The bow (pronounced [baʊ]—rhymes with how) is a nautical term that refers to the forward part of the hull of a ship or boat, the point that is most forward when the vessel is underway. A cruise ship or cruise liner is a Passenger ship used for pleasure voyages where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are part of the experience Gallery Poole Harbour is a large natural Harbour in Dorset, southern England, with the town of Poole on its shores Dorset ( (or archaically, Dorsetshire) is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland This is a glossary of nautical terms; some remain current many date from the 17th-19th century A hull is the body of a Ship or Boat. It is a central concept in floating vessels as it provides the Buoyancy that keeps the vessel from sinking A ship /ʃɪp/ is a large vessel that floats on water Ships are generally distinguished from Boats based on size A boat is a Watercraft of modest size designed to float or plane on water and provide transport over it Both of the adjectives fore and forward mean towards the bow. The other end of the boat is called the stern. The stern is the rear or aft part of a Ship or Boat, technically defined as the area built up over the Sternpost, extending upwards from the Counter
The term bow comes from the old days of timber boat building. It is derived from the use of the trunk and a bow (bough) or large limb of a tree where the natural strength from the grown curved fibres of the wood provides the strength for this most vulnerable part of the ship or boat. The shipwright would cut the bow and trunk vertically through the felled tree to find the most natural curved form.
The bow is designed to reduce the resistance of the hull cutting through water and should be tall enough to prevent water from easily washing over the top of it. In Fluid dynamics, drag (sometimes called fluid resistance) is the force that resists the movement of a Solid object through a Fluid (a On slower ships like tankers, a fuller bow shape is used to maximise the volume of the ship for a given length.
The forward part of the bow, usually on the ship's centreline, is called the stem. Traditionally, the stem was an upright timber or metal bar into which side planks or plates were joined.
A "wet bow" results from seawater washing over the top of the hull. A raked stem can help to reduce the wetness of the bow. Aside from making the deck slippery, water can corrode the metal of the ship. If the temperature is low enough this water can also freeze on the deck, rails, turrets, and other exposed surfaces, increasing the topside weight.
In naval slang, 'bows' can also refer to the foremost guns of a ship.