143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 2 X Boating Law, Navigational Rules and Navigational Aids

Safe Speed On the water, as speed increases, the time to react decreases. The navigational rules require that every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed in order that the operator will be able to take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the situation. While traffic density is the number one factor to determine safe speed, other factors include: visibility, maneuverability, current, wind, sea state, depth, and at night, the presence of background light, such as, from shore lights or from back scatter of the vessel’s own lights. Collision Avoidance A boater must do whatever possible to avoid a collision. Maintaining a safe speed allows boaters to take proper and effective action to avoid collision. In poor visibility, radar equipment should be used if present and in working order. To avoid immediate dangers of navigation and collision, boaters are allowed to depart from the navigation rules. Early and significant action should be taken to avoid collisions. Small changes in direction or speed may not be recognized by other boaters and should be avoided. If more time is needed to evaluate the situation, a vessel should slow down, stop or reverse propulsion. Risk of collision exists if: ƒ An approaching vessel does not change its course or speed. ƒ A change of approach is not substantial enough. ƒ Approaching a very large vessel or tow at close range. Meeting a Boat Head-On ƒ Signal your intention to pass port to port by sounding one short (1-second) blast of the horn. ƒ Signal your intention to pass starboard to starboard by sounding two short (1-second) blasts. ƒ When using a light signal at night, a 1-second light flash equals a 1-second sound blast. Crossing Situation at Right Angles ƒ The boat on the right is the stand-on vessel—the other boat is the give-way vessel. ƒ The stand-on is the privileged vessel and must hold its course and speed. ƒ The give-way vessel must direct its course to starboard and pass the stand-on vessel astern. If necessary, the give-way vessel should slow, stop or reverse. ƒ You should never turn your vessel to port during a crossing situation. Doing so may result in a serious collision.


A sailboat under sail power that overtakes a power vessel becomes the “give-way”vessel and is subject to overtaking rules.


1 short blast

1 short blast


1 short blast Stand-on vessel… holds course

1 short blast Give-way vessel… keeps out of way


California Course for Safe Boating

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