6 sailing terms that you can use every day!

sailboat direction terms
sailboat direction terms

Here are some sailing terms that you can use every day to help you remember when you are first learning this whole new mysterious language called nautical.


 is the front of the boat (after all you can't bow backwards)


 is the back


 is toward the bow or front of the boat


 is toward the stern or back

Port- Facing forward on a boat the port is to your left.   Starboard to your right.

Now the port is always the port side and the starboard is always the starboard no matter if you're facing fore or aft. There are many ways to remember this. When I read historic naval stories the terms used to be larbord and starboard not port and starboard. So for me, larboard and left both start with L then starboard was right. I have also heard the saying "There is no red 

port left

". On the bow of your boat the running lights are red on the port (left) side and green on the starboard (right). Perhaps the easiest way is that left & port both have 4 letters.

All of these terms are hard to remember if you only get out on your boat once a week or (GASP) less than that. I have found that using the terms everyday is a huge help. When biking with my son we will turn to the port or starboard. If looking for something in our van I can say its fore or aft. The hood of the car is the bow and the trunk or back hatch is the stern.

This is a great way to ingrain these terms to memory and it will impress or annoy your friends. It certainly will make a teenagers eyes roll hard enough for you hear them.

If you enjoyed this post, I'd really appreciate it if you could help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thanks & Cheers! Daryl