What Do the Four Names of a Boat’s Sides Mean?

The bow (front), stern (rear), port (left as you face the bow), and starboard are the four sides of a boat (right side as you face the bow). The middle of the boat is referred to as “amidships”.

Similar words like “aft” (towards the ship’s stern), “fore” (toward the bow), “leeward” (the side facing the direction of the wind), and “windward” are frequently used on ships (the side from which the wind is blowing).

Other terms include “belowdecks,” “aft,” (above the ship in the mast or rigging region), and “aftship” (on either side of the boat) (on a lower deck or somewhere beneath the main deck of the boat).

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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