Why do small boats in the US have steering wheels on the right side?

Like ferrin cars? Huh?

I believe it’s to do with skipper’s weight (on the right hand side of the vessel) counter-balancing the torque from the engine, but it’s been years since I did any boating and I was a yachtsman, not a powerboater, FWIW.

It’s a safety thing (though a minor one).

Under the maritime rules of the road (Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea), when two power-driven vessels are crossing, the one which has the other on its starboard (right) side is required to give way to the other.

Because of this, small boats will usually have the operator’s position on the starboard side, so they can more easily see other boats approaching from the starboard, which they are required to avoid.