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Port

The left side of the boat (looking forward) is called the side

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Bow

  The front of the boat is called the 

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Stern

The back of the boat is called the  

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Starboard

The right sideof the boat (looking forward) is called the side  

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Willy, age 11, from Connecticut asks: What is the history of marlinespike?

This is a very good question Willy!  Marlinespike is the art of seamanship that includes the tying of various knots, splicing lines, working with cable or wire rope and even making decorative ornaments from rope or line. The name marlinespike is derived from the tool that is used for splicing lines. It can be a…

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Bowline

Knots! Bowline “The King of Knots!” Used to form a temporary loop in a line. (So you can throw it over a piling, for example.)

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Anthony, age 10, from Connecticut asks: Why is the Bedford Buoy red and white?

Great question Anthony! Although I don’t have an available nautical chart of this area, a red and white vertically striped marker indicates a fairway or safewater marker. Usually this is found at the entrance to an inlet or other body of water when returning from sea. Many times these will be designated as MO(A) buoys….

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Kid’s Korner

Kid’s Korner Alex Does It Again! During the Club N�utico de San Juan, Puerto Rico Tournament held last November 4th and 5th, Alejandro Manuel Rosas-Salgado (Alex) won two first place trophies for kids and came in second among adult anglers, for a total of 3 trophies. This annual tournament is held for San Juan Club…

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What is Hydrodynamic Effect?

Our friend Arman asks us to clarify a term that was used in the BoatSafe.com contest. The situation was that a large passenger ferry was overtaking a pleasure yacht and, because they were in a narrow channel, the ferry passed very close to the passenger vessel. Because of the “hydrodynamic effect” and the suction of…

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Daniel asks “Why is it hard to back the boat trailer?”

For many boaters, the hardest part of trailering is backing up. You donÂ’t have to be a master truck driver to do this. You do need to remember a few simple rules. The most important of which is; you have to be able to see the trailer. This might mean putting extended mirrors on the…

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Stuff to Have on Your Small Boat

Even if your boat is very small and moves by oars or sail, you want to be prepared to help yourself or others. Here is a minimum list of stuff to take with you on your boat. Required! At least one PFD (life jacket) for everyone onboard. Always wear your PFD when in your boat….

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Round Turn and Two Half Hitches

Knots! Round Turn and Two Half Hitches To permanently and securely tie a line to something, such as a piling.

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Required Equipment for Boats

U. S. COAST GUARD MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR RECREATIONAL VESSELS EQUIPMENT Less than 16ft/4.9m 16 to less than 26 ft/7.9m 26 to less than 40 ft/12.2m 40 to not more than 65 ft/19.8m Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) One approved Type I, II, III or V(must be worn) PFD for each person on board or being towed…

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How do you save someone who falls overboard in a boat that is moving quite fast? If you don’t know how drive.

Lauren, you have posed a very important question. I only hope that you are asking as a preventative measure and that you were not presented with this problem. First, let me emphasize some things to remember. If a boat in which you are riding is going fast enough that a person could potentially be tossed…

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Parents get help at BoatSafeKids

Parents get help at BoatSafeKids Frank writes: My son is reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and asked me what distance a league is. Also, he wanted to know what the water pressure per square inch per foot of depth under water is. Your help would be greatly appreciated. A league is a measurement of…

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Joshua asks: Where does the term figure head come from?

The figure head is the carved ornamental and painted figure erected on the bow of ships. The origin of the figure head in the early days of seagoing was twofold; a mixture of religious symbolism and the treatment of the ship as a living thing. Early sailors thought the figure head would please the sea…

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Clove Hitch

Clove Hitch To temporarily tie a line to something. But be careful – it can come loose!

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Why are Life Jackets Orange?

Orange is a great color for life jackets because it is a very bright color that you rarely find in nature. If you are trying to rescue someone who has fallen overboard, you need to be able to see them. If they are wearing a bright orange life jacket you will be better able to…

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A Visit to the Niña

A Visit to the Niña You probably know the story of Christopher Columbus and the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. If you get the chance to see this reproduction of the Ni�a, now a “sailing museum”, you’ll be very surprised at how small these vessels were. It’s hard to imagine that anyone would…

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Corey Asks: Why is a having fire extinguisher on your boat a rule when there is alot of water around the boat to put out the fire?

Corey, that is a great question. Although there is a lot of water around the boat, not all fires can or should be put out with water. Fire Extinguishers are classified by letters and numbers according to the class and size fire they can put out. The letter, (A, B, C, or D) indicates the…

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Cleat Hitch

  Cleat Hitch For attaching a line to a cleat on the dock or on the boat.  

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Classes of Boats

Whenever you leave the dock or put your boat in the water, you are required by law to have safety equipment onboard. The equipment you need depends upon the size of your boat and what makes it go. Boats are catagorized by class, based upon their length overall: less than 16 feet 16 feet to…

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Find the Boating Words in the Flag!

  Can you find these words in the flag above? ANCHOR KNOTS OUTBOARD BUOY LIFEJACKET SKIPPER DOCK NAVIGATION WHISTLE HELM

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Square Knot

  Square Knot For tying two lines together or tying something down.  

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Nathan asks: Please explain the term waterline length. Does this length of a boat affect how fast a boat can go?

That is a very good question. Waterline length is the length of the boat from bow to stern where it sits in the water. In other words, as it floats in the water if you were to mark the point on the bow where the water touched and marked the point on the stern where…

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Rodger from the United Kingdom asks: How was the nautical mile arrived at and why is the speed at sea called knots? Was there a means of determining the knot in bygone sailing days?

A nautical mile is a distance on the earth’s surface of 6,080 feet, which is equal to one minute of latitude at the earth’s equator. Since there are 360 degrees around the earth, and each degree equals 60 minutes, the distance around the earth, at the equator or any other great circle, is 21,600 nautical…

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Just the Basics Required Stuff to Have on Your Boat

You need to have a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) for every person onboard the boat. PFDs must be approved by the United States Coast Guard. To see the kinds of PFDs available, look here . In addition, if your boat is 16 feet or over, you need to have a throwable PFD onboard, and immediately…

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Pets OnBoard

Ellie from Wisconsin wondered about taking her cat along for a day of boating. Good for you, Ellie, for wanting to make sure your cat would be safe!  Yes, you probably can take your cat boating if you plan ahead. The best way to introduce your pet to boating is to spend some time together…

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Do I Have to Wear a PFD?

Christa from Illinois asks, “Do I always have to wear my PFD?” The easy answer to that question is that Illinois has a law that says anyone 13 or younger must wear a PFD when underway on a boat. Also, a Federal law requires that children 12 and under must wear a PFD when onboard…

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Boat Parts and Terms

Boat Parts and Terms The front of the boat is called the The left side of the boat is called the side The right side of the boat is called the side The back of the boat is called the Other Boating Words to Know: Hull : The body of the boat not including the…

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