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Old 09-06-2015, 01:22 PM   #1
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Wifey B: That or she's British. Now, that brings up a question I'd never thought of. I mean we drive on the right side of the road and right side of the channel. I'd assumed this was a worldwide convention but now asking do those who drive on the left side of the road drive to the right or left in the channel?
No, it's totally different. Everybody's stays on the starboard side not the left or right side when in a channel.

Ted
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:33 PM   #2
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When building my ride, I put the helm on stbd for a reason. It was so it would balance the suntan on my arms. Car and truck get left arm, boat gets the right.
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:25 PM   #3
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When building my ride, I put the helm on stbd for a reason. It was so it would balance the suntan on my arms. Car and truck get left arm, boat gets the right.
Of all the explanations I've heard for helm position, this one makes the most sense!! Of course, that's why so many of our friends down under put their helms on the port side.
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:37 PM   #4
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Interesting and very surprising last bunch of posts. When I was learning to drive I would gingerly drive between parked cars lining a narrow street, looking from one side to the other. Then as I got used to the sight picture I got to where I could drive at speed down the same road with learned judgement and periferal vision keeping me centered between the parked cars.

I find boats to be no different at all. Our PNW's boats have their helms offset to the right. One all the way to the right, the other just slightly to the right. We go back and forth between these boats all year. Neither my wife nor I have any problems holding a stright line, staying in the middle of a narrow channel or the fairways in harbors. We don't "reference" anything on or in the boat, we just look out the forward windows same as we do a car (or a floatplane on the water where the pilot's seat is on the left).

We also drive in the UK a lot and neither of us have a problem swithing sides in a vehicle. Actually my wife says I'm a better driver there than here.

We prefer driving the boat from the lower helm where deck access is easier and faster during dockings. Even though we can't even see the port side of the boat at all we have no problem knowing exactly where it is.

This is not just us. The people we boat with are exactly the same way.

We do have a friend who when he had to buy a new car a few years ago had to have one with a ridge down the center of the hood. Without it, he says, he cannot tell where the car is in a lane. He couldn't find one so his brother, who owned a BWW repair shop at the time, stuck a BMW badge on the hood of the Buick he eventually bought.

So I know there are people who have difficulty keeping things centered or going straight using vision and judgement alone. But it always surprises me when I hear or read about it because I can't imagine having to do it. For maneuvering a boat or holding a lne it would seem to be something of a handicap.
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Old 09-06-2015, 03:57 PM   #5
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My trick was I just went ahead and bought a boat with centerline helms!
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:53 PM   #6
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No, it's totally different. Everybody's stays on the starboard side not the left or right side when in a channel.

Ted
Wifey B: Was pretty sure it was the same....Right...starboard....tomato....tomahto.... .hehe...so they drive on the port side.

I do find it strange, although not surprising, that there is one convention at sea but two on land. I would think when learning to handle a boat it could be a bit confusing at first to someone use to driving on the left side of the road.
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:18 PM   #7
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George- That's certainly the smart solution

As to finding right side, left side, be it on land or in the water, confusing, to me it's always been simply learning to operate whatever it is in whatever manner it's supposed to be operated.

The time I was taken out on the RNLI 47' motor lifeboat William Street out of Fleetwood, England, they let me con the boat most of the training exercise on Morcambe Bay.

When the boat's skipper started pointing out what channel markers to use as guides it seemed a bit odd as they were all the opposite of red-right-returning. Not wanting to run the boat agound at 20 knots or whatever we were doing I pointed this out, as though an RNLI skipper with a decade or two of experience wouldn't know his home waters.

That's when I learned that much of the planet does their nav markers the other way round from the US and Canada. Once I knew that I didn't have to think about it anymore. It simply became the way it is when running a boat in that part of the world.
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Wifey B: Was pretty sure it was the same....Right...starboard....tomato....tomahto.... .hehe...so they drive on the port side.

I do find it strange, although not surprising, that there is one convention at sea but two on land. I would think when learning to handle a boat it could be a bit confusing at first to someone use to driving on the left side of the road.
In most of the countries where they drive on the left, isn't the steering wheel on the right side of the car? Wonder if that makes it easier transitioning to a boat as often the helm is on that same side.

Ted
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:25 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Thread drift alert: Keeping to the right in channels (passing port to port) is not a law as far as I'm aware. It is simply a convention. I've occasionally passed approaching vessels starboard to starboard.
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:31 PM   #10
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..that's why so many of our friends down under put their helms on the port side.
Current helm is to stbd, previous boat was to port. Both Aussie designed. Go figure.
We drive on the left, but keep to stbd on the water. I`ve never had a problem driving cars on the right in USA, Canada, Europe, just seems to work, I`ve put serious kms on some rental cars. At Frankfurt I stepped out of a plane after 24hrs + (ok,we had lie flat seats) into a LHD German car, no problems.
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:36 PM   #11
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Actually the International agreement states that in a channel, the larger steel hulled vessel shall go where they want and all others shall move out of the way. This is known as the international law of gross tonnage or simply "the right of weight".

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Old 09-06-2015, 07:41 PM   #12
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This thread is interesting to me as I've never given much thought to which side the helm is on when I purchase a boat. I've had helms on the left, center and right several times and never experienced trouble dealing with them. My present boat's helm is in the center and I must admit that since my slip is narrower than I would like, the center helm is an advantage in this case.
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Old 09-06-2015, 07:44 PM   #13
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I also believe that most helms, if not in the center of the boat, are to starboard as the helmsman will clearly see boats approaching from starboard, which is important in that they, in most recreational cases, have right of way.
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
In most of the countries where they drive on the left, isn't the steering wheel on the right side of the car? Wonder if that makes it easier transitioning to a boat as often the helm is on that same side.

Ted
Wifey B: As RTF points out that in most places it's just convention but still I find it interesting. I found the steering wheel deal strange too. Cars always on the inside. Boats heavily starboard but you do see them everywhere. Actually all our boats are center. Most Pilothouses are, all center consoles are. Most bridge helms are. On the lake ours was starboard.
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:29 PM   #15
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One of the reasons for the stbd helm is aton on the stbd side ,keep to the stbd side of the channel for port to port meeting.
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:45 PM   #16
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Locomotive engineer controls are located on the "starboard" side.

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Old 09-06-2015, 08:46 PM   #17
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Locomotive engineer controls are located on the "starboard" side.

That's because the platform is always on the starboard side...
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:53 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Thread drift alert: Keeping to the right in channels (passing port to port) is not a law as far as I'm aware. It is simply a convention. I've occasionally passed approaching vessels starboard to starboard.
RT
Back on the early 80s I took the Six Pac class port to port was taught in the rules of the road. I also noted that it was in the USCG licensing exam. Perhaps it is not the law and things have changed. Out of habit I do port to port.

There are a number of narrow channels here and often the skippers will request port to port.
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:12 PM   #19
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As far as I can fathom my helm position was designed to be portside for a pretty basic reason.

With a single engine, the prop walks to port when in reverse, therefore it is always safest/easiest to come alongside portside to.

The boat is set up to allow the helmsperson to reach the forward breastline cleat while still having throttle and gears to hand.

That setup, along with the wide sidedecks, makes single-handling this a 50ft LOD, 60ft LOA boat a pleasure for this old fart.
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:20 PM   #20
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RT
Back on the early 80s I took the Six Pac class port to port was taught in the rules of the road. I also noted that it was in the USCG licensing exam. Perhaps it is not the law and things have changed. Out of habit I do port to port.
Being completely ignorant, can you please describe what is meant by "port to port"?
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