Welcome to Evesham Marina

Jargon Buster


Do you know your port from your starboard? Do you know the difference between an on-line and off-line mooring? If not, then the following table should help you understand some of the terms used when people talk about canal boats.

Jargon Buster
Aft / Stem Back of the boat
Air Draft The height of the boat taken from the waterline to the highest fixed point on the boat (so you won’t hit a low bridge)
Beam A boat’s width
Bow Pointed front of the boat
Breasted Pair Two boats moored together
Butty Boat A narrowboat without an engine, usually towed behind or alongside a powered narrowboat, has an open hold to carry cargo
BWB Key Opens sanitary stations, waterpoints and some swing bridges and locks
Cill ‘Doorsteps’ inside the lock, on which the lock gates sit
Counter Flat area below the water line above the swim
Cut Another term for a canal: workers ‘cut’ the ditches to make the canals
Draft The depth of a boat / how deep it is under water
Elsan Disposal Place to empty disposable toilets
Gunwale The top edge of the hull where it joins the cabin side, pronounced gunnel as tunnel
Gallery A boat’s kitchen
Gangplank A plank used for getting on and off when the boat won’t quite reach the bank
Hull The main body of a boat, not including the cabin
Pound A section of waterway between locks
Pump Out The facility to empty toilets that have a fixed holding tank
Restriction When maintenance work is carried out on a waterway, but the navigation doesn\t have to be closed. Boaters may need to follow special instructions, or be delayed for a certain amount of time, etc
Rudder Used to steer the boat, it is attached to the back of a boat and into the water
Raw Water Cooled Canal water is drawn in via a mud box (normally a watertight container large enought o allow the incoming water time to settle) before being pumped around the engine to cool it then returned to the canal
Screw The propeller which makes the boat go
Skeg A steel horizontal bar welded to the base plate (normally in channel form) protruding from the stem to carry the lower end of the rudder post and bearing, it also gives some protection to the propellor
Skipper The captain or person in charge of the boat
Sluice Trapdoors in the lock gate or side of the wall of the lock which lets water in and out of the lock (also known as paddles)
Stake Known as mooring pins, you hammer into the ground to tie the boat to the bank (used when there are no mooring rings)
Starboard or Starboard Side Right-hand side when standing at the stem facing forward (towards the frontend)
Stern The back of the boat
Junction Where two or more canals meet
Keel Cooled A closed system, a slab tank (narrow & baffled) is welded to the inside (normally) of the swim, engine cooling water is then circulated through it (does the same job as the radiator on a car)
Linear Moorings Moorings along the canal where the boat is tied parallel to the towpath
Lock Gates The mechanism that lets a boat in and out of a lock and also holds water back
Navigation Lights Used in poor visibility on rivers to show other boats where you are and what direction you are going in. White lights – front and back; green light – right hand side; red light – left hand side
Offline Moorings Moorings in a basin / marina, etc, i.e. not along the actual canal
Online Moorings Moorings along the canal
Paddles Trapdoors in the lock gate or side of the wall of the lock, which lets water in and out of the lock (also known as sluice)
Port or Port Side Left hand side when standing at the stern facing forward (towards the frontend)
Sterngear The propeller, propeller shaft, sterntube, sterntube bearing and stuffing box or packing gland (an adjustable gland to help keep water out of the engine space bilge)
Stoppages When work/maintenance is taking place on a waterway, a section of it may need to be ‘closed’ to boaters for a certain length of time
Swans Neck The S shaped steel bar welded to the rudder post to which the tiller bar is fitted (the brass shinny stick with a wooden handle on the end) on a motor boat
Swim The after (back) underwater part of the hull that goes to a point to allow a cleaner flow of water over the propeller
Summit The highest section of a canal above the top lock
Tumblehome The amount a cabin side slopes inwards (to give more bridge clearance)
Tunnel Light Large beam, light a car headlight, for use in tunnels to see the way and to be seen by on-coming boats