Boat Steering Rules

Any time two vessels on the water meet one another, one vessel has the right-of-way. It is called the stand-on vessel. The vessel that does not have the right-of-way is called the give-way or burdened vessel.

These rules determine which vessel has the right of way, and accordingly, what each vessel should do.

The vessel with the right-of-way has the duty to continue its course and speed, except to avoid an immediate collision. When you maintain your direction and speed, the other vessel will be able to determine how best to avoid you.

The vessel that does not have the right-of-way has the duty to take positive and timely action to stay out of the way of the stand-on vessel. Normally, the give-way vessel should not cross in front of the stand-on vessel. Slow down or change directions briefly and pass behind the other vessel. You should always move in such a way that the stand-on operator can see what you are doing.

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