The Boater’s Basic Dictionary

Whether you’re brand new to the boating world or you’re a seasoned pro, there’s always more to learn. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve put together a “dictionary” that’ll help every boater with common terms often associated with boats and life on the water, as well as a few terms unique to LaPorte Products. Of course, this list is limited to basic terms we feel are most often used, but there are many other terms used in the world of boating.

We hope this helps you in your quest in becoming an expert boater!



Activity Platform- Similar to a Poling Platform, but has additional objects for activities (i.e. rod holders, ski tow bar, wakeboard rack). **See poling platform

Aft- toward the back (a directional term).

Arch- An addition to the boat for mounting a radar/antenna or ski tow bar connections. It is also referred to as a wakeboard tower.


Bay Boat- Low-profile fishing boat intended for use in coastal waters. It has features of both combining a shallow draft with nice features specific to fishing.

Bimini Top- A collapsible canvas top that covers over the helm or cockpit area.

Boat Shade Kit- A semi-custom product manufactured by LaPorte’s Products that provides shade from the sun and is designed for the aft or bow of Center Console and Walkaround style boats.

Bow- Front of a boat.

Bow Pulpit- Plank-like platform extending off the bow. It is usually accompanied by a railing. It may include navigation lights, cleats, or anchor roller.

Bow Rails- rails enclosing the bow of the boat:

  • High- Above 8 inches
  • Low- 8 inches or lower
  • Recessed- fixed to the bow
  • Walk Through- feature an opening in the front of the bow large enough to walk through

Bow Roller- allows you to keep your anchor permanently mounted on the front of your boat.

Bracket- A section of fiberglass or aluminum mounted to the transom of the boat. It is used to set outboard motors farther back in order to increase the boat’s performance.


Casting Platform- Elevated four legged platform found on the bow of shallow water fishing boats.

Catamaran- A twin hulled boat, either power or sail.

Center Console Boat- Fishing boat with the helm station located amidships for maximum walk-through space around the perimeter of the boat.

  • Center Console Boat Cover- A LaPorte Products cover manufactured specifically for Center Console Boats with no T-Top.
  • Center Console Curtain- Also manufactured by LaPorte Products, CCC’s cover just the console of the boat to protect the essentials, like the radio and other electronics. Intended for in-water use.

Cleat- Hardware piece on a boat or a dock to which lines are attached.

Cockpit- name for the location of controls of a boat.

Crows Nest- An added seat to the hard-top of a boat.

Cruiser- A boat with overnight accommodations.


Downrigger- A gunwale-mounted weighted line device used for deep-water trolling.

Dry Stack- covered building that stores boats. Boats are moved to the water using a high capacity boat forklift.

Dual Console Boat- A type of boat with twin dashboards separated by a centerline walk-through deck leading to the bow.


Fishfinder- Electronic device that uses sonar to locate and display fish on a monitor.

Fish Master- Brand and style of aftermarket T-Top.

Foot- Lower part of an outboard motor. Also called “lower unit”.

Forward- towards the front (a directional term).


Gaff- A metal pole with a hooked end used to land a fish into the boat. Also a pole or spar that holds the upper portion of a four-sided sail.

Gunwale- Upper edge of boat’s side (generally pronounced gunnel).


Harbor Shade- A semi-custom product manufactured by LaPorte’s Products that provides shade from the sun and is designed for Yacht and Cruiser style boats.

Hard Top- A large fiberglass roof or platform over the helm area.

Helm- Area of a boat where operational controls are located.

Hull- The structural body of the boat that rests in the water.


Jack Plate- A mounting device for an outboard motor that enables operators to vertically raise or lower the motor, thereby controlling propeller depth in the water.

Jet Boat- A boat powered by an engine with a water-pump used to create propulsion.


Key West Style Top- A style of top that is narrow in the front and wide in the back. It allows console mounted rod holders to be utilized. It is not specific to boats manufactured by Key West.

Kicker Motor- A small auxiliary outboard motor.

Knot- Speed measured in nautical miles per hour.


Latitude- Geographic distance north or south of the equator expressed in degrees and minutes.

Livewell- Compartment on a fishing boat designed to keep fish or bait alive.

Longitude- Geographic distance east or west of the prime meridian expressed in degrees and minutes.


Outrigger – Poles designed to spread out fishing lines and keep them from tangling while trolling.


Poling Platform- Small elevated stand mounted at the rear of a flat boat used by a fisherman to silently pole through shallow water and scout for fish.

Pontoon Boat- A type of boat with a flat deck attached to airtight flotation tubes or logs.

*** LaPorte Products does not manufacture covers for pontoons***

Port- Refers to the left side of the boat when facing the bow.

Power Pole- Brand of shallow water anchors that are attached to the rear of the boat and lower into the water to keep the boat in place.

Propeller- A rotating multi-blade device that propels a boat through the water (on motors).


Rocket Launcher- A rack of fishing rod holders commonly attached to the rear of a T-Top or leaning post.

Rod Holder – Device designed to safely and securely hold fishing rods either vertically or horizontally.

Rubrail – Protective strip of molding that runs around the boat’s perimeter at the point where the top deck meets the hull.

Rudder – Underwater fin mounted below the hull near the stern that controls boat steering.


Ski-Tow Bar- Metal framework attached to the transom of the boat. Utilized for towing or water sport activities.

Skiff- A shallow water fishing boat (frequently made with rolled edge construction).

Soft Top- A large canvas roof or platform over the helm area.

Starboard- Refers to the right side of the boat when facing the bow.

Stern- Refers to the back of the boat.

Stryker- A brand or style of an aftermarket T-Top.

Swim Platform- A wide platform at the transom equipped with a ladder to help ease the effort of reboarding after going into the water.


Thru-Hull- A fitting or object that goes all the way through a hull.

Trolling Motor- An electric motor that is affixed to either the bow or stern of the boat and moves the boat quietly through the water. This is often used when fishing as to not disrupt the fish.

T-Top- Type of top for center console boats that is built with a “T” shaped structure when viewed from the side. The top is tall enough to stand under and provides shade and rain protection for passengers at the boats helm. They can be equipped with either a canvas or fiberglass top.

T-Top Boat Cover- LaPorte Products signature product; a boat cover intended to protect T-Top style boats.

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


Vessel- another name for a boat.


Walk-around- A type of offshore fishing boat with a small to mid-size cabin and a perimeter deck that allows easy passage around the entire boat.

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