Port and starboard

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Oncoming motor ship with three position lights : starboard green, port red, masthead light white

Port (abbreviation: Bb ) denotes the left side of a watercraft , aircraft or spacecraft, viewed from stern to bow . The right side is to starboard (abbreviation: tr ), respectively. Everything that lies inside and outside the vehicle on the respective side, its spatial position is referred to as port or starboard .

Origin and meaning

Model of the Gokstad ship , the rudder on the right side of the stern, i.e. on the starboard side

Etymological dictionaries lead back the term port to the back ; because "at first the helmsman turned his back ( back , mnd. bak ) to the left side of the ship to operate the rudder ." The starboard side got its name because the rudder was not in the middle, but on the right. For example, Viking ships were limited to a rudder on the right side of the ship, where it was tied. If the helmsman turned to the helm, the port side was behind (back) him.

In the German merchant navy , the port and starboard commands were made binding by an imperial order in 1903 after a long dispute. The rudder command has been in effect since April 1, 1905.

Use in shipping

The unambiguous designation of directions - regardless of the observer's location - is essential in shipping. This is the only way to make commands unmistakable.

Facilities on board

Facilities on board are often designed in pairs and can be distinguished by the designation of their position on port or starboard. For example, the PORT Want and the starboard Want, or the PORT winch and the starboard winch. One also speaks of "concerns on starboard", in which case the fenders and mooring lines on starboard are prepared.

Objects in the area

The position of geographical objects can be described with port or starboard, for example banks, islands, rocks, shallows or docks. Other ships can also be designated in this way or more precisely with the additional "astern" or "ahead" or "Querab" or with "auf four o'clock" for "a little more aft than Querab", or with the type of ship (tanker, sailing ship) or with his Color or flag.

Directions of rotation

→ Main article: Rudder commands

Approximate instructions for the helmsman on motor ships are often described as "a little port" or "starboard", often supplemented with a number of degrees for the size of the course change "10 degrees port". On sailing ships, on the other hand, one orientates oneself according to the wind and speaks of “luffing up 10 degrees” ( turning to windward ) or “falling away 10 degrees” ( turning to lee ). The emergency call "Man overboard - to port" determines in which direction the lookout is to be kept and how the ship must be turned off immediately so that the victim does not get into the screw.

Position lights and right of way

In order to see the direction of travel of other ships at night, ships are marked with position lights. The port position light is red and the starboard is green. There is also a white light at the stern of the ship. From the front you can see red and green at the same time on another ship, from the back white. When evading according to the collision avoidance rules , the vessel required to maintain a course sees the green position light (its starboard side), the vehicle that has to avoid the red position light (its port side). The radiation areas overlap towards the front: In this case, both vessels have to move to starboard.

Side of a fairway

The red-green harbor firing coincides arriving with the position lights on board

When a ship enters a fairway from sea , the port side of the ship is also on the port side of the fairway. The starboard side of the ship is correspondingly on the starboard side of the fairway.

If, on the other hand, the ship is in the fairway and is heading towards the sea, the designation of the fairway sides is exactly the opposite.

The buoys in the fairway are also different : Depending on the region (→ main article: Lateral System ), the fairway is marked with red ( IALA-A ) or green ( IALA-B ) buoys, which are top marks with a cylinder or cone . Port buckets are numbered with even numbers, while starboard buckets are numbered with odd numbers. The barrel shape, however, is the same in both systems: pointed on the starboard side, blunt on the port side of the fairway.

Memory aids

As a mnemonic is often - today rather jokingly - with a slap threatened if the sailor port and starboard confused: Then that runs right back e red to (assuming the chastening instructor is right-handed).

Another memory aid is the alphabetical order, this results in the same page sequence for port and starboard as for left and right . Since German is also written from left to right, you can not only assign port and starboard correctly , but also left and right correctly.

Another possibly helpful saying is: Taxes are paid by law .

After all, the color red in political color symbolism traditionally stands for the left-wing party spectrum .

In English

The port side is called in English port . The rudder attached to the starboard side would be in the way when mooring and could possibly have been damaged, which is why it was preferred to moor on the port side. Starboard is in English starboard , so also starboard.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: port  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Starboard  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Cf. inter alia Wolfgang Pfeifer: Etymological Dictionary of German. 5th edition Munich 2000, p. 85.
  2. ^ Jan de Vries: Nederlands Etymologically Woordenboek. Leiden 1997, p. 26.
  3. ^ Pfeifer, p. 85.
  4. wikisource: de: Ordinance, regarding the rudder command
  5. Course Sport Boat Driving License See - UE2 - Sheet 3 - buoy