Simply, the front most portion of any Ship or Vessel. Derived from The Old Norse word “Bogr” (meaning “Shoulder”), Bows were made pointed and slightly angled to aid in reducing resistance to forward motion when a Ship is moving in a straight line through the water. Height of The Bow was just as important. The “taller” a Bow, the less likely it was for water to spill up over and onto The Foredeck. “Raking” of a Spillage Slope can help reduce the accumulation of seawater, as did the inclusion of Forward Drains.
Originally wooden, then Steel – some Bows were reinforce with sharpened steel plates (as in a Polar Exploration Vessel, or “Icebreaker”). Another component of The Bow was called The Stem. This was an upright timber to which plates or more wood was affixed to aid with water repelling. The Stem is also used to help mark a Ships “Centerline” or measurement fixture for other components of a Vessels Upper Deck Structures. In Ship design, there are (10) known Bow designs used and currently used. They are : Bulbous, Clipper, Curved, Inverted, Plumb, Raked, Ram, High Chin Spoon, Low Chin Spoon and Straight. In further terminology, the phrase of “Going Down By The Bow” means that a Ship is sinking into The Sea from it’s Front (ex: “Titanic”).