Master the yachting terms glossary for your upcoming yacht charter


The yachting terms glossary can seem complex at first sight. During your yacht charter, you will sometimes have the strange feeling that you have forgotten your own language. Your crew will probably be using very specific terms that can be confusing, especially if you are new to the boating world. In this post, our team decodes the 20 most common yachting terms you will most likely encounter during your next yacht charter.



Aft refers to the area closest to the back of the yacht when you are moving towards the ‘stern’ (see below). The aft deck is usually where the main outdoor dining table is located on the boat.


A bimini is a canvas supported by a metal frame which is used to shade a deck area from the sun. A bimini can usually be collapsed when not used and raised again when the boat guests require.


The word ‘berth’ has two distinct meanings. It can either refer to the place (slip) where a yacht can be moored (docked) in a port/marina. Or, it can refer to a place to sleep on a yacht e.g. a crew berth or ‘Pullman’ berth (see below).


Bow is the word used to describe the front end of the yacht. The location of the bow on a boat is essential to define the directions: ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ (see below).


There is no bedroom on a yacht, there are cabins or alternatively staterooms (term used for larger yachts).


A fender is the bumper-like thing hanging off both sides of the yacht (against the hull)  to protect from other yachts or docks.


A flybridge is a raised open deck located above the main deck area. It is often equipped with a second helm station and has plenty of space for guests to relax and enjoy panoramic views. Don’t hesitate to mention you’re looking for a flybridge charter yacht when you ask for a selection.


Forward refers to the area closest to the front of the yacht, when you are moving towards the ‘bow’ of the yacht.


The galley is the cooking area on the yacht, what you would call the kitchen.


A head is a toilet room.


Knot is the unit used to measure speed in marine navigation. One knot is equivalent to one nautical mile per hour. This is a very important word in the yachting dictionary. 


A line is what you would want to call a rope.

Nautical miles

This is the unit used to measure distance in marine navigation. One nautical mile represents a distance of 1,852 metres or 6,076.12 feet. Territorial waters are defined using nautical miles. If you’re planning to cruise to international waters, your charter yacht will have to cruise outside 12 nautical miles (nm).


To embark on your charter yacht you will need to use the passerelle which is the plank you walk on from the dock to your yacht.


Port, indicated by a red light, is a direction and refers to the left side of the yacht when looking forward towards the bow of your yacht. The opposite direction is starboard.


A Pullman is a bunk bed that pulls out of the wall providing an additional sleeping berth atop another bed.


Stabilizers help yachts to reduce the rolling motion significantly improving the comfort on board. The most advanced stabilizers are called ‘zero-speed’ and work when the yacht is sailing as well as at anchor.


Starboard, indicated by a green light, is a direction and refers to the right side of the yacht when looking forward towards the bow of your yacht. The opposite direction is port.


Stern is the word used to describe the rear end of the yacht.


A tender is a small boat carried on board the yacht (or towed) and which is used for transfers as well as water toys activities. Be ready to hear this yachting terminology quite a lot during your charter!


With the above selection of commonly used terms, we hope you’ll pick up the yachting jargon really fast as you prepare for your next yacht charter. If you think you’re armed with these basics and the yachting terms glossary, ready to venture out into open waters, browse our selection of luxury yachts and contact us to plan your next yacht rental holiday! To deepen your knowledge you can also consult a more detailed glossary.