What is Port and Starboard?

We use port and starboard rather than left and right because, obviously, left and right is dependent on the way you, as an individual, compared to someone facing another direction.

If you are facing forwards towards the front of the boat, then the port side is on your left and the starboard side is on your right.

We use port and starboard rather than left and right because, obviously, left and right is dependent on the way you, as an individual, compared to someone facing another direction. Rather than say ‘look, a boat to the left’ you might say ‘vessel twenty degrees to Port’. That way everyone knows where to look, no matter which way they are facing at the time. 

A vessel carries navigation lights to identify it’s aspect relative to other vessels at night. 

The port side of a vessel has a constant red light and the starboard side has a constant green light. The aft (rear) sector of a vessel is lit with a constant white light. White, red and green lights are used in different configurations at sea to indicate different things. This will be covered in more detail when you study for your RYA Competent Crew or RYA Day Skipper course.

For more information or to discuss our range of RYA Yachting Courses and Sailing Adventures contact us or call 02380 970824.