Poop deck

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Poop deck of a model of the Soleil-Royal, as seen from the forecastle

In naval architecture, a poop deck is a deck that forms the roof of a cabin built in the rear, or "aft", part of the superstructure of a ship.[1]

The name originates from the French word for stern, la poupe, from Latin puppis. Thus the poop deck is technically a stern deck, which in sailing ships was usually elevated as the roof of the stern or "after" cabin, also known as the "poop cabin" (or simply the poop[2]). On sailing ships, the helmsman would steer the craft from the quarterdeck, immediately in front of the poop deck. At the stern, the poop deck provides an elevated position ideal for observation.[3] While the main purpose of the poop is adding buoyancy to the aft, on a sailing ship the cabin was also used as an accommodation for the shipmaster and officers.[2]

On modern, motorized warships, the ship functions which were once carried out on the poop deck have been moved to the bridge, usually located in a superstructure.

See also


  1. ^ Keegan, John (1989). The Price of Admiralty. New York: Viking. p. 279. ISBN 0-670-81416-4.
  2. ^ a b IMD 1961.
  3. ^ "Poop Deck". HMS Victory. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Archived from the original on 6 August 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2013. Located at the stern, this short deck takes its name from the Latin word puppis – which means after deck or rear. Guns were rarely carried on this deck. It was mainly used as a viewpoint and signaling platform. The poop deck also gave protection to the men at the wheel and provided a roof for the captain's cabin. The ropes controlling the yards (spars) and sails of the main and mizzen masts were operated from the poop deck.


  • Kerchove, René de baron (1961). "Poop". International Maritime Dictionary: An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Useful Maritime Terms and Phrases, Together with Equivalents in French and German (2 ed.). Van Nostrand Reinhold. p. 598. ISBN 978-0-442-02062-0. OCLC 1039382382.