Why Port and Starboard Indicate the Left and Right Side of a Ship

the origin of port and starboard if

you've ever found yourself wondering why

port and starboard indicate the left and

right side of a ship well wonder no more

starboard is referencing the old

practice of having a steering oar on one

side of the ship rather than a centrally

placed rudder but this was basically

just a modified or generally attached in

a vertical attitude to the right side of

the ship near the back with the right

side thought to have been chosen simply

because most people are right-handed as

to the name itself

starboard this comes from the

anglo-saxon name for the side steering

or steer board which literally means the

side on which a vessel is steered the

fact that the rudder was orientated this

way gave a very convenient and

completely unconfessed eyelids without

any mental gymnastics to know which side

of the ship was being referenced it's

just the sight the steering or ISM as

report the original name of the left

side of the ship was not port but rather

the old English back board this was

probably referencing the fact that on

larger boats the helmsman would often

have to hold the steering oar with both

hands so that his back would be to the

left side of the ship after back board

came ladder port meaning Leyden meaning

to load and board meaning ship side this

gave rise to the starboard rhyming word

larboard in the 16th century just

meaning the side of the ship that faced

the dock or shore

this was the opposite side as the

steering oar to minimise chance of

damaging the oar as well as to make it

easier to load and unload without the

steering oar in the way port also popped

up in the 16th century with the origin

similar to why the left side of the ship

was called larboard when you docked or

more - if with the rudder affixed to the

right side it was always done with the

left side of the boat facing the harbour

or dock presumably the fact that port

and larboard first popped up around the

16th century is no coincidence

once Lada board was sled to lob ought to

rhyme with starboard a problem was

introduced with the word sounding so

similar there was now a good chance of

people miss hearing which direction was

given particularly in stormy settings or

on a battle or the like with a similarly

meaning port there was no such confusion

around the early to mid 19th century

port popularly replaced larboard for

this reason at first when he just made

the switch on their own but in 1844 the

change from larded to port was made

official in the British Navy and two

years later in the US Navy and has

pretty much become ubiquitous since

bonus fact some more confusingly

depending on your frame of reference on

many boats until the nineteen

30s when someone said something like

hard to starboard the helmsman would

understand that mean to turn the ship to

the left port

rather than starboard why because for a

time the standard was to go by the

tiller direction or the bottom of the

wheel if there was one rather than the

way the ship will go thus if you wanted

the ship to turn to port you'd move the

tiller to starboard

or turn the wheel such that the bottom

of the wheels turn direction goes to

starboard a famous example of where you

can see this isn't some depictions of

the Titanic wreck where first officer

William Murdoch gives a hard to

starboard command in the ship intensed

port this was not a mistake the helmsman

did exactly as he should have when the

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