1901 E. Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach, FL (954) 788-0969

Useful Info

Sailing Vessels

This section provides useful information relating to the use of area waterways.

How to Recognize Sailing Vessels

CATAMARAN - Name applied to any craft having twin hulls. Originally it denoted a form of sailing and paddling raft emploed on the coasts of India. In a catamaran two similar or identical hulls are joined parallel to each other at some distance apart by beams or a platform. Such craft were highly developed in the Hawaiian, Marquises, Tomato Islands and Tahiti. Some of these craft had hulls of unequal length.

KETCH - Fore-and-aft-rigged, two sail vessel, with the mizzen or jigger mast to the fore of the rudder post. Until the 1800s, square-rigged ketches were used as warships and for offshore fishing. Today they are popular for yachting. You will notice that the front sail or main sail is larger than the back or mizzen sail.

YAWLS - Yawls are very rare, but if you see one, it would have the larger sail in the back, and that's your clue right there!!

TRIMARAN - Watercraft powered by engine or sail, three separate hulls and similar to the two-hulled catamaran. Precedents for the design of the trimaran are evident in the outrigger canoes of the Pacific islanders. The trimaran was not developed commercially as a pleasure craft until the late 1940s. Trinmarans are capable of speeds of 20 knots.

SLOOP - The most common sailing vessel is rigged with one mast and a single jib and mainsail. Sloops are usually Marconi-rigged; the vessels have a tall pole mast and a short boom. Almost all modern yachts under about 9m (about 30 ft.) in length are sloop rigged. In days of naval sailing vessels, the term sloop referred to a full-rigged ship, smaller than a frigate.

Vessel Coding

The Florida DOT manual says that the minimum amount of information you have to put on your boat log is whether a vessel is "P", "C", "T", or "G".

Then it provides us with an additional page of information on different boat types with drawings to help make distinctions. Some bridge tenders are very knowledgeable about different boat types and take great pride in their ability to identify different boats.

The first letter states the basics: P for Pleasure, C for Commercial uses, T for Tug, and G for Government vessel (Coast Guard). Of course, we can't easily tell whether a huge sports fisherman, or a cruiser, or a yacht is a pleasure or commercial vessel because they could be either. So we assume the vessel is pleasure unless we happen to know from local knowledge or some other information that it is, for sure, commercial.

The second letter should give a little more detail. It tells us whether a vessel is a "S" for Sail, or "MV" for a Motor Vessel; And if the first letter was "T" for Tug, what was he pulling? Sailboat, Motor Vessel, Barge, Freighter?

Now the third level of detail is where you really get to show your stuff:

  • S for one mast, a Sloop

  • K for two mast, a Ketch

  • Sch for Schooner. Every once in a great while we see a three masted sailing vessel.

Or if it has more than one hull we would use:

  • Cat for Catamaran

  • Tri for Trimaran

  • C = Under 40 ft. is a Cruiser

  • Y = 40 to 100 ft. is a Yacht

  • Ship = over 100' is a Ship

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  • 1901 E. Atlantic Blvd, Pompano Beach, FL

  • (954) 788-0969

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Last Updated: 9/17/2020
Corporate Offices
  • 1901 E. Atlantic Blvd

  • Pompano Beach, FL 33060

  • Phone: (954) 788-0969

  • Fax: (954) 943-3214