When learning to sail or motorboat, there is an entirely new language that you need to know and understand. The words port, starboard, bow, and stern are the words that you will need to know for any boating.
The term port means the left side of the boat, and starboard is the ship’s right side. The bow is the front side of the boat, and the stern is the back side of the ship. Each of these is a different part of the boat, and it is vital to understand these terms when sailing a boat or driving a motorboat.
Table of Contents
- Meaning Of Port And Starboard On Sailboats And Other Boats
- Meaning Of Bow And Stern On Sailboats And Other Boats
- Why Understanding The Port, Starboard, Bow, And Stern Are Important
- Related Questions
Meaning Of Port And Starboard On Sailboats And Other Boats
Whether sailing a sailboat or driving a motorboat, you may hear someone call out starboard or port instead of right and left. The starboard and port never change on a boat; it always remains the same.
The starboard is on the right side of the boat, and the port is on the left side as you sit facing the bow. Knowing and understanding these terms is very important, especially when sailing a ship.
When sailing, you may call the crew that you will starboard tack or that the wind is on the port side. The port and starboard will never change, even if the boat’s direction changes.
Using the port and starboard terms for the right and left-hand sides of the boat helps the mariners and the crew avoid confusion.
Ethnology Of Port And Starboard Boating Terms
Port and starboard are mariner terms that have been used for a long time. Each word has a story and is why the terms are still used today.
The term starboard comes from the Old English word steorbord, which means the side on which the ship is steered. In the past, ships used to have rudders on their centerline, and they were steered with a steering oar from the right-hand side, never the stern; ships were steered on the right-hand side because most people are right-handed.
The word port came from the steering being on the right-hand side, so the boat would be tied up at the wharf or dock on the left-hand side or what was known as the port side of the ship. The term port was used in Old English as far back as 1543.
Understanding these terms is very important when sailing a boat or driving a motorboat. Knowing the starboard or port terms will help you and the crew avoid confusion when you call out directions such as “starboard” or “port” to your crew.
Meaning Of Bow And Stern On Sailboats And Other Boats
The bow and sterns are two parts of the boat that refer to the boat. The ship’s bow is the part that faces forward when the ship is underway. The bow usually has a sharp-angled hull, providing less resistance to move the vessel through the water more easily.
The stern is the back part of the ship; for a sailboat, the stern is where the tiller is, and on a keel sailboat, you will sit near the stern to steer the boat. The stern is also called the aft-most part of the ship or boat.
The stern is at the opposite end of the ship from the bow. If you are sailing, it is essential to know and understand the difference between the stern and bow of the boat.
Ethnology Of Stern And Bow Boating Terms
Today stern and bow are terms that any boater should know and understand. The words also have some fascinating history.
We do not quite know where the word stern comes from, but most people believe that the word stern comes from the word steer, as it is at the stern or the back of the boat where the boat direction comes from or where the ship is steered.
The term bow of the boat is thought to come from the Middle Dutch of Boech or Old Norse Bogor (shoulder). In Old English, the word bough, bog, or both could also mean bow; we are unsure if the word bow is related to these words.
The word is more than likely related to the French word Prow, which also means the ship’s bow above the waterline. The terms prow and bow are often used interchangeably to describe the very forward part of the ship.
Why Understanding The Port, Starboard, Bow, And Stern Are Important
Understanding the terms port, starboard, bow, and stern is essential for sailing a boat or on a motorboat. Understanding the differences between the stern and bow of the ship is essential to know which part should be docked or tied up first when docking your boat.
Also, it is essential to know the difference between the starboard and port when on the waterway to understand which boat has the right away or give way.
Also, if you are a crew on a ship and the Captian is shouting orders, you must understand the basic terms of the bow (front of the boat), stern (back of the ship), starboard (right side of the boat) and port (left side of the boat).
Boating and especially sailing are entertaining watersports to be a part of. But to like many other things, you need to learn the “lingo” or language and what the different basic terms mean, including starboard, port, bow, and stern.
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