A Course for Safe Boating

u Glossary


short blast

The left side of a boat when you are (inside) facing the bow; also a destination or harbor. A vessel propelled by mechanical means. A whistle signal four to six seconds long. Wheel or screw mechanism that pushes water aft to propel the boat. A protective edge on the deck of a boat.  A white and orange marker used in the USWMS to indicate danger, restricted operations, or an excluded area. Any condition in which visibility is restricted by fog, mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sandstorms, smoke or other causes. The general term for all the lines (ropes) of a vessel. The right and duty to maintain course and speed. In general, cordage as it is purchased at the store. When it comes aboard a vessel and is put to use it is referred to as a “line.” A small, flat-bottom, pointed boat propelled by oars. Long, narrow and relatively unstable craft powered by oars. Used for recreation and racing.  The control surface, usually aft by which a boat is steered. The nautical traffic rules for preventing collisions on the water. required to be shown on boats underway between sundown and sunup, and during periods of reduced visibility. Also known as a windsurfer. A board similar to a surfboard that is propelled by wind and sails. A boat powered by wind and sails. May or may not have an auxiliary engine. A larger vessel usually thought of as being used for ocean travel. A vessel able to carry a “boat” on board. An anchor line and/or chain.

A one-second sound signal given by a vessel’s whistle. A green light on the starboard side and a red light on the port side each showing an unbroken light over an arc of 112.5 degrees and so fixed to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on its respective side. In a vessel of less than 20 meters in length the sidelights may be combined in one lantern carried on the fore and aft centerline of the vessel Any pole, as a mast, yard, boom or gaff, supporting or extending a sail of a ship. A channel marker that looks like a tall, slender pole. A buoy having no lateral significance used to indicate an anchorage area, fish net area, spoil grounds, military exercise zone, etc. Short for sun protection factor. This is a rating indicator of how effective a sunscreen is in blocking the harmful effects of the sun.  Fore and aft lines used in mooring to prevent a boat from moving forward or astern while fast to a pier. A knot used to join two lines of similar size. Also called a reef knot. The vessel required to first hold course and speed when nearing another vessel; the vessel which has the right- of-way. However, the stand-on vessel is also required to take any action neces­ sary to avoid a collision if the give-way vessel does not take early and signifi­ cant action. A type of surfboard that provides a platform for a person to stand up and propel the device across the water with a long-handled paddle. The Coast Guard considers the stand up paddleboard to be a vessel when it is used outside of a swimming, bathing, or surfing zone, subject to the navigation and safety rules of other paddlecraft. In California, the stand up paddleboard is always considered to be a vessel when a paddle is used or carried, making it always subject to the navigation and safety rules of other paddlecraft. The right side of a boat when you are (inside) facing the bow. When any vessel or object blocks a sailboat’s wind.



prolonged blast


R rail


spar buoy

regulatory marker

special purpose buoy

restricted visibility




spring line

rode rope

square knot

stand-on vessel


rowing shell


stand up paddleboard

rules of the road

running lights

S sailboard



steal your wind



California Boating  A Course for Safe Boating

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