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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was asked this morn. why you drive a boat on the left (startboard) side and a car on the right side.
It stumped me, and I can't let it go.
So I am researching it during my lunch today.
Anyone know the answer or where to look?
Thanks.
 
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I’ve heard a couple of reasons for having the helm on the right. One is that a single engine boat, with a prop spinning in a clockwise (standard) rotation, will tend to lift a bit on the right side. The weight of the person driving on the right side counteracts that and helps the boat run level. The other reason has to do with the rules of the road. You are responsible for giving way to a boat that is approaching on your starboard side. It makes sense that since the boat on your right is obligated to maintain course and speed, and you are obligated to take action to avoid them, that you drive the boat from the side of the boat that gives you the best view.
 
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Not sure the exact reason either. As I read all my boating magazine's I do notice that most boats have the helm on the starboard (right) side of the boat. Occasionally you will see a port side helm. Now I see a few boat makers putting the Front bolster seats together in the middle of the boat. Making the entrance to the cuddy on the side. In turn giving somewhat more room in the cuddy it seems.

But, a very good question though.
 

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So why then, even in England, do boats keep right ?

Good question with no clear answer, the favourite theory goes back to the fact that most people are right handed, if that was the case and if the boat was propelled and steered in the same way as a punt then you would want to sit on the right hand side and steer with a pole or board (might be where the word starboard comes from). If this is the case then you would keep to the right so that it is easier to reach the bank.

Recently I heard of another reason that makes a lot of sense, early powered boats used automotive engines and often were simply the engine in the middle of a boat with an extension on the rear of the crankshaft to drive a propeller at the back of the boat. Most engines (and until recently all engines) turn in a clockwise direction when viewed from the rear. A high powered engine particularly in a small round hulled boat will succumb to the laws of physics and the boat will try to turn in the opposite direction to the propeller. This could be seen in the right side lifting slightly when under power, to overcome this early boat builders put the seat, steering gear, and anything else heavy, on the right.

Ask and you shall receive.
 

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QUOTE(Icet @ Mar 18 2003, 02:06 AM)So why then, even in England, do boats keep right ?

Good question with no clear answer, the favourite theory goes back to the fact that most people are right handed, if that was the case and if the boat was propelled and steered in the same way as a punt then you would want to sit on the right hand side and steer with a pole or board (might be where the word starboard comes from). If this is the case then you would keep to the right so that it is easier to reach the bank.

Recently I heard of another reason that makes a lot of sense, early powered boats used automotive engines and often were simply the engine in the middle of a boat with an extension on the rear of the crankshaft to drive a propeller at the back of the boat. Most engines (and until recently all engines) turn in a clockwise direction when viewed from the rear. A high powered engine particularly in a small round hulled boat will succumb to the laws of physics and the boat will try to turn in the opposite direction to the propeller. This could be seen in the right side lifting slightly when under power, to overcome this early boat builders put the seat, steering gear, and anything else heavy, on the right.

Ask and you shall receive.

I think that I have heard those same reasons that you brought up Ice-T . Seems like it makes the most sense.
 
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