In maritime terminology, port and starboard are often used interchangeably, although there are significant differences between the two. Because port and starboard do not vary in depth, their use is particularly important for navigating large ships that cross the seas from one side of the globe to the other. For large ships with a long trip through the seas, port, and starboard have distinct advantages. Starboard is east and west along the equator, whereas port is northwest to southeast.
A Port And Starboard
Because port and starboard do not vary in depth, they are also independent references, which means that while a compass can indicate north, port and starboard are not interchangeable. When traveling north-westward, port and starboard reflect northwest with the compass to be using to determine latitudes. Conversely, when traveling southeastward, port and starboard are reversing with the compass to be using to determine south.
When approaching the port and starboard on a boat, a sailor will find that the boat’s position to the horizon from the port will be nearer to the northwest or the southeast than the compass direction from port indicates.
When approaching the port and starboard on a boat, there are several other things to keep in mind. The compass directions are not identical because the Earth’s spin tends to move a boat’s location from northwest to northwest over time. Additionally, as a boat approaches the port and starboard on a boat, the local horizon will become less clear until the boat has passed the horizon on one port and has passed the horizon on the other port.
For this reason, it is essential to be well versed in both navigation using the compass and local navigation by using the stars. A GPS/ Marine GPS will provide accurate position data, even when a boat is at the edge of local navigation.
Port and starboard lights and color
If you’ve been boating at night, you know how important it is to know the light and color of the lights on your boat and even in broad daylight — how dangerous not knowing the rules can be.
You may see a clear green and red light on the boat.
You are looking at a boat that is likely to come straight at you. That’s right. Since the green light is on the right (right) side of your boat, the red is the port (on the left).
You Can Read:
Basic understanding of how to port and starboard positions are determined can help boaters locate their boats while traveling between two ports. Nautical charts show where boats are located on the surface of the water relative to the current location of the boat. Each port represents a degree of distance from the center of the vessel. Vertical lines on the charts represent the degree of separation between the boat and the port it is traveling toward or away from.
Nautical charts do not always show the degree of separation between ports. This information is usually shown on the degree of bearing between two anchorages (port and starboard). For instance, when approaching a port on a large boat, the port and starboard lines will be close together, but a bearing of 200 miles separates them.
A compass may indicate that the port is on the northwest side of the North Pacific Ocean, while the starboard is located on the southeast side of the same ocean. Because these bearings are rarely accurate, most mariners rely on local weather reports and compass readings to find their way around unfamiliar locations. However, a compass can still be useful for navigation if they needed additional help when navigating unfamiliar waters.
Use Morden GPS
An important feature found on modern GPS units is the ability to program waypoints, which are designated landmarks on the map that a boat must travel to reach a port or destination. Waypoints are easy to identify as they are color-coded to identify local lakes, rivers, trails, etc. A boat’s position is updated as it approaches these waypoints so that the boat can arrive at its destination safely. Waypoints can also be programmed into the navigation system for pre-determined routes, which is especially useful when traveling through mountainous or dangerous territory.
Modern GPS units allow boaters to enter the latitude and longitude of the port and starboard shore they intend to visit, as well as other nearby port and starboard destinations. Other parameters, such as the ship’s speed, direction of travel and fuel consumption, can also be stored in the unit. A GPS unit will typically contain a single compass or a pair of compasses for use along with the GPS. The number of compass heads is typically limited to two, although higher quality units may provide up to 10 heads. In addition, newer units may include an electronic chart display that features up-to-date satellite maps.
While a GPS is an invaluable piece of equipment for boat navigation, it is not appropriate for every boat. A navigational GPS, such as Marine GPS, is designed for use on boats that have adequate electronic means of tracking such as Marine GPS Systems. Such a device should only be used in advanced, highly organized marine navigation systems and should never be used on smaller vessels that lack this type of electronic tracking. While there are no standard measurements for the size of a boat, a vessel’s port, and starboard quarter should be taken in order to determine the correct unit for a vessel of that size.