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ssaamm

steering wheel

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Why do most if not all of our American boats have there steering consoles on the right side? Unless you carry the mail, the steering wheel should be on the left side. Any good reasons or stories out there? Thanks

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There actually is a good reason. When you are passing an oncoming boat in a narrow channel, you always stay to the right. With the console on the right, you are better able to look down to make sure you aren't going to hit anything along the side of the channel.

Glenn

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Actually Glenn it's the opposite, rules of Seamanship states you should cross each other on the Port side (which is your right) side, the opposite of road driving.
It's a mistake I've seen many times when crossing head on with many boats, I keep pulling on left to have other going to my right but crossing boat keeps goign the opposite way, so I reverse to "road driving method" and everybody is safe and sound.

I don't know why it's still this way, but I believe is because of internatinal codes.
That's why also colors on your bow navigation lights, green is to signal right (crossing) side.
US Coast Guard has a nice site for navigation rules

http://www.uscg.mil/vtm/pages/rules.htm#right

[This message has been edited by Valv (edited 08-08-2002).]

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Valv-

Actually, YOU are wrong. The port side of your boat is the LEFT side of the boat and the starboard side of your boat is the right side. When approaching an on-coming boat, you are supposed to veer to the starboard (right) side and the boats are supposed to pass port to port (left side to left side). It even says that in the Coast Guard link that you provided. Just want to avoid any confusion and keep everyone safe on the water!

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Wheel on the right (starboard) has simply become tradition or custom -- BUT, there was a good reason to begin with.

The prop will lift the right side of the boat, thus, positioning the driver on that side was done for balance. The lift was offset by the weight of the driver -- with passengers, it became less significant, as power was much less in the old days.

Today you can get I/0s with counter rotating dual propellers for flat ride, altho today's boats are designed for much better ride than 50 years ago.

As for "rules of the road," take a Power Squadron course or US Coast Guard boating safety course -- you do yield to traffic approaching starboard, you do pass a vessel going the same direction on the port side, you do pass oncoming vessels on the starboard side, etc. Meeting and passing rules are just about the same as on the highway. (Alto Minnesota drivers seem to think passing on the shoulder and in right turn lanes is OK.)

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PS to above -- Take a look at bow lights. Red will be on your boat's starboard side, green on the port side. A boat approaching you is supposed to stay to the green side, meaning they will pass you on your right, their left (port to port).

If a vessel is approaching from either side, the red/green is your clue as to proper rules of the road. If you see red, yield to that vessel -- If you see green, you have right of way (however, as with driving, always be defensive -- after a collision it does little good to say "I had right of way!")

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I have a copy of the Minnesota Boating Guide on my desk as I type this. On page 17 it clearly states that " combination or side lights must shine red to port(left side) and green to starboard(right side)". Then it goes into detail as to how visible the lights need to be.
Meeting on page 25. When 2 watercraft approach each other "head on" each must alter coarse to the right to avoid collision. If the 2 watercraft are far enough to the left of each other , no change in direction is needed for safe passage.
Dino

[This message has been edited by Dinosaur (edited 08-09-2002).]

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How about taking the steering wheel off and going with a tiller. It saves me room .

Maybe I'm not a good enough fisherman to fish with a console boat. (Yup thats it!)

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Dinosaur --
Thanks. I garbled it. When approaching and passing each other, you do pass port to port (or left side to left side) but the light on that side is, indeed, red (not green, as I had said).

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Clayton, don't tell me garbled, I switched both sides....whoops, sorry.

Anyway a good Seamanship course, or even a study of US coast guard is almost mandatory.
I wish they make a course for "At the landing" before and after you get boat in water....

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