The term starboard orginates from an Old Norse word meaning "steerboard". Viking ships were steered not with a rudder but with a broad steering oar on the right side of the ship.

Because the steering oar was on the right, when the ship was docked it was tied to the dock from its left side. The term larboard was used for this "loading side" until it was decided by the British navy that larboard sounded too similar to starboard. The left side of a boat was named "port" since it's the side you tie up to, when the ship is in port.


A rule of sailboat racing is that in open water, boats on port tack (wind coming from the port side) must give way to boats on starboard tack.

When you've got a massive great sail stopping you from seeing all around you very effectively, shouting "Starboard!" at the top of your voice is often the best way to get the attention of the other boat.

Shouting really loudly helps. Shouting "port" loud enough as if you know what you're doing might just work...

Star"board` (?), n. [OE. sterbord, AS. steorbord, i.e., steer board. See Steer, v. t., Board of a vessel, and cf. Larboard.] Naut.

That side of a vessel which is one of the right hand of a person who stands on board facing the bow; -- opposed to larboard, or port.


© Webster 1913.

Star"board`, a. Naut.

Pertaining to the right-hand side of a ship; being or lying on the right side; as, the starboard quarter; starboard tack.


© Webster 1913.

Star"board`, v. t. Naut.

To put to the right, or starboard, side of a vessel; as, to starboard the helm.


© Webster 1913.

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