Port out starboard home

Forget your lefts and rights, British Rowing can officially confirm that ‘port’ and ‘starboard’ are the terms to use when rowing!

The debate has raged long and hard as to whether port and starboard should be the accepted terminology across the sport of rowing, but we can finally confirm that British Rowing will be adopting the terms across our official publications.

That means that all coaching materials will now refer to port and starboard as standardised terminology, and the terms could eventually be written onto blade shafts across the country.

The terms will replace references to ‘stroke side’ and ‘bow side’, which have also been used in place of ‘left’ and ‘right’ from the cox’s point of view.

Port and starboard are traditional nautical terms, which are also represented by the colours red and green respectively.

‘Starboard’ derives from the Old English steorbord, which literally means the side from which the craft is steered – traditionally the right-hand side before ships had central rudders.

‘Port’, on the other hand, is thought to derive from sailors mooring their vessels on the left-hand side when coming in to port – protecting the steering oar on the opposite side of the boat.