A cockpit is an open well in the deck of a boat outside any deckhouse or cabin.
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In the Royal Navy, the term cockpit originally referred to the area where the coxswain was stationed. This led to the word being used to refer to the area towards the stern of a small decked vessel that houses the rudder controls. The midshipmen and master's mates were berthed in the cockpit, and served as the action station for the ship's surgeon and his mates during battle.
- Husick, Charles. Chapman Piloting & Seamanship (66th ed.). Hearst Books. p. 25.
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