Sailing Terms for Sea of Thieves

Impress the captain by getting your boat terms memorized before setting sail in Sea of Thieves.


Any respectful pirate in Sea of Thieves is going to want to use correct sailing terms when traversing the watery world created by Rare, even if it means doing a bit of research beforehand. Instead of using landlubber words like “left” and “right," you’re going to want to use vernacular that fits the life of a pirate!

Useful Sailing Terms

Playing Sea of Thieves is more than just the search for treasure, it’s the search for authenticity as you embark on your voyage for treasure. Once you step foot on deck, you’ll find yourself speaking like a pirate and using sailing terms – it can’t be helped. It may have been a while since learning these terms, so let’s go over a few of the basics to prepare for your life on the high seas.

Port – The port is the left side of the boat when facing the front. While directions such as “East!” can be difficult to locate in the heat of battle, using the term “port” is fast and efficient. If you need a mnemonic to help you remember, consider a variation on, “Is there any port left?” You know, like the drink. Though you must keep in mind that the portside of the ship never changes, no matter what direction you might be facing.

Starboard – Similarly, starboard refers to the right-hand side of the ship when facing the front. Keep in mind that, even if you’re facing the rear of the ship, starboard doesn’t change with you.

Bow – The bow is the front of the ship. Pretty simple. Also, it’s pronounced the same way as the greeting. Don’t go pronouncing it like bow and arrow.

Stern – Stern is the rear of the ship. If you’re facing the rear of the ship, it’s still called the stern.

Helm – In terms of Sea of Thieves, the helm is where the wheel is located on the sloop or galleon. In real life, the helm is wherever the controls may be, whether this is a wheel or a tiller.

Lines – The lines on your ship are the ropes you use to raise and angle the sails. You might be tempted to call them “ropes” but don’t do it, lest you be known as Dopey Ropey, the pirate who doesn’t know they’re called lines.

Hull – This is the body of your vessel, all the parts that float in the water and keep you dry and safe while inside. In Sea of Thieves, the hull is the area that takes notable damage and requires planks to repair.

There are a bunch of other terms such as keel, heeling, leeward, jib – but they don’t have a lot of relevance in Sea of Thieves at the moment. As an example, there is no difference between the mainsail and the jib in Sea of Thieves, as the fore-most sail acts exactly the same as the sail at the stern of the ship.

With a few helpful sailing terms learnt, you should have no trouble convincing your shipmates that you’re the best choice for captain in Sea of Thieves. To keep on top of the latest developments in Rare's nautical adventure, check out all the great content on offer within Shacknews' own Sea of Thieves walkthrough and guide.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can message him on X: @SamuelChandler 

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