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The 5 Essential Rules of the Water

Understanding Boating Etiquette & The 5 Basic Rules of the Water

There are fundamental skills all boaters should acquire, but it's understandable that with time and experience we sometimes forget the basics.


Things like how to navigate waves and wakes, or how to dock your boat tend to give boaters the most trepidation, but those skills all come from an understanding of the basics of boat operation.


Discover Boating has an excellent video series that gives new and experienced boaters alike a set of resources for both acquiring new skills and sharpening the ones they already have.


In The 5 Essential Rules of the Water, they cover:


1) Understanding Directionality & Navigation- right of way, port=red / starboard=green, and traversing in busy water

2) You Are Responsible For Avoiding Collisions- understanding power vs. sail and what you can do to maintain distance

3) Passing Other Boater- understanding the 'stand on' and 'give way' positions and who has right of way

4) Encountering Oncoming Boaters- knowing where you should be on the waterway, and what the expectations are for speed and direction

5) Taking Evasive Action- when encountering another boat who's intentions are unclear you must know the protocol and steps to take to avoid a collision


Regardless of where you go boating or what type of boat you’re operating, one of the most important rules to keep in mind is that you are responsible for avoiding collisions at all times. Always be aware of your surroundings, look out for other vessels, and keep a safe speed.


This video below teach you how to maneuver in various on-water scenarios depending on whether you are the stand-on vessel or the give-way vessel.


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