Ships: Can You Name the Equipment From an Image?

Olivia Cantor

Image: Kin Lush/Moment/Getty Images lopurice/E+/Getty Images Douglas Sacha/Moment/Getty Images Stuart Gray/Moment Open/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Can you be a good captain of a ship? Are you a marine vessel enthusiast? Whatever level of interest you might have with the sailing and shipping world, now is the time to test some of your knowledge. Do you think you can name all of this equipment commonly found inside, outside, around and about a ship? Then take this quiz and test your knowledge! 

Ships are a huge kind of sailing vessels. Perhaps the most popular of all is that one that suffered a tragic ending: Titanic. But that's just one out of the multitude of ships that have sailed the earth's oceans already. These days, ships come in varied forms and have diverse purposes as well.

Even though the ships of today have many types of functionalities, there are always universal equipment requirements and designs with which each vessel must comply. And we'll let you guess which of these pieces of equipment perform which kind of duty. If you like observing all sorts of boats, then this equipment will be familiar to you. Even better if you watch a lot of films and TV shows that have these kinds of ships, too. The best is, of course, if you've ridden one in your life, whether for leisure, work or military purposes. 

Try our quiz! All aboard!

Do you recognize this equipment?

This is the radar system of the ship. It’s much-needed equipment for collision avoidance, especially in the dark, or conditions such as fog or storms.

How about this piece of equipment?

The anchor is probably the most recognized maritime equipment of all time, necessary for securing the boat and holding it in position. Some brand products even use it as a logo.

What is this mechanism called?

The propeller converts the engine's power into thrust for the vessel. Ships and some airplanes both have this equipment.

And this?

Nautical flags are used for sending visual signals to other ships or to people on land. There are 26 flags corresponding to letters and 10 flags for digits. Also, under the International Code of Signals (ICS), most single flags have their own meanings, such as "diver down," "danger" and "assistance required."

Can you identify this vital nautical equipment?

The rudder is the flat, vertical piece of equipment needed to make the ship turn, so it’s important to check if it functions well. By deflecting the flow of water around it, it causes a differential of pressure on one side or the other. As the stern (rear) of the boat is turned, so goes the boat.

Do you know what this is?

A lifeboat is also considered necessary equipment. It’s needed in case the people onboard need to abandon ship and ride away from it. After the Titanic disaster in 1912, U.S. and U.K. maritime laws were put in place that mandated a ship have enough lifeboat space for each passenger.

What is this called?

All kinds of maritime vessels, even recreational boats, are required to have navigational lights as part of their equipment. A red light on the port side, a green light on the starboard and various white lights on the ship let other ships know your position in the water and avoid collisions.

Can you name this instrument?

A ship must have a magnetic compass. With a properly calibrated compass and a maritime chart, an experienced sailor can plot a course even in bad visibility.

Do you know the name of this structure?

A bollard is the short, sturdy post that looks like a pawn of a chessboard. This is where rope is tied whenever a ship needs to dock. On land, bollards are installed to prevent car-ramming attacks and are sometimes retractable.

What’s the name of this structure?

This is the main mast of a ship — the tallest on the vessel and, on bigger ships, the second mast from the ship's bow (front). The frontmost mast is the foremast. Usually, the navigational lights system is attached to the mainmast.

Can you recognize this nautical element?

There is usually a small staff for a flag somewhere in a ship. National, themed or distress flags can be flown from here.

Could you say what this equipment is called?

This tower-like thing is called the derrick boom. It’s a mechanism for lifting things such as heavy cargo.

Can you recognize this one?

A ship’s funnel functions similarly to that of a car’s exhaust system, expelling boiler steam or engine exhaust well away from the vessel's decks. They are also known as stacks.

How about this one?

Inside the control rooms, a communication system to the outside world must be installed. Even though the technology is very mature, VHF radios are required before any other type of marine radio is installed; it is a critical part of the ship's safety gear.

What about this one?

A crane, either connected to the dock or to the boat itself, is used for loading and unloading cargo. Those installed on the ship can also be used for offshore construction.

And this one?

More of a procedure than an obvious piece of equipment, a ship must have a voyage plan (or passage plan) nonetheless. This used to be done on paper, but there are computer programs and apps for this now.

Can you identify this device?

A daylight signaling lamp is used for daytime visual communication, usually using Morse code. Particularly useful for making distress signals, the light is typically not dependent on the ship's main power in case of power failure.

