|TERMS AND DEFINITIONS:
|Any type of watercraft, including non-displacement craft and seaplane used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.
|Propelled by machinery
|Under sail, provided that propelling machinery, even if present, is not being used
|Vessel Engaged in Fishing
|Any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus that restrict maneuverability (does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus that do not restrict maneuverability)
|Any aircraft designed to maneuver on the water
|Length and Breadth
|A vessel’s length overall and greatest breadth
|In Sight of One Another
|Vessels are deemed to be in sight of one another only when one can be observed visually from the other
|When encountering another vessel, the stand-on vessel must: 1. Maintain course and speed. 2. Keep a proper lookout and return communication with the give-way vessel. 3. Do all it can to avoid collision
|The vessel that must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep WELL clear of the stand-on vessel
|A vessel that is not at anchor or made fast to the shore
|Any condition in which visibility is restricted by fog, mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sandstorms, or any other similar causes
|The navigable waters of South African rivers and dams, or other inland waters of the country
When two power-driven vessels encounter each other within one half mile, sound signals must be used. The initiating vessel indicates a maneuver, and the responding vessel agrees or disagrees.
|1 short blast (1 second)
|I want to pass you on my port side (Hint: PORT = 1 syllable = 1 short blast)
|2 short blasts
|I want to pass you on my starboard side (Hint: STARBOARD = 2 syllables = 2 short blasts)
|3 short blasts
|Engine is in reverse
|5 short blasts
|Danger, or do not understand approaching boat’s intentions
|1 prolonged blast (4-6 seconds)
|1 prolonged blast every 2 minutes
|Power-driven vessel operating in low or restricted visibility
|1 prolonged blast + 2 short blasts every 2 minutes
|Sailing vessel operating in low or restricted visibility
The vessel operator is responsible for acting in a prudent and reasonable manner consistent with the ordinary practices of boating.
There are many distractions on the water. As the vessel operator, it is your responsibility to constantly monitor your surroundings, on all boats at all hours. You should assign another person on board to act as a lookout as well.
Make sure no passengers or equipment can impede your line of sight. Scan the bow, starboard, and port sides for boaters, swimmers, flags, and floating debris.
You are required to use every available means, including radar and radio (if equipped), to determine whether there is any risk of collision with another vessel.
All vessels should be operated at a speed that allows time and distance to take necessary action to avoid a collision. Obviously, different conditions and levels of expertise will warrant different speeds. Certain areas of Alabama enforce local speed limits.
To determine a ‘safe speed’ for your boat, take into account the following factors:
Lastly, your wake can cause damage to property and other vessels. Always take into account the effects your wake might create when adjusting your speed.
Avoiding collisions involves precautionary measures (proper lookout, use of radar if present, etc.), but more importantly, collision avoidance is made possible when boat operators know how to deal with situations appropriately.
Boats in constant motion will meet quickly, therefore it’s necessary to take early and substantial action to avoid collisions.
A is the give-way vessel.
If any vessel approaches this sector, maintain, with caution, your course and speed.
A is the stand-on vessel.
If any vessel approaches within this sector, keep out of its way.** This rule may not always apply if one or both vessels are sailboats.
A is the give-way vessel.
If a power-driven vessel approaches within this sector, maintain, with caution, your course and speed.
As a general rule, rowboats, sailing vessels, and canoes are less maneuverable and therefore have the right-of-way over power-driven boats. However, if one vessel is unable to maneuver as it normally would, the most maneuverable vessel gives way.
Vessel A is overtaking and is the give-way vessel. Vessel B is the stand-on vessel. As the give-way vessel, A must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear of the stand-on vessel B.
If both vessels are power-driven, sound signals are required. Vessel A must blow one short blast and alter course to starboard, or blow two short blasts and alter course to port, and Vessel B must return the same sound signal(s) to indicate understanding.
Neither power-driven vessel A nor power-driven vessel B gives way or stands on in a head-on encounter. Therefore, some communication is needed between vessels A and B.
The most common response in a head-on meeting between power-driven vessels is to signal an intention to pass port-to-port. This action is initiated by one of the vessels sounding one short blast.
In short, vessel A must blow one short blast, indicating its intention to pass port-to-port, and then alters its course to starboard. Vessel B must return one short blast—to indicate agreement and understanding—and alter its course to starboard, thereby, leaving room on each vessel’s port side for passing.
If it is not possible to pass port-to-port due to an obstruction or shoreline, a starboard-to-starboard pass should be signaled with two short blasts.
In short, vessel A must blow two short blasts, indicating its intention to pass starboard-to-starboard, and alter its course to port. Vessel B must return two short blasts to indicate agreement and understanding and alter its course to port, thereby, leaving room on each vessel’s starboard side for passing.
Power-driven vessel A approaches the port side of power-driven vessel B. Vessel A is considered the give-way vessel. As the give-way vessel, A must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear and avoid crossing the stand-on vessel B. Vessel A must blow one short blast and alter course to starboard.. Vessel B must blow one short blast to indicate understanding, and maintain course.
When a power-driven vessel B encounters a sailing vessel A, the sailing vessel is ALWAYS the stand-on vessel (unless a sailing vessel is overtaking). In the case above, power-driven vessel B must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear of sailing vessel A.
The windward side is defined as the side opposite to that on which the mainsail is carried or, in the case of a square-rigged vessel, the side opposite to that on which the largest fore-and-aft sail is carried.
