“Look over there, under the gunwale,” says the skipper to a guest who needs a boat hook to help snare a mooring line. “Under the what?” the guest asks. “Over there on the starboard side, under the gunwale,” the skipper says, adding, “It’s just ahead of that cockpit stowage locker.” Obviously aggravated, the guest says, “Can you speak English, please? And what the heck does ‘mooring’ mean?”
Boating terminology can be a frustrating barrier to communication on a boat, especially between old salts and newbies. While it may appear as if the folks who use this sometimes confusing language are just speaking perplexing words to be snobby, that’s generally not the case. Trust us, knowing the vernacular is an important part of being a capable boater—it’s not some secret language boaters use to sound cool.