Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

This list of ship directions explains dozens of related terms such as fore, aft, astern, aboard, or topside. For background, see below: Origins. abaft: at or toward the stern of a ship, or further back from a location. aboard: onto or within a ship, or in a group. above: a higher deck of the ship. aft: toward the stern of a ship. adrift: floating in the water without propulsion. aground: resting on the shore or wedged against the sea floor. ahull: with sails furled and helm lashed alee. alee: on or toward the lee (the downwind side). aloft: the stacks, masts, rigging, or other area above the highest solid structure. amidships: near the middle part of a ship. aport: toward the port side of a ship (opposite of “astarboard”). ashore: on or towards the shore or land. astarboard: toward the starboard side of a ship (opposite of “aport”). astern: toward the rear of a ship (opposite of “forward”). athwartships: toward the sides of a ship. aweather: toward the weather or windward side of a ship. aweigh: just clear of the sea floor, as with an anchor. below: a lower deck of the ship. belowdecks: inside or into a ship, or down to a lower deck. bilge: the underwater part of a ship between the flat of the bottom and the vertical topsides bottom: the lowest part of the ship’s hull. bow (or stem): front of a ship (opposite of “stern”) centerline: an imaginary, central line drawn from the bow to the stern. fore or forward: at or toward the front of a ship or further ahead of a location (opposite of “aft”) inboard: attached inside the ship. keel: the bottom structure of a ship’s hull. leeward: side or direction away from the wind (opposite of “windward”). on deck: to an outside or muster deck (as “all hands on deck”). on board: somewhere on board the ship. outboard: attached outside the ship. port: the left side of the ship, facing forward (opposite of “starboard”). starboard: the right side of the ship, when facing forward (opposite of “port”). stern: the rear of a ship (opposite of “bow”). topside: on the ship’s main weather deck. underdeck: a lower deck of a ship. yardarm: an end of a yard spar below a sail. waterline: where the water surface meets the ship’s hull. weather: side or direction from which wind blows (same as “windward”). windward: side or direction from which wind blows (opposite of “leeward”).