Driving your car in the U.S. and in most countries, you sit and steer on the left side. For motorboats, however, you drive sitting on the right or starboard side. Why the difference?
There appear to be two consensus answers:
- Steering Boards - Steering boards were rudders most commonly attached to the right side of the boat since most people were right handed. This is also where the term starboard and port come from. When pulling into port for docking, a boat was tied up on the opposite (port) side of the boat from where the rudder was attached (starboard side).
- Torque - A motorboat's propeller is typically designed to turn clockwise. The torque created by the propeller could cause the starboard side to lift perhaps 3 or 4 inches. Placing the driver on the starboard side better balanced the boats plane in the water.
Goes to show that even as technology advances, some traditions live on and on.