Before you join us out on the beautiful Pacific Ocean, it’d be good to understand some basic boating terminology. Although, you don’t need to know this before you come out, you might have fun learning all of these definitions and words, especially since boating terminology can seem like a foreign language to some. It’ll be quite impressive if you come out on the boat using the terms like starboard and port correctly. We want you to have the best experience with us on Kona Fishing Charters, so we hope you have fun learning these terms. If you have any questions, we’ll be pleased to answer them when you join us on a deep sea fishing charter adventure.

Boating Terminology and Lingo


aft – at or near the back of the boat. When you are moving towards the rear end of the boat, this is called going “aft.”

aground – touching the bottom

ahead – refers to a boat moving in a forward direction.

alee – the side of a boat that’s away from the direction of the wind.

amidships – the central part of a boat

anchorage – a location used for anchoring

astern – refers to a boat moving in a backwards position (reverse).

backing down – a type of maneuver used in offshore fishing where you move the ship in reverse in order to catch a fish.

bail – to remove water with a pump or bucket.

bait station – the area on a fishing boat that’s dedicated for preparing bait.

baitwell – the compartment on a fishing boat that’s used to keep live bait.

ballast – extra weight carried on a boat to increase stability.

beam – the widest part of a boat.

bear off – to turn the boat away from the wind.

berth – a place to sleep on a boat like a bed or a couch.

bow – the forward section of the boat. (You can remember “bow” as the front, because when you take a bow, you’re leaning forward.)

buoy – an anchored object that floats in the water to alert boaters. It is used as a navigation aid.

cabin – a room for passengers and/or crew members to use.

cast off – to let go of a line.

charts – electronic or paper navigational maps.

chumming – placing fish parts in the water to attract gamefish.

cockpit – synonymous with bridge, this is where the ship is steered and controlled.

course – the intended direction.

draft – the maximum depth of a boat.

fathom – a nautical measurement – it’s equal to a depth of six feet.

fishfinder- an electronic device that can find and display fish on a monitor using sonar technology.

forward – when you are moving towards the front end of a boat, this called going “forward.”

galley – the kitchen on a boat.

hard over – pulling the steering wheel over all the way in one direction.

head – the bathroom/toilet on a boat.

helm – where operational controls are located on a boat.

hull –  the main section of the boat.

knot – a measure of speed for nautical miles per hour. A nautical mile is slightly longer than a mile on land.

lifeline- lines on a boat deck that can be grabbed to prevent any overboard spills.

list – a boat’s leaning to one side.

port side – the entire left side of a boat as you are looking forward.

port bow – refers to the front left of a boat.

port quarter – refers to the rear left side of a boat.

starboard side – The entire right side of a boat as you are looking forward.

starboard bow – the front right of a boat

starboard quarter – refers to the rear right of a boat

stern – the back end of a boat.

topside – when you move from a lower deck of a boat to the upper deck of the boat.

underway – when a boat is moving, either by motor or wind, this is called being “underway.”

wake – the area of waves following a moving boat

Now that you’ve armed yourself with boating lingo, you will have an even better time with us on the Kona Fishing Charters. You’ll have fun using the lingo while boating and fishing in the Pacific Ocean. At Kona Fishing Charters, we want you to have a great time deep sea fishing, so if you have any questions, or are interested in more boating terms, let us know when you visit us. Call us at (808) 960-1424 to book your fishing charter in Kona, Hawaii!