Russian Language Blog

Describe Your Boat Ride In Russian Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

If you took any boat rides over the summer, perhaps you would like to learn to talk about your boating adventures in Russian!

three boats

Image from Pixabay

Types of Boats

First of all, I’d like to point out that while in English you may sometimes hear a large vessel (судно) called a boat, in Russian this kind of vessel would be called катер (a generic term for a motor boat with an inboard engine), яхта (yacht), or корабль (ship). This post will concentrate on smaller rowboats (лодка), even though a motor boat with an outboard engine is called моторная лодка.

A few common types include:

  • гребная лодка – technical name for a rowboat
  • байдарка – kayak; 1 or 2-person kayaks can also be called каяк
  • каноэ – canoe
  • плот – raft
  • надувная лодка – inflatable boat
  • резиновая лодка – rubber boat

По мно́гим среднеру́сским ре́кам, кото́рые в истори́ческих исто́чниках опи́саны как ва́жные торго́вые пути́, сего́дня мо́жно проплы́ть ра́зве что на байда́рке.
Many Central Russian rivers that were described as important trade routes in historical sources can only be navigated in a kayak today.
[Борис Жуков. Золотой запас жизни // «Знание-сила», 2014]

man rowing

Image from Pixabay

Parts of a Boat

The boat we are talking about will normally have oars or paddles (both called весло, plural вёсла). An oarlock is called уключина.

Some specialized vocabulary:

  • каркас – body
  • правый борт – starboard
  • левый борт – port
  • парус – sail
  • руль – rudder
  • нос – bow
  • корма – stern

Вне́шне теле́жка немно́го напомина́ла ло́дку с обре́занным но́сом и укорочённой кормо́й.
The cart looked a bit like a boat with a cut-off bow and shortened stern.
[Марк Сергеев. Волшебная галоша, или Необыкновенные приключения Вадима Смирнова, его лучшего друга Паши Кашкина и 33 невидимок из 117-й школы (1971)]


So what can you do in a boat?

  • кататься на лодке – to sail in a boat (for pleasure)
  • грести (я гребу, ты гребёшь…) – to row

Я бу́ду грести́, а ты вот так ся́дешь на корме́ и ру́ку опу́стишь в во́ду…
I will be rowing, and you will sit on the stern and put your hand down in the water…
[Дина Рубина. На солнечной стороне улицы (1980-2006)]

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.