Many Shipping Jobs Available! Register and apply now.

Why Port and Starboard?

All seafarers know that port and starboard are nautical terms for left and right side of a vessel respectively, facing forward.   Since port and starboard never change, they are unambiguous references that are not dependent on the marine observer’s orientation.

Have you ever wondered why the sides are named port and starboard?

The term starboard is derived from Old English steorbord which refers to the side of the ship which is steered.  Before being equipped with rudders on their centrelines, ships were steered with a steering oar on the stern of the ship which happens to be on the right side of the ship as most people are right-handed.  Since the steering oar was always on the right side, it would tie up at the port on the opposite side, thus the left side was called port.