Why Is One Side Of A Ship Called Port And The Other Starboard?


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Starboard is a term, generally used in the nautical sense, to refer to the right side of a ship or vessel as seen by the individual on board the vessel and standing with the face towards the front (bow). It is important to observe that the starboard refers to a certain side of the ship that remains unchanged; it is not simply a synonym for the right side. Simply put, where the starboard of the ship is located does not depend on the direction in which the observer is facing. The starboard side of a ship is generally specified by a green navigation light during the night. The word starboard comes from an Old English word, steorboard, which literally means the side on which the ship steers.

The opposite side of a starboard is known as the larboard or the port side, and follows the same principle as the starboard side. As larboard and starboard resembled each other too closely, larboard was changed to port in order to help one distinguish between the two.

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