Let’s Learn about Parts of Your Boat

Hey, not everyone was raised on the water or in the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, that’s just a fact. While I make a living off of people who do not know these things, I would still find myself unable to sleep at night knowing there were boaters out there who didn’t know the basic parts of a boat. Let’s Review!

  • The Hull and the Keel
    • The hull of a boat is an internal framework that extends from side to side (transverse) & also runs the length of the boat (longitudinal). The hull is covered by an outer shell plating, most often constructed of fiberglass or metal. All boats also have a keel: the backbone of the boat that runs along the center bottom of the boat & provides stability in the water.
  • Starboard, Port & Gunwale
    • When operating a boat, the starboard side is the right side of the boat & the port side is the left. The gunwale is the upper edge of the sides of a boat.
  • The Bow, the deck & the stern
    • The front of a boat is the bow & its curved shape is designed to the lift the vessel w/ waves, rather than cutting into them. The stern is the back of the boat: a flat, square stern has a broader surface for a wave to act upon compared to a round stern. The round, or cruiser stern, is safer in following seas because the wave splits & travels forward along each side of the boat. The deck is the upper surface of the boat. The curvature of the deck allows water to flow off of it.
  • What is the Sheer, Flare & Tumblehome
    • The curvature of the deck from bow to stern is the sheer, which along with the flare & tumblehome determine a boat’s displacement & buoyancy. Flare increases displacement, and is the outward turn of the hull as the sides rise from the waterline. Tumblehome, the reverse of flare, is the shape of the hull from the gunwale to the waterline.
  •  What are your Chine & Beam?
    • The part of the boat that is below the waterline is the chine and it determines your boat’s speed & how it handles on the water. If the chine is rounded, it is a soft chine. If it squared off, it is a hard chine. The beam is simply the width of the maximum width of the boat.
  • What’s the Rudder & Propeller?
    • The rudder steers the boat, which is driven by one or more screw propellers. Propellers rotate & power a boat either forward or backward. These parts of the boat are at the back and located underwater.

That concludes Coastie Marine’s boat part lecture for the day. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know all these words because now you do! And I feel safer being out there with you having a little bit more knowledge of the craft you are driving! If you have any more questions or need any boat repair of any kind, feel free to call me anytime, 850-896-9147 and I’d be happy to help! http://www.coastiemarine.com


Author: coastiemarineblog

Marine Electrician, retired from the US Coast Guard. Over 14 years experience as a marine electrician and current owner of Coastie Marine Services. www.coastiemarine.com

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