Georgia Boater Education Course


COLLISION AVOIDANCE RULES

To avoid a dangerous and costly collision, you need to take some important precautionary measures when operating your boat.

1. First, always keep a proper lookout so you’re ready to react to any situation.

2. Second, if equipped, use radar to give other larger vessels early warning that your boat is in the area. You can also use radar to detect shallow waters; key for avoiding running around.

3. Third, and most important, you need to know how to deal with any sudden and dangerous situations that might occur.

Learning the collision avoidance rules is one of the ways you can be prepared.

Keep in mind, boats in motion approach each other very quickly, so it’s vital that you take early and substantial action to avoid a collision.

How do you know if you’re at risk of a collision?

  • First, if the direction of a nearby vessel does not change significantly in response to your approach, you may be at risk and need to take action.
  • Second, even if an approaching vessel does make a change of direction, you may still be at risk, especially when the approaching boat is a large vessel, a towing vessel, or a boat at close range.

The lesson is: Drive within a safe speed and be alert so that you can take early action.

COLLISION AVOIDANCE TERMS AND DEFINITIONS

Now, let’s review two of the key definitions we’ll be using in the collision avoidance rules: “stand on vessel” and “give way vessel”.

The stand-on vessel is the boat with the right of way. When encountering another vessel, the stand-on vessel should:

  • Maintain its course and speed;
  • Keep a proper lookout;
  • And return any communication from the give-way vessel.

Even though it has the right of way, the stand-on vessel should still do all it can to avoid a collision.

The give-way vessel is the vessel that must get out of the way for the oncoming vessel. When encountering a boat that has the right of way, it is the responsibility of the give-way vessel to take early and substantial action to avoid a collision.

How do you know which vessel is the stand-on or the give-way vessel? Let’s look at three examples.

STERN

Vessel approaching stern

STARBOARD

Vessel approaching starboard

PORT

Vessel approaching port

A is the give-way vesselthe vessel that does not have right of way in a crossing or overtaking situation..

If any vessel approaches this sector, maintain, with caution, your course and speed.

A is the stand-on vesselthe vessel that has the right of way in a crossing or overtaking situation..

If any vessel approaches within this sector, keep out of its way.

NOTE: This rule may not always apply if one or both vessels are sailboats.

A is the give-way vessel.

If a power-driven vessel approaches within this sector, maintain, with caution, your course and speed.

As a general rule, when you are approached from the stern or port side, you are the stand-on vessel, and when you are approached from starboard, you are the give-way vessel.