top of page

Brush up on your nautical lingo to get ready for your bareboating holiday (Part 2)


The toilet on a boat. Bareboats usually have between 1 and 4 heads. Some are shared and some are ensuites to the cabins. They have very thin pipes, and use a macerator to break down waste into small pieces, so it's very important not to put any foreign matter in them. The system can be opened or closed, with waste stored in a holding tank on board until the boat is in an area where emptying is permitted.

The loo on a boat in the Whitsundays is probably the loo with the best view on the planet!


The jib is the sail at the front of the boat

The sail at the front of the boat, also known as the jib sheet or head sail. Sometimes, for newer sailors, they will only use the jib or headsail rather than both sails together. It’s easier to manage just one sail, and the jib is a good one to start with on boats such as these, which are set up for cruising in gentle waters.


Furling is a nautical term that means rolling up the sails. Most commonly the head sail is furled, as it rolls around a cable connected from the top of the mast to a point at the front of the boat. This is what is known as a ‘roller furling headsail’. Sometimes a boat has a furling mainsail too, but its more common for the main sail to drop down into a sail bag across the boom.

Port & Starboard

Do you know your port from your starboard? And do you remember which colour goes with each?

  • Port = left = red.

  • Starboard = right = green.

How do you remember these?

The word ‘port’ has 4 letters and so does ‘left’ and it’s the shorter of the two words, as is ‘red’. ‘Green’ has 5 letters, and so does ‘right’, it’s also the longer of the two choices, as is ‘starboard’.

There’s a common saying that helps: “there’s no more red port left in the bottle”

Bow & Stern

The girls are sitting on the bow of a power catamaran

The forward part of the boat is called the ‘bow’. It’s pronounced to rhyme with ‘cow’, and the ‘bow’ in bowing out of courtesy. The rear part of a boat is called the ‘stern’.

How do you remember these?

When you bow out of courtesy, you bend forward; the bow is the forward part of a boat. Stern also means serious, and the stern is the serious part of the boat, where the engine and rudder are located, at the back.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Us
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle