Boat Safely

Boating Safety Hints

• Wear a life jacket
• Take a boating safety class
• Carry all your required safety gear
• Know your boat and its limitations
• Follow the boating ‘rules of the road’
• Be aware of weather and water conditions
• Boat sober and be considerate of other boaters
• Keep the waterways clean

Navigation Rules and Aids

The main purpose of navigational rules is to prevent collisions and other avoid-able accidents, such as grounding in poor visibility, injuring people in the water, and damaging property.

While under way, boat operators are required to keep a proper lookout for other vessels, light and sound signals, obstructions, and swimmers.

• Do not enter restricted areas and do not moor to buoys other than a specially marked mooring buoy. 

• Never obstruct or anchor in a channel, launching area, or route, or interfere with the travel of other boats.

• Do not exceed 5 miles per hour within 100 feet of a swimmer, or 200 feet of a swimming beach, a swimming float, a diving platform, a lifeline, or a dock with boats tied to it.

• Whenever you are traveling through a narrow channel or coming around a bend where it’s hard to see oncoming traffic, always keep to the right side.

Boat-to-Boat Communication

• You have three ways to communicate between vessels: Light signals, sound signals, and radio. The most common method is radio, but you also need to know how to communicate using light and sound.

Meeting The Boat Head-to-Head

• Signal your intention to pass port to port by sounding one short (1-second) blast of the horn.

• Signal your intention to pass starboard to starboard by sounding two short (1-second) blasts.

• When using a light signal at night, a 1-second light flash equals a 1-second sound blast.

When Approaching at Right Angles
and at Risk of Collision

• The boat on the right is the stand-on vessel—the other boat is the give-way vessel.

• The stand-on is the privileged vessel and must hold its course and speed.

• 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.

• You should never turn your vessel to port during a crossing situation. Doing so may result in a serious collision.