An aftercastle (or sometimes aftcastle) is the stern structure behind the mizzenmast and above the transom on large sailing ships, such as carracks, caravels, galleons and galleasses.[1] It usually houses the captain's cabin and perhaps additional cabins and is crowned by the poop deck, which on men-of-war provided a heightened platform from which to fire upon other ships; it was also a place of defence in the event of boarding. More common, but much smaller, is the forecastle.

Aftercastle of the frigate Méduse, as seen from the deck
Galleon showing both a forecastle (left) and aftercastle (right)
Stern of a replica 17th-century galleon

As sailing ships evolved, the aftercastle gave way to the quarterdeck, whose span ran all the way to the main mast.


  1. ^ The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Castle ship part". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 January 2017. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)