Port (nautical)


Port (nautical)

Port is the nautical term (used on boats and ships) that refers to the left side of a ship, as perceived by a person on board the ship and facing towards the bow (the front of the vessel). The terms are also used for aircraft, spacecraft, and analogous vessels. The equivalent for the right-hand side is starboard.

An archaic version of the term is "larboard". The term "larboard", when shouted in the wind, was presumably too easy to confuse with "starboard" and so the word "port" came to replace it, referring to the side of the ship where cargo is loaded from the port. The term larboard continued its use well into the 1850s by whalers, despite the term being long superseded by "port" in the merchant vessel service at the time. The term was not officially adopted by the Royal Navy until 1844 (Ray Parkin, "H. M. Bark Endeavour"). Robert FitzRoy, Captain of Darwin's HMS "Beagle", is said to have taught his crew to use the term port instead of larboard, thus propelling the use of the word into the Naval Services vocabulary. Another source suggests a different archaic word "portboard" (see the starboard article for further explanation).

The word "starboard" comes from Old English "steorbord", literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered. The old English term "stēorbord" descends from the Old Norse words "stýri" meaning “rudder” (from the verb "stýra", literally “being at the helm”, “having a hand in”) and "borð" meaning etymologically “board”, then the “side of a ship”.

In many languages, other than English, the word is derived from a Germanic term akin to "backboard", from the same roots as English "back" and "board".

A "port buoy" is a lateral buoy used to guide vessels through channels or close to shallow water. The port buoy is one that a vessel must leave to port when passing upstream. If in IALA area A, the port buoys are red. If in IALA area B (Japan, the Americas, South Korea, and the Philippines) then the 'handedness' of buoyage is reversed, and black or green buoys are left to port.

Ships and aircraft carry a red light on the port side, and a green one on the starboard side, plus a white light at the rear.

There are a number of tricks used to remember port and starboard:

* Port is to the left facing forward; "port" and "left" each have four letters.
* Similar to above, all are short words ("port", "left", and "red") while other side long words ("starboard", "right", and "green")
* Also the phrase "Any red port left in the can?" can be a useful reminder. It breaks down as follows: -

Port, the drink, is a fortified red wine which links the word port with the colour red, used for the navigation lights (see below). "left" comes from the phrase and so port must be on the left. The reference to "can" relates to the fact that port-hand harbour buoys are "can" shaped (only in IALA region A)

For buoys in IALA B:
* Best People On Earth - Black Port on Entering
* RRR - Red Right Returning

ee also

*Starboard
*Bow
*Stern

External links

* [http://www.nmm.ac.uk/server/show/conWebDoc.17900 The origins of 'port' and 'starboard' at the UK National Maritime Museum website]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nautical tourism — Cruisers can see traditional life in remote areas of the world; here, a Kuna local paddles a dugout canoe in the San Blas Islands. Nautical tourism is an increasingly popular way to combine love of sailing and boating with vacation and holiday… …   Wikipedia

  • Port (disambiguation) — Contents 1 Transportation 2 Computing 3 Places 4 Medicine …   Wikipedia

  • Nautical Port Apartments — (Port Saplaya,Испания) Категория отеля: Адрес: Unión, 7, 46120 Port Saplaya, Испания …   Каталог отелей

  • Nautical publications — is a technical term used in maritime circles describing a set of publications, generally published by national governments, for use in safe navigation of ships, boats, and similar vessels. The nature of waterways described by any given nautical… …   Wikipedia

  • Nautical star — Nautical star. The nautical star is a symbolic star associated with the sea services of the United States armed forces and with tattoo culture. It is usually rendered as a five pointed star in dark and light shades counterchanged in a manner… …   Wikipedia

  • Port Washington, Wisconsin — Port Washington is a city in and the county seat of Ozaukee County in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. It is about 25 miles north of Milwaukee and some 110 miles north of Chicago. In the 2000 census Port Washington had a population of 12,238 people.… …   Wikipedia

  • Nautical Museum of Crete — External view of the museum building (right) Established 1973 Location Chania, Crete, Greece …   Wikipedia

  • Port Heiden Airport — IATA: PTH – ICAO: PAPH – FAA LID: PTH Summary …   Wikipedia

  • Port Moller Airport — Port Moller Air Force Station IATA: PML – ICAO: PAAL – FAA LID: 1AK3 Summary Airport type Private Owne …   Wikipedia

  • Port Clarence Coast Guard Station — IATA: KPC – ICAO: PAPC – FAA LID: KPC Summary Airport type Private Owner U.S. Government …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.