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Glossary of Nautical and Boating Terms

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A line attached to a tool.

To tie something with a line.

Imaginary lines drawn around the world and used to measure distance north and south of the Equator. The North Pole is 90° north, the South Pole is 90° south, and the Equator is at 0°.

A small aft storage space for spare parts and other items.

Lazy jack
A line running from above the mainsail to the boom to aid in the lowering of the sail.

Lazy sheet
A line attached to a sail but not currently in use. The line currently in use is known as the working sheet. The working and lazy sheets usually change when the boat is tacked.

The direction toward which the wind is blowing. The direction sheltered from the wind.

A board placed alongside a berth to keep its occupant from falling out when a boat heels.

The direction away from the wind. Opposite of windward.

Life boat
A small boat used for emergencies, such as when the parent boat is sinking.

Life jacket, life preserver, life vest
A device used to keep a person afloat. Also called a personal floatation device or PFD.

Life raft
An emergency raft used in case of serious problems to the parent vessel, such as sinking.

A line running between the bow and stern of a boat to which the crew can attach themselves to prevent them from being separated from the boat.

A lighted navigational aid such as a lighthouse that can be used at night or in poor visibility.

A navigational light placed on a structure on land.

Lightweight anchor
An anchor that has pivoting flukes that dig into the ground as tension is placed on the anchor. It does not have a stock.

On a boat, most ropes are called lines.

A leaning to one side when not underway. Usually the result of an improperly loaded boat. Heeling is different from a list because it is caused by the forces of wind acting upon a sailboat that is underway. When a boat changes tacks, the direction of the heel will change sides, whereas a list is a continual leaning to the same side under any condition.

A device that allows boats to pass between bodies of water having different water levels, such as in a canal. A boat enters a lock, then large doors close behind it. The water level is then either raised or lowered until a second set of doors can be opened and the boat can pass through.

Any storage place on a boat.

1) A device used to measure the distance traveled through the water. The distance read from a log can be affected by currents, leeway and other factors, so those distances are sometimes corrected to a distance made good. Logs can be electronic devices or paddlewheels mounted through the hull of the boat or trailed behind it on a line. 2) A written record of a boat's condition, usually including items such as boat position, boat speed, wind speed and direction, course and other information.

A book in which the boat's log is kept. Each entry usually contains the time and date of the entry, weather conditions, boat speed and course, position and other information.

Imaginary lines drawn through the North and South Poles on the globe, used to measure distance east and west. Greenwich, England, is designated as 0°, with other distances being measured in degrees east and west of Greenwich.

An electronic instrument using radio waves from various stations to find one's position. The LORAN system is being replaced by the GPS system and will be obsolete in a few years. Many LORAN stations have already stopped providing service.

Low tide
The point of a tide at which the water is the lowest. The opposite of a high tide.

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