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Pad Eye
A small fitting with a hole used to guide a line.
  
Paddle
(1) A stick with a blade in the end of it used to propel a small boat through the water. (2) The act of using a paddle to propel a boat.
  
Painted Waterline
A painted line on the side of a boat at the waterline. The color usually changes above and below the waterline as the boat is painted with special antifouling paint below the waterline.
  
Painter
A line attached to the bow of a dinghy and used to tie it up or tow it.
  
Palm
A tool worn on the hand with a thimble shaped structure on it and used when sewing sails.
  
Pan Pan
An urgent message used on a radio regarding the safety of people or property. A PAN PAN message is not used when there is an immediate threat to life or property, instead the MAYDAY call is used. PAN PAN situations may develop into MAYDAY situations. As with a MAYDAY, PAN PAN messages have priority on the radio channels and should not be interrupted. In the case of a less urgent safety message, such as a hazard to navigation, the appropriate signal to use is SECURITE.
  
Parachute
Sometimes used to describe a spinnaker.
  
Parachute Flare
An emergency signal flare that will float down on a parachute after launch, hopefully improving its visibility.
  
Parallax Error
Error that can be introduced when not reading an instrument directly from its front, due to the separation of the indicator and the scale being read.
  
Parallel Rules
A navigational tool used to move a line on a chart from one location to another without changing its angle, such as when moving a plotted course to a compass rose. Parallel rules are two straight edges that are mechanically connected such that both edges always remain parallel. Lines can then be "walked" across a flat chart.
  
Parallels
Latitude lines.
  
Parcel
Material wrapped around a line to prevent chaffing.
  
Parrot Beak
A clip at the end of a spinnaker pole to hold the guy.
  
Partners
Supporting structures used to support areas where high loads come through openings in the deck, such as at the mast boot.
  
Passage
A journey from one place to another.
  
Patant Log
A type of log that uses a counter attached to a rotor on a line which is towed behind the boat to help measure distance and speed.
  
Pay Out
To let out a line.
  
Pedestal
The column that the wheel is mounted on.
  
Pelorus
A card marked in degrees and having sightings on it that is used to take bearings relative to the ship, rather than magnetic bearings as taken with a compass.
  
Pendant
A small line attached to a mooring chain. Also sometimes called a pennant.
  
Pennant
(1) A small flag, such as can be used for signaling. Flags can be used together to spell words or individually as codes, such as the quarantine flag. (2) A small line attached to a mooring chain, sometimes called a pendant.
  
Personal Floatation Device
PFD for short. A device used to keep a person afloat. Also called a life jacket, life preserver or life vest.
  
Pfd
Personal Floatation Device. A device used to keep a person afloat. Also called a life jacket, life preserver or life vest.
  
Pier
A place extending out into the water where vessels may dock. Usually made out of wood or cement.
  
Pile, Piling
A pole embedded in the sea bottom and used to support docks, piers and other structures.
  
Pilot
An individual with specific knowledge of a harbor, canal, river or other waterway, qualified to guide vessels through the region. Some areas require that boats and ships be piloted by a licensed pilot.
  
Piloting
The act of guiding a vessel through a waterway.
  
Pinch
Steering a sailboat too close to the eye of the wind, causing the sails to luff.
  
Pintle
A pin used to attach a stern mounted rudder. The hole that the pin fits is known as a gudgeon.
  
Pitch
(1) A fore and aft rocking motion of a boat. Also see roll and yaw. (2) How much a propeller is curved. (3) A material used to seal cracks in wooden planks.
  
Pitch Poled
When a boat's stern is thrown over its bow.
  
Planing
A boat rising slightly out of the water so that it is gliding over the water rather than plowing through it.
  
Planing Hull
A hull design that is capable of planing.
  
Planing Speed
The speed needed for a boat to begin planing.
  
Planking
Wood strips used to cover the deck or hull of a wooden vessel.
  
Plot
To find a ship's actual or intended course or mark a fix on a chart.
  
