What is the Stern of a Boat?

Did you know that the stern is like the backbone of many boats? But if you are new to the boating world, how can you see this small area as one of a boat’s essential parts?

This issue shouldn’t be a concern anymore. We’ll talk about everything about the stern of a boat.

Once you know about this part, your love for boats will grow. Yes, a watercraft has many parts, but you don’t have to master all of them.

When talking about the stern, you should know where you can find it, how to use it, and its styles. It will help you enjoy your time on the waters.

So, are you ready? Let’s start with what a stern means.

What is a Stern of a Boat?

What is a Stern of a Boat

Well, it’s pretty simple. The stern is the back area of a boat. It’s also the aft-most zone of a boat.

A boat’s stern material varies with the type of boat and the firm that makes the vessels. You’ll get a stern over the craft’s sternpost.

The post is a steel bar that holds the boat’s rudder. Here, you’ll have an extension of the boat’s rail and a bottom part.

This part is on the opposite end of the bow. Remember, the side areas are the port and starboard.

You’ll have the port on the left and the starboard on the right. Expect the stern to bring more fun and safety on board than the other parts.

At night it’s easy to notice a stern. When you see a light that looks like a star at night, that’s the stern.

Also, the stern of a fishing boat is different from that of a swimming boat. So, the sizes and types will vary with the primary use.

But what are the main uses of a stern? Read on to find out.

Uses of a Boat’s Stern

You can see a stern as a simple part of a boat. But the area has many roles that make you have an easy time on the water. Below are the benefits of a stern.

1. Steering the Boat

Steering the Boat

The primary use of the stern is to steer and till your vessel. It can be that your boat uses a motor, pedal, or the currents to move.

When your boat uses an outboard motor, you’ll find the machine in the stern. As for the boats that use an inboard motor, you’ll get the motor in the boat’s stern or middle.

Remember, it’s the motor that makes the boat move on water. So, the stern acts like the boat’s heart.

This motor is close to the boat’s propeller to make them easy to connect. Also, the outboard motor at the stern tilts to make the boat turn with ease. Your boat will have more thrust as it moves forward.

Big boats and yachts need a larger stern than those smaller boats. They have more than one engine, which must be at the stern.

As for the canoes and kayaks without motors, the stern allows you to row your boat with ease. It’s the point where you’ll get your balance as you move.

2. Holding Events

Holding Events

The stern on some boats is wide enough to allow you to do more than cruising. You can use the space to help you fish and add more seats to have a party with friends.

When you use it for fishing, you’ll have ample sitting space. Also, you’ll have a better angle of the waters as you fish.

If you use a vessel for fishing, you’ll have space at the stern. So, you enjoy yourself at the back without interfering with the driver’s view.

In the early days, captains of big vessels used the stern as the sleeping area. Here, a firm could customize the area to provide more comfort.

Also, these areas look beautiful. Firms use quality material to make the stern more attractive.

You can get this spec on some modern yachts too. The part is potent enough to carry much weight. Remember, you’ll have to consider the boat’s weight.

3. Explore the Waters

Explore the Waters

If you rent or buy a boat to tour to help you learn more about a given place, the stern will help you. You’ll have the best view of the waters.

Also, when you visit the waters because of the marine, the stern will help you. So, you’ll take videos and pics of the waters from this place.

A good example is one of the Tiara Yachts models. The boats’ sterns have strong material and allow you to sit to view the waters.

4. Storage Spaces

Storage Spaces

Most boat firms make vessels with storage places at the stern. These areas allow you to keep your items safe as you enjoy your time on the water.

Different firms make the spaces using various materials. But the best places with ample storage on a boat are at the back.

You’ll enjoy your time as you fish because most coolers are in the stern. Expect to see this spec on modern fishing boats.

Which are the various types of a Boat’s Stern?

Boats have different types of sterns that fit them. When a firm makes boats, there are many aspects to consider.

Every firm looks at the vessel’s simplicity, beauty, efficiency, and flow patterns. These items will determine the type of stern your watercraft will have.

Before we look at the different sterns your boat can have, let’s see what to consider before choosing the best stern. Remember, it’s from here that you’ll have a quality boat.

Your boat’s stern should prevent or reduce any vibrations. These vibrations can come from the motors, especially the outboards.

Also, the stern’s design should allow the proper water flow to the propeller. It’s from here that your boat can move fast or slow.

Choose a boat with a stern that can reduce water resistance as you move. So, here are the sterns your boat can have.

1. Cruiser stern

Cruiser stern

This stern will help you steer or reverse your boat with ease. Its shape will reduce the steering gear’s height under the vessel’s deck.

The cruiser stern has a curve in the upper part, unlike the transom. Expect the shape to come from the aft to the main deck. Also, this shape protects the steering gear when it’s under the deck.

