Tuesday, May 28, 2024

What Is Port Side Of Boat

The Number Of Letters

How to remember port and starboard

Of course, even though you might be able to know the facts above, it can get confusing until you actually get the terminology down. Thats why it can help to use a memory trick, such as this one, to learn the terms until theyre memorized completely.

With this trick, youll remember that the port side is on the left side when looking at the bow of the ship because both wordsleft and porteach have four letters in them.

Once youve figured this out, its easy to remember that starboard is on the opposite, or right, side.

Do Ships Always Dock On The Port Side

When ships were steered manually, they would generally always be docked on the port side, hence the original name larboard , and then port. Nowadays ships can dock on either side, depending on the port layout and regulations on how ships are arranged on a pier.

Cruise ships will have docking facilities on both port and starboard sides, and often its up to the captain as to which way to dock based on their direction of approach and sailing direction once they set sail, among the layout and regulations mentioned above.

On cruises to Norway, youll probably find that your ship alternates between port and starboard docking for the different destinations.

What Does Starboard Mean

The word starboard is primarily a noun that describes the right-hand-side of a water vessel. For example,

The tiller twisted in my hand as my boat bucked and took a dive to starboard. Duluth News Tribune

Starboard is an adjective when it describes something oriented in the direction of the starboard. Examples include starboard-bow, starboard-beam, or starboard-quarter.

Lastly, we can use starboard as a verb when it describes the act of turning a helm or rudder toward the right. Verb forms of starboard include starboard and starboarding.

For example,

The first officer immediately starboarded the helm, reversed the engines full speed and closed all watertight doors. The Daily Mail

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What Does Port Mean

Within nautical terminology, the word port is a noun that describes the left-hand-side of a water vessel and where cargo is typically loaded and unloaded. For example,

as you get closer, turn the wheel to port to allow the transom to swing in. Boating Magazine

The noun port may also describe a town, city, or harbor, where ships can dock and safely anchor to land, or an area of water thats deep enough to provide safety for ships during storms. For example,

The Port of Astoria is doubtful Astoria will see any cruise ships this year The Astorian Today, U.S. coastal areas are undergoing significant changes including port congestion and navigation hazards. National Ocean Service

As with starboard, the word port is an adjective or verb when it describes the port-bow, port-quarter or port-beam, or describes the act turning a helm to the left. Verb forms include ports, ported, and porting.

Trick To Remember The Difference

Port Side Profile

Those not familiar with seafaring terms often have trouble remembering these two at first, so lets go over a trick to remember starboard vs. port.

These words refer to fixed locations on a boat, no matter which direction a person or the boat itself is pointed.

  • The port side is always to the left when one faces the bow.
  • The starboard side is always to the right when one faces the bow.

Since left and right are in alphabetical order, and port and starboard are also in alphabetical order, you will always know the associations between these words as long as you can remember your alphabet.

Another way to remember is the port and left are both shorter words than right and starboard.

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Other Clever Tricks And Advice To Never Forget Where Port And Starboard Are

Directions, orientation, letters, knowing what they are called, and knowing where they are in reference to the direction of the boat is something that every person, captain, steward, or random cruise tourist has had to deal with at some point

To remember directions is one thing, but to understand the technical concepts, knowing what the different parts of the boats are called, why some have green lights and some have red, are but a realistic example of the effort and knowledge you must put in and learn, respectively, to become experienced when it comes to the boat life.

Here are a few more tricks and tips that any person could do so that the experience with boats is a splendid one:

  • Port and starboard are highly technical boat concepts but when reduced to acronyms or letters, life would be much easier. Try using the letter “P” as in “P. Left” and the letter “S” “S. Right” to recall the concepts quicker.
  • Port and starboard can also be reduced to a person or bottle. Just remember, port is for wines, and wines are all that are left. Starboard is for stars, and a superstar is right. This would be a fun way to remember where port and starboard are, respectively.
  • Port and starboard can also be converted into a tune such as a nursery rhyme. Say for example, “Twinkle, twinkle, little left port, starboard, starboard, other side of port.”
  • Count The Number Of Rs

    Another way you can remember which side is which is by counting the number of Rs in both terms. While port only has one R in it, starboard has two. Then, apply the logic that more Rs means being more right. It will be easy to remember that the starboard is on the right side.

    Remember, however, that for this method to work, you need to remember to face the front of the boat when doing it.

