port/starboard and left/right

Ben Ostrowsky sylvar at VAXER.NET
Wed Sep 4 16:58:39 UTC 2002

Says a friend of mine:

1984 - 1989
Avionics Technician / Petty Officer 3rd Class
VA-52 & SeaOpDet Whidbey Island, deploying with both commands aboard
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

Can't say as I spent a whole lotta time on the Bridge proper, that kinda
think just not being my thuktun, but 14 months at sea adn the rest of the
time around squids (airedale, surface, and sub-type alike) and one picks
up a bit of crust^H^H^H^H^Hatmosphere.

Generally, if'n yer facing towards the North Star, then the sun rises to
Starboard and sets to Port.  If'n you take a stroll athwartships, yer
going from portside to starboard, or from starboardside to port, depending
on whether yer beeline is toward the mess hall or the head (they tend to
reciprocate... ;).[1]

As for what one says when one is commanding, or commanded to, spin the
wheel one way or another, I can't .directly. say since I was never there
personally, though my general impression is that the following
conversation would not be out of place....

Uppity-up: "Right full rudder!"

Swabbee: *spin, spin* "My rudder is full to starboard, sir!"

Uppity-up: "Left full rudder!"

Swabbee: *spin, spin, spin* "My rudder is full to port, sir!"

Uppity-up: "Rudder amidships!"

Swabbe: *spin, spin* "My rudder is amidships, sir! <sotto voce: and make
          up yer damn mind already!>

Nearby Swabbee: <sotto voce: You got .that. right, matey!>

Crew: *mass starboardside to portside movement* *HEAVE!*

... although 'twould be a tad wiggly.

Hope this helps,

[1] tangential to the subject, as it were, is if'n yer strolling from the
    pointy-end of the boat to the round-end, which would be fore to aft
    movement, or fo'c'sle to stern (or, for us flat-top types, the
    'shooty' end and the 'slammy-down' end, or words to the general
    'wooshy-zoom' and 'slammity-bam' type effects

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