Here, the boat’s rudder will be below the waterline. This spec makes the craft resist waves and currents.

Cruiser sterns favor many inboards and outboards. Remember, it’s also a beautiful stern. Many cruisers, yachts, and other modern boats have a cruiser stern.

It’s also called the canoe, double-ended, or parabolic stern. Since the 20th century, this stern has been the best for wooden boats.

Many vessels during World War I and II had the cruiser stern. Today, such boats give you more space on the deck.

These specs mean that a boat with such a stern can be great for cruising, tours, and holding events. So, you can use it together with your friends and family.

2. Transom Stern

Transom Stern

The transom is the most common type of stern you’ll get on many boats. Transoms are flat from the top and down to the waterline.

This stern has beams from side to side on the hull in the navy. Also, it means a bit curved or flat area at the back of the boat.

The transom’s shape gives ample space on the aft. So, expect to see it on many yachts or modern luxury boats.

A transom is easy to design. Besides the beauty, expect the vessel to improve the water flow around the boat.

Remember, the flat surface on this part comes from or above the boat’s waterline. The name transom came from the 1300s.

It’s because the stern is vertical. Also, the shape allows you to rake it and make it hang on water like most bows.

On many boats, the transom affects how you’re the vessel propels. Its shape makes it the typical stern that most boats use.

Sometimes, this stern’s deck can get wet when you reverse the sea. Here, there’ll be water coming on board.

Today many boat firms make boats in a way that reduces this problem. So, you can use it without worries.

In many times, transom sterns are more famous than cruisers. Here, your boat will have a better resistance at slow speeds than when you use a cruiser stern.

3. Elliptical Stern

You can call it the merchant or counter stern. Many cargo ships at the start of the 20th century used this stern.

Elliptical stern’s shape comes from the deck and knuckle line. It has a conical shape with a rake aft, curved upwards when you view the stern from above.

The best thing about this stern is that it’s above the waterline. So, the area near the sternpost is exposed.

Like the other two sterns, the elliptical one also has ample dark space. You’ll have a fantastic view of the waters.

Also, as you move or reserve the waters, the boat’s balance will be okay. Riding your boat will be easy.

The stern is the best when you want a boat to tour the waters. Also, you’ll have ample space to jump off and swim because of the large deck space.

Styles of Sterns

Besides the types, you’ll get different styles of sterns. It’s because boat firms have different designs that can fit their boats.

Expect sterns to vary in the beauty, width, and angle of your boat will have. Remember, styles never determine where to place the stern. So, here are the stern’s styles.

1. Flat


Like the names sounds, the boat’s stern is flat and with a vertical face. When you view it from the back, you’ll see that it has a semi-circular shape.

2. Raked

Do you want a stern that will be best for a racing boat? Choose the one with a raked stern.

Firms that use make a stern with this style streamline it. So, there’ll be less resistance as you move, even in heavy water currents.

Also, these boats have longer and high bows. You can use them to view the beauty of the places you visit.

3. Canoe


It comes in a circular shape at the back of your boat. This style is the best for small vessels like canoes and kayaks.

A boat with this style makes it easy to push water away from the boat. So, rowing across the rivers and shallow waters will be fun.

Such a shape is excellent for some sports like kayaking and canoeing. You can also use such a vessel to explore the waters.

4. Reverse

A boat with such a stern is the best for cruising. Also, if you are still new to riding a boat, it will help reverse and move the vessel forward.

Such sterns have an angular shape. You’ll also have steps to allow people to move off the boat.

The reverse stern allows you to do many activities on water like swimming and fishing. Here, there are handrails and swimming steps. As for fishing, the reverse style gives you the best angle that allows you to catch more fish.

Do you need Stern Lights?

The USCG directs that every boat should use its navigation lights every night. Remember, lights keep you and other travelers safe.

You’ll get many stern lights in the market for your boat. Some of the common ones are the LED transom stern lights, white LED common boat lights, and the white stern LED marine navigation.

Ensure you pick a stern light that fits your boat size, type of stern, and budget. Also, choose the ones that have a pass from the USCG.


Stern is a vital part of every watercraft. Boats have the stern at the back.

On your vessel, the stern helps you steer or till with ease. If your boat uses a motor to move, you’ll get it on the stern.

The small boats like kayaks and canoes, a stern also helps the boat move. It’s where you’ll get balance, especially when reversing.

Today’s standard type of stern is the transom because it suits many boats. Remember, sterns come in many styles to suit your interests.

So, do you think the stern is the most crucial part of a boat? Please let us know your thoughts.

1 thought on “What is the Stern of a Boat?”

  1. This is an interesting and informative post about the stern of a boat. It’s great to learn something new about boats!


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