143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 2 X Boating Law, Navigational Rules and Navigational Aids

Overtaking a Boat To Starboard or Port Side ƒ The stand-on boat (the boat being overtaken) must maintain its course and speed. ƒ If the give-way boat wishes to overtake and pass on your port side, it must signal with two short (1 second) blasts. ƒ If the give-way boat wishes to overtake and pass on your starboard side, it must signal with one short (1 second) blast. ƒ To signal that the course ahead is not safe for passing, the stand-on vessel must signal for danger by sounding five or more short, rapid blasts. ƒ If you have doubts or there is danger of collision, give five or more short and rapid blasts to signal danger. Approaching Other Boats ƒ Normally, powerboats should keep clear of sailboats and paddlecraft. ƒ Powerboats and sailboats must stay out of the way of vessels not under command and vessels engaged in fishing. ƒ Sailboats using auxiliary (backup) engines operate under the same rules as powerboats. ƒ Sailboats should keep out of the way of other sailboats to prevent the risk of collision. ƒ Sailboats and paddlecraft should not interfere with large vessels, other powerboats or “working” boats such as fishing vessels and dredges. ƒ Large, deep-draft vessels in narrow channels remain the stand-on vessels because they cannot maneuver easily and may have limited visibility. Avoid large ships by staying out of the way, remaining visible, maintaining a lookout, knowing the signals, anchoring in safe places and using the radio. ƒ Be especially alert if you are sailing in a deep-water channel or port, because a large ship can “steal your wind.” ƒ Pulling a water skier in a heavy-use area means you need to be extra cautious. Approaching a Blind Bend ƒ When your boat is approaching a blind bend, you should signal with one prolonged (4 to 6 seconds) blast. ƒ An oncoming boat should return the signal. ƒ Powerboats shall keep to the starboard (right) side of the bend or channel whenever it’s safe or practical.


1 short blast

1 short blast Overtaking vessel


2 short blasts

2 short blasts Overtaking vessel


On the road, drivers use lane lines and stoplights to stay safe. But boaters don’t have lines or stop lights on the water, so they must be extra cautious. And, unlike motor vehicles on the road, boats don’t have brakes. On the waterways, it’s very important to follow the “rules of the road.”


California Course for Safe Boating

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