Sea Kayaking Glossary
the steepness of the shoreline.
a closable storage area within a kayak.
a light source strapped to the forehead, freeing the hands for use.
a steep-sided point of land that projects out from a coast into deep water.
a wind blowing opposite the direction of travel.
head of tide -
on a tidal river, the point where the influence of the tide disappears.
high tide -
the event occurring when the water level is at its highest point during a tide cycle.
high-water slack -
the slack water occurring after the flood current ends and before the ebb current begins;very loosely correlated with the time of high tide.
the lower surface of the kayak that sits in the water.
intertidal zone -
that land covered by water at high tide but exposed at low tide, shown in green on the chart.
a unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour.
launch site -
a location on the shore where launching and/or retrieving a boat from the water is allowed.
a technique used to reduce a kayak's waterline and therefore ease turning; leaning is also used to reposition the boat's center of gravity in waves or current.
the direction toward which the wind is blowing, relative to your current position.
leeward shore -
when you are on the water, the shore toward which the wind is blowing; the lee of an island, on the other hand, is the downwind side protected from the wind. Synonymous with lee shore.
line of position -
a range line drawn through two charted points that indicates position when a paddler is on the range.
low tide -
the event occurring when the water level is at its lowest point during a tide cycle.
low-water slack -
the slack water occurring after the ebb current ends and before the flood current begins; very loosely correlated with the time of low tide.
lunar day -
the time between consecutive meridian passages of the moon, equivalent to 24 hours 50 minutes.
magnetic north -
the direction toward which a compass points. The difference in angle between true north and magnetic north is called "variation." Navigational compass directions are assumed to reference magnetic north unless noted otherwise.
marine weather forecast -
a weather forecast predicting conditions on a body of water, emphasizing those factors that affect navigation or safety of mariners.
mean lower low water (MLLW) -
the average of the lower of the two daily low tides over a 19-year period. Usually used as the chart datum.
mixed tide -
a tide cycle where the consecutive high tides (and similarly, consecutive low tides) have markedly different water levels. Each one-day cycle contains a "lower low" followed by a "higher high," then a "higher low" followed by a "lower high."
that part of the intertidal zone with a muddy bottom and gradual slope.
nautical chart -
a map of a body of water showing water depth, aids to navigation, and hazards, designed to assist navigation on the water. Official nautical charts in the US are produced by NOAA.
nautical mile -
the travel distance required to move your position by one minute of latitude. Approximately equivalent to 6076 feet, or 1.15 statute miles. Usually used while navigating salt water.
neap tide -
a tide with a relatively small tide range, occurring twice each month when the sun and the moon are maximally out of alignment.
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a US government agency that disseminates information aiding navigation, such as weather forecasts and tide information.
the National Weather Service, a division of NOAA responsible for recording current weather conditions and producing weather forecasts.