In naval architecture, a taffrail is the handrail around the open deck area toward the stern of a ship or boat. The rear deck of a ship is often called the afterdeck or poop deck. Not all ships have an afterdeck or poop deck. Sometimes taffrail refers to just the curved wooden top of the stern of a sailing man-of-war or East Indiaman ship. The rails of these wooden sailing ships usually had hand-carved wooden rails, often highly decorated.  Sometimes taffrail refers to the complete deck area at the stern of a vessel.    
A taffrail should not be confused with a pushpit, which is a common name for the tubular protection rail running around the stern of a small yacht. 
A taffrail log is a mechanical speed logging device, used like a car odometer. The taffrail log was towed from the stern or taffrail of the ship by a long line. Taffrail logs were developed in the eighteenth century and became a practical device in the nineteenth century. 
A boat is a watercraft of a large range of types and sizes, but generally smaller than a ship, which is distinguished by its larger size, shape, cargo or passenger capacity, or its ability to carry boats.
A hull is the watertight body of a ship, boat, or flying boat. The hull may open at the top, or it may be fully or partially covered with a deck. Atop the deck may be a deckhouse and other superstructures, such as a funnel, derrick, or mast. The line where the hull meets the water surface is called the waterline.
In naval architecture, a poop deck is a deck that forms the roof of a cabin built in the rear, or "aft", part of the superstructure of a ship.
A barque, barc, or bark is a type of sailing vessel with three or more masts having the fore- and mainmasts rigged square and only the mizzen rigged fore and aft. Sometimes, the mizzen is only partly fore-and-aft rigged, bearing a square-rigged sail above.
A figurehead is a carved wooden decoration found at the bow of ships, generally of a design related to the name or role of a ship. They were predominant between the 16th and 20th centuries, and modern ships' badges fulfill a similar role.
Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems as a craft requires.
A fishing trawler is a commercial fishing vessel designed to operate fishing trawls. Trawling is a method of fishing that involves actively dragging or pulling a trawl through the water behind one or more trawlers. Trawls are fishing nets that are pulled along the bottom of the sea or in midwater at a specified depth. A trawler may also operate two or more trawl nets simultaneously.
A deck is a permanent covering over a compartment or a hull of a ship. On a boat or ship, the primary or upper deck is the horizontal structure that forms the "roof" of the hull, strengthening it and serving as the primary working surface. Vessels often have more than one level both within the hull and in the superstructure above the primary deck, similar to the floors of a multi-storey building, that are also referred to as decks, as are certain compartments and decks built over specific areas of the superstructure. Decks for some purposes have specific names.
This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current, while many date from the 17th to 19th centuries. See also Wiktionary's nautical terms, Category:Nautical terms, and Nautical metaphors in English. See the Further reading section for additional words and references.
A chip log, also called common log, ship log, or just log, is a navigation tool mariners use to estimate the speed of a vessel through water. The word knot, to mean nautical mile per hour, derives from this measurement method.
In naval architecture an afterdeck or after deck, or sometimes the aftdeck, aft deck or a-deck, is the open deck area toward the stern or aft back part of a ship or boat. The afterdeck can be used for a number of different purposes. Not all ships have an afterdeck. In place of the afterdeck a ship may be built with a poop deck, that is a deck that forms the roof of a cabin built in the rear, or "aft", part of the superstructure of a ship. A poop deck usually is higher up than an afterdeck. A ship may have its superstructure or aftercastle located in the stern and thus not have an afterdeck. The stern and afterdeck of a ship are usually more smooth and stable than the bow (front) of the ship in motion. A taffrail is the handrail around the open afterdeck or poop deck. On wooden sailing ships like man-of-war or East Indiaman the taffrail is usually a hand carved wood rail and often highly decorated.
Pitometer logs are devices used to measure a ship's speed relative to the water. They are used on both surface ships and submarines. Data from the pitometer log is usually fed directly into the ship's navigation system.
A quarter gallery is an architectural feature of the stern of a sailing ship from around the 16th to the 19th century. Quarter galleries are a kind of balcony, typically placed on the sides of the sterncastle, the high, tower-like structure at the back of a ship that housed the officer's quarters. They functioned primarily as latrines for the ship's officers, and in inclement weather they also afforded those officers a view of the forward sails of the ship without having to go outside. On certain vessels and under certain conditions, the quarter galleries could serve as a firing platform for the ship's marines and sharpshooters during boarding actions. The galleries also provided a structure that was ideally suited for attaching decoration and often bore carved wooden sculptures, particularly in the 17th century.
In traditional nautical use, well decks were decks lower than decks fore and aft, usually at the main deck level, so that breaks appear in the main deck profile, as opposed to a flush deck profile. The term goes back to the days of sail. Late-20th-century commercial and military amphibious ships have applied the term to an entirely different type of hangar-like structure, evolving from exaggerated deep "well decks" of World War II amphibious vessels, that can be flooded for lighters or landing craft.
The stern is the back or aft-most part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite the bow, the foremost part of a ship. Originally, the term only referred to the aft port section of the ship, but eventually came to refer to the entire back of a vessel. The stern end of a ship is indicated with a white navigation light at night.
Traditionally, many different kinds of boats have been used as fishing boats to catch fish in the sea, or on a lake or river. Even today, many traditional fishing boats are still in use. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), at the end of 2004, the world fishing fleet consisted of about 4 million vessels, of which 2.7 million were undecked (open) boats. While nearly all decked vessels were mechanised, only one-third of the undecked fishing boats were powered, usually with outboard engines. The remaining 1.8 million boats were traditional craft of various types, operated by sail and oars.
The Calypso class comprised two steam corvettes of the Royal Navy. Built for distant cruising in the heyday of the British Empire, they served with the fleet until the early twentieth century, when they became training ships. Remnants of both survive, after a fashion; HMS Calliope in the name of the naval reserve unit the ship once served, and HMS Calypso both in the name of a civilian charity and the more corporeal form of the hull, now awash in a cove off Newfoundland.
The Comus class was a class of Royal Navy steam corvettes, re-classified as third-class cruisers in 1888. All were built between 1878 and 1881. The class exemplifies the transitional nature of the late Victorian navy. In design, materials, armament, and propulsion the class members resemble their wooden sailing antecedents, but blended with characteristics of the all-metal mastless steam cruisers which followed.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to sailing:
This is a list of nautical terms starting with the letter S.