Boat Parts: Terminology | Boat Dealers | Greenville NC | Rocky Mount NC

Whether you’re an old pro in the boating industry or a newcomer, it’s always a good idea to know the parts of a boat. Even if you read or watch boating or marine literature, television shows, or movies, it can get overwhelming to remember all the terminology when it comes to boats.

At Greenville Marine & Sport Center, we are your local boat, motor, and trailer dealer. For over 49 years, we’ve been serving Pitt and Beaufort counties and Eastern North Carolina. We offer many brands of boats and engines, and our experienced sales and service staff is excited to help you buy a new or used boat. 

In case you didn’t know, we’re also home to the awesome outdoor shop, in which we sell tackle, rods and reels, clothing, sunglasses, guns, hunting supplies, archery, and we even have an archery range. Buy local – you won’t be disappointed! If you’re looking to buy a new or used boat, look no further! Check out our boat inventory and let us know what catches your eye.

We’re here to help with the basics of boating vocabulary, with a little help from our friends at

Berth: A sleeping area on a boat. Also, a place where a boat is tied up.

Bilge: The lowest section of a boat where water typically collects and where your bilge pumps are located.

Bimini: A type of folding canvas top used to shield occupants from rain and sun.

Bow: The forward end of any boat.

Bulkhead: Typically a transverse structural component in a boat that often supports a deck.

Cabin: An enclosed and protected area on a boat.

Casting Platform: A raised, open deck on a fishing boat used for casting a fishing rod.

Chine: The part of a boat where its hull sides and bottom intersect.

Cleat: A metal or plastic fitting used to securely attach a line.

Coaming: Raised edges, or sides, designed to help keep waves and water from entering a certain area of a boat.

Cockpit: Any semi-enclosed, recessed area that is lower than the surrounding decks, such as the cockpit of a sailboat or a center-console powerboat.

Companionway: An entryway that provides access to the below-decks spaces on a boat.

Console: A raised area above the deck or cockpit that occupants often sit or stand behind while the boat is underway. It is also where the steering of the vessel is done.

Deck: Essentially any exposed, flat exterior surface on a boat that people stand on.

Dinette: An area for dining on a boat, typically with a table set between two seating areas.

Flybridge: A steering station, sometimes with a small entertaining space, built atop a boat’s cabin. It’s also sometimes called a ‘flying bridge’.

Foredeck: The forward-most deck on a boat.

Galley: An area on a boat where food is prepared.

Gunwale: The top edge of a boat’s hull sides.

Hardtop: A supported fiberglass or composite roof-like external structure that covers a portion of a boat.

Hatch: The cover or door that closes over any opening in a boat’s deck or cabin top.

Head: The bathroom on a boat.

Helm: The area of a boat where the steering and engine controls are located.

Hull: The physical portions of a boat that sit in the water.

Inboard Engine: An engine that is mounted inside the hull of a boat.

Jib: Generally the smaller of two or more sails on a sailboat, flown forward of the mast.

Jump Seats: Small, pop-up seats usually located in the aft cockpit of a powerboat.

Lifelines: Cables or lines used to prevent people or gear from falling overboard.

Livewell: A specialized compartment on a boat designed to keep fish, shrimp, and other fishing bait alive.

Locker: An area on a boat where gear is stowed.

Mainsail: Generally the largest sail on a sailboat.

Mast: A vertical structure, usually made of aluminum, which supports sails on a sailboat.

Keel: The lowest portion of a boat’s hull as it sits in the water. Also, a hull appendage that improves stability.

Outboard Well: A recessed area on a boat just forward of where an outboard engine is mounted.

Outboard Engine: An engine that is generally mounted to the transom of a boat that has a self-contained engine block, transmission, and lower drive unit.

Pod Drives: Inboard engines mounted above articulating drive units that protrude through the bottom of the boat.

Propeller: A rotating device that is paired with an engine to propel a boat through the water.

Rigging: The lines and wires that support and help control a spar or mast.

Rubrail: A protective outer element on the hull sides that helps protect the hull from damage.

Rudder: A vertical hull appendage that controls steering.

Saloon: A room in the cabin on a boat that’s usually the primary entertaining area.

Scuppers: Deck drains that channel water from rain and spray overboard.

Sheer Line: The outline of a boat’s deck at the gunwale or hull-deck joint from bow to stern.

Stateroom: An enclosed cabin in a boat with sleeping quarters.

Stern: The aft-most section of a boat’s hull.

Stern Drive: A propulsion system consisting of an inboard engine with a steerable drive system that is mounted to the transom.

Swim Platform: A structure on the stern of a boat designed to make getting in and out of the water easier.

T-Top: A metal structure on a boat that is usually topped with a section of canvas or a hard top to protect occupants from sun, spray, and rain.

Tiller: A wood, metal, or composite handle that is connected to the rudder(s) or a small outboard and used to steer a boat.

Toerail: A wood or fiberglass rail or fiddle located around the outside edge of a boat’s deck, usually situated near where the hull sides meet the deck.

Topsides: The portion of a boat’s hull that is above the waterline.

Transom: The aft-most section of a boat that connects the port and starboard sections of the hull.

Trim Tabs: Adjustable metal plates on a powerboat’s hull bottom or transom that help adjust the boat’s running attitude, pitch, and roll as it moves through the water. On a sailboat, a single trim tab may be located on the aft edge of the keel to help the boat steer better in certain conditions.

V-Berth: A berth that is situated in the bow of a boat.

Waterline: The line around a boat’s hull where it intersects the water.