A charter which includes more than one yacht

TIDE - The rise and fall of water levels in the ocean

TRUE WIND - The direction and velocity of the wind measured on land, distinct from apparent wind which is how it appears on a moving yacht

TWIN CABIN - A yacht which features two twin beds





V BOTTOM - A hull where the bottom section is in the shape of a ‘V’

VIP CABIN - The second-best cabin on a yacht




WAKE - The path the yacht leaves behind it when sailing across waters

WATERLINE - The intersection of the hull and the surface of the water

WAYPOINT - Coordinates of a specific location

WEIGH - Raising the anchor

WINDWARD - Towards the direction which the wind is coming




YACHT - A sailing boat which is designed for pleasure, which will generally range in size from 40 to 100+ ft long

YAW - Veer off course




ZERO-SPEED STABILISERS - A sophisticated type of motor yacht stabiliser which keeps the yacht from rolling both underway and at the achor, significantly improving their comfort.


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