NEFSC Ecosystems Surveys Branch

Guide to Nautical and Fishing Terms

Abeam - At right angles to the keel of the boat, but not on the boat.

Aft - Toward the stern of the boat.

Ahead - In a forward direction.

Amidships - In or toward the center of the boat.

Astern - In back of the boat, opposite of ahead.

Beam - The greatest width of the boat.

Below - Beneath the deck.

Boat hook- A short shaft with a fitting at one end shaped to facilitate use in putting a line over a piling, recovering an object dropped overboard, or in pushing or fending off.

Bongo – a plankton net deployed in the water column from the vessel.

Bow - The forward part of a boat.

Bridge - The location from which a vessel is steered and its speed controlled.

Bulkhead - A vertical partition separating compartments.

Chart - A map for use by navigators.

Codend – the closed end of a trawl net.

CTD – an instrument deployed from the vessel into the water column to profile salinity, temperature and depth, the acronym stands for Conductivity, Temperature & Depth.

Dead ahead- Directly ahead.

Dead astern- Directly aft.

Doors – a pair of large wood or metal boards that horizontally spread the trawl net.

Draft- The depth of water a boat draws.

Dragger – a commercial fishing vessel that uses a net or dredge to fish.

Dredge (drag) – is a large metal frame that is towed and scrapes the seafloor. Used to catch scallops or clams.

Fathom - Six feet.

Fixed gear – stationary fishing equipment such as lobster pots, long lines or fish traps.

Following sea- An overtaking sea that comes from astern.

Fore-Toward the bow of the boat

Forward - Toward the bow of the boat, as in forward hatch.

Fouled - Any piece of equipment that is jammed or entangled, or dirtied.

Galley - The kitchen area of a boat.

Gangway - The area of a ship's side where people board and disembark.

Hang – when the net or dredge gets caught on an obstruction on the seafloor.

Hatch - An opening in a boat's deck fitted with a watertight cover.

Hauling the net/dredge – retrieving the net/dredge to the vessel after a tow, haulback is the time when the net/dredge is being retrieved.

Head - A marine toilet. Also the upper corner of a triangular sail.

Helm - The wheel or tiller controlling the rudder.

Hold - A compartment below deck in a large vessel, used solely for carrying cargo.

Hull - The main body of a vessel.

Inboard - More toward the center of a vessel; inside; a motor fitted inside a boat.

Jacobs ladder- A rope ladder, lowered from the deck, as when pilots or passengers come aboard.

Keel - The centerline of a boat running fore and aft; the backbone of a vessel.

Knot - A measure of speed equal to one nautical mile (6076 feet) per hour.

Latitude - The distance north or south of the equator measured and expressed in degrees.

Lee - The side sheltered from the wind.

Leeward - The direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward.

Line - Rope and cordage used aboard a vessel.

Log - A record of courses or operation. Also, a device to measure speed.

Longitude - The distance in degrees east or west of the meridian at Greenwich, England.

Marlinspike - A tool for opening the strands of a rope while splicing.

Midship - Approximately in the location equally distant from the bow and stern.

Nautical mile- One minute of latitude; approximately 6076 feet - about 1/8 longer than the statute mile of 5280 feet.

Outboard - Toward or beyond the boat's sides.

Port - The left side of a boat looking forward. A harbor.

Quarter - The sides of a boat aft of amidships.

Rudder - A vertical plate or board for steering a boat.

Scouting – searching for an area to tow, with good bottom, consistent depth and free of fixed gear.

Screw - A boat's propeller.

Scuppers - Drain holes on deck, in the toe rail, or in bulwarks or (with drain pipes) in the deck itself.

Setting the net/dredge – deploying the net/dredge from the vessel for a tow.

Sounding - A measurement of the depth of water.

Stateroom - a cabin or private room aboard a ship.

Squall - A sudden, violent wind often accompanied by rain.

Starboard - The right side of a boat when looking forward.

Stern - The after part of the boat.

Stratum – a defined geographic area. It is based on depth and region for NEFSC surveys.

Streaming the net – towing the net at the surface while the vessel positions to set the net.

Topsides - The sides of a vessel between the waterline and the deck; sometimes referring to onto or above the deck.

Way - Movement of a vessel through the water such as headway, sternway or leeway.

Winch – a machine used for hauling the net/dredge, which has a drum around which is wound the trawl wire attached to the net/dredge.

Windward - Toward the direction from which the wind is coming.
Search Fisheries
Link Disclaimer
Privacy Policy
(File Modified Jan. 13 2018)