Powerboat Glossary: Key Terms for First-Time Buyers

Powerboat Glossary: Key Terms for First-Time Buyers

Any hobby or way of life you decide to get into will have its own culture and language. Be it cycling, hunting, investing, or boating, if you want to be part of the culture and avoid looking like the odd one out, you need to learn it.

Boating is no different, and boat owners sometimes seem to speak a different language, which can make it difficult for first-time buyers to keep up. If someone asks you to “tie off the fender to the starboard amidships cleat” what would you do?

Save yourself from embarrassing blank stares and familiarize yourself with some of the key boating terms before you decide to buy a luxury powerboat.

Parts of a Boat

To start, let’s discuss the parts of a boat. Understanding the many parts will come in handy when giving commands out at sea, discussing options on your dream vessel, or if you just want to show off.

  • Bow – the front of a boat. If you have trouble remembering, think about how you’d bow after a performance: lean forward.
  • Stern – the back of a boat.
  • Hull – the bottom of the boat.
  • Gunwale – the top edges of the hull. This is where you rest your arm during a cruise.
  • Keel – the lowest part of the hull when it sits in the water. It can also be used to describe a piece attached to the hull to improve stability.
  • Chine – the change in angle of a vessel’s hull. The angle of the chine can affect how a boat maneuvers and how it sits in the water.
  • Inboard Engine – an engine that’s mounted inside the hull. If you can’t see the engine(s) at the back of the boat, it’s most likely inboard.
  • Outboard Engine – an engine mounted to the outside of the transom that includes a self-contained engine block, lower drive unit, and transmission. They are easier to maintain and winterize, more efficient, and have faster performance compared to inboard engines, which is why all three models of Mystic luxury powerboats are equipped with outboard engines.
  • Berth – a sleeping area. It can be used to describe a bedroom inside a boat or a place where a boat is kept like a dock or marina (where the boat “sleeps”).
  • Deck – any exposed, flat surface that people can stand on.
  • Cockpit – where you’ll find the steering and engine controls. This can refer to either an enclosed or open area.
  • Jump Seats – pop up seats behind (aft) the cockpit of a boat.
  • Transom – the rearmost section of a boat that connects the sides of the hull. This is typically where outboard engines are mounted.

Common Nautical Directions

When you’re on a boat, giving directions isn’t as easy as saying “left” or “right.” People are always facing different directions. Your left might not be the same as someone else’s. To avoid confusion, boaters use directional terms that don’t rely on everyone facing the same way.

  • Port – the left side of the boat while you’re facing forward.
  • Starboard – the right side of the boat while you’re facing forward.
  • Amidships – the center of the boat. On a center console boat, this is where you’ll find the cockpit.
  • Forward – toward the front (bow) of the boat. If someone asks you to move forward, it doesn’t mean move the boat forward; it means you should move toward the front of the boat. It can also be used to reference parts of the boat. “Your seat is just forward of the cockpit.”
  • Aft – toward the back (stern) of the boat.
  • Underway – when the boat is moving.
  • Ahead – the boat moving in a forward direction.
  • Astern – the boat moving in a backward direction.

Boat Measurements

If you’re shopping for a luxury powerboat online, understanding the measurement terminology can help you get an idea for the size of a boat without having to see it in person.

  • Beam – the width of a boat at its widest point.
  • Deadrise – the angle of the hull. Most boat descriptions will list the only the highest deadrise angle, but really, there are several. The deadrise from the center hull to the transom will likely be different than the deadrise of the bow.
  • Displacement – the weight of the water displaced by the hull. A boat’s displacement is equal to its weight.
  • Dry Weight – the weight of a boat without fuel, water, or passengers.
  • Freeboard – the distance from the waterline to the top of the gunwale.

Types of Luxury Powerboats

Boats come in all shapes and sizes, and there are benefits to each. If you’re in the market for a luxury powerboat, here are the types you know.

  • Monohull – a boat with one hull. These are the most common.
  • Catamaran – any boat with two hulls. Catamarans are lighter and more stable than monohulls which makes them an ideal choice for racing. The Mystic C4000 is a powered catamaran.
  • Yacht – any boat used for pleasure, cruising, or racing. Although yachts have become synonymous with luxury, officially there’s no standard definition.
  • Center Console – a boat with the steering and engine controls in the center (amidships). These can range from fishing boats to luxury powerboats like the Mystic M3800 and the M4200.

Boating Terms for First-Time Buyers

Now that you’re better equipped to use the key boating terms, it’s time to begin the search for your first luxury powerboat. At Mystic, we pride ourselves on our unmatched customer service and customized boating solutions. If you’re ready to take the next step in the buying process, or if you still have a few questions to ask, our experts are standing by. Contact us to schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss your needs.