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    Passing And Navigation Rules For All Vessel Types:

  • Both sailing vessels and power vessels must keep clear of any vessel they are overtaking.You overtake a vessel when you approach it from behind within a 135-degree sector from the vessels stern.
  • When in a channel or harbor, all vessels must keep to the starboard side of the channel.
  • This is similar to road rules in the United States.
  • When you are in a harbor, you need to keep out of the way of any large ships.
  • This includes any ship over 500 tons or 50 meters in length.
  • It would be best if you also were cautious of creating a wake in the harbor or a river, especially when this wake can be dangerous to other vessels.
  • While in a channel, you must never put down your anchor.
  • Channels are made to get in and out of quickly, and speeding boats might not see you anchored in the middle.
  • While in a channel, a smaller craft must keep out of the way of larger vessels.
  • If the approaching vessel does not give way, regardless of who is supposed to, you will want to avoid a collision by giving way yourself.When you do this, you should generally turn to your vessel to starboard to avoid collision with the other vessel, but you can alter your course to port if that is best for the situation.
  • Port And Starboard: Which Side Is Which

    How to Berth a Vessel Port side to

    Nautical language is not as simple as left and right, so what do port and starboard mean? Our guide explains what you need to know.

    Are you new to cruising or even an experienced cruiser, but dont know those nautical terms you often hear about cruise ships? Its time to find out more about the left and right sides of the ship or should we say port and starboard sides!

    nautical language can be a bit complicatedbut for good reason. Left and right can be ambiguous on a ship depending on where the observing giving directions is standing.

    As a result, the terms port and starboard were created to have less ambiguity. This way, no matter where the steering gear operator or captain was standing, they would be able to follow directions safely at sea.

    However, this can be confusing for people who arent regular seafarers. Thats why, in this article, well review where port and starboard came from and tips on how to remember them. Read on to learn more.

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    Why Is Starboard Green And Port Red

    Its believed that starboard was assigned a green light because it was traditionally the safer side of the ship the helmsman would have a better view of the right-hand side of his ship when steering using an oar. Port was the more dangerous side, and so red was chosen.

    Obviously, this harks back more to sailing tradition when a steering oar was used on the right side of ships, well before green and red lights were introduced. But that idea that port was more dangerous and starboard was safer was something carried forward. So thats why red and green were chosen respectively due to their associations with those colours.

    Its worth noting that ships generally used to pass each other on the dangerous port side because there wouldnt be the steerage oar to potentially damage the passing ship. Boats could probably withstand a bump on the port side, but those oars could damage the hull of ships sailing past.

    The Explanation Behind Port And Starboard Colors

    Navigational lights and color coding are very important, not only to avoid collisions, but also to help neighboring vessels steer clear of your path in terms of the position and orientation of your boat.

    A wise and experienced captain would know the distinction between red and green, but for the apprentice, the light and color of light may not be an example that is easily observed and understood as an indicator of the sides of the boat, so let us tackle the distinctive colors of each side of the boat from a navigational and practical standpoint.

    When talking about the portside, refer to sea port wine which is also sea red wine. In other words, a vessel would designate red color coding to the left-hand side of the cruise ship .

    As for the starboard, opposite to the portside’s port wine phrase, a bottle of starboard wine would be color green in practice.

    Remembering the practice of color coding and the phrase associated with the port side will help you handle navigational situations where you are moving forward with an oncoming cruise ship, cruise boats, or vessels steered from the opposing direction.

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    The History Of The Nautical Terms Port Vs Starboard

    Before we go into tips on how to remember these terms, well review the history of port and starboard. This is also a way you can remember the terms if you happen to be a history buff type of person who remembers facts best in a historical context.

    Before ships were powered by rudders, people would steer them by utilizing a steering oar.

    Because many people are right-handed instead of left-handed, the people steering with these oars would sit on the ships right side.

    The term starboard comes from two words in the old English language: stéor, which means steer, and bord, which means a boats side. So, stéor bord became starboard, meaning, the steering side of the boat.

    The steering oar belonged on the right, steering side of the boat, which we now call starboard.

    Because of this, when ships were docked and moored, this would be done on the other or left, side. This other side was called, larboard, because it was the side on which the ship would be loaded.

    However, over time, this term became confusing because it sounded too much like starboard.

    So this term was changed to port because it was the side of the boat that would be used when the ship was coming into port. This other side of the boat was the right side.

    How Boats Are Measured

    Boaters should be familiar with the following safe boating terms ...


    The beam of a boat is the measurement of a boat width at its widest point.


