Port and Starboard Side of Ship

Last updated on November 4th, 2023 at 10:27 am

When it comes to the terms related to nautical terms tons of terms are far beyond the understanding of an ordinary person. For instance, how many of you unrelated to the maritime industry know about the Port and Starboard side of a Ship?

The port side refers to the left side of the Ship’s bow while the Starboard side refers to the right side of the ship’s bow.

Let’s dive more into the necessary nautical terms that everyone should know.

Need for this Nautical Term

You must be wondering what’s the need to over-complicate things because once I had this same question, so this is because left and right change based on the direction you are facing. Let’s imagine a situation where you are facing the stern of the ship and there is a ship to your left but your left side is the right side of the person facing towards the bow of the ship that will create confusion and ultimately collision. If you had informed the bridge, that there is a ship on the starboard side then the navigating officer would have been able to avoid the collision.

Hence, the need for specific nautical terms was needed to avoid this confounding situation, and Ships are not the only one using such terms for navigation. Aviation and many other departments also use this term to avoid confusion.

Significance and Use

use of port and starboard side of a ship

Let’s talk about why Port and Starboard are important.

Port and Starboard is one of the most crucial terms among all the nautical terms. There’s a proper reason for it to be so important.

They are used for the navigation and maneuvering of the ship or to give orders to the helmsman. Using such nautical terms diminishes the chances of creating a confounding situation by facilitating smooth and easy conversation between crews of different nationalities. It even helps to avoid confusing situations between different ships by transparently indicating which side the other ship wants to go.

Light Signals

Lights showing green for right side and red for left

You all must be aware of the fact that ships also traverse at night so isn’t it concerning how the other ship identifies which side is port or which side is starboard? So, for that ships use light notation for different sides i.e. Green color light for the Starboard Side and Red Colour light for the port side of the ship.

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In the maritime industry where every minute detail matters and safety is paramount, knowing the difference between the port (left) and starboard(right) sides of the ship creates a huge difference. These might sound like just regular words, but they’re the key to making sure everyone on the ship can talk, navigate safely, and keep cool traditions alive. So, even if you’re not a sailor, understanding port and starboard is like knowing your way around a cool secret code for the sea.

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