Tom’s Tips About Courtesy While Passing

By Tom Neale, 12/10/2009

1. The same boat can make very different wakes in different channels.

2. For example, a narrow channel with steep walls is likely to exaggerate a boat’s wake even though, at the same speed, in wider waters, the boat would create very little wake.

3. If another vessel wants to come around you in the narrow parts of the ICW or other waters, it’ll help both of you if you slow down so that he can get around quicker while moving at a slower speed himself. If there’s enough room, it may help also to move over a bit. But you should communicate with each other and agree first as to this maneuver.

4. If you’re passing another boat, try to communicate with the skipper to work out an arrangement such as the above which will facilitate the maneuver for both of you.

5. Keep a radio watch on at least Channel 16 VHF (preferably also 9 and 13) while traveling.

6. If you’re at the helm, look behind you regularly to see if another boat is coming up on you. If one is and the skipper hasn’t called or signaled you, it may be helpful to call him and ask him to slow down for you or make other arrangements that will be helpful to both.

7. Use sound signals if other means of communication have not been effective.

8. Always follow the Rules of the Road, but it never hurts to add appropriate courtesy considerations as long as they’re not inconsistent with the Rules.

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