nautical adverb

Definition of Port

Port is a nautical term that refers to the left-hand side of a vessel when facing forward. It is an essential term for navigation and communication among boat operators to avoid collisions and maintain safe travel since it exists independent of a mariner's orientation.

bird’s eye view of a ship showing the port, starboard, and stern

Port is an essential identifier for navigation lights, beacons and rules of the sea.

According to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), a boat approaching from the port side must yield to the boat approaching from the starboard side. This rule ensures that the vessel on the starboard side has the right of way.

In addition, beacons, the navigational aids that help boats navigate safely in and out of harbors, can also be identified as portside or starboard side.

A port-hand beacon, usually red, marks the left-hand side of the navigable waterway and helps boats avoid shallow areas or other hazards on that side of the channel.

The rule is: When traveling towards sea (downstream), keep the port-hand beacons (red) on the starboard side of the vessel. However, when traveling into harbor (upstream), keep the port-hand marks on the port side of the vessel.

Lastly, the red navigation light, also known as the port lamp, must be mounted on the port side of the bow. It must shine straight ahead and to the left 22.5 degrees aft of the beam and be visible at a distance of 1–2 nautical miles.

Example of Port in a Sentence

"The boater noticed a sailboat approaching from the port side and maintained his speed and direction as the port-side vessel gave way."

Synonyms: left hand side

Related Terms for Port