3 boat terms boaties get wrong most often.

When ordering products for your boat, it makes it easy when you know the particulars of what this and that is called. In the office, talking to boaties all day long, we’ve realised how common it is to call different parts of a boat the wrong terminology, so we’ve listed the top three mistakes to help you know your boat better.

Number 3. Keel.

Pronounced “Key – l.”

The keel is the centre beam where the bottom side plates join. Some boats have a visible keel, and some boats have an internal keel – a strengthener. The benefits of a prominent keel are added directional control, like a small surfboard fin.

Number 2. Gunwale.

Pronounced “Gun – nul.”

The top rail around the edge of a boat is the gunwale–where your rubbing strip is located. It’s a strangely spelt word, like it has something to do with shooting whales. Actually, it has an interesting 700 year origin. In the late 15th century, a “wale” was an upper plank on a ship. The Old English word gun (“gonne”) was added, because the outer ridge (wale) of a warship was where the guns were mounted. “Gonne wale” has become “gunwale” over time, and now that people have spelt it the way it’s pronounced so often, “gunnel” (like funnel) is now a recognised alternative spelling.

Number 1. Chine.

Pronounced “Ch – eye – n.”

The most commonly mispronounced term (many will say “chime”) of boat is actually becoming well known in boat terminology. When we started Kapten Boat Collars, ten years ago, few knew what we were talking about, when we explained the Collars sat on the chine. However, as newer boat builds incorporate reverse chines into their designs, the advertising has spread the news about what and where they are.

The ‘chine’ is the point along the lower side where the side plate of the hull meets and is joined to the bottom plate of the hull. Newer aluminium boats are welded to a thick length of flat bar, so this bar sticks out a little, and acts as a mini spray rail, too. Older boats are either welded directly to each other (which can more easily crack along this line), or are pop-riveted together.

So the ‘chine line’ is the line where the two plates join at different angles. Some boat’s chine lines are ‘classic’ with a gentle curve towards the bow, but newer boat designs are experimenting with what we refer to as ‘swept-up chine’s’ where they look like a rearing snake head. See our ‘rooftoppers’ website page for more info on different chines that suit the Collars.

So, there we have it, a little trivia about boating terms that we hope you thought was interesting. Now, we’ll never think about shooting whales when we mention gunwales, and maybe we’ll even start spelling it “gunnels.” Maybe…

What boat ‘parts’ do you find are the most often misunderstood?

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  1. Jim on March 9, 2024 at 1:57 am

    As you have titled this remarkable tutorial ‘ 3 Boat Terms…..’ Have you considered numbering these nautical insights from 1 to 3 instead of 3 to 5.
    Otherwise it may inspire me to post my own literary break through, ‘Numerical Order and How it Works’ in 3 easy steps …1, 7, 4

  2. JR on March 23, 2024 at 6:02 pm

    The “Boom.” I’ve had people on my boat who have called the mast the “boom.”

  3. Ronaldhex on April 14, 2024 at 8:14 am

    FlipBooks are a great addition
    to any passive income strategy. Because once you create a FlipBook, market it, share it & Earn it, it can technically sell itself.

    Learn More https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfRrd79oCfk?16248

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