Wednesday 24 October 2012

Narrowboating words

We read lots of blogs and articles and books before we started out on this adventure so we got to know a lot of the words used in the narrowboating and canal worlds.  But, for those of our readers who know nothing of boats I thought I'd start a list in plain English. No particular order.

The Cut - slang term for the canals - used by boatmen years ago
Tiller - the lever you use to steer a boat
Fenders - plastic, rope or rubber "bumpers" that are mounted front and back and hung by rope on the sides. In theory to prevent damage when moored against the bank, or bumping into something... by accident of course
A button - round rope fender on the stern
Bow - front
Stern - rear
Rubbing strakes - steel strips along the hull to lessen damage to the sides
Hull - main steel shell of the boat
Anode - replaceable, large piece of metal (magnesium) fitted to the lower hull, designed to corrode due to electrolysis instead of the hull - also called a sacrificial anode
Draft - the amount of the hull that is below water
Air draft - the height of the boat taken from the waterline to the highest fixed point on the boat
Bilge pump - pump (electric or manual) for removing water that has collected in the bilges  
Bilge - the area at the very bottom of the boat (underneath the flooring)
Holding tank - on-board storage tank for toilet waste, emptied by vacuum at pump-out stations
Blacking - protective coats of paint applied to steel hulls to discourage rusting (thick black stuff)
Starboard - The right hand side of the boat when you stand at the back facing forward
Port - The left hand side of the boat when you stand at the back facing forward
Cratch - timber assembly over the front area (usually a solid or glazed triangular deckboard or 'cratch-board' which is supported from the cabin-top by a 'top plank')
Cratch cover - fitted plastic or canvas zip up cover over the cratch
Gunwale (gunnel) - top edge of the hull were it joins the cabin side - it forms a narrow little ledge along the side of the boa
Transom - rounded back part of the boat above the water behind where the steerer stands
Side hatch - pair of opening side doors (often steel, but ours are steel frame with glass 'windows') 
Swans neck - S shaped steel bar welded to the rudder post to which the tiller bar is fitted (brass shiny stick with a wooden handle on the end)
Tiller pin - little, often decorative, brass pin that holds the tiller bar on the swans neck
Rudder -  flat steel panel that is turned by the tiller - it steers the boat
Saloon - loungeroom
Galley - kitchen
Bulkheads - upright panels (walls) separating a boat into compartments
Travelpower - separate generator powered by the engine to provide 240v power. We are glad we have one!
Inverter -  Electronic device for taking power stored in the battery bank and converting it from 12v DC to 240v AC
Galvanic Isolator - a fitting to a boat’s electrical system, intended to help prevent galvanic corrosion to the hull
Bow thruster - small propeller in the bow that can be used to push the bow left or right
Windlass - L-shaped handle for operating lock paddles. Has a square socket at one end to fit on the spindle operating the paddle gear.  Often called a 'lock key'
Gongoozler - person who lurks around canals, particularly locks, watching the boats go by. Bit like a plane spotter


Unknown said...

Bilge pump .... removing water collected in the bilges. But what is a bilge? (i've often wondered) xoo Jill

Adam said...

What you've called the transom I've always heard called the counter. And the steerer should not be standing on it! The steerer should never be within the arc of the tiller; if the rudder hit something, the jerk of the tiller could knock you off. The correct place to stand is in front of the tiller, which in a trad is inside the hatch.

Elly and Mick said...

I see an update to my blog entry coming up! First.. bilge...

Adam, you're right about the place to stand. I'd heard the word "transom" this week and looked it up. I didn't really think about it as I typed it.