The work is composed around the diagonals. The gap between the two boats follows one diagonal, which also gives the general direction of the painting. The secondary elements (The black boat on the left and the rim of the boat in the foreground) are on each side of the other diagonal.
There are two other lines (in green below) parallel to the diagonal that mark loosely the lighter area in the middle.
From the composition standpoint, the water is divided into three areas:
- The lower left corner in the foreground is in the shadow, with deep green and ultramarine tones.
- The middle section of the work is the brightest one.
- The background section is slightly darker than the middle section and has colours from reflected buoys and buildings.
The succession of dark/light/medium tones creates an interesting movement. This setting helps to have a strong composition and put the boats in the spotlight. The division of the three areas is also reflected in the different brushwork for each section.
There are finally a number of vertical lines (marked in yellow below) that help to anchor the composition and drive the eye of the viewer from the foreground up to the background.