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Understanding Boating Right of Way Rules

Apr 25, 2022

Image 0693: "Boat"When it comes to boating, right-of-way rules must be understood to ensure that your fun isn’t at the expense of a fellow boater. Boat traffic rules are sometimes unspoken agreements between everyone on the water, and not complying with them can mean that you are being obstructive to the enjoyment of others when passing a boat or denying another boat to pass your own. Yacht Management South Florida Inc., the premier provider of yacht management in the South Florida area, has created this quick guide to ensure that the next time you're out to sea, you can follow the marine traffic rules to the letter.

The Importance of Boating Traffic Rules
Boating is a pastime that celebrates the beauty and freedom of the ocean, but there are rules to follow when passing boats or letting them pass. Why are such rules in place? For the safety and continued enjoyment of the activity for yourself and everyone else around you. Every year there are thousands of recreational vessel-to-vessel boating accidents in the United States. These can be quite dangerous for both the boats and the boaters involved. Boating right-of-way rules are the best way to ensure that you are not affected or affecting anyone while on the water. So, what exactly are the basic rules for passing boats and boating traffic in general?

Boating Right of Way Rules Explained
Boating right-of-way rules are great in their simplicity. General common sense and courtesy will get you most of the way there but for the unfamiliar or newcomers to the world of boating the rules may simply not be something they have considered thus far.

  • If a boat is unoperated or is experiencing some type of failure should be given the space needed by boats passing through.
  • If another vessel is approaching from the rear of another vessel, the boating right of way goes to the boater on approach.
  • If you are in a powered vessel, powered by an engine that is, and a sailboat or other type of non-engine craft is approaching the right of way is given to the unpowered vessel.
  • Fishing vessels do not have the same range of motion as other ships not engaged in the activity. Give the boating right of way to these crafts so as to not endanger them or hinder their activity. 

There are other nuisances to boating right-of-way rules, but these are the four essential pieces to understand before ever going out onto the water. Being a courteous boater is the best way to have fun while not getting in the way of other people. 

Yacht Management Services in South Florida
If you are looking for South Florida yacht management services that won’t drain you with yacht upkeep costs, be sure to get in contact with our team. Read some of our other articles to learn more about all things yachts, boating, and more.

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