Who has the right of way?
A good summary of the “rules of the road” can be found in “Boat Notes: Your Guide to Boating Safety” but here are a few basic rules:
- Power boats give way to sailboats and paddle craft.
- Sailboats give way to paddle craft.
- Sailboats under power are considered power-driven boats and give way accordingly.
- If a power boat approaches on your starboard side, you must give way (unless you’re a sailboat or paddle craft).
- If a power boat approaches on your port side, maintain your course and speed with caution .
- If any vessel approaches on your stern, maintain your course and speed with caution.
The Collision Regulations state that, regardless of which vessel has the legal right of way, each operator must do everything in their power to avoid the risk of collision.