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Larboard

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Larboard was the name mariners gave to a ship’s left side as seen when looking to the forward part of the ship.

Objects seen beyond the left side of a vessel were often described as being ‘to larboard’.

The origins of the name are unclear, but the Oxford English Dictionary suggests that ‘[the] word seems to have meant from “the side at the back of the steersman”; the rudder or steering-paddle of early Germanic ships having been worked over the right side, whence the name stéorbord “steering-side”, starboard.’ .

Ordinarily a ship's company was usually divided into two watches, one of which was called the larboard watch, the other the starboard watch.


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Prepared by: Turnbull, P.
Created: 28 October 2001
Modified: 1 December 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000089

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