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Navigating Boating Jargon on the Lake

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Boat JargonDo you love boating, but have trouble speaking the language?

Are you sunk when people throw around boating jargon, terms, and lingo when boating?

Do you look around lost when someone says there are “fish jumping off the starboard bow”?

We’re here to help!

Here are 40+ of the most common nautical terms on the lake. This cheat sheet won’t make you a ship’s captain, but you’ll be able to hold your own on the waves.

Boating Terms

Aft: the rear part of a boat, behind the middle of the vessel (see “fore”).

Anchor: object designed to stop the drift of a boat; usually a metal, plough-shaped object designed to sink into the lakebed or ground, and attached to the vessel via a line or chain.

Ashore: on or moving towards the beach or shore.

Bearing: the horizontal line of sight between two objects (typically between a boat and its destination).

Below decks: any of the spaces below the main deck of a vessel.

Bow: the front of a vessel (either side or both).

Bowline: a type of knot that produces a strong, fixed loop, commonly used in sailing or mooring.

Breakwater: structure built on a coast or shoreline to protect against waves and erosion.

Buoy: a floating object of defined shape and color, anchored at a set location to aid in navigation.

Bunks: wooden supports on which a boat rests while it’s being transported in a trailer.

Capsize: when a boat turns onto its side or completely upside down in the water.

Cast off: to undo all mooring lines in preparation for departure.

Channel: a portion of a waterway that is navigable by boat, usually marked.

Chart: a map used for navigation on the water.

Cleat: sturdy metal fittings to which a rope can be fastened (usually to moor a boat, fixed on docks and/or boats themselves).

Current: the natural, horizontal flow of water.

Deck: the permanent covering over a compartment or hull (usually the main walking surface).

Downstream: Direction in which the current is moving, or an object in that direction.

Draft: the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of a boat’s hull. This is important to know in order to prevent running aground.

Echo sounder: electronic device that uses sonar to measure the depth of water under a boat.

Fender: cushioning device hung on docks and the sides of vessels to prevent damage to them.

Fore: part of the vessel towards the front, or bow (see “aft”). Here’s a tip to remember the difference between “fore” and “aft.” If you’re in the boat, “fore” is facing “forward,” and “aft” is what is “after” the boat.

Gunwale: the upper edge of a boat’s hull.

Hull: the outer shell and framework of a ship.

Idle speed: the slowest speed at which steering is possible for a boat; the boat shouldn’t produce a wake at this speed.

Inboard motor: a type of boat motor housed inside the hull, with a drive shaft running through the bottom of the hull to a propeller at the other end.

Knot: a unit of speed, equal to one nautical mile (1.15 miles) per hour. It’s called a “knot” because it was originally measured by paying out a line from the stern of a moving boat; the line had a knot every 47 feet 3 inches, and the number of knots passed out in 30 seconds gave the speed through the water in nautical miles per hour.

Leeward: in the direction that the wind is blowing towards.

Marina: a docking facility for boats, small ships and yachts.

Mast: a vertical pole on a ship with sails or rigging.

Outboard motor: a motor mounted externally on the back of a boat (usually smaller boats). Steering can happen by turning the entire motor on a swivel, or by using a rudder.

Overboard: anything that has gone over the side of the boat.

Personal flotation device (PFD): a life jacket, buoyant vest, or cushion designed to be worn (or held) and keep someone afloat in the water.

Pier: wooden or metal structure that extends into the water from the shoreline, allowing vessels to dock

Propeller: rotating device attached to a boat’s motor that propels the boat through the water.

Rudder: steering device attached under the boat, usually shaped like a blade, which turns to steer the boat.

Sounding: measuring the water’s depth.

Stern: the rear part of a ship.

Upstream: against the current, or the direction from which the current is flowing.

Wake: the turbulence behind a vessel caused by its passing.

Waterline: the line where the hull of a ship meets the water’s surface.

Windward: in the direction the wind is blowing from.

Of course, these aren’t all the boat jargon terms out there. There are hundreds of others! Find more at www.discoverboating.com.

 


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Water Safety for Kids on the Lake

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Water SafetyEvery parent wants their children to stay safe while having fun at the lake.

Just a little preparation can help your kids have a fun time on the lake, and build memories you will cherish for a lifetime.

Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, water safety can start right now!

Here are some water safety tips for parents, big brothers and sisters, or anyone keeping an eye on kids at the lake.

 

Near the Water

Imagine a warm summer afternoon. You’re sitting in a lounge chair on your back deck, having some laughs with the family. The smell of barbecue is in the air, the sun is shining off the lake, and it’s a gorgeous day.

The water is less than fifty yards away. Everyone’s having a great time – especially your toddler, who is making her way right to the water!

With small children, the most important safety factor is supervision. Even if you are watching them, it’s easy to get distracted. Always keep an eye on your children.

If you have small children, make sure you latch, lock, or childproof every possible route between your little one and the water.

As soon as they are old enough, make sure they understand that they are never to go near the water without a parent or adult. Don’t make them afraid of the water! Rather, visit the water with them.

Make sure your kids know to be careful around docks, shorelines, dams, and boathouses. One wrong step on a slippery dock can spell disaster.

