Glossary of maritime terminology

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The keel, in maritime terms, is the backbone of the majority of ships and boats. It runs longitudinally along the bottom of the boat, in the center of the hull from stem to stern. Depending on the vessel it will be made of metal or timber or another robust and rigid material. It gives a boat greater control and stability when moving forward.


Kilo stands for the letter K in the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet, which is most often referred to as the NATO Phonetic Alphabet or simply the Phonetic Alphabet. This is the most commonly used group of code words used to clearly communicate the letters of the Roman alphabet, particularly over the radio and is essential in helping seafarers give and receive messages, orders and instructions clearly and correctly.


In shipping terms, a knot is a unit of speed used in marine navigation. It is defined as one nautical mile per hour. A nautical mile is a little over a standard mile. One nautical mile = 1.15 miles = 1.85 kilometers. One knot = 1.15 miles per hour = 1.85 kilometers per hour.