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C'mon guys, don't laugh, but I have always wondered, why is the steering wheel on the left side of a motor boat?
 

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With the prop rotating clockwise, it wants to torque the boat to the left...Sitting and steering from the right side adds weight and helps to negate that torque.
 

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what hobie says is true for small boats. big boats and ships in the old days docked with the right side to the dock because that was the way docks were built. today ships have electronice that will alow the captian to see everything from any place in his ship. most big docks all have their terminals and warehouses so the right side needs to be tward the dock
 

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You mean the port side, right?
Old saying I learned in pilot training. How to tell if a plane is coming towards you or away!

Red is wine. Wine is port. And port is left. All aircraft have their red lights on their left wing while the right wing has a white (sometimes green) light. For those interested - anti-collision lights on top and bottom of aircraft are rotational rather than steady.

Just clarification for Clackaram - port is always the left side.
FYI
 

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Here is another reason for the steering wheel being on the right side.

The placement of the operator's seat in a boat is the opposite of the practice for cars. A car built for driving on the right-hand side of a road has the driver's seat on the left; boats keep to right in their channels, but have their "driver's seat" also on the right. The reason for this is the right-of-way rule: boats are required to yield to traffic approaching from the right, so by sitting on the right, operators can better see traffic to which they must yield.
 

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Old saying I learned in pilot training. How to tell if a plane is coming towards you or away!

Red is wine. Wine is port. And port is left. All aircraft have their red lights on their left wing while the right wing has a white (sometimes green) light. For those interested - anti-collision lights on top and bottom of aircraft are rotational rather than steady.

Just clarification for Clackaram - port is always the left side.
FYI
Trust me I know this, involved for 20+ yrs in commercial fisheries. It was perhaps a poor play on words on my part related to the OP's question.
 

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South Paw Here

I remember this way.

Port = 4 letters
Left = 4 letters
 

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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, cognate with 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".
Port

An early version of "port" is larboard, which itself derives from Middle-English ladebord. In Old English the word was bæcbord, of which cognates are used in other European languages, for example as the German backbord and the French term (derived from Germanic) bâbord. The origin of lade has not been determined but some would connect it with the verb lade (to load), referring to the side on which cargo was loaded.[1] The term larboard, when shouted in the wind, was presumably too easy to confuse with starboard[2] and so the word port came to replace it. Port is derived from the practice of sailors mooring ships on the left side at ports in order to prevent the steering oar from being crushed.
Larboard continued to be used well into the 1850s by whalers, despite being long superseded by "port" in the merchant vessel service at the time. "Port" was not officially adopted by the Royal Navy until 1844 (Ray Parkin, H. M. Bark Endeavour). Robert FitzRoy, captain of Darwin's HMS Beagle, is said to have taught his crew to use the term port instead of larboard, thus propelling the use of the word into the Naval Services vocabulary.
History

Before modern standardization, quartermasters were advised to follow the rotation of the bottom of the wheel. Thus, when obeying a "hard a-starboard" command, the QM would turn the bottom of the wheel to the right, or starboard. This applied the left rudder and the ship turned to its left, or to port. Steering with the bottom of the wheel was apparently an approved way to learn helming more than a century ago.

The nautical reason for a "hard a-starboard" command to turn left seems related to the tiller and not the rudder. A tiller is pushed to the right, or starboard, to apply left rudder and turn the vessel to the left.
 

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why not just use right and left?
 
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