Glossary of Terms


Term Definitions

Bailer  A plastic jug or similar object with the bottom removed that can be used to scoop out water.

Beam  Width at a widest point of a boat

Beavertail  "A paddle, usually made of wood with a pear grip and the blade with a rounded end"

Bent Shaft Paddle  A paddle with a blade which is at an angle from the shaft to provide a more efficient paddle stroke

Blade  The end (bottom) of the paddle used to propel the boat

Bow  The front of a boat

Bulkhead  A wall that divides a boat into sections and used to create water tight areas

Broach  To pin sideways on a rock or other obstruction such as a bridge abutment

C1  A closed canoe with a cockpit. Looks like a kayak however the paddler is kneeling and uses a single bladed paddle

Canoe  A small open watercraft propelled by a paddle.

Capsize  When a Boat tips over and fills with water.

CFS  "Cubic feet per second, the standard unit for measuring the flow in a river"

Channel  "An area of a river defined by the banks, a bank and an island, a bank and a rock, or between two rocks"

Coaming  The edge around the cockpit of a kayak

Deck  The top of a kayak or closed canoe. Also the covers on either end of a canoe used to shed water

Discharge  "The amount of water being released from a dam or passing a specific cross-sectional area in a given time  interval, measured in cubic feet per second. (cfs)"

Draft  Distance from the water line to the bottom of the boat

Draw  Stroke A paddle stroke used to pull the canoe or kayak in the direction of the paddle

Dry Bag  A Bag made of a heavy duty plastic which can be sealed to make it water tight.

Dry Suit  A Suit made of waterproof material designed to keep you dry.

Eddy  A calm spot formed downstream of a rock or other obstruction in the riverbed. Eddies may be still or may move upstream

Fastwater  (Quickwater) Featureless water moving downstream

Feathered Paddle  A kayak paddle with the blade at one end at a different angle from the blade at the opposite end

Ferry  The ability to cross a river without traveling downstream by paddling in a upstream direction at a slight angle

Flatwater  "Lakes, ponds or rivers with little or no current. "

Freeboard  Distance from the water to the Gunwales (top of the side)

GPS Global Positioning System  Using satellites to determine your location anywhere in the world

Grab loop  A short loop of rope at either end of a canoe or kayak

Gunwales  "The top edge (sides) of a canoe, usually made of wood, vinyl plastic or aluminum"

Hatch  An opening with a cover which can be used to store equipment behind a water tight bulkhead

Haystack  A wave produced when the grade of the river increases causing water to back up and producing wave not caused by rocks or other obstacles.

Hull  The body of the canoe or kayak the makes contact with the water

J Stroke  Stroke used by a solo canoe paddler to keep in a straight line without switching sides. Can also used by a stern paddler in a tandem canoe.

K1  A one person kayak.

Kayak  A small closed watercraft with a cockpit propelled by a paddle.

Keel  A protruding ridge along the center line down the length of a boat

Life Jacket See Personal Floatation Device (PFD)

Meander  Slow moving water. What a river does naturally when it hits flatter terrain

Moving Water  Same as Quickwater or Fastwater

Paddle  "Tool used to propel a canoe or kayak Having a grip, shaft and blade(s)"

Painter Lines  (ropes) tied to either end of a boat

Pear Grip  The grip at the top of the paddle has a shape similar to a pear

PFD  Personal Floatation Device or life jacket

Pillow  "The water that piles up upstream of a rock or other obstruction, creating an area of boils which may hide the obstical, and folds that tends to keep boaters off the rock. Not all rocks form pillows."

Playboat  "A paddling style that emphasizes surfing holes and waves, enders and eddy-hopping"

Portage  "When you must leave the river to carry around a dam, waterfall or other obstacles"

Pry stroke  A paddle stroke used to push the canoe or kayak away from the paddle

Put In  The place you plan to start your trip

Rapids  When water in a river go over or around obstacles causing waves and hazardest conditions

Reading the River  The skill used to identify features and obsticles in a river so the paddler can safefy avoid rocks and other obstuctions when navigating the river.

Recreational Kayak "A short kayak Less than 15 feet, used on Rivers and Lakes"

River Left  While traveling or facing downstream the river and bank to your left

River right  While traveling or facing downstream the river and bank to your right

Rocker The sweep up curvature at the ends of a boat which is high than in the middle of a boat. Used to help control whitewater boats

Rock Garden A rapid or other aera with numerous rocks

Roll  The ability to upright a capsized canoe or kayak without exiting the boat. A learned whitewater skill.

Rudder  A movable devise used to turn a boat or to help a boat track

Run  A section of river done as a single trip or how the a river feature will be accomplished example: We will run the rapid on the left

S-Turn  "A River or channel that bends first one way, then the other"

Scouting  Going to check out a river before a trip or stopping to examine a rapid or other obstacle before attempting to run it.

Sea Kayak A closed kayak that is 16 feet or longer

Self Rescue Any of a number of techniques that allow a boater to help himself after a capsize

Shaft  The part of the paddle between the grip and the blade or between the two blades for a kayak paddle

Shuttle  Taking the vehicles from the put in to the take out before (or after) a trip.

Skeg  A fixed rudder used to help a boat track

Solo  A canoe or kayak made or outfitted to be paddled by one person

Sculling Stroke  A stroke used to move a canoe or kayak sideways using a back and forth motion of the paddle

Spray skirt  A water tight skirt that you wear when kayaking to keep water out of the kayak

Standing wave or haystack  "A wave formed by one of three conditions: a narrowing of the riverbed, a steepening of the riverbed, or an increase in the volume of water. In contrast to ocean waves, standing waves donít generally move much upstream or downstream"

Stern  The back of a boat

Strainer  "Anything that allows water to pass through but keeps solid objects, such as boats and paddlers from doing so. Especially common types of strainers are trees ( especially on the outside of bends). Never go under a strainer as you could get caught in its branches."

Surfing  (on a moving river) - A method of riding a wave or a hole in which a boat is made to stay in one place by careful placement on the river feature in question.

Swamp  To take on water in an open boat

Sweep stroke  A paddle stroke where the blade is sweep away from the canoe or kayak used to turn the boat

Take out  The place you plan to end your trip

Tandem  A canoe or kayak made to be paddled by two people

Tee Grip  "The grip at the top of the paddle has a cross piece that resembles the letter ""T"""

Thwart   Wood or Aluminum cross piece that goes from gunwale to gunwale to maintain the boats shape

Touring Kayak  "A kayak, usually between 12 and 15 feet used in coastal and other open waterways"

Tracking  The ability of a canoe or kayak to travel in a straight line

Tidal  Rip A rapid formed by a tidal current being squeezed into a narrow opening.

Trim  The way a boat sits in the water. Distributing weight so that the boat is level

Watershed  "A region of land within which water flows down into a specified body, such as a river, lake, sea, or ocean"

Wetsuit  A suit made of neoprene designed to keep a paddler warm

Whitewater  "Water moving downstream with rocks and other obstructions that form such features as waves, holes, eddies and drops. (link to WW classifications)"

Whitewater Canoe A canoe designed to be used in Rapids usually made of ABS plastics and equipped with floatation bags

Whitewater Kayak A kayak designed to be used in Rapids

Yoke  Cross member used to carry a canoe on a persons shoulders