1 The well of a yacht or small sailing vessel where the steering wheel or tiller is located. It normally gives access to the saloon, but in some yachts a separate central cockpit is incorporated where the steering wheel and navigational instruments are situated.
2 In the old sailing navies the space near the after hatchway and below the lower gun-deck allotted originally to the senior midshipmen of the ship and later to the surgeon and his mates for their messes. In action it became the operating theatre to which men who had been wounded were carried for treatment. During the battle of Trafalgar it was to the cockpit of HMS Victory that Nelson was carried after he had been wounded on deck, and where he died.