Do you know this one?

The loudspeaker, usually shaped like a horn, on a ship is called a ship whistle. It has a similar function as the horn on a car, alerting other ships to your presence or to danger. Short and long blasts are also used to convey certain messages (one short blast says you are about to pass on your port side, two short blasts for starboard, for instance).

What’s this one?

The accommodation ladder is this movable ladder attached to the side of the ship. It’s used by people who need to go on and off of the ship when docked.

Can you name this one?

The maneuvering thrusters — both on the bow and the stern — provide lateral (side-to-side) thrust and makes the vessel easier to handle, especially while docking.

Can you identify this one?

A hatch is usually an entryway or opening from belowdecks to the top of the ship. The covers — there are different types depending on their use — are watertight to keep water out of the cargo hold in rough weather.

What’s the name of this one?

The foremast is in front of the ship, and usually is the second-tallest mast on the ship, after the mainmast. Communication and lighting devices are often attached to it.

Do you recognize what this is?

The propeller shaft is the mechanism that transmits power from the engine to the propellers, making the ship move. It's very similar to the driveshaft of a car.

Do you know what this is?

The bulbous bow is the bulb structure in front of the ship. Since it’s usually below the water surface, we don’t immediately see it but it serves an important purpose. Usually found on larger ships, the bulb changes the way water flows around the hull, reducing drag and improving engine performance and stability.

Can you recognize this?

A pelorus is a navigational instrument in a ship, allowing the sailors to observe the vessel's relative bearing and predates the compass. It is also the name of a yacht worth north of $300,000,000.

How about this?

The ship’s forepeak tank is where liquid kinds of cargo are carried at the front of the vessel. It can also be filled with ballast water if there’s no such cargo onboard.

What about this?

A nautical chart is a map of the sea in a particular region, along with the adjacent coastal areas. The chart may display sea depth, features of the coastline and other information necessary for safe navigation.

And this?

A GPS receiver in a ship links it to the Global Positioning System, allowing it to calculate the vessel's position. It functions much like that of the ordinary car GPS, but the maritime version is usually more robust and equipped with aquatic maps with detailed topography.

Can you guess what this is?

The mooring gear is the system with pullies, lines, buoys, cables and other devices that help the ship when docking. This equipment is designed to make mooring smooth and easy.

Take a wild guess! What is it?

This is a rudder angle indicator, which tells the helmsman the present position of the rudder blade, aiding in navigation and calibration of the steering system of the vessel.

What’s this?

The ship’s hawsepipe is the tube where the anchor’s chain passes through.

Can you name this piece of equipment?

The rate of turn indicator (ROTI) is like a scale that measures — via degrees per minute — the rate the vessel is turning, just as its name suggests. It's a vital piece of equipment when it comes to navigation.

What’s the name of the item in this image?

The anchor chain is the one that passes through the hawse pipe. It securely holds the anchor on one end.

Do you know this particular equipment is called?

The turbine is part of the power plant of many ships. Steam turbines can be fueled by coal, fuel oil or nuclear power. On large vessels, they can be massive.

What do you think this is?

The voyage data recorder (VDR) that collects data about the ship's speed, communications, conditions and other information. Much like an aircraft's "black box," the VDR is usually colored orange for better visibility in recovery. While its primary function is for accident investigation, it can also be helpful to monitor the ship's condition and help for preventative maintenance.

What do you call this bit of the ship's equipment?

The main purpose of a gyroscope is to establish stability in the ship. The technology was first developed in the 19th and early 20th century.

Just a few more! What about this one?

The windlass is the mechanism that serves as a pulley system on the ship. It usually comes in the form of a roll drum where the cables or chains are attached, and is used for pulling or letting down weights, including the anchor.

You got this! What’s this one called?

An antenna is a much-needed piece of equipment on a vessel. Its main job is to transmit information via airwaves and is critical for the ship's VHF communication system.

And this bit of the ship's equipment is known as what?

The echo sounder is used to monitor water depths. A type of sonar, this uses sound waves to reflect off an underwater surface and determine its depth.

Finally, what’s this particular ship equipment called?

Devices called day shapes are used to give obvious visual signals during the daytime and are hung like décor in the mast. They’re usually colored black, and different shapes — a ball, cylinder, cone or diamond — and positions of the display mean different things.

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