Photo of a ship.

List of nautical terms

Anything to do with sailing on the sea.

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A dock is a place where ships can come up against the shoreline and load or unload their cargo. It might also be a similar system set up for trucks to load and unload.
Used as a verb, docking is the act of something connecting to a dock.

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Photo of a harbor
Photo by Redmond

A harbor, also spelt harbour, is a sheltered body of water that is deep enough for ships to dock and unload. Harbors are generally an inlet or bay surrounded by land.
A harbor is also a term used for any safe place, or can be used as a verb to mean keeping something or someone safe, as in "he was harboring a known criminal".

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Photo of a boat being repaired
Photo by Ian Barbour

The hull of a boat is its distinctively shaped outer shell. Most boats only have one hull - catamarans have two.

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Photo of a boat with a jib
Photo by niddynoo

A jib is a smaller, triangular sail at the front of a sailboat. Some larger sailing ships have more than one jib.

Photo of a jolly roger
Photo by Peter Dutton

The Jolly Roger is a flag with a skull and crossbones that was traditionally flown on a pirate ship, although many pirates would just fly a plain black flag.
The reason pirates wanted people to know they were pirates was just to frighten the crew of other ships into giving up without a fight.
The Jolly Roger in the picture is being flown along with some other modern flags.

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Photo of masts on a ship
Photo by Nathan Blair

A mast is the tall support seen on sailing ships that holds up their sails. The term mast is also used for poles that support telecommunications equipment, like antennas.

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You moor a boat when you tie it to something on the shore so it doesn't float away.
See also moor, the swampy area.

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Photo of some oars
Photo by RittyRats

An oar, sometimes called a paddle, is a long, thin pole with a wide, flat part at one or both ends. It is used to make a small boat like a canoe move forward, and to help in steering it.

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A paddle is a hand-held device that you push backwards through the water to make a boat or canoe move forward.

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Photo of a pirate
Photo by DeusXFlorida

Pirates sail around the oceans, stealing from other ships. This is called piracy and is still common to this day. The captain of a pirate ship was typically the strongest fighter and one the men could trust. Pirate ships would often take on outcasts from society to join their crew.
The skull and crossbones design on the pirate's hat is known as the Jolly Roger. The pirate in the picture has most of the features that pirates in modern movies and cartoons have: a parrot, a wooden leg, a hook hand and an eyepatch. In reality, with the conditions found on ships in the 1600s, a pirate that suffered such injuries in battle would have died from infection.

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And also ...

Aft, Kayak.