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Artfully cut bow and stern stems on a replica of a Nordic longship under construction in Roskilde

The stems are part of the “framework” of the ship's hull . They represent the front and, if necessary, rear, upward extension of the keel of a ship or boat. In wooden ships, square or triangular wooden beams are used, in steel ships either round flat iron or specially shaped sheet steel elements are used.

The bow or stem forms the front end of the ship's hull. Depending on the type of ship, it is convex or concave in shape, but can also be attached to the bow of the ship at an angle or perpendicularly without any curvature .

The stern or stern stem is the rear edge of the hull. It can also be shaped differently depending on the type of ship or stern shape. He closes the ship aft and ensures stability. In many types of ships or boats, the rudder blade is attached to the stern post .

Structural reinforcements in the connection area between the keel and the stern are called "steved knee".


  • Jürgen Gebauer, Egon Krenz: Marine Encyclopedia from A to Z . 4th revised edition. Siegler, Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus, Königswinter 2007, keyword: Steven. ISBN 978-3-87748-657-3 .