Kayaking Glossary of Terms:

Kayaking Glossary

Beam. The width of the boat at the widest point. This may be at the sheerline or waterline.

Bow. The front of the boat.

Bulkhead. Watertight separations between the areas of the boat.

Coaming or Combing. This is the raised lip surrounding the cockpit. A spray shirt would secure around the coaming.

Cockpit. The opening where the paddler sits.

Deck lines. Lines secured to the top of the boat for securing equipment or as safety lines.

Footbraces. Pegs or rudder pedals positioned to allow paddlers to brace themselves. These are necessary to transmit your paddling effort to the boat.

Hatch. Waterproof covers for the storage areas of your kayak.

Keel. The bottom centerline of the boat.

LOA. Length over all. Total length of the boat.

LWL. Length at waterline. Length of the boat IN the water.

Overhang. Describes the section of the bow and/or stern that extends over the water past the waterline.

Rudder. A steering device at the stern of the kayak usually controlled by foot pedals.

Sheerline or Sheer. Where the hull and deck are joined.

Skeg. A fin, protruding from the bottom of the boat that helps it maintain a straight track. Usually this is retractable into the hull.

Stem. The section of the bow coming up from the keel to the very front of the boat.

Stern. The back end of the boat.

Thigh Braces. Portions of the cockpit that allow for the legs to brace against the hull for stability.

Kayaking Rocker

Rocker. Like the rocker of a rocking chair, this shape of a hull allows the kayak to maneuver more easily.

Kayak Chine

Chine. The curve in the hull where it changes from the bottom to side. If rounded it is considered Soft. If angular it is Hard. There may be multiple chines.

“V” or deadrise. The angle the hull makes up from the keel.

Other Terms:

Brace. A paddling technique used to prevent the boat from heeling over.

Displacement. The amount of water equal in weight to the boat, paddler and equipment.

Draft or Draught. How deep the boat protrudes below the waterline.

Eskimo roll. The procedure where kayakers right themselves from a capsized boat while still remaining in the kayak.

Hull Speed. Theoretical limit of speed a hull may achieve based on waterline length.

Prismatic coefficient. The displacement of the boat divided by the displacement of an imaginary hull the same shape as the widest part of the real hull and the full length of the imaginary hull.

Righting moment. The opposite force to “heeling moment”. This force attempts to keep the boat upright.

Skin. The surface of the boat.

Spray skirt. A fabric or neoprene skirt closing off the area between the coaming and paddler preventing water entry into the cockpit.

Stability. The tendency for the boat to stay upright. If the “righting moment” is greater than the “heeling moment”, the boat will return to the upright position.

Tipping or Heeling. A force, either unintentional or intentional, tipping the boat over to one side. Also described as “heeling moment”.

Tracking. The ability to go straight.

Wetted-surface area. The area of the hull surface below the waterline.

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