Safe Boating Course


CHAPTER 5: Navigation Rules


You should always operate your vessel at a speed that gives you enough time and enough distance to take action to avoid a collision. Of course, there are different conditions, situations and levels of expertise that warrant different speeds. Here are some factors to take into account when determining a safe speed for your boat:

  • Is your visibility restricted by fog, mist, rain or darkness?
  • What are the weather and water conditions like, such as the wind, waves and currents?
  • How much boat traffic is there, what other types of vessels are in the area, and how close are they to your boat?
  • How responsive is your vessel and how responsive are other vessels nearby? Remember that larger, more powerful boats require more room to turn and also generally have a higher top-end speed, so they require more time and distance to stop.
  • Finally, are there any navigational hazards in the area?

The answers to these questions will determine whether you need to adjust your speed for safety.