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Brush up on your nautical lingo (part 1)

There are so many unusual words at use in the boating world, it's easy to get lost. Learn some of the most commonly used terms when choosing a bareboat to get ready for your Whitsunday bareboating holiday.


a bareboat galley kitchen in the Whitsundays boat hire fleet

The kitchen on a boat. Typical phrases you might here us say are “up galley” or “down galley”. This explains where the galley is on a catamaran. An up galley is up on the main entry level, in the saloon (see below) near the lounge/dining setting. A down galley is down a few steps, in one of the hulls, with windows that look out onto the water.

Whether one is better than the other is very subjective. Some people prefer the up galley as it means the cook is closer to the group. Some people prefer the down galley as it means the upstairs living area is bigger, and it’s not so segregated at all.


the cockpit of a luxury sailing catamaran you can hire as a bareboat in the Whitsundays

The area usually at the rear of a boat that is an outside living space, and usually contains the helm (see below) or steering wheel. Sometimes the cockpit has built in dining tables, or day beds, and almost all of them have some form of moulded seating for lounging around, which also provide a bit of a barrier between the living area and the water making it a safe area for toddlers. Every cockpit has a BBQ too, so outdoor cooking is very popular.


The helm is where you steer a yacht or catamaran from. Hire a bareboat in the Whitsundays

This is where the driving of the boat takes place. It contains the wheel, and all the navigation instruments necessary for safely navigating the islands. There is a compass, GPS unit, depth sounder, wind instruments and more, and on a sailing boat, there’ll be winches as well, because all the lines lead here so that skipper can single-handedly manage the sailing of the vessel. You don't actually need a licence to drive one of these boats, but you do need a little experience. We can advise you on how to get some experience before your charter.


The indoor living area of a Whitsunday bareboat catamaran or yacht is called a saloon. It contains living, dining and kitchen in one

The indoor living area of a boat. It contains a dining setting and/or extra lounge seating, and often converts into another bed. This extra bed is often the biggest on the boat, and is great to use as a day bed, as well as sleeping for extra guests. The saloon is above the water level, with windows looking out onto the water. There’s often oodles of hidden storage in the saloon, under seats and behind backrests. Go for a poke around! Other things you might find in the saloon area include air conditioning, maps, the electric switchboard, TV, radio, both for music (bring your ipod) and the marine radio for communications with base.

Dinghy or tender

Every Whitsunday boat for hire comes with its own dinghy or tender so you can get to shore to explore Whitsunday beaches and islands

The dinghy or tender is the little boat that you use to get to shore during your bareboating holiday. Every boat comes with one, and it runs with a small outboard motor. They’re not fast, and usually seat 6-8 passengers, but are very practical for getting you and your crew to shore for some exploring. The dinghy might be towed along behind the boat while underway, or it might be hoisted up into the ‘davits’ by a pulley system which keeps it out of the water overnight

That’s a basic introduction to the colourful language of boating to help you get started. Now you can sound knowledgeable when you ring a bareboat charter company to choose a boat!

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