Consider buying your kids water shoes or boating shoes. These give much more traction than sandals or bare feet, and protect your little ones from rocks, sticks, and broken glass.

 

On the Water

Water safety is just as important for boating. Make sure everyone on a boat wears a life preserver, especially children. Many communities mandate the use of life preservers for children on boats less than 30 feet long.

This is good advice, even in calm water. Nearly half of all drownings related to boating happen in calm water. In the vast majority of them, life preservers were in the boat, but not being worn.

It helps to serve as a good example. Wear a life preserver yourself! You don’t have to wear the bulky life preservers of the past, either.

Modern technology has given us smaller, more comfortable life preservers. Many of them lay flat until they hit the water, at which point they inflate automatically. Those which need manual pull-cords to inflate are not recommended for children.

Make sure your child has an appropriately sized life preserver, too. It should close securely around their chest.

If you grip the life preserver securely and lift, this should eventually lift your child. A life preserver that is too loose will slide up around their neck. One that is too tight or small will not close.

Enroll your child in a boating safety course, if you can. Most lake communities have these available for a small fee. A weekend of instruction can not only save your child’s life. You might learn a few things, too!

 

In the Water

According to the CDC, drowning is the leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 4.

If you are supervising kids, make sure you keep an eye on them at all times. Children who are not strong swimmers should have life preservers in the water. Toys such as water wings and pool noodles do not count!

If your kids are in the water, you should be, too. Should your child get in trouble, you need to be right there. It won’t help if you’re busy texting at the shoreline! This is less important if they are strong swimmers, but you still need to be nearby.

Of course, the best way to encourage water safety with your kids is to enroll them in a swimming course. Any child who spends time on the lake should be able to swim, even if they wear a life preserver. This does more than save their lives. It also means they can enjoy the lake, and the water, in every possible way!

Not sure if your child is old enough to learn to swim? If they’re even six months old, they can get started! “Infant swim” classes are becoming more popular nowadays. These programs have decades of research behind them, and are proven to save children’s lives.

Instructors teach children to float, to roll over onto their backs, and not to panic if they fall into the water. Infant swim lessons are not a substitute for parental supervision. They are a last line of defense. They also acclimate children to the water, so they can take proper swimming lessons as they get older.

For more information on infant swim classes, visit infantswim.com.

Even if your children can tread water on their own, swim classes are a great summer activity. Most lake communities have places for swim lessons for kids of all ages.

Whatever their interests, your children can be safe near, on, or in the water with just a little preparation. Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy the lake!

 


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Lake Homes Realty Expands into New York and Connecticut

June 22, 2017

Birmingham, Alabama-based Lake Homes Realty announces it is now licensed and operating real estate brokerage services in New York and Connecticut. This expands the company’s brokerage operations footprint to thirteen states in just over four years. “Our team has done a great job of expanding our business footprint, while still focusing on great service for […]

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Lake Real Estate Market Report for Summer 2017 Now Available

June 21, 2017

Summer 2017 Market Report is Now Available Lake Homes Realty has just released the Summer 2017 update to the firm’s proprietary Lake Real Estate Market Report. Covering nearly 400 lake real estate markets across nine states through the Southeast and Southwest United States, the report is the nation’s most comprehensive look at these markets. This edition of the […]

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Realtor Magazine Features Doris Phillips and Lake Homes Realty

June 21, 2017

Doris Phillips, Chief Operating Officer of Lake Homes Realty, was featured in the May/June 2017 edition of Realtor® Magazine. The feature article, entitled “On Golden Ponds,” is the latest installment in a periodic series of featuring the nation’s most successful and innovative real estate brokers. The article highlights Doris’ growth in real estate through the years. […]

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Top Five Movies set on the Lake

June 13, 2017

On the lookout for some fitting lake movies to Netflix and chill with this summer? Look no further! We’ve pulled together some fun summer flicks that will get you in the mood to spend some time on the lake, wherever you are. Top Five Lake Movies What About Bob (1991) Starring: Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss Set on: […]

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Building and Maintaining a Seawall on the Lake

May 31, 2017

Seawalls protect land from erosion by a body of water. If you have seen a seawall on the beach, just know that seawalls on the lake serve the same purpose. Just on a much, much smaller scale! A seawall is usually made of wood, stone, steel, or concrete. In recent years, synthetic materials have become more […]

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Boat Dock Basics

May 30, 2017

Every boat needs a place to call home. Out on the lake, you will see many different kinds of boat dock. Each one comes with its own distinct advantages and drawbacks. If you plan on building a dock on your lake property, or buying lake property with a dock, take a look at these choices […]

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The Hidden Costs of Keeping A Lake Home: Tips for First-time Buyers

May 26, 2017

Our prior article was about the hidden costs of buying a lake home. After you’ve moved in, you will run into several other smaller (or larger) costs. These add up, and the bottom line can catch many first-time homebuyers by surprise. Here are the most common hidden costs of keeping a lake home. Home Repairs Lake homes […]

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Hidden Costs of Buying A Lake Home: Tips for First-time Buyers

May 24, 2017

It’s no secret that lake property typically costs more. If you are shopping for your first lake home, chances are you’re extremely aware of this! What many first-time lake home buyers don’t know is that several other hidden costs might lie just beneath the surface. While you are busy falling in love with that gorgeous lake […]

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