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Yachting Alphabet

18 February 2022

Learn basics of yachting terminology


Agent is designated person ashore appointed by Captain or management company that helps with anything crew or guests might need while in area covered. Agents sort out all matters requested to make stay of their clients as pleasant as possible.

Anchor is large piece of metal usually on chain which is used to secure yacht position by attaching to sea bottom. Also used as verb, meaning that yacht will be out of marina, floating in some bay or place of interest.

APA is common word in chartering of yachts, meaning advance provisioning allowance. It is payment usually in range from 20% to 40% used to cover all guest expenses that are not included in charter fee, such as fuel, provisioning, transportation, agency costs, berths etc. In most cases charter fee includes renting of the yacht, wages of the employed crew and their supplies and all equipment onboard, all other expenses are considered as extras and are paid from APA.

AIS is tracking system for yachts which provides real time data all over the world.

Air draft is usually referred to the highest point of the yacht, usually particularly important for large sailing yachts as in many countries there are limitations in some areas. It is measured from water to the top of the yachts most prominent point.


Berth has two meanings; one is place in marina where yacht or boat stays while spending time there. Also, it is referred as bed, or place for sleeping onboard.

Bow is most forward part of the boat hull, usual pointy or narrow for smoother water breaking.

Bridge is place of command onboard; it is where deck officers perform their duty and where they monitor all boat operations.

Bollard usually piece of metal strongly attached to dock that is used to secure boats position when lines are tied to it.

Broker is person or company that is in between of buyer and seller of yacht, they are also involved of promotion of yachts for sale all over world.


Crew represents all personnel employed onboard of a yacht taking care of works and operations.

CoR is short for Certificate of Registration, representing one of yacht main documents as it states all details and particular of the vessel as well as ownership details. It is issued by country in which yacht is registered in.

Captain or often referred as Master is person onboard who oversees all boat operations, highest rank, and responsibility onboard.

Charter in yachting terminology is hiring of yacht or boat for a limited period, base charter duration is usually seven days, but it can be agreed on any period, for pleasure or business purposes.

Clearance formalities are performed on arrival and departure from any country, also known as check in and check out and they consist of taking care of police, customs, immigration, harbor masters authorities so that boat and everything on board (crew, guests, pets, items) are reported and legally signed in or out of certain county.


Deck is what you called level of the yacht, going all the way from front to the back and creating floors. Smaller yacht has two or three decks but on mega yachts sometimes it can be even more than five or six deck, some of them above and some of them below waterline, usually for engine and technical departments.

Duty Free Fuel is referred to fuel taken on departure from certain country or under special conditions, which can be up to 70% less expensive than regular fuel making it especially important as it is one of the largest expenses on yachts.

Dry dock is special construction capable of lifting boats out of the water for repairs. When mentioned as “we need to dry dock” means that yacht will go for repair or inspection in shipyard.

Draught or Draft represents number from waterline of the boat to its lowest point under. It is minimum of water lever required for some boat to sail.

Delivery in yachting terminology is moving boat from one place to another, often by hiring external professional crew, or it represent timing when newbuild yacht will be ready for hand over to owner.


ETA is short word commonly used in yachting and shipping, meaning estimated time of arrival, which is essential for planning of trips and all other plans.

ENG1 is special medical certificate often asked for on larger yachts as it is issued by approved doctors and requested mostly by UK flagged yachts.


Flag represents territory under which boat is registered. Main flag or flag of registration needs to be visible all the time. There is also courtesy flag representing country in which territory yacht is sailing and it is usually next to registration flag or on high point of the ship representing token of respect to host country.


GMDSS is short word for international distress and safety signal. Officers on board need to have valid license when in charge of boat operations.

Gangway is walkway at the and or side of the yacht used for entry or exit on board. It is considered polite to ask person in charge onboard for permission before stepping on it.

Galley is different name for kitchen on yachts.

Guests are considered all persons onboard that are not crew, usually owners or charterers and their guests.


Hull is referred to the essential part of the boat that is in contact with water which enables floating of the vessel. It does not include superstructure, engines, or mast if it is sailing boat.

Homeport in most cases is port where yachts stay most of their time during the year or from, they start and end their charters most of the time. It can be also referred to the port of registration.

Harbor master’s office represent authorities that are in charge for all operations on sea in one country. They take care of all boats that come and go from some area, and they are taking care that all maritime related documents are in accordance whit regulations of the host country.


Interior is inside of the yacht, beside bridge, garage, and technical department. It is where guest stay and spend their time onboard. Usually fitted with most luxurious materials with unique details.

Itinerary represents some plans for trips during cruising or chartering of the. It can be for some specific period, or for some specific area depending on the demand of the client, usually it is provided from agent or some local guide.

IMO number is called specific seven signs number that is unique for every vessel, and it is registered with International Maritime Organization.


