Prow of a Ship - Your Easy Guide

By Matt Claiborne

Distinguishing the prow of a ship can be challenging because the design and features of modern vessels often lack prominent visual cues, making it less conspicuous for observers.

The prow of a ship is the forward most part of the bow. One good way to think about the prow is that it’s the location of the ship’s figurehead if it has one.

Bow vs Prow

The bow is the forward end.  The prow, on the other hand, is a specific part on the bow of a ship. It’s the pointed part of the bow that meets the water. On deck, you might describe the prow as the very tippy top of the bow.

Stem vs Prow

The stem is the most forward part of the bow where the keel curves upward toward the prow and the side meet at a point.

What’s On the Prow of a Boat?

Often, old-school sailing ships would have a figurehead mounted on the prow. The prows of modern ships are shaped differently than traditional vessels.

Knowing a ship's prow is vital for navigation, safety, adherence to maritime protocols, effective communication, and in some cases, preserving cultural and aesthetic significance.