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The yachting industry can seem a little strange and confusing from the outside.

Knowing the technical vocabulary goes a long way to understanding this elusive and private world.


A sail or motor-powered vessel designed for pleasure boating. It typically ranges from 12m/40ft to 30m/100ft in length.


A sail or motor-powered vessel, which is professionally crewed. It typically ranges 24m/78ft and above in length.

-The exact length that determines if a boat is a yacht, or megayacht varies between sources-


Motoryacht: a yacht whose primary form of propulsion is engines. 

Expedition or explorer: a vessel that is created or refitted to manage long distance cruising to remote areas of the world.

-According to Boat International Media you also must have: a robust hull, high crew capacity, superior storage space, minimum length, and ocean crossing range.


Motorsailor: a yacht built to sail and cruise under power with equal efficiency, such as a Gulet. They typically look like sailing yachts, but have strong engines and are often skippered like they are motor yachts.

Sailing yacht: a yacht whose primary method of propulsion is sails. Nearly all sailing yachts have engines in addition.

Power catamaran: a multihulled powerboat with two identical side-by-side hulls. 


Cabin: a private room or compartment on a ship. It may have a berth and head.

Aft cabin: sleeping quarters beneath the aft or rear section of the boat.

Berth: cabin or other place to sleep aboard a boat.

Double cabin: cabin that includes a double bed to sleep two guest.

Master cabin:Typically the best/largest cabin onboard any charter yacht.

Pullman berth. A twin-size bed that is atop another bed. It often 'pulls” out of the wall.

Twin cabin: yacht cabin that features two twin beds, often best-suited for children or friends.

VIP cabin: typically the second-best cabin onboard any charter yacht.

V-berth: bed or berth located in the bow that has a V-shape. 


Head: toilet or toilet room.

Day Head: toilet room outside of cabins.

Wet head: bathroom that serves as both the toilet/sink area and the shower compartment.


Bow: the front of the boat.

Stern: the back of the boat.

Beach club: recreational area next to the swimming platform. It's function varies: gyms, bars, lounges and spas. 

Cockpit: location of controls of a vessel where the captain may steer the boat.

Engine room: the largest physical compartment  with the boat's machinery.

Galley: the kitchen/cooking area on a yacht.

Main salon: the primary indoor guest area on a yacht’s main deck.

Sky lounge: The indoor guest area on the bridge deck of a luxury motor yacht. 

Swim platform: the space at the back of the yacht from which you typically can go swimming or board a dinghy.


Bimini: A type of folding canvas top used to shield occupants from rain and sun. “It was nice and cool in the aft cockpit under the Bimini top.” You can watch one being set up and see how it works when deployed, in our Cruisers Sport Series 258 video boat review.

Heel. To temporarily tip or lean to one side. Monohulls heel more than catamarans.

Transom: The rear section of the hull connecting the two sides.

Decks: horizontal structure that forms the "roof" of the hull. Deck, also refers to each levels of the yacht.

Aft deck: deck closest to the back of the boat on the main level.

Bridge deck: deck on which the navigational equipments of the ships are housed

Flybridge: open deck above the main bridge, usually equipped with a duplicate set of controls.

Lower deck: deck located below the primary or main deck.

Main deck: primary deck on a yacht

Poop deck:  the roof of the aft cabin.The name originates from the French word for stern, la poupe, from Latin puppis.

Sun deck: the uppermost deck.

Upper Deck:  deck that covers the hull. It is the topmost deck on a ship. 


Planing Hulls. This fishing boat is either flat-bottomed or V-shaped in front and flatter toward the back. It is designed to lift the front part of the boat out of the water as it speeds up, letting the boat skim across the water. ... Most small, power-driven boats have planing hulls.

Semi-displacement hull. A hull shape with soft chines or a rounded bottom that enables the boat to achieve minimal planing characteristics (see Planing hull).  This increases the top potential speed of the yacht.


Crew Jobs

Captain: the master on board, responsible for all of the ships operation, crew, the tenders and toys, and the guests. 

Chief Mate: the second in command, sometimes called the first officer. At sea stands a watch and manages the activities of the crew while on watch.


The captain’s right hand is the chief mate. He or she typically manages the deck crew and is responsible for safety measures.

Bosun – On larger ships this person is responsible for maintenance and cleanliness.

Deckhand – A deckhand performs the maintenance and cleaning on a ship.

Chief Stewardess – On larger ships, the chief stewardess is the manager of the crew.

Stewardess – A stewardess performs the housekeeping of the interior of the boat.

YACHT sides & direction

Astern: the direction toward or beyond the back of the boat (stern)

Forward: direction toward the bow of the boat.

Aft: direction toward the bow of the boat.

Port: left side of the boat while looking forward.

Starboard: right side of the ship when looking forward.

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