Port and Starboard

Q – Every mariner knows the different between port and starboard.

Hundreds of years ago, however, a different word was used to refer to the left side of the boat.

What is it?  What is the origin of the term port and starboard?

A – The term originally used for the left side of the boat was Larboard.

Given its similarity in sound to “starboard,” you can see how the term “port” became preferable over time.

“Starboard” derived from Old English terms for steering board (on the right side of historic ships).

Larboard possibly came from the words for loading and board – and ships were traditionally docked on their left side for loading.

“Port” is thought to have the same meaning: the side put to the wharf when in port.

Compliments of Maritime Trivia by Bret Gilliam

Port and Starboard

Port          – Left   – Red
Starboard – Right – Green

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