    Deadrise is the angle of a boat hulls V shape. It is usually measured in degrees at the transom of the boat even though your deadrise runs the length of the boat. For example, a flat bottom boat would have zero deadrise while other deep V boats could have a deadrise of 50. Typically, deadrise is discussed when talking about how comfortable a boat will ride in rougher water. More deadrise is good for cutting through the water, but a lot of deadrise can be a bad thing when you are stopped to fish. A boat with a lot of deadrise can flop side-to-side while sitting still in the water.


    When a boat sits in the water, the draft is the total distance of the boat that sits below the water line. A skiff may have a draft of 7 inches while a 29-foot power catamaran has a draft near 18 inches. Boats are often generalized as having a shallow draft or a deep draft.


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    So What Does Port And Starboard Mean On A Cruise Ship

    Starboard is the right side of the ship and port is the left while facing forward. Simple enough, right?

    Well, it can be a little more complicated than that since ships turn in different ways so sometimes ‘port’ side will actually be facing away from land. However, no matter which direction the vessel is traveling or what side is touching the pier, the port side of the cruise ship is always on the left side while you are facing forward and the starboard side is always on your left.

    When used in conjunction with forward and aft, you’ll be able to navigate easier on a cruise ship. Let’s take a look at some of the things they are used for specifically on cruise ships:

    Your room may be located either on port or starboard depending on where your cabin number is assigned. Each ship has a slightly different numbering convention so you might get confused initially if your room is D312 for instance but discover that it isn’t located next to D211 and instead is located on the other side of the ship.

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    Sometimes this isn’t an issue but if you just walked down a long hallway and discover you are on the wrong side of the ship, well … that can be very frustrating.

    Additionally, when asking for directions it is customary for crew members to refer to the location of different places using starboard and port as well. For instance, they might say, “The library is located on deck seven aft”.

    Whats The Best Side To Stay On For An Alaska Cruise

    While a cruise is known as the best way to see Alaska, choosing the perfect side to stay on depends on the direction that your ship is traveling in. Some Alaska itineraries are unique in that they tend to focus on one specific geographic direction for example, Celebritys Alaska itineraries include Northbound and Southbound sailings that only travel in that direction.

    Northbound Alaska cruises sail up the coastline through the Inside Passage and along Hubbard Glacier, so your best view of Alaskas scenic landmasses are likely on the starboard side of the ship.

    Southbound Alaska cruises are the opposite. They sail down the coast, so the port side of the ship will face the coastline and the starboard side will face the Gulf of Alaska.

    Of course, your cruise ship will rotate a complete 360 degrees at some of the cruising ports like Dawes Glacier and Hubbard Glacier, so you can enjoy incredible views no matter where youre staying on the ship. Dont forget that while youre en route to other destinations, the view from the open sea remains the same no matter what side of the ship youre on. Plus, you can view Alaskas majestic glaciers from any of the ships viewing decks.

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    Another Way To Remember Port And Starboard

    Moving forward with the wine analogy, lets put that into more practice.

    Lets say you are on a cruise ship and out on the deck. If you are facing towards the front of the boat, then your port side will always be on the left.

    If you are familiar with how port wine is traditionally passed around a dinner table, you should know that it always goes to the left.

    And just like port wine which is red, the left-hand side navigation lighting will also be red.

    Another phrase I have heard, but I dont think is as easy to remember as the one I referenced earlier is:

    PORT is always LEFT at sea, but never left at dinner

    Meaning, people always drink up all the port!

    And lastly, another couple of remembering tricks you could use this when trying to recall which side port or starboard is on:

    StaRboaRd is RIGHT. it has 2 letter Rs in it.

    The ships LEFT PORT

    Lets be honest though, neither of these are as good as the originals I showed you:

    PORT and LEFT both have 4 letters in them


    There is no RED PORT wine LEFT in the bottle.

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    Why Is Port Left & Starboard Right? – Explained

    On most cruise itineraries it wont really matter whether your cabin is on the port or starboard side. The difference would be if your cruise was one-way, where you would always be facing a similar direction. In that case, you can work out whether youd prefer a port or starboard room depending on your sailing direction.

    If youre sailing in a northerly direction and you want to enjoy the sunset from your balcony, make sure your cabin is on the port side, otherwise, instead, youll get the sunrise.

    And if youre sailing to the south, then sunset will be on the starboard side to the west, and sunrise to the east on the port side.

    When considering port vs starboard for your cruise, it really doesnt matter. What does matter though, is what deck to choose.

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