Why you steer a boat from the right

Just read the explanation for why boats are steered from the right side and found it to be disappointing. The propellor shaft theory is nice, but doesn’t explain why earlier mariners did.

I know that they did because the term for “right” on ships is starboard, which I’ve read comes from a Viking language and means the side of a ship which you steer from.

So, why did they use te right? Was it easier on longboats to steer with your dominant hand?

Would you provide a link, so we others can see the propeller theory?

The viking long boat did not have any rudder, you steered with an oar, hanging on some sort of a rope when idle. I’ve always steered a rowing boat from right and I’m right-handed.

This Wikipedia article goes with the “steerboard” and dominant-hand explanations.

Thanks for the wiki link. Here’s the original article: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1664/how-come-power-boats-have-the-steering-wheel-on-the-right-side

Prop walk is stronger when reversing and, for a right-handed propeller, to port. The worst panic situations I’ve seen were reversing an unfamiliar boat and failing to adjust to prop walk. In that sort of cases, it would be more logical to steer from left. Better ability to see the things you are about to crush.

On the other hand, if prop walk makes you avoid port side mooring, then you put the wheel on the starboard side in order to see the mooring lines.

In ancient ships, steering was made with an oar. The helmsman sat with his back to the left side of the ship, facing right and used both hands to steer the ship . So, in Dutch, the side the helmsman faced was called stierbord (English - starboard, French - tribord, Portuguese - estibordo). The board at his back was called backbord (French - bâbord, Portuguese - bombordo).

Because it is very easy to handle and other thing is that we have to learn about the right hand drive.And it is much safer than the road.The viking long boat did not have any rudder, you steered with an oar, hanging on some sort of a rope when idle. I’ve always steered a rowing boat from right and I’m right-handed.

One practical reason is that modern (and not so modern) right of way rules require the vessel approaching on the lefthand side to give way to the vessel on the right. Thus being able to see to the right is more important than being able to see to the left.

I think you might have cause and effect mixed.
Powers &8^]

Not sure why a talk about "steering a boat from the right " and “propeller walk” are discussed simultaneously.

BTW, in the Navy we call it stern walk but then we call propellers screws. Stern walk is a handy feature on destroyers where you have two screws that turn outboard in a forward bell. You can ring up a twist (one engine forward and one back)at slow speed and get the stern to walk whichever way you want. At least that’s the way it was with steam plants. Current gas turbines use controllable pitch screws which always turn, always turn the same way (outboard in forward bell, inboard in backing bell), and provide thrust completely by blade pitch at slow speeds. Sternwalk is fairly negated on these platforms. On frigates where you have only one screw, stern walk is a bitch so you must get some way on and get the rudder to help asap. Bow thrusters and spring lines help distance the stern from the pier to give you a chance to get the rudder involved.

Anyhoo, the rudders are located abaft the screws and are neither right nor left justified. Are there civilian craft that have the propeller in the center and the rudder to starboard? Perhaps “right steering” refers to sailing vessels which, of course, don’t have propellers or none of any consequence.