The behaviour of the flow near the bow of a slender ship is studied. The fluid is assumed to be perfect and incompressible and the flow to be irrotational. The formalism of matched asymptotic expansion is used to provide a consistent perturbation procedure for the simplification of the initial problem. The resulting nonlinear free surface problem describing the flow in the inner domain close to the bow is solved numerically. Examples of solutions are given for the flows around a wedge shaped bow and a prismatic planing hull.