How to Remember Port and Starboard – Simple & Fast Ways

How to Remember Port and Starboard1
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When facing the front of a boat or ship, the words port and starboard are used to describe the left and right sides of the craft.

Remembering the names of port and starboard can help you navigate the ship because many cruise ships are over 1,000 feet long, making it simple to get lost.

This article is ideal for you if you’re looking for a detailed instruction on how to maintain the port side and starboard side. You will find everything you need to know about remembering port and starboard in this post, making it simpler for you to find the two fixed locations.

Is Starboard Left or Right?

The port side will be on your left and the starboard side will be on your right when facing a ship’s bow (front). If you turn around 180 degrees, the ship’s port side will now be on your right side because port and starboard are fixed locations on every boat and ship.

There are a number of methods you can use to remember which side of the boat is port and which side is starboard. One of them should stick in your mind after reading them all.

Starboard Vs Port: The Differences

Even though they both refer to the same boat, we can distinguish these two navigational terms more easily by pointing out some of their differences. Follow these below aspects to identify different features between the terms:

The Boat’s Location

We all know where port and starboard are on a ship because they are on the sides. You will be looking in the direction of the ship or vessel up ahead. In this instance, boats’ port sides are positioned to the left and their starboard sides to the right.

On the port or starboard are fixed directions. They are similar to cardinal positions in that it doesn’t matter where a person is standing.

Cardinal Direction

Finding the left or right side can be done with the help of a compass. The east and west will be linked by this. The port side of the ship is at the west according to these coordinates, while the starboard side is now at the east.

Light Colors

Using lights on the port or starboard sides makes a difference in the color of the light. The majority of sailors use these as classifications to prevent misunderstandings. The green navigating light typically stays to the right, while the red one is always set to the left.

Using the lights that are visible in both the port and starboard directions, you can precisely pinpoint your location. These lights are also used to warn other boats to avoid collisions and accidents. They resemble the controller of a maritime vehicle.

If you see a green starboard light, that means the opposing vessel is yielding to you and you should proceed. On the other hand, a red light from the port side signals that you need to stop because continuing poses a risk. You must therefore make room for the other ship. The red port has a can-shaped light that shines on its side at night. An alternative is a red light on the port side.

Simple Methods To Memorize Port & Starboard Positions

It’s time for you to learn how to remember the terms after you’ve understood them. If you want to remember which side of the boat is port and starboard, you have a lot of options. Look over each one and select the one that best suits your preferences.

Numbers Of Each Word

Because you only need to be specific about one side to recognize the other, it might be easy to remember whether something is port or starboard. To memorize the port position, acknowledge four characters are included in “port” as well as “left”.

Starboard is always left on the right side by default. It’s not too challenging because “port” contains four letters, the same numbers as “left”.


You can remember both port and starboard by making a mental note of the letters. The following sentences can be memorized or chanted:

“L as in left, near P as in port”

“R” stands for “right,” while “S” stands for the word “starboard.”

Referring Port Wine

The starboard lights are green, and the port lights are red. However, while you are on board, you can use them as signs to determine whether a particular direction is to port or to starboard.

If you want to keep these vivid colors in mind, have a glass of port wine. Think of red wine when you want information about port position, especially when it is poured into a glass. You can remember the navigational words with the help of this image.

You can also remember the saying, “At sea, port is frequently abandoned, but it is rarely left for dinner.”. It suggests that attendees at dinner parties always want to end their port. For ease of memory, anglers should start thinking about port first and starboard second.

Using A Pair Of Sock

It’s simple to advance these nautical expressions by putting on port or starboard socks. However, pay attention to how the patterns and colors are arranged. You can make it available to anyone who has trouble telling these terms apart.

Why Do We Refer To Things As Starboard And Port?

If you imagine standing on the bow, or the front of a boat, facing forwards, it might seem simple to use “left” and “right” to signal direction. Things can quickly become confusing, though, if a boat’s crew members are scattered around the vessel and facing various directions. Our natural tendency is to consider our own left or right. In contrast, the terms “port” and “starboard” are always in reference to the vessel. Therefore, no matter which way you are facing, you will always know which way is which.

The port side and the starboard side are to your left and right, respectively, when you are standing on a yacht’s deck facing the bow as we previously mentioned. Starboard will now be on your left and port will be on your right if you turn around to face the boat’s stern, or back. Knowing this allows the skipper to give commands clearly without having to worry about the direction the crew is facing.

You probably want to know the history of these intriguing terms before we discuss how to remember port and starboard!

Why Do Ships use Port and Starboard Instead of Left and Right?

As we’ve said before, the positions of port and starboard on a ship are fixed and unaffected by a person’s orientation.

The complication of using right and left is simple to comprehend. As an illustration, starboard would be to your right if you were facing the front of the boat. The port side, however, will now be on your right if you turn 180 degrees and look at the back. Depending on which way you are facing, using the terms right and left would mean different things.

To avoid confusion, ships use the terms port and starboard in place of right and left.

There may be some misunderstandings if you aren’t accustomed to these terms while on a cruise. Fortunately, you won’t ever forget which side is which if you use some of the tips below.


Once you learn a few tricks, remembering port and starboard becomes simple. Practice is the best way to remember the terms used in navigation. Therefore, choose your preferred approach and give it some thought the next time you are on a cruise ship.

As for forgetting which is which, don’t worry about it. Without ever realizing the difference, you can certainly enjoy a cruise.

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