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Glossary of Nautical Terms and Abbreviations

Nautical terms might sound like a foreign language to beginners, but they stand in a proud tradition. They are often practical and will definitely add to your self confidence once they become part of you own repertoire. On this page, you can learn to talk like a sailor - but don't forget that it takes more than words to run a boat.

A
Aback - describes a sail when the wind strikes it on it's lee side.
Abaft - towards the boats stern.
Abeam - at right angles to the centre-line of the boat.
Aft - at or near the stern.
A-hull - to ride out a storm with no sails set and the helm lashed to leeward.
AIS - Automatic Identification System.
Amidships - the centre of the boat, athwartships and fore-and-aft.
Apparent wind - the direction and speed of the wind felt by the crew, it is a combination of true wind and that created by the movement of the boat.
ARPA - Automatic Radar Plotting Aid.
Astern - behind the boat; to go astern is to drive the boat in reverse.
Athwartships - at right angles to the fore-and-aft line of the boat.
Azimuth - angular distance measured on a horizon circle in a clockwise direction, usually between an observer and a heavenly body.
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N/O
P
Q
R
S
T
U / V
W
X / Y / Z
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