What are the bow and stern of a boat?

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There are a lot of special words people use to talk about boats and ships.  Some, like "starboard" and "port" are used to talk about the right and left sides of a ship.  The bow (which rhymes with "cow") of a ship is the front of the ship. The stern is the back!

If you hear someone say "Mermaid, off the starboard bow!"  it means they see a mermaid in the water in front of the ship, to the right side. Of course, if they say they see a mermaid, they're probably joking.

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Take a bow!

    The word "bow" is very confusing.  It can mean a lot of things, and it doesn't always sound the same.  Take a look at each of the "bows" below, and with a grown-up or friend, try to figure out if the "bow" rhymes with "cow" or if it rhymes with "go".

    A bow in your hair.
    An actor takes a bow.
    The bow of a ship.
    A bow and arrow.
    The dog says, "Bow wow!"
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