Helpful
Terminology

ANODE (sacrificial anode) Large pieces of metal (usually magnesium) that are welded to the hull. As they are weaker than steel they “take the hit” leaving the hull protected. These wear over time and need to be replaced periodically.

BEAM Width of a boat. Usually 6’10” for narrowboats and anywhere from 7’ to 13’ for Widebeams.

BERTH (1) The number of bunks/beds in a boat that can be used for sleeping, but not the number of bedrooms. For example, a boat with a fixed double bed and a dinette which can convert to a double sleeping area is described as a 4 berth. (2) The space a boat occupies when moored in a marina.

BLACKING A protective coating painted on the underside (hull) of the boat. Needs to be done periodically to keep the hull protected. Length of time between recommended blacking depends on the type of coating.

BOATMAN’S CABIN The area at the back of some narrowboats, historically where a family would live. These are recreated in modern boats, usually with a traditional stern and are typically decorated with ‘roses and castles’ artwork.

BOW The fore-end, or front of a boat.

BOW THRUSTER This is a steering aid to assist in manoeuvring the boat. Often found on longer narrowboats boats or Widebeams.

BOAT SAFETY SCHEME CERTIFICATE A certificate issued every 4 years by an examiner to confirm the boat meets regulatory requirements such as adequate ventilation, safe gas supply and sufficient fire extinguishers.

BULKHEADS Upright panels or walls that divide the inside of the boat into rooms or compartments .

CASSETTE TOILET A simple toilet with a detachable cartridge which is removed and emptied. Some enhanced models have swivel bowls, direct water supply and an electric flush.

CRATCH COVER A cover at the front of the boat to protect the well-deck from the rain.

DINETTE A table with a bench seat either side which can usually be converted into a bed

DRAUGHT/DRAFT The maximum underwater depth of a boat’s hull.

GALVANIC ISOLATOR A fitting to a boat’s electrical system, intended to help prevent galvanic corrosion to the hull.

GALLEY The kitchen.

GRAB RAIL A rail along the edges of the boat’s roof which is used to provide stability when walking along the gunnel.

GUNNEL The ledge where the hull meets the upper part of the boat.

HEADS The toilet.

HULL The main body of the boat which includes the bottom and sides.

INVERTER An electrical device which converts the 12v power from the leisure (domestic) batteries to a 240v current for mains appliances such as TV’s and hoovers.

PRAM HOOD A foldable cover at the back of the boat, usually canvas or PVC to protect the external open area from the rain.

PUMP OUT TOILET A toilet where the waste is flushed into a holding tank situated somewhere within the boat. This is emptied with a vacuum pump at pump out stations along the canal and in many marinas.

REVERSE LAYOUT Popular on cruiser stern narrowboats. The galley (kitchen area) is at the back and the bedroom area is at the front of the boat. Seen as a more social layout because when cruising you don’t have to walk through the bedroom to get to the kitchen and lounge area.

RUDDER An underwater blade at the stern which, when guided by the tiller against the water moves the boat in the chosen direction

SALOON The lounge area.

STERN The aft, or rear end of a boat.

SWAN NECK The curved steel bar which connects the top of the rudder to the tiller.

TILLER (BAR) Lever against which is pushed to direct the rudder to steer the boat

TILLER PIN A pin (usually decorative) which is used to hold the tiller bar in place when connected to the swan neck.

WELL DECK The floor of the well at the bow of the boat.

WINDLASS An L shaped handle which is used for opening and closing locks.