Starboard is odd while port stays evenJan 1, 2003
In reference to a recent item in Chartroom Chatter (Online 'Rules' column urges lights knowledge Issue 126, Nov./Dec. 2002), Tomas Daly is quoted as saying that his father was instructed as lookout to ring a bell once for lights to port, twice for a light to starboard and three times for a light dead ahead.
The general concept is right, but I think the port and starboard signals are backwards.
Referencing the American Merchant Seaman's Manual, the signals to be used by lookouts to communicate sightings from the bow to the bridge, by bell, are to ring once for an object to starboard, twice for a sighting to port.
Several things in merchant circles hold to the system of starboard being one or odd, and port being two or even:
Mark Landow lives in Chappaqua, N.Y., and works as master onboard the 239-foot research vessel, Maurice Ewing, which is operated by Columbia University.