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Why are boats righthand drive?

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  • Why are boats righthand drive?

    Always wondered since all of our cars are left drive it just seems odd.

    I am sure there is some long standing nautical tradition dating back to the vikings at work but I have just always been curious.
    GO IRISH!!!!


  • #2
    Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

    Prop torque...a prop turning clockwise would cause the starboard side to lift somewhat. On the right side to balance this effect.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    sigpic "Andrea C"

    BOAT=Best Of All Times

    "Everyday above ground is a good day"

    Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

    Same Ship.....Different Day.

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    • #3
      Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

      Originally posted by sasto View Post
      Prop torque...a prop turning clockwise would cause the starboard side to lift somewhat. On the right side to balance this effect.

      Happy Thanksgiving!
      I don't think that's quite correct. It goes back much, much further than the propeller does. I believe it dates back to the days when boats were controlled by the "steering board". Basically, the steering board was a rudder most commonly attached on the right side of the boat (since most people are right handed). This is also where the term starboard came from. Now when a boat was brought in to port, it was tied up on the opposite side of the steering board (or the left side). This is where the term "port side" came from.
      1974 Century Resorter
      2008 JC Suntoon Triple Tube
      2007 Sea Doo Speedster SCIC

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      • #4
        Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

        correct-a-mundo..Capt!
        Nec aspera terrent

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        • #5
          Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

          Originally posted by smclear View Post
          I don't think that's quite correct. It goes back much, much further than the propeller does. I believe it dates back to the days when boats were controlled by the "steering board". Basically, the steering board was a rudder most commonly attached on the right side of the boat (since most people are right handed). This is also where the term starboard came from. Now when a boat was brought in to port, it was tied up on the opposite side of the steering board (or the left side). This is where the term "port side" came from.
          Ye, the Brittish way, and you are correct. Red right return and docking to port played a part in this.

          I do think manufactures these days take in to consideration prop torque. Least they tell me so.

          Interesting question, maybe an engineer will clarify this more.
          sigpic "Andrea C"

          BOAT=Best Of All Times

          "Everyday above ground is a good day"

          Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

          Same Ship.....Different Day.

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

            I think Britian is the main influence. They were the first modern major sea power and just like automobiles they probably reversed the pilots side on their boats and unlike automobiles the odd placement prevailed.

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            • #7
              Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

              dunno, I have operated both left and right hand.
              mostly its because the general population is right handed,most boats have side or flush mounted controls so the right hand wants to operate the throttle.
              I think the word is ergonomics.
              I have rigged a few center console boats with the binnicale to the left of the helm cause left handed folks like to use the left hand for the throttle.
              that about sums it up.
              its marketing.
              no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
              you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

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              • #8
                Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                Originally posted by sasto View Post
                Ye, the Brittish way, and you are correct. Red right return and docking to port played a part in this.

                I do think manufactures these days take in to consideration prop torque. Least they tell me so.

                Interesting question, maybe an engineer will clarify this more.
                Balancing the prop torque is a definite benefit from a right hand drive. I'm just saying I don't think it's the reason for a right hand drive. Most boats (certainly not all) have been right hand driven for far longer than the prop has been around.

                Not all boats are right hand drives.

                Engines can be either right hand, or left hand turning.
                1974 Century Resorter
                2008 JC Suntoon Triple Tube
                2007 Sea Doo Speedster SCIC

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                • #9
                  Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                  I did some research..........Capt Ron started this tradition, he was blind in the left eye!
                  sigpic "Andrea C"

                  BOAT=Best Of All Times

                  "Everyday above ground is a good day"

                  Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

                  Same Ship.....Different Day.

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                    mines in the center,,,whats this all about,,,

                    Happy Thanks Giving!!!
                    Dusky 19 - CC - 150 Mariner - Rolls axle trailer
                    up right and breathin,,,woohooooo

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                      Seen this question posted many times over the years with lots of answers that make sense and sound correct. The one about the steering board and port side seems to be reason that has oldest reasoning behind it. The engine torque is usually posted along with the controls for right handed folks.

                      When we recently got our current which is a center console I thought it would be hard getting used to location of helm but its been pretty smooth adjustment.
                      On the water: 2010 Tidewater 1900 Bay Max w/Yamaha F115
                      On the land: 2006 Yellowstone 32' class C Motorhome w/Ford V-10
                      On the road: 1998 Dodge Durango w/5.2L
                      In the wind: 2007 VW New Beetle Convertible (wife's car)

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                        A few weeks ago I was watching a movie where the cruiser they were using was left hand drive. It was in England.
                        It was the only boat in the movie where I happened to noticed which side the wheel was on, so I don't know if that is the norm over there..
                        I thought it was interesting, if that was the norm, that over there where their cars are right hand drive, the boat was left hand and just the opposite over here.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                          Go figure, my ladies boat has stbd console with left hand controls, upper and lower. That boat is out of the ordinary....as she is!

                          http://forums.iboats.com/attachment....4&d=1290694213
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                          sigpic "Andrea C"

                          BOAT=Best Of All Times

                          "Everyday above ground is a good day"

                          Winterization=sneekers, jeans and a sweater.

                          Same Ship.....Different Day.

                          Comment



                          • #14
                            Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                            so here's a stumper... Why do most older jet boats (and a fair number of speedboats) have the driver on the left side?



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                            • #15
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                              Re: Why are boats righthand drive?

                              dunno
                              its simply the manufactures choice and what they think they can market.
                              same as why over the years I have rigged hotfoots on the left side, cause thats what the customer wanted.
                              same as one customer,has two boats both with twin lever morse controls, he rigs them so the throttle handle is all the way fwd for idle and you pull it all the way back for WOT.
                              dont ask about the first time I ever started his F100.
                              about all I can say is its unbelievable the starting RPM you can get on an F100.
                              no tech questions by PM, they wont get answered.
                              you have to be trusted by the people that you lie to .

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