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The rear is the stern or aft part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship.


Other features of the stern included lanterns and the ensign.


Some types of sterns

Several types of sterns exist. These include :

  • straight sterns
  • flat sterns
  • Twisted Sterns


Early ships

In the early part of the 19th century, the stern of larger ships became gradually more rounded, and with the advent of screw-powered vessels, the stern became the location of the equipment, the officers moving elsewhere, though British ships still contained an Admiral's sternwalk until well into the twentieth century.

Modern cruiseships

In modern cruise ships, the stern is frequently the location of the dining room, so as to provide uninterrupted views of the sea.

Modern warships

In modern warships, particularly cruisers and destroyers, the stern is usually where the helicopter pad is located. The stern tends to be lower set when compared to other parts of the ship, and may contain a large caliber gun mount or missile magazine. Aircraft carriers typically use the deck space in the stern part of the ship for the recovery of incoming aircraft. Aircraft carriers may have aircraft elevators in the stern area to prevent interference of flight operations, which are launched from the bow. For submarines, both fast attack and ballistic missile, the stern is generally the location of the engine room and the motor room, if the submarine has one. If the submarine runs on nuclear power the stern may contain a heat exchanger and other parts associated with a nuclear reactor.


Image:Poupe-soleil-royal-berain.jpg|The transom of the Soleil Royal, by Jean BĂ©rain the ElderImage:VOC Amsterdam.jpg|The stern of the V.O.C. ship AmsterdammarkerImage:Spiegel Tirion28.JPG|The stern of a modern sailboat (Tirion28)Image:lifeboat.stern.17-31.arp.jpg|The stern of a UKmarker Severn class lifeboat


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