A cockpit is a name for the location of the controls of a vessel. It is usually an open well in the deck of a boat outside the cabin. In modern boats a cockpit may refer to an enclosed area. Smaller boats typically have an aft cockpit, towards the stern of the boat. Larger vessels may provide a center cockpit with greater protection from the weather. On a recreational sailboat, the cockpit is often the safest place for the crew.
In the Royal Navy, the term "cockpit" originally meant the place where the coxswain was stationed. This led to the word being used for the area near the stern of a small boat that houses the rudder controls. The midshipmen and master's mates were later assigned to sleep in the cockpit. It was also the place where the ship's surgeon and his mates were stationed during battle.
- Husick, Charles. Chapman Piloting & Seamanship (66th ed.). Hearst Books. p. 25.
- Nicholas, Mark (2005). The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat: The Definitive Guide for Liveaboards. Paradise Cay Publications. ISBN 9780939837663.
- Jobson, Gary (1998). Sailing Fundamentals. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684849941.
- "Cockpit". Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1976.