Plow Anchor
Also called a CQR or coastal quick release anchor. An anchor that is designed to bury itself into the ground by use of its plow shape.
  
Plug
(1) A tapered device, usually made from wood or rubber, which can be forced into a hole to prevent water from flowing through it. Plugs should be available to fit every through hull. (2) The act of using anything to stop the water from flowing through a hole.
  
Point
(1) To sail as close as possible to the wind. Some boats may be able to point better than others, sailing closer to the wind. (2) The named directions on a compass such as north, northeast, etc.
  
Point of Sail
The position of a sailboat in relation to the wind. A boat with its head into the wind is known as "head to wind" or "in irons". The point of sail with the bow of the boat as close as possible to the wind is called close hauled. As the bow moves further from the wind, the points of sail are called: close reach, beam reach, broad reach, and running. The general direction that a boat is sailing is known as its tack.
  
Polaris
Polaris, the North Star, is visible in the northern hemisphere and indicates the direction of north. In the southern hemisphere the Southern Cross is used to find the direction of south.
  
Pole
(1) A spar. Such as a pole used to position a sail. (2) One of the two points around which the earth spins, known as the north and south poles. (3) One of the two points that the earth's magnetic field emits from, the magnetic north and south poles.
  
Poop Deck
A boat's aft deck.
  
Pooped
A wave that breaks over the stern of the boat.
  
Port
(1) The left side of the boat from the perspective of a person at the stern of the boat and looking toward the bow. The opposite of starboard. (2) A place where ships go to dock. (3) A porthole. A window in the side of a boat, usually round or with rounded corners. Sometimes portholes can be opened, sometimes they are fixed shut. Also see hatches
  
Port Tack
A sailboat sailing on a tack with the wind coming over the port side and the boom on the starboard side of the boat. If two boats under sail are approaching, the one on port tack must give way to the boat on starboard tack.
  
Porthole
A port. A window in the side of a boat, usually round or with rounded corners. Sometimes portholes can be opened, sometimes they are fixed shut. Also see hatches.
  
Position Doubtful
A mark of PD made on a chart when plotting a boat's position to indicate that there is reason to doubt that the fix is accurate.
  
Pound
The action of a boat's bow repeatedly slamming into oncoming waves.
  
Pram
A type of dinghy with a flat bow.
  
Preferred Channel Buoy
Also known as a junction buoy. A red and green horizontally striped buoy used in the United States to mark the separation of a channel into two channels. The preferred channel is indicated by the color of the uppermost stripe. Red on top indicates that the preferred channel is to the right as you return. Also see can and nun buoys.
  
Prevailing Winds
The typical winds for a particular region and time of year.
  
Preventer
A line run forward from the boom to a secure fitting to prevent the boom from jibing accidentally when running. If the boat jibes anyway, this can cause the sail to become backwinded.
  
Prime Meridian
The 0 longitude line that runs through Greenwich, England.
  
Privileged Vessel
The vessel that is required to maintain its course and speed when boats are approaching each other according to the navigation rules. Also known as the stand on vessel.
  
Prop
Slang for propeller.
  
Propane
Also known as LPG (liquid petroleum gas). Propane is a common fuel used for cooking and heating. CNG (natural gas) is considered safer because propane is heavy than air and will sink into the bilge if it leaks, creating the potential for an explosion. Propane is more easily available throughout the world than CNG however, so it is used for most boats outside of North America.
  
Propeller
An object with two or more twisted blades that is designed to propel a vessel through the water when spun rapidly by the boat's engine.
  
Propeller Shaft
The spinning shaft from the engine to which the propeller is attached.
  
Protractor
A navigation tool used to measure angles on a chart.
  
Prow
The part of the bow forward of where it leaves the waterline.
  
Pulpit
A sturdy railing around the deck on the bow.
  
Pump Out
Removing waste from a holding tank.
  
Purchase
Two or more blocks connected to provide a mechanical advantage when lifting heavy objects.
  
Pushpit
Also called stern pulpit. A sturdy railing around the deck at the stern.
  
Woodside Bottom
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