what should you do to avoid colliding with another boat

What Should You Do To Avoid Colliding With Another Boat?

Your boat or PWC collides with another boat or a fixed or floating object, such as a rock, log, bridge, dock, or other boats. Any skipper’s top priority is to prevent boat collisions on the water and reduce the likelihood of an accident. What then ought you do to prevent hitting another boat? Please continue reading as we give you 10 suggestions on how to avoid this.

What Should You Do To Avoid Colliding With Another Boat

Always Maintain A Watch

This means that you or a crew member must constantly be on the lookout for approaching dangers such as other boats, navigational aids, people in the water, and other vessels.

In conditions of poor visibility, such as during fog or at night, keeping watch is especially crucial. Keep your binoculars close by.

Understand Marine Navigation Rules

Knowing the traffic laws and which boat has the right of way when two are approaching is the best way to prevent boat collisions. Recognizing navigational aids like buoys and channel markers and comprehending what lights are being displayed by another vessel with approaching, crossing, or anchored traffic at night is also part of these rules.

Additionally, you’ll require a basic understanding of sound signals.

  • A brief blast signals that a boat is departing for the port.
  • They will depart to the starboard after two blasts.
  • You must ascertain if it was intended for you right away because five blasts indicate danger.

Stay Clear Of Shipping Lanes

Large ships use shipping lanes as routes when transporting cargo to and from ports. On charts, these lanes are typically identified by magenta swaths. They typically have up and downstream traffic lanes and are five miles wide.

It’s crucial to avoid these lanes and cross them at a 90-degree angle, which represents the least amount of time spent in the danger zone because large ships travel at high speeds and a sailboat can take an hour to travel five miles. Never fish, anchor, heave to, or stop in a shipping lane for any reason.

Understand The Implications Of Speed

Even if you aren’t in the shipping lanes, keep in mind that ships move at an average speed of 30 knots, which means that a cargo ship or cruise ship can reach you in 15 minutes from the horizon.

  • Try not to outrun a vessel that is crossing.
  • If you’re unsure of your ability to cross the street before they get to you, turn slightly and take their stern (walk behind them); this is not only safer but also more polite.

Remain Visible At All Times

Small pleasure craft is difficult to see, especially from a ship’s deck and when it is foggy or dark.

  • If anchored, turn on running lights from dusk until dawn and display the appropriate light schemes.
  • Carry a radar reflector so that your return is detected by another vessel’s radar, and think about upgrading your radar to support AIS (Automatic Identification System).
  • Use strobe lighting only to signal a distress situation, advises the US Coast Guard.

Keep Your Vhf Radio On While Underway

When you’re moving, the VHF radio should be kept on.

  • Keep it tuned to Channel 16’s distress and hailing frequency in case another ship calls.
  • As a reminder, they may refer to you as a “fishing vessel off my port bow” because they don’t know who you are.
  • If you want to continue communicating after making contact, always change to another working frequency.

Only Boat When Well-rested And Sober

As with operating a car, never operate a boat while tired or sleepy because fatigue causes poor decision-making. Remember that boating while intoxicated (BIU) is just as dangerous and serious as a DIU.

Expect The Unexpected

Boaters should move slowly and keep a close eye out when out on the water in the early morning or late afternoon when there is glare from a low-lying sun.

what should you do to avoid colliding with another boatS

Keep in mind that after a storm or significant rainfall, the amount of debris on lakes, rivers, and coastal areas increases, so you might run into an unexpected log or bucket in your path.

Maintain A Speed Appropriate To Conditions

  • In areas where there is no wake and when visibility is poor, slow down.
  • Because you can’t be sure if there are people outside the designated area, don’t drive quickly through roped-off swimming areas.
  • Keep away from piers where large vessels are docking or pulling away if there is traffic or congestion because the turbulence caused by their prop wash may make it difficult for your vessel to control.

Boat Smart And Use Common Sense

Boating is both enjoyable and safe. A few more things to consider so that you and other boaters have a wonderful day on the water are as follows:

  • A place where people may be swimming is not a good place for towing activities.
  • Before turning, always take a thorough look around you, including the back.
  • Don’t assume the other guy is experienced; if in doubt, stay away.

Even if you have the right of way, you should never assume that someone else will take evasive action to avoid a boat collision. Boat carefully to prevent boating accidents.

What Are The Rules Of Navigation For Boats

Here is more information to help you navigate and stay clear of other boats’ bows. Just as you would when operating a vehicle on the road, you should become familiar with these rules in order to stay safe.

When Two Boats Meet

  • In order to pass one another port-side to port-side when two motorboats are approaching one another head-on, both crafts should alter course to the right (starboard).
  • Give way to the vessel to your right (starboard) if two motorboats are crossing paths and heading toward collision. The boat giving way must act quickly. Both stopping and taking a right turn are options for boats.
  • The helmsman is permitted to make a sudden move, such as stopping or changing directions, if the motorboat giving way has another motorboat on its port left side that is not stopping or changing course.
  • Any boat that is passing another one must give plenty of room, whether it is powered by a motor, sail, or both.

Channels And Harbours

  • Boats should always navigate channels on the starboard side.
  • Avoid all ships that weigh more than 500 tons and are longer than 50 meters.
  • Avoid making big wakes that could endanger other boats or people.
  • In channels, you are not allowed to anchor down.
  • Larger boats must avoid colliding with smaller boats.

When Power Meets Power

  • Never pass another vessel without giving way to the one on your starboard side.
  • Boat captains should change course to the starboard side if two motorized boats are approaching one another directly.

When Power Meets Sail

  • Except when the sailboat is overtaking you, motor boats must yield to sailboats.
  • Sailboats shouldn’t enter confined spaces and should yield to motor boats if they can move more easily.

When Sail Meet Sail

  • The sailboat with the right starboard side of the wind always has the right of way.
  • The sailboat that has the wind at her port side should yield.
  • The sailboat that is upwind must always yield if both sailboats have the same side of the wind.

Why Boating Rules Matter

Although they can be dangerous, boats are a lot of fun. 613 people lost their lives in 4,168 boating collisions in 2021. Due to the disregard for fundamental safety precautions, many of these accidents and fatalities occurred.

You can ensure the safety of the people on your boat as well as the people on other boats by becoming knowledgeable about boating safety regulations. Everyone can enjoy waterways if they follow the rules.

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