The Proper Term for the Forward End of a Boat

The Proper Term for the Forward End of a Boat

Being in love with boats is one thing but being a seasoned sailor, experienced seaman, or boat owner is a whole different thing. This extra experience and knowledge involve much more than just getting on a boat. You need to learn what every part of the vessel is called and address it properly with other members of the crew or even guests so that everyone knows what you are referring to. This process might seem easy at first, but in fact, learning marine terminology can feel like a whole new language. 

In fact, every part of a boat has its own term in the marine world. So, what is the proper term for the forward end of a boat?

The tail? The bottom? The end? Not quite right!

The front of the boat is actually called the bow. The opposite end of the bow is called the stern. If you stand facing the bow, with your back on the stern, the left side is called the port side while the right side is called the starboard.

So, when you want to indicate something that is in the very front of the hull you just say it is located in the bow. The term bow is a derivative of an old dutch name that means shoulder. In Middle Dutch or Old Norse, the shoulder is spelled as boech or bogr. This term is also found in old English as bough. As to why this term has been transferred to the nautical world remains unknown. It might be due to the round shape of the front part of the hull that resembles a shoulder. 

The term bow refers to the forward end of the hull not only in yachts, sailboats, or motorboats but also in larger vessels like big ships. Therefore, you will find many different types of bows. These are the notable bow types, the raked bow, the plumb bow, the straight-stem bow, the flared bow, the clipper bow, the Bulbous bow, the ram bow, the inverted bow, the high-chin spoon bow, and the low-chin spoon bow. Each type has a distinct shape that differentiates it and makes it unique. 

Check out more articles in our blog dedicated to everything related to boats, from big to small. In addition, have a look at TheBoatApp and its features to help you better manage your vessel and look after it without too much effort. 

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