Boating Rules. While there aren’t any traffic signals on waterways to guide you through a crowded channel, the good news is that there are specific rules and regulations to govern each vessel’s actions. Not complying with these rules, even when you don’t know them, can get you into a lot of trouble on the waters while also putting others in danger.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the boating rules that every boater should know about:
1- Learn the Two Types of Vessels and Identify Yourself
Boats usually fall under the following two categories: Give-Way Vessel and Stand-On Vessel.
If you’re the give-way vessel, you must act as if the ‘stand-on’ vessels have the right to keep going just as they are. This means you have to make the necessary changes to pass by, overtake, or maneuver around the other boat.
If you’re the stand-on vessel, it’s your duty to acknowledge the give-way’s intended actions. You must maintain your current course until the give-way vessel safely passes.
2- Steer Clear of Government Vessels and Areas
To avoid unnecessary hassles, you must stay clear of other naval and government vessels while avoiding restricted facilities like power plants, dams, and bridges.
3- Install Visible and Sound-Enhanced Signals on Boat
Most states require the boat drivers to install visible and sound-enhanced signals on their boat so that they can call for attention when needed, especially in rough weather conditions.
4- Know the Established Rules for Collision Avoidance
There are a few rules established for collision avoidance, including:
When a give-way vessel wants to overtake the stand-on vessel, it must give one short horn from behind to indicate that it’ll pass the other boat from its right side. On the contrary, if the give-way boat gives two sharp horns, it means it’ll overtake from the boat’s left side.
The Head-On Approach
When two boats are approaching each other head-on, they must remain at each other’s right side to avoid a collision.
When crossing paths with another boat, the watercraft on the right has the ‘right of way’ to pass first, being the stand-on vessel. Moreover, if you’re the give-way vessel (the boat on the left), you must slow down or change your course to avoid a collision.
5- Stick by the Two Techniques to Avoid Potential Collision Situations
Many boaters don’t learn the boating rules when stepping out on the water, making it harder for the others to follow the waterway laws. That’s why it’s best to stick by the two techniques of slowing down and changing your course, even if you’re the stand-on vessel, to avoid potential collisions. Mostly, you can judge when a driver is inexperienced, so it falls under your responsibility to remain vigilant at all times.
6- Give Way to Large Vessels
It’s crucial to understand that you must steer clear of large vessels that only travel in a channel, as it risks their safety when they have to change course. Even when your boat is operating under the established rules and regulations, you must give way to the ship that could run aground or collide upon leaving the channel.
7- Use Your Horn Right When Approaching a Curve
When you’re heading towards a bend on the waterway where you can’t see the other side, you must inform the possible boaters on the edge of your presence by sounding one prolonged horn.
We hope you follow these seven boating rules to ensure safe waterway travels for you as well as others the next time around!