Junior crew are usually less experienced crew in yachting, kind of apprentices, who are completely new to yachting or transferring from different sectors in maritime that need to adapt and learn basics of yachting.

Jetty is called part of the marina where boats can be moored, or it serves as breakwater for protection of the marina or harbor.


Knot is measurement for speed on water, it is calculated as one nautical mile per hour.


Lines are called ropes, chains or cables that are used to dock boat safely to buoy, bollard, or shoreline to keep it secured in position.

Loa is longest measurement for yachts, as it means length overall and it includes any addons, platforms or anything else that is above waterline and is part of the ship.


Master Bedroom is called most luxurious bedroom onboard, not to be confused with Master (Captain), as this is room reserved for owner of the yacht or main charterer and it is always considered as best room on yacht.

Mooring, similar meaning as lines, and often name for two lines that are for bow of the boat

MYBA is world know association in yachting, which preserves high standards in yachting business, especially in chartering and brokerage.

Mast on sailing boats is high standing pole that sails are attached to,


Nautical mile is main unit in maritime. All measurements are told in miles, and it is 1852 meters, not to be mistaken for land mile which is 1609 meters.


Overboard is accident when someone falls of the ship, it is emergency that require assistance of anyone available in vicinity.


Port side is called left side of the vessel when front facing bow. Both sides have their distinctive names so that crew can know at any time when speaking. When onboard in communication it is never used left or right side.

Provisioning is suppling yacht with all necessary items for their time on the sea. It includes all basic items such as food, beverages, items, oils, spares etc.

Pilot is designated person appointed by government or authorities of certain area to assist all vessels to navigate that area due to safety reasons. Usually in and out of ports, harbors, or some specific areas, such as bays, straights or around islands.


Qualifications are called basic certificates that any crew member should obtain when preparing to work onboard. Usually they are basic STCW certificate, medical examination proofs, drug and alcohol test, small boat license for tender operations or some advanced certificates for higher ranks or various positions. Stewardess position sometime require Food and Hygiene certificates.


Refit works means repairing or replacing of certain parts of the yachts that can be done afloat or in shipyards. It can be an aesthetic refit meaning that only some interior parts will be changed, such as furniture, AV/TV equipment or modernization of existing systems.

Regatta is a maritime event that includes many boats, usually sailing, in journey from one place to another for pleasure or as a competition.


Starboard is called right side of the vessel when front facing bow.

Stern is back of the boat, usually where propulsion system is located.

Skipper is other name for person in charge of the boat, but it usually is used for captains on smaller yachts or tenders.

Sailing Yacht is type of yacht that uses sails as its main way of propulsion. Most of the sailing yachts have auxiliary engine as well, and there are yachts that uses engine as primary propulsion system but have sails when crew or owner wants to use them for recreation.

STCW stands for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers and it is world known type of certification that every mariner needs to have to be eligible to join any yacht or vessel.

SoF is common yachting terminology referring to south of France, area covering from Italy to Spain, but in most cases, it is from Nice to Marseille.


Tender is smaller boat that is used as way of transport if yacht is on anchor or to cover short distances without moving main boat. It is used for watersports, supplies, or any other things. In most cases it can be lifted on the yacht or fitted in garage, or it is towed behind with lines. If it goes on its own behind or in front of the yacht it is called chase boat as well.

Toys are all complementary equipment, items, devices or addons on yacht. They can be jet skis, water slides, RIBs, SUPs, water cities, inflatable platforms or any other items that are for pleasure.

Transit log is permit from authorities of certain area to cruise, pass or stay for limited period. Usually, it is obtained before or immediately upon arrival.

Thruster is auxiliary propulsion device located on bow (bow thruster) or stern (stern thruster) that ease maneuvering of the yacht or tender.


Unmooring is procedure of letting loos lines and departing location where yacht has been moored.


Vignette is different name for transit log, in Montenegro it is called like that, and it can be obtained for period up to one year in harbor masters office when all required documents are presented and checked.

VHF in common language refer to radio stations that are used for communication between crew, with authorities, or other vessels within range. Main VHF channel is 16 in most countries.


Winch is device that is used for winding ropes onboard, on motor yachts it is used for maneuvering and pulling of the mooring lines, and on sailing yachts it is used for sails as well.

Waterline is straight line where water is on the side of the yacht in normal state. It is one of important measures in shipping.


Xebec is special type of the sailing ship typical for Mediterranean area.


Yacht is vessel typically used for pleasure purposes, but it can be used competitive in races or regattas. Nowadays there is huge variation in sizes, shapes, and models all of them with some distinctive modifications. If it is used only by owner and its closest relatives and family it is private yacht, and if it is used for chartering and business purposes then it is commercial yacht.

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Zero speed stabilization is technology that enables yachts and boats to remain without unpleasant movements when out on the sea, even when they are anchored.

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