When Boats Meet

When Boats Meet

 

The Basics of Crossing Rules

When two sailboats are on a collision course, there are some very specific rules in the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea that govern their interaction.

We used to talk about “right of way.” Now we use the term “Stand-On” vessel to indicate the boat which must not significantly alter her course or speed (Formerly the boat with the Right-of-way) and the term “Give-Way” vessel to indicate the vessel that must maneuver to avoid a collision.

Here is my very simple breakdown of the most basic parts of the rules.

  1. Don’t hit anything! (Nor should you force someone else to hit something as a result of your actions.)
  2. The boat on Starboard Tack is the Stand-On Vessel and the boat on Port Tack is the Give-Way vessel.
  3. The most leeward boat is the Stand-On Vessel and the boat to her windward is the Give-Way Vessel.
  4. A boat being overtaken is the Stand-On Vessel and a boat doing the overtaking is the Give-Way vessel.

If you follow these guidelines (especially #1) you’re sure to boat safely.

 

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