Safe Boating Course


CHAPTER 5: Navigation Rules


Now let’s look at some guidelines for operating around large vessels.

If you’re in a small boat, you’re not easily visible to larger vessels. So be extra alert wherever there are large vessels nearby, especially in shipping lanes where you may encounter commercial vessels. Always be prepared to yield the right of way—these vessels cannot manoeuvre as quickly as you!

You should also steer well clear of boats that are being towed, as well as ferries, whether docked or in transit. In particular, watch out for any vessel towing another vessel or barge; the cable may be submerged and difficult to see. And remember to never get between a tug and its tow! You’ll also want to keep an ear out for one prolonged blast from a horn. This may indicate that a ferry is departing its dock and you’ll want to keep a sharp lookout.

Here’s a final tip. If you are operating a smaller boat in areas of high boat traffic, or near large commercial vessels, try to travel in a group with other small vessels. This will make you more visible.