port and starboard

Port and Starboard Nautical part of Terminology

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Port and starboard are nautical terms that are a common part of seafaring terminology. They are unambiguous references that indicate the fixed locations of the left and right sides of a ship, regardless of which direction you face.

Learning to remember which side is which can be difficult at first, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow our tips below, you’ll be able to quickly and easily. Distinguish between port and starboard in no time!


During the 16th century, sailors in England began to use the term port and starboard instead of left and right to refer to the sides of their ships. This practice became widespread as English commercial ships sailed to various nations throughout the world.

It is important to know the history of these terms. In order to understand why and how they are used today. The roots of these terms come from Old English words that mean “steering side” of a ship or boat.

In ancient times, before ships had central rudders like modern boats, they were controlled using a steering oar. The steering oar was typically placed on the right side of the ship since most people were right-handed. This meant that they could operate it mainly with their right hand, and therefore this side of the boat was referred to as the “steering side.”

As time went by, sailors began to change the name of the side of the boat. The steering side to the loading or unloading side. This was because the area where loading or unloading took place could be difficult to access from the steering side of the vessel.

Word larboard

This led to the development of the word larboard, which means “loading side.” It was used until the 16th century when it merged with starboard to form the word port.

During the nineteenth century, many seafaring companies started to use a mixture of red and green lights to indicate. Which side of their vessels were in port and starboard? This practice helped sailors to easily spot and identify their ships.

The terms port and starboard were also used to provide mariners with directional instructions while sailing. These instructions were called 1800 to either side, and they were essentially telling the steering system where to make an about-turn or about-approach. Incorrectly passing these instructions could lead to serious accidents and mishaps.

Eventually, these terms were established as official navigational directions for left and right on all ships. This was done to ensure that there were consistent rules and regulations for the maneuvers that were performed at sea. This was done in order to prevent collisions and other hazards.


Port and starboard are two nautical terms that describe the left and right sides of a boat. When it is facing forward or towards the bow. These terms are used to help mariners navigate their way safely at sea, and also for docking instructions.

These terms are important for mariners because they have been in use for many centuries. They have helped sailors avoid dangerous accidents and collisions while at sea.

They were originally used on-board English ships, and have since found their way into the lives of mariners around the world. Without them, navigation would be a nightmare.

The terms port and starboard are a simple way to identify the left and right sides of a ship. They have helped mariners navigate their way safely at sea for several centuries.

As a standard, green has always been the color used for the starboard side of a boat when it is using navigational lights. This was a convention passed in 1849 by the UK, and it soon spread to other countries as well.

Standard color

Green is the standard color because it symbolizes the safe side of a ship. Most boats place their steering wheel on the starboard side, and it is considered the safest side for the helmsman to operate.

Red, on the other hand, is considered to be the blindside of a ship. This is because the red port side indicates that there is limited visibility. As a result, vessels are encouraged to pass on the starboard side and not. The port side when it is dark or in poor visibility conditions.

This is the same reason why some cruise ships use red carpets on their port and starboard sides! These carpets are used to remind guests of their side. They can help them remember which side is port and which is starboard.

These colors are also used to help pilots determine their location at sea. Especially when they don’t have a clear view of the surroundings. They are also a helpful tool when determining the position of other vessels in a narrow channel.


It can be tricky to remember the terms port and starboard when you are on a cruise ship, especially if it is your first time cruising. The good news is that there are a few simple ways to help you remember these. Navigational terms so you can make sure you get around the ship safely.

One of the easiest ways to remember port and starboard is by using mnemonics. These are fun and clever phrases that can help you memorize certain things more easily.

For example, when you are sailing in the seas, you may hear a mnemonic that reads “Red, Right, Returning.” This is based on the IALA buoyage system where red-colored nun buoys are kept to. The right side of the boat as it returns from the water and enters a harbor.

Another easy mnemonic is to use the colors of navigation lights, which are red for the port and green for the starboard. These are used for both navigational purposes and as signage inside the boat. So it makes a lot of sense to use these colors when creating your mnemonic.

Use mnemonics

You can also use mnemonics to remember other nautical terms, such as the rules of the road. For example, the rule of “red over red the boat is dead” can be a handy mnemonic because it reminds you to avoid any boats that are not under command or not following the rules.

If you are looking for a more serious mnemonic, there is also a mnemonic that tells. You to avoid all collisions no matter what, regardless of whether you have the right of way or not. This rule takes priority over any other rules and should be followed as much as possible.

There are also mnemonics that help you remember the sound signals used in the collision regulations. These are important and can be confusing if you don’t know Morse code. But they are much easier to remember with a mnemonic.

For example, the first choice when meeting a vessel head-on would be to turn to starboard, so one short blast indicates that you are turning to that side. The second choice when you are meeting a vessel head-on is to turn to port, so two short blasts indicate that you are turning to that side.


Whether you’re a cruiser or simply someone who enjoys sailing, it’s important to know how to differentiate between port and starboard. This will help you to navigate your way around the ship and avoid any potential issues. It will also be helpful if you ever need to pass information between the systems of your boat in an emergency situation.

One of the most common tricks used to remember which side of a boat is is to think about the color of the navigation lights. All ships have two navigation lights: red and green. The red light represents the port side of a ship, while the green light is the starboard side.

Another trick to remembering in which direction a boat is moving is to consider the way in which letters are arranged alphabetically. Since the letter L is closer to P, it will be easier for you to remember that port is on the left. On the other hand, the letter R is close to S, which means that the starboard will be on the right.

Read more: Parts of a Ship You Should Know

Imagining a glass

You could also use a mnemonic to remember which way the ship is going, like imagining a glass of port wine being poured until it’s empty. This will be a fun way for you to remember which direction the ship is going and ensure that you get to your destination safely!

If you’re a new cruiser, it may be difficult to remember which side of the boat is which. However, with a little help, you’ll be able to easily remember which is port and which is starboard.

There are many ways to remember which side of the ship is which, but it’s always a good idea to find a trick that works best for you. You can try to memorize the word “port” and then think about a glass of wine, or you can buy novelty socks that say “port” and “starboard” on each foot.

If you’re a seasoned cruiser, there are plenty of ways to remember which side of the ship is the starboard or the port, but it’s always best to make sure that you know which way the boat is going. This will ensure that you never miss a stunning view or even an opportunity to take a photo!

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