Parts of a Boat Explained

parts of a boat from side view
Parts of a Boat From Side View

Boat enthusiasts and first-time boat buyers, this post is for you!

We’re going to break down the anatomy of a boat so that you have a better understanding of where different areas are on the vessel. This list will help you when it comes time to buy your boat or speak with a professional about maintaining your boat.

Learning about the parts of a boat is the first step on your journey to becoming an expert in all things boating!

Refer to the list to learn all the different boat parts!

Parts of a Boat Defined

  • Aft – The back/stern of the boat
  • Beam – The beam of a boat is its width at its widest point
  • Bridge – The bridge is an elevated area on the boat where the captain steers the vessel. It’s also a great place to get a good view of everything around you.
  • Bow – The bow is the front or forward part of the vessel
  • Bilge – The bilge is the lowest internal part of a boat’s hull
  • Bulkhead – A bulkhead is a wall that divides compartments on a boat
  • Cabin – A cabin is an interior part of a boat that can be enclosed and is often used as a place to sleep while onboard a vessel
  • Casting Deck/ Swim Platform – A casting deck or swim platform is the area at the bow or stern of the boat designated for casting while fishing or for entering and exiting the water while swimming.
  • Cleat – A cleat is a fitting located on the gunwale of a boat or dock used to secure a rope for anchors, docking, fenders, etc.
  • Deadrise – The deadrise of a boat is the angle between the hull and the keel
  • Deck – The deck is the flat walking surface of a boat
  • Forward – The front part of a boat
  • Freeboard – Freeboard is the distance from the waterline to the deck of a vessel.
  • Hatch – A hatch is an opening in the deck that provides access to parts of a boat below deck like storage compartments
  • Head – The head is a room on a vessel that contains a toilet and sink
  • Helm – The helm is the area of a boat where the captain or primary operator stands while driving or piloting the vessel
  • Hull – The boat hull is the main body of the vessel that keeps it afloat
  • Keel – The keel is a structural element located at the bottom centerline of a boat that helps with stabilization and tracking.
  • Livewell – A Livewell is a tank on a fishing boat that is used to store live bait
  • Port Side – Port side is the left side of a boat when looking towards the bow.
  • Propeller – The propeller is a device located at the stern of a vessel that provides thrust to move the boat through the water
  • Pulpit – The pulpit is a railing located at the bow of a vessel
  • Running Lights – Running lights are navigation lights located at a vessel’s bow that indicate which way the vessel is moving.
  • Starboard Side – Starboard side is the right side of a boat when you are looking towards the bow.
  • Stern – The stern is the back or aft part of a vessel.
  • Superstructure -The superstructure is the area above the deck that contains the cabin, bridge, hatches, etc. (more commonly used with larger ships compared to a personal watercraft)
  • Throttle – The throttle is a lever located at the helm that controls the speed of the vessel
  • Rub Rail – A rub rail is a protective trim piece located along a vessel’s gunwale that helps protect the hull from impact.
  • Transom – The transom is the flat area located at the stern of the vessel where the outboard motor is mounted
  • Waterline – The waterline is the line where the hull of a vessel meets the water’s surface
  • Windshield – The windshield is a glass or Lexan panel located at the bow of a boat that helps to deflect wind and spray while underway
  • Underside – The underside is the bottom of the hull that is below the waterline

Wrapping Up

There you have it! A complete list of the different parts that make up the anatomy of a boat. Of course, many more details and pieces make up a vessel, but these are the main components you should be familiar with. Now that you know your way around a bit, and become familiar with safe boating practices, then it’s time to get out there and enjoy boating!

Check out the following pages for guides on all the fishing gear you need to get out on the water:

Captain Tyler Brady

Captain Tyler Brady

Hi, I'm Captain Tyler Brady, founder of A Fellow Fisherman. Thank you for reading this post and visiting my site. I strive to provide the best information when it comes to fishing, whether it is myself or A Fellow Fisherman that is part of my team. Now stop reading and GO fishing!

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