List of ship directions

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This list of ship directions explains dozens of related terms such as fore, aft, astern, aboard, or topside. For background, see below: Origins.

abaft (preposition)
at or toward the stern of a ship, or further back from a location, e.g. the mizzenmast is abaft the mainmast.[1]
aboard
onto or within a ship, or in a group.[2]
above
a higher deck of the ship.[1]
aft (adjective)
toward the stern (rear) of a ship.[1]
adrift
floating in the water without propulsion.
aground
resting on the shore or wedged against the sea floor.[3]
ahull
with sails furled and helm lashed alee.[4]
alee
on or toward the lee (the downwind side).[5]
aloft
the stacks, masts, rigging, or other area above the highest solid structure.[1]
amidships
near the middle part of a ship.[1]
aport
toward the port side of a ship (opposite of "astarboard").[6]
ashore
on or towards the shore or land.[7]
astarboard
toward the starboard side of a ship (opposite of "aport").[8]
astern (adjective)
toward the rear of a ship (opposite of "forward").[9]
athwartships
toward the sides of a ship.[1]
aweather
toward the weather or windward side of a ship.[10]
aweigh
just clear of the sea floor, as with an anchor.[11]
below
a lower deck of the ship.[1]
belowdecks
inside or into a ship, or down to a lower deck.[12]
bilge
the underwater part of a ship between the flat of the bottom and the vertical topsides[13]
bottom
the lowest part of the ship's hull.
bow or stem
front of a ship (opposite of "stern")[1]
centerline
an imaginary, central line drawn from the bow to the stern.[1]
fore or forward
at or toward the front of a ship or further ahead of a location (opposite of "aft")[1]
inboard
attached inside the ship.[14]
keel
the bottom structure of a ship's hull.[15]
leeward
side or direction away from the wind (opposite of "windward").[16]
on deck
to an outside or muster deck (as "all hands on deck").[17]
on board
somewhere on or in the ship.[18]
outboard
attached outside the ship.[19]
port
the left side of the ship, when facing forward (opposite of "starboard").[1]
starboard
the right side of the ship, when facing forward (opposite of "port").[1]
stern
the rear of a ship (opposite of "bow").[1]
topside
on the ship's main weather deck.[1]
underdeck
a lower deck of a ship.[20]
yardarm
an end of a yard spar below a sail.
waterline
where the water surface meets the ship's hull.
weather
side or direction from which wind blows (same as "windward").[16]
windward
side or direction from which wind blows (opposite of "leeward").[16]

Origins[edit]

  • First use of "aboard": 14th century[2]
  • First use of "aft": 1580[21]
  • First use of "outboard": 1694[22]
  • First use of "inboard": 1830[19]
  • First use of "belowdecks": 1897.[12]

The word "ahoy" is not a direction, but rather an interjection used to hail a person or ship, or to attract attention.[23] See the linked sources, below, for more details.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Ship Directions - TKDTutor" (glossary), TKDtutor.com, 2012, web: SD Archived 2012-05-26 at the Wayback Machine..
  2. ^ a b "Aboard - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-ab
  3. ^ "Aground - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-agr
  4. ^ "Ahull - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-ahull
  5. ^ "Alee - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-alee
  6. ^ "Aport - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-aport
  7. ^ "Ashore - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-ash
  8. ^ "Astarboard - Definition and More from Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-astar
  9. ^ "Astern - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-astern
  10. ^ "Aweather - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-aweat
  11. ^ "Aweigh - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-aweigh
  12. ^ a b "Belowdecks - Definition and More from Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-belowd
  13. ^ "Bilge - Definition and More from Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-bilge
  14. ^ "Inboard - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-inb
  15. ^ "Bilge keel - Definition and More from Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-bilgek
  16. ^ a b c "Windward - Definition and More from Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-windw
  17. ^ "Deck - Definition and More from Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-deck
  18. ^ "Onboard - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-onb
  19. ^ a b "Outboard - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-outb
  20. ^ "Underdeck - Definition and More from Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-underd
  21. ^ "aft". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  22. ^ "outboard". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  23. ^ "Ahoy - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary", Merriam-Webster Dictionary, May 2012, web: MW-ahoy