2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook - (Page 43)
RULES OF THE ROAD
The “Rules of the Road” are a set of internationally accepted standards that govern the way all mariners should operate their boats when on the water. The rules require that every operator conduct his/her boat in a prudent manner, at a safe speed, while constantly using all means available to maintain a proper lookout. They also establish rules for navigation and