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It had to be one way or another...just like when two cars arrive at a stop sign at the same time if this is a normal stop sign or a four way stop the car to the right is to have the right of way.

Without rules you'd have anarchy, lol....
 

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Yeah.

Otherwise every time you found yourself on a collision course, you'd have to do rock, scissors stone to see who is the stand on vessel.
 

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Starboard (right)[edit]



The origin of the term starboard comes from early boating practices. Before ships had rudders on their centrelines, they were steered by use of a specialized steering oar. This oar was held by an oarsman located in the stern (back) of the ship. However, similar to now, there were many more right-handed sailors than left-handed sailors. This meant that the steering oar (which had been broadened to provide better control) used to be affixed to the right side of the ship. The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered, descendant 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".


They go on to say that the starboard side was the favored side where the captain stood.
So it makes sense that the starboard side would be favored in the regulations.

In any event it is a very, very old rule pre-dating the United States so just get used to it.:D
 

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David's response makes me think that Starboard has right of way because a boat on starboard tack would tend to have it's "steering board" or rudder somewhat out of the water, and therefore have less control over it's action than a boat on port tack. A boat on Port would tend to have it's "steering board" fully in the water and therefore have the boat under better control. It could also be because two Dutch captains in the Hanseatic League had a guilder toss in 1252. It came up tails, so Starboard won priority. Or maybe the Pope decided it in 1413, as a result of Portuguese and Spanish petitions. The Portuguese wanted Port to be prioritized, since they sailed mostly on Port going around Africa and didn't want to have to change course any more than necessary. The Spanish wanted Starboard to prevail, since they wanted to cut into the Portuguese routes and mess them up if they could. Not sure which is correct reason for Starboard prevailing, but any could be right.
 

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If two boats are beating and converging on opposite tacks, the stbd boat is approaching from the right.. Same as two powerboats meeting, the boat approaching from the right would be the stand on vessel.. I think this rule is basically an extension of that.
 

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If two boats are beating and converging on opposite tacks, the stbd boat is approaching from the right.. Same as two powerboats meeting, the boat approaching from the right would be the stand on vessel.. I think this rule is basically an extension of that.
It wouldn't surprise me if the rule predates internal combustion engines.
 

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wikipedia

Starboard (right)[edit]



The origin of the term starboard comes from early boating practices. Before ships had rudders on their centrelines, they were steered by use of a specialized steering oar. This oar was held by an oarsman located in the stern (back) of the ship. However, similar to now, there were many more right-handed sailors than left-handed sailors. This meant that the steering oar (which had been broadened to provide better control) used to be affixed to the right side of the ship. The word starboard comes from Old English steorbord, literally meaning the side on which the ship is steered, descendant 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".


They go on to say that the starboard side was the favored side where the captain stood.
So it makes sense that the starboard side would be favored in the regulations.

In any event it is a very, very old rule pre-dating the United States so just get used to it.:D
David--

The foregoing is a good discussion of the Etymology of the term "Starboard" but it doesn't get you to the finish line. In fact, with a helmsman positioned on the "starboard" or right aft quarter of a ship, when on port tack, he/she was better positioned to see where he/she was going and possible obstructions ahead than a helmsman similarly positioned but on a starboard tack. (How many times have you heard a tiller-man on starboard ask someone to look-see "what's under my jib"?) Hence, when converging on opposite tacks, the helmsman on port could more easily decern what avoiding action was necessary. Taking that action amounted to "yielding" to the starboard tacker who, by such action, was "favored". Hence, Starboard is known as the "favored tack".
 

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Conversely port is called port because that is the side you come into port on.
... so that you didn't damage the 'steeringboard' to starboard...

.. and which was originally 'larboard' but that was too confusing when shouting orders at a distance or in bad conditions..
 

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.. and which was originally 'larboard' but that was too confusing
I'm currently reading "Master and Commander" and I found the use of larboard confusing too, since I had never heard the term before....

Does anyone know when the starboard priority custom came into being? How long has it been the rule?
 

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When did red and green sidelights come into general use?

Does starboard over port have anything to do with sidelights? Because generally the boat on starboard is showing red to boat on port, who generally is showing green (yes there are exceptions I know, but usually) to the starboard tack boat. So, one stops, the other keeps going according to the light shown, "stop" or "go"..
 

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I'm currently reading "Master and Commander" and I found the use of larboard confusing too, since I had never heard the term before....

Does anyone know when the starboard priority custom came into being? How long has it been the rule?
Since before boats had rudders, see the beginning of the thread.
 

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When did red and green sidelights come into general use?

Does starboard over port have anything to do with sidelights? Because generally the boat on starboard is showing red to boat on port, who generally is showing green (yes there are exceptions I know, but usually) to the starboard tack boat. So, one stops, the other keeps going according to the light shown, "stop" or "go"..
Yes
If you see red that means trouble.
 

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Since before boats had rudders, see the beginning of the thread.
I know it's been called starboard since before boats had rudders, I was wondering when the custom of giving the boat on a starboard tack priority.

I somehow doubt my Viking ancestors with their styri bords much gave a damn which tack an oncoming boat was on!
 

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SVHylyte's explanation makes sense.

Another trivia: Because port gives way to starboard, most ships/boats heave-to on starboard tack. Which leads to another fact - the reason which most galleys are on the ("down") port side, easier to cook when hove-to for days...
 

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I'm currently reading "Master and Commander" and I found the use of larboard confusing too, since I had never heard the term before....

Does anyone know when the starboard priority custom came into being? How long has it been the rule?
Ladebord, referring to the side of the ship on which cargo was loaded. Changed to larboard in the 16th century by association with starboard.

In the British Navy it was not until 1844 that larboard was abandoned for port in reference to that side of the ship. The term port however had always been used when referring to the helm (ie. sailing direction), in order to avoid any confusion between starboard and larboard in such an important matter.
-CH
 

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...

I somehow doubt my Viking ancestors with their styri bords much gave a damn which tack an oncoming boat was on!
Perhaps, but for the on-coming ship, the last person anyone wanted to PO during your ancestor's time was a Viking by failing to yield the right of way when due. One--or at least one's head--might have ended up a "figure head", on a Pike off the bow of such a ship, no?
 
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