Terms and definitions used for boats are unique, and help sailors to easily identify every single location or aspect of the boat. For instance, the port side and the starboard side do away with possible ambiguity as it clearly refers to the side of the boat relative to the boat. Many of the terms that are presently used to describe the various parts of a boat are terms that were typically used during wars. The gunwale is one such term that traces its origins to the period of war. Gunwale is generally pronounced as gunnul, though many individuals are unaware of this, especially those hailing from a different background.
What Is The Gunwale Of A Boat?
This refers to the upper edge of a boat’s hull, where the top edge of the boat’s hull is stiffened as reinforcement. The stiffening was a requirement on boats that had artillery mounted on the sides and the top edge of the hull was reinforced to protect the hull from structural damage. This practice continued and modern day boats have the same reinforced hull edge with minor changes to the inwale and outwale. Though the term is used differently on other categories of boats like canoes, it generally refers to the upper edge of the hull.
What Purpose Does The Gunwale Of A Boat Serve
While the original reinforcement of the hull had a different purpose, the present day gunwale has different reasons. The purpose of the reinforcement is structural in nature. It gives the upper edge of the hull more rigidity and this helps it to maintain shape. In small boats occupants embark and disembark by either placing their feet on the gunwale or on a plank that is placed on the gunwale. This makes it necessary to ensure that the hull is reinforced by the gunwale to protect the shape, rigidity and structure. A boat is subject to different forces while in water and the shape of the hull is specifically designed to withstand the forces that it is subjected to when in the water. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the structure and shape are not damaged.
Where Is A Boat’s Gunwale Located?
The gunwale of a boat does not refer to a location, but a part of the boat. It refers to the hardened upper edge of the hull. The hull in turn refers to the structure of the boat, the body that is partially submerged in water and partly above water. Boats are designed with the principle of positive buoyancy and this makes it necessary for the shape of the hull to be maintained. The gunwale – the reinforced hull ensures that the hull shape is intact at the top, despite the pressure of weight and objects placed on the hull. This permits the use of the gunwale for placing objects or for the purpose of embarking and disembarking. The stiff edge of the hull also prevents choppy waters from breaking over and into the boat.