Monday, August 19, 2019

Port & Starboard

Image result for starboard and port

A listener asked how 'port' and 'starboard' came into nautical use instead of just saying left and right.

At one point in naval history, the steering apparatus was on the right side of the boat. When the steersman docked the vessel, he had to maneuver the left side toward the pier. If he used the right side, he would have damaged the rudder by jamming it against the pier. So the left side was used to load and unload cargo in port. It was the port side.

Starboard had nothing to do with stars; it didn’t refer to celestial navigation. Star was an early variation of steer. The right side was the steering side because that’s where the rudder was located in early Germanic boats. It was connected to the steer board.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find some podcasts there under TheRon Jolly Show.


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