Port/Starboard To Remember

“Starboard” meant “Steering Board”

The steering board was on the right hand side of the boat to be steered with the right hand.

To not damage the steering board, the boat “ported” to the port side of the boat.

Got it?

Another memory aid
Red or Green? Port is a red wine. I haven’t ordered a pair of suspenders from the Red Green show because the colors are backwards. Most emergency vehicles have red to port and blue to starboard.

easier to remember

– Last Updated: Jan-17-12 12:33 PM EST –

Port and left each have 4 letters, so the port side is the left side. Learned that memory aid in Navy bootcamp.

red left the port
Ryan L.

A related thing
In all my life I’ve never had any need to know which is port and which is starboard, but it has been handy to remember which colored lights are on which sides of a marked channel. “Red on the right when returning to port” is not exactly a catchy phrase, but it’s the one I remember. For inland waters, it means that when going upstream, the red markers are on the right and the green ones are on the left, a handy thing to know at night.

red right return
It helps me stay out of the shipping or boating channels when I can, and reminds me to watch and move quickly when I can’t.

Port side
I could have sworn the wine was kept there.

Another one
"You just left port"

Red right returning

– Last Updated: Jan-19-12 3:17 PM EST –

except when not...

Though red is most often right returning to port or the headwaters of a river, this is not always true (Southern entrance/egress of Friendship Harbor, Maine). If in waters with much traffic it can be very important to consult your chart.

One of the worst ways to remember
None of those idea are at all familiar to any ordinary person. But if it works for you …

For the dummys

– Last Updated: Jan-18-12 8:07 PM EST –

red port left have few letters

green starboard right all have more.

To be blunt, if you didn't know this you need to take a boating course. You can do a search for America's Boating Course, United States Power Squadrons, United States Coast Guard Auxillary or any of several others.

I’ll be blunt too (what else would…

– Last Updated: Jan-19-12 1:18 AM EST –

... anyone expect from me?). Anyone who doesn't know port from starboard NEEDS to take a boating course? Get real. I've regularly been in boats for more than 45 years and have yet to hear a single person use the words "port" and starboard" while on the water. I stongly suspect that there's not a (logical) person in the entire midwest who cares whether I know port from starboard. As long as a person actually knows left from right, he can get along quite nicely here. Few of us ever see a marked navigation channel in our entire lives, and if we do, knowing that traffic stays to the right is enough, and knowing which boat is the stand-on vessel when meeting is enough. Far more important than that, it's enough to know that for traffic that is faster or bigger than you (which is virtually every other boat on the water), the only action that makes any sense at all is to always adjust your course and timing so you don't end up in the same place as them at the same time. You sure don't need to know port from starboard to accomplish any of those things.

Key words / invoking salty
midwest, Few of us ever see a marked navigation channel in our entire lives

I stongly suspect that there’s not a…
“I stongly suspect that there’s not a (logical) person in the entire midwest…”

enough said :wink:

Right and left not the same as…
Port and Starboard are not wholly synonymous with left and right. The port side of the boat is the left side when facing the bow, the starboard is the right side when facing the bow. It does not change according to the orientation of a person on the boat.(Just as river left and river right are not wholly synonymous with left and right).

Do you drive your boat looking backwards?

So, …
… are you telling me that it is actually important for a paddler to know this? If a friend is trying to find something in one of your boat’s hatches and needs help, do you tell him to look next to the water bottle on the starboard side? When going down a rapid, someone might yell out “go to the right of the rock”, but no one says “come through with the rock off your port side.”

Gimme a break.

your probably correct GBG …

– Last Updated: Jan-21-12 3:12 AM EST –

....... about few using or even understanding port and starboard meaning .

I use it as common speech when in a power boat operating on the bay though . Example "traffic crossing ahead showing port side lights" . We need to (must) monitor the light colors we see moving all about us to determine the direction other traffic is moving ... it's very dark out there and those lights confirm we are looking at port side , starboard side crossings , head on approach or following a vessel .

Red right return always works for every place I've been in the bay region ... especially valuable when in unknown waters .

Port and Starboard are just the way we learned it and we use those terms in common speake .

river right & river left

– Last Updated: Jan-20-12 1:12 PM EST –

Yes, it is important in moving water to be specific about river right and/or river left. When running or scouting a river sometimes one is facing upstream, sometimes downstream.

There are many things many people choose not to know. Many are happy with only general non-specific vocabularies. However, there is a use/purpose for specific terms.

Port and starboard are boat/vessel specific. Left and right are not.

rowing etc…

– Last Updated: Jan-21-12 4:00 AM EST –

When rowing, one is often facing the stern of the boat.