When each sailboat has the wind on a different side, the vessel that has the wind on its port (left) side is considered the give-way vessel. In this illustration, Sailboat A must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear of Sailboat B.
When both sailboats have the wind on the same side, the boat closer to the wind (upwind) is the give-way vessel and the boat further from the wind (downwind) is the stand-on vessel. In the illustration at left, Sailboat B must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear of Sailboat A.
If a sailboat has the wind on its port side and the sailor cannot determine with certainty whether the other boat has the wind on its port or starboard side, the first sailboat is considered the give-way vessel and must take EARLY and SUBSTANTIAL action to keep clear of the second sailboat.
When approaching a narrow channel, stay to the starboard side and, using a prolonged blast, announce your approach to vessels that may be around the bend. When operating within a narrow channel, vessels must keep as near as is safe and practical to the outer limit of a narrow channel on their starboard side.
Sailing vessels and vessels less than 65 feet in length cannot block the passage of a vessel that must restrict its navigation to a narrow channel (that is, recreational boaters traveling in a main channel should give way to larger vessel such as tugboats). In order to comply with Homeland Security Measures, avoid anchoring in narrow channels and beneath bridges.
When operating near a shipping lane or in areas of high boat traffic, smaller craft are not easily visible to larger vessels. Always keep a lookout for larger vessels and be prepared to yield the right of way.
Specifically, always steer well clear of vessels in tow, docked ferries, or ferries in transit. Be mindful of cable ferries pulling other vessels—the cable might be submerged and difficult to see. Do not get in between a ferry and its tow. Keep an ear out for one prolonged blast from a horn, as this may be indicating a departing dock. Operators of smaller craft should attempt to travel in a group if at all possible, in order to be more visible.
During hours of darkness, navigation lights MUST be displayed. Navigation lights help you determine whether an approaching vessel is operating under power or sail, and its direction.
Powerboat A: When only a white light is visible, you may be overtaking another vessel. Give way to either side.
Powerboat B: You are being overtaken. Stand on.
Powerboat A: When only white and red lights are visible, you are approaching the port side of a powerboat. Give way to your starboard side.
Powerboat B: When only white and green lights are visible, you are approaching the starboard side of a powerboat. Stand on.
Powerboat A: When white, red and green lights are visible, you are approaching a powerboat head-on. Give way to your starboard side.
Powerboat B: When white, red and green lights are visible, you are approaching a powerboat head-on. Give way to your starboard side.
Powerboat A: When only red and green lights are visible, you are approaching a sailboat head-on. Give way to your starboard side.
Powerboat B: When white, red and green lights are visible, you are approaching a powerboat head-on. Stand on.
Powerboat A: When only a red light is visible, you are approaching the port side of a sailboat. Give way to your starboard side.
Powerboat B: When white and green lights are visible, you are approaching the starboard side of a powerboat. Stand on.
Powerboat A: When only a green light is visible, you are approaching the starboard side of a sailboat. Give way to your port side.
Powerboat B: When white and red lights are visible, you are approaching the port side of a powerboat. Stand on.
During periods of restricted visibility (such as rain, mist, heavy fog, or hours of darkness), you should slow to minimum speed to give your vessel an opportunity to maneuver should the risk of a collision arise.
|WHEN VISIBILITY IS RESTRICTED BY FOG OR SMOKE, ADDITIONAL SOUND SIGNALS ARE REQUIRED:
|Prolonged blast every 2 minutes
|Prolonged blast + two short blasts every 2 minutes
|Underway but not moving
|Two prolonged blasts every 2 minutes
|5 seconds of rapid bell ringing every minute
|3 bell strokes + 5 seconds of rapid bell ringing + 3 bell strokes every minute
A visual distress signal (VDS) is any device designed to show that your boat is in distress and help others locate you. A wide variety of signaling devices, both pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic, can be carried to meet the requirements of the regulation. Visual distress signals may only be used in emergency situations.
Regulations require all recreational boats operating on U.S. coastal waters, including the Great Lakes, the territorial seas and those waters directly connected to the Great Lakes and the territorial seas, up to a point where the waters are less than two miles wide, and boats owned in the United States when operating on the high seas to be equipped with visual distress signals.
The regulation states “No person in a boat shall display a visual distress signal on water to which this subpart applies under any circumstances except a situation where assistance is needed because of immediate or potential danger to the persons aboard.”
Docking or mooring your vessel can be the most challenging of boating operations. Maneuvering your vessel into a dock or a mooring marker in calm conditions is hard enough—add high traffic, choppy water, and windy conditions to the mix and you quickly realize that proper docking and mooring is a real skill. Keep the following factors in mind for effective docking and mooring:
When you approach the dock, slow your speed, secure fenders on the docking side, and ready the docking lines.
If you are headed to a marina with limited docking stations, you may have to wait until stations open up. Be patient and courteous; approach only when you see an open station and have communicated your intention to other vessels that are departing and waiting.
The direction of the wind and the flow of the water current have a huge impact on docking.
If the wind is in your face, you should approach the dock at a steep angle (30°-45°) and swing the boat quickly. Secure the bow first, then reverse until the stern swings in.
If the wind is at your back, you should approach the dock at a shallow angle (10°-20°), and then stop the boat in order to allow the wind to drift the boat into the dock.
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