Florida Home & Dock Life – Contractor’s License Number: 16-M1-CT-00030

Glossary & Terms


  • Bow and stern, port and starboard – The bow is the front of the boat, and the stern is the rear. Astern means “at the rear”. If looking straight out over the bow, port is to your left and starboard is to your right.
  • Forward, aft and amidships – Forward is toward the bow, aft is toward the stern and amidships is at the central area of the boat.
  • Lines – Your bow line attaches the bow to the dock, your stern line attaches the stern to the dock and spring lines are additional mooring lines preventing the boat from moving forward or aft.
  • Keel, draft, and beam – The keel is the lowest part of the boat in the water. The depth to which the bottom of the keel reaches is the draft. The beam is the measurement of the boat at its widest point, port to starboard.

Boat Measurement Terminology

Length Overall (LOA) – the overall length of the boat. We need to know your boat’s literal length overall as measured from its aft-most to forward-most appendages, from the tip of your bowsprit to the back of your swim platform. 

What is a boat’s waterline length? – The length of a boat’s hull where it intersects with the water.

What is a boat’s draft? – A boat’s draft is the measurement of vertical distance between the boat’s waterline and the bottom of its keel, and this measurement determines the depth of water over which a boat can safely navigate. When you hear “What does she draw?” the question at hand is, “What depth of water is required for the boat to float?” 



  • Aboard – On or within the boat.
  • Above Deck – On the deck
  • Abreast – Side by side; by the side of. To define abreast in non sailing terms would be alongside something.
  • Adrift – Loose, not on moorings or towline.
  • Aft – Toward the stern of the boat. The aft of a ship is towards the rear of the ship, or the back of a boat.
  • Aground – Touching or fast to the bottom.
  • Ahead – In a forward direction.


  • Boat Fender – An air filled rubber device, in either a round or tubular shape, that hangs from the side of a boat to cushion it from impact while docked or parked next to another watercraft. It protects the boat and anything next to it from damage (similar to dock bumper).
  • Buoy – A floating device that’s anchored to a lake or sea floor serving as a marker for boats.


  • Cast Off – To let go.
  • Cleat – A T-Shaped device, usually made of metal, that attaches to a surface for tying a rope down on one end to secure a boat or object on the other rope end.
  • Coil – To lay a line down in circular turns.


Dock Hardware – (fasteners, connectors, brackets) – Metal components used to construct and fortify a boat dock, commonly used in wooden dock frames.

Dock Rollers (dock wheels) – Plastic or rubber rolling devices that are attached to a shaft. When a boat rubs against the rollers while docking into a boat slip, the rollers will turn on the shaft and guide the boat into the slip.


  • Fathom – Six feet.
  • Fender – A cushion, placed between boats, or between a boat and a pier, to prevent damage.


  • Life Ring – A flotation device used for emergencies in the event someone falls overboard a boat, some are attached to a rope to pull people back to the boat.


  • Manta Ray® Anchors – a patented labor and time saving device, are driven into the ground with no holes, no digging and no concrete. Unlike other anchoring systems, the MANTA RAY actually compacts the soil around itself providing a safe and environmentally sensitive installation. The anchors are driven with conventional hydraulic/pneumatic equipment that is readily available worldwide. Once driven to the proper depth, an upward pull on the anchor tendon rotates the MANTA RAY into a perpendicular “anchor lock” position in undisturbed soil. Proper holding capacity is measured by a gauge on the anchor locker. Each anchor is immediately proof loaded to the exact capacity required.
  • Midship – Approximately in the location equally distant from the bow and stern.
  • Mooring – An arrangement for securing a boat to a mooring buoy or a pier.


  • Pile Holder (leg holder) – Dock hardware component used for securing a dock pile to a boat dock or pier.
  • Piling – Support, protection for wharves, piers etc.; constructed of piles


  • Solar Light (dock light) – A lighting device powered by solar energy that’s used as a marker for boats that are distant from a dock at night. Some solar lights can be seen from over 4 miles away and can be aid for ships that are lost. Various other solar lights emit minimal light to make a dock path visible at night.  
  • Swale – A shallow trough-like depression that carries water mainly during rainstorms. · A shallow troughlike depression that’s created to keep runoff from going into our waterways.


  • Winch (dock winch, boat winch, anchor winch) – A dock winch is commonly used in large floating marinas to anchor the docks in place, reducing movement and keeping them from floating away. A boat winch is used to help pull a boat onto a trailer and to lock it in place.