Don't get too intimidated by the terminology although it is useful. The most basic example, saying port and starboard instead of left and right. Very useful on a boat because left/right is different depending on whether you are in the front (bow
) of the boat looking back (aft) or in the back looking forward.
But port and starboard are always understood no matter which way you are facing.
I started like you by reading thousands (well maybe hundreds) of books
, articles and magazines and was confused but after spending just a little time on a boat it started falling into place rather quickly.
So don't sweat the small stuff. Get on a boat and have some fun. And if the instructor isn't fun and laid back, fire him or her and get a new one.