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Captain placed on port or to starboard side of console?

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Captain placed on port or to starboard side of console?

Old 10-29-2020, 06:47 PM
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Default Captain placed on port or to starboard side of console?

CC's seem to favor putting the captain on the port side of the console, where I see a lot of WA and express hulls with the steering wheel to starboard.

Is there a reason for this, or just personal preference?
Old 10-29-2020, 06:52 PM
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Most people are right handed. Port control station on a CC allows you to use the grab rail with your left hand while keeping the wheel on your right especially while standing. At least that seems to be logical.
Old 10-29-2020, 06:53 PM
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seen it both ways-larger cc's may place the captain in the middle between two seats
Old 10-29-2020, 07:00 PM
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Same thing with fixed wing and rotorcraft... i only flew fixed wing but assume for helos its right handed for the cyclic which is between the legs and the collective on the left.. same concept "Cable Mariner" chimed in with i guess for our beloved boats . I know an opposite side analogy but same concept. For me i would find my throttles and tabs on the port side harder to deal with since I am right handed... who knows but a cool refreshing thread bullshipper.

Last edited by zx7king; 10-29-2020 at 07:11 PM.
Old 10-29-2020, 07:15 PM
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Had 5 CCs wheel to starboard on all
2 Cobia, North American C22, dusky 203
chris craft 213 scorpion

2 express cruisers, 1 WA all starboard

now Donzi 38 ZSF , console to port , wheel
to starboard
Old 10-29-2020, 07:18 PM
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I wonder if CC boats started out mostly in countries where the driver of a car is on the left side (like the US).
Old 10-29-2020, 07:30 PM
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Ancient mariners upgraded their boats from steering with loose paddles, to lashing a dedicated paddle to the side, the "steerboard". Being mostly right-handed, that made the right side the steerboard side, or starboard. Not wanting to damage the steerboard, they docked with the left side to port, that was the port side, with loading ramps and such.

Fast forward to Chris Smith becoming the biggest powerboat builder on the planet, he had found forklift steering mechanisms to be cheap and plentiful, and they worked best on the right side of the boat. So other makes copied Chris Craft with steering on the right.

That's all the reasons I know of. My Chris Craft has the lower helm on the left, bridge helm centered, I guess anything works.
Old 10-29-2020, 07:43 PM
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My thought is with the wheel and Captain seat to the port the engine controls are centered more. This would protect them.from getting bumped into if they were located on the far starboard side of the console where people are walking by and not really paying attention to what they are rubbing against. If the majority of people were left handed they probably would do the opposite.
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Old 10-29-2020, 07:51 PM
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Wheel on the left leaves my right to work controls like a car after all a boat is just a car that sinks .

Last edited by ed d; 10-29-2020 at 08:04 PM.
Old 10-29-2020, 08:01 PM
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Interesting replies.

I was theorizing that it might also be a shade/prevailing wind preference that could dictate opposite sides for the east and west costs.

An example might ne a guy from the North east might want sun in the morning to be a little warmer, where a captain in the Pacific NW would have on the Port side of the console to get more sun on the way out., and in a hot climate the opposite might be better if the captain wanted more shade.

Afternoon wind direction could be a factor ,if you like to power into your slip pushing against the wind.

But I am used to being on the port side, working controls with my rt hand, so I think I'll go that way, even though i am a lefty, and a left coast fisherman.
Old 10-29-2020, 08:54 PM
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I have always preferred any helm to be on the starboard side. Better visibility to starboard. I would rather work throttles with right hand, steer with left.
Old 10-29-2020, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Cable Mariner View Post
Most people are right handed. Port control station on a CC allows you to use the grab rail with your left hand while keeping the wheel on your right especially while standing. At least that seems to be logical.
But throttle controls are still to your right in a WA configuration.

personally I'd prefer my helm centered on my console. It seems I'm always standing centerline even with my helm to port.
Old 10-29-2020, 09:06 PM
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on my center console - My helm is on the left and the throttles / tabs are roughly centered (offset to the right a bit). I find I stand behind the throttles. Allows my right hand to make finer adjustments to throttles and tabs (they’re in front of my belly, I can stabilize my right elbow on my side and the heal of my hand on the binnacle) and my left is on the power knob (helm aligned just off my left hip). I’m right handed and standing closest to the throttle let’s me make the finer adjustments to throttle / trim / tab when the boats moving around. Not sure if that’s the intention, but essentially that setup aligns with my standing in the center of the boat. This applies whether docking or running fast in a chop. Not much room for a passenger that wants to sit on the leaving post when I’m running hard, not much room for another body back there.
Old 10-29-2020, 09:13 PM
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Port or starboard.... that's easy stuff. As a professional mariner I ran workboats for many years in the oilfield almost all of which had a set of aft facing controls for working cargo, docking, etc... I never failed to get a kick out of the people who had never seen aft facing controls just vapor lock trying to figure out how everything worked. Which way was port or starboard, and how the engine commands worked. In reality they worked the exact same way as at the forward station only you were faced astern. Some people just tried to overthink what was really going on.
Old 10-30-2020, 05:26 AM
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My center console has the wheel in the center and throttles to the starboard side. I usually stand in between the two. Sometimes when the windshield is foggy, I would prefer the wheel to be on one side or the other so I can see and still steer. My console is very wide and you can barely reach the wheel if you lean out one side to see around the console
Old 10-30-2020, 06:08 AM
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Most logical explanation I've ever seen relates to cable routing on typical smaller cable steer boats from 30 years ago. Rigging typically runs starboard of center, and needs space int he console to bend over to the helm. That was definitely applicable on my old McKee Craft.
Old 10-30-2020, 07:18 AM
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Helms have been going back and forth for as long as boats have been built . There are all sorts of cute theories. Fact is they have been going back and forth forever.




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Old 10-30-2020, 08:17 AM
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I'm pretty sure I could of got my helm situated anyway I requested. This is the standard setup, which works for me. Wheel in the left hand, controls and tabs in the right. This also gives the option of one person on the wheel, and another on the controls.


Old 10-30-2020, 10:51 AM
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In the Navy they said Star board was the captains side as in star = admiral/captain but that goes along with the steer oar on that side as the captain would like to be near the wheel which probably comes down to most people being rt handed as to oar mounting , I don't think they tried to complicate things as much back them - occums razor ? They were probably more worried about sea monsters and sailing off the edge of the world . There was another thread wheel where a Freeman builder I think was trying to figure this out and another chimed in and said when fishing alone the Port wheel makes it quicker / easier to do . I always thought center until that but port or starboard would get you in a looser combat position to react and look around . I would just prefer port to to push buttons with rt hand esp after dark .
Old 10-30-2020, 12:34 PM
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I think it was Reggie Fountain that liked to steer with his right hand and throttle with his left for his race boats.
iirc, that carried over to a few of his production boats.

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