are different blasts combinations for various movements on the water that may
use both short and prolonged blasts. When power-driven vessels are in sight of
one another and meeting or crossing at a distance within half a mile of each
other, each vessel underway, when maneuvering as authorized or required by the
Inland rules must use the following sound signals:
Rules regarding sound signals are occasionally different from International
Rules. Inland Rules signal intended action and International Rules signal what
you are actually doing. The following information reflects Inland Rules. If
you travel overseas, you must learn the International Rules.
- One Short Blast - This means that you "intend to leave you on my port side" if you are
meeting or crossing another vessel. In other words, when you pass the other
boat, the left side of your boat will be next to the other boat. If you are
behind another boat and about to pass it, one short blast means that you
"intend to pass on
your starboard side".
- Two Short Blasts - This means that you "intend to leave you on my
starboard side in a meeting or
crossing situation." In other words, when you pass the other boat, the right
side of your boat will be next to the other
boat. If you are behind another
boat and about to pass it, two short blasts means that you "Intend to overtake
on your port side.".
- Three Short Blasts - This means that you are backing up, or using "astern propulsion".
- Four Short Blasts - Signals that you intend to leave your dock. If you need to back out of your docking area,
you would sound one long blast, and then three short blasts.
- Five Short Blasts - This is the DANGER signal. Remember, that when you approach another vessel
and hear either one or two short blasts, and you both understand their signal
and can safely let them do it, then you are required to respond with the same
signal in response. However, if you don't understand their intentions, or
feel that their proposed maneuver is dangerous to either vessel, then you are
required to sound the DANGER signal.
Note: Another option is to use your VHF radio to reach agreement with another
vessel in a meeting or crossing situation. The Rules state that vessels that
reach agreement over VHF radio do not need to make the required sound