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Rules of the Road

Collision Avoidance
  • Rules apply to vessels in all conditions of visibility. Rules are the same at night or in fog, for instance,
    as they are during a bright sunny day.
  • Every vessel must maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing at all times. Operator inattention
    and not having an adequate look out are a leading cause of accidents each year.
  • Every vessel must proceed at a safe speed at all times. Several factors should be considered when
    determining safe speed, including but not limited to the state of visibility, traffic density, your vessel's maneuverability, with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability. At night, consider the
    presence of background lights such as those from shore, or from the back-scatter of your vessel's own
    lights. Consider also the state of wind, sea, and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards.
  • The Rules specifically require that any action taken to avoid collision, if the circumstances allow, will be
    positive, made in ample time, and in keeping with good seamanship. Any changes in course or speed
    should be large enough to be readily apparent to the other vessel. This means that you should avoid last
    second changes in course, and you should avoid a small series of changes. Change direction early, and
    make a large turn.