How can I translate "to heel over" into French?
It is a verb that describes a ship in this picture.

3 Answers 3


To translate "heel over", you'd use one of these two words ; gîte or bande. Bande would be used to talk about heel caused by an inside event (such as moving weight). Gîte would be used to talk about heel caused by an outside event (wind, for example). Gîte is used more often, even to talk about heel caused by an inside phenomenon.

Gîte is coming from the verb gîter, so you could easily say, for instance, that the boat is heeling over.

La bateau est en train de gîter

I'm not too sure about bande. But in my opinion, it's useable that way as well.

  • Heel over est un verbe. Tu ne parles que des emplois de « gîte » et « bande » comme noms. Il me semble qu'on peut dire « gîter un bateau » mais je ne suis pas sûre que « bander » puisse être utilisé, ceci dit je ne connais rien à la marine.
    – None
    Dec 28, 2016 at 11:36
  • Gîte étant un verbe (gîter), il est effectivement utilisable comme dans ton commentaire. Je n'en suis pas absolument sûr pour la bande. Mais dans les deux cas que j'ai expliqué (gîte intentionnel ou non), la plupart du temps, c'est gîter qui est utilisé.
    – Shozs
    Dec 28, 2016 at 13:06
  • Peut-être que tu pourrais éditer ta réponse en employant les mots en contexte pour compléter ?
    – None
    Dec 28, 2016 at 13:08
  • I disagree. "Gite" is always due to wind (as a former sailing instructor I have never heard the word "bande" used like this in sailing schools). It is "bande" which is due to hull problems (leak, cargo...) and how I would translate the English "list".
    – xenoid
    Dec 28, 2016 at 13:35
  • Le gîte isn't always due to wind, as those three sources are saying : cnrtl.fr/definition/gite//1 ; logistiqueconseil.org/Fiches/Transport-maritime/… ; vieillemarine.pagesperso-orange.fr/architecture/pages_finales/…. But yes, you're right about the fact that "bande" is about moving weights and such, and gîte about external events. I'll update that.
    – Shozs
    Dec 28, 2016 at 13:49

"To hell over" would be best translated as gîter, which is a French verb to describe a boat which is tilting on a side:

(Marine) S'incliner sur un bord (en parlant d'un bateau), avoir de la gîte, de la bande.

You could also use incliner or pencher, even if those verbs are less specific and can be used for any tilting object. To describe the picture, you could then say:

Le bateau gîte.

Le bateau est penché.

Le bateau est incliné.

  • 1
    +1 for mentioning “pencher” & “incliner” as non-marine-specific options. I’m always amazed by the huge tidal coefficients in many French harbor towns/fishing villages that leave boats leaning NON-dangerously (& picturesquely) on their sides at low tide & I think using something like “{se} pencher/incliner [sur un bord/le flanc/la grève/etc]” to describe this twice-daily, normal occurrence would be more appropriate (at least less panic-causing) than the more marine-specific terms “gîter” or “[donner de la] bande.” (I'm not saying that the OP's picture is an example of this but it could be, imo)
    – Papa Poule
    Dec 28, 2016 at 19:51

If it's involuntary (effect of waves, wind, shift of cargo to one side, leak) it's gîter or "donner de la bande". If it's done on purpose, to take part of the hull out of the water for repairs/cleanup it's "caréner".

If it's over 90° and unvoluntary it is "chavirer" (or "dessaler" for dingies). When it's voluntary (on a kayak) it's "eskimauter".

  • Esquimauter is 180° (or the second 90°), hopefully ;-)
    – jlliagre
    Dec 28, 2016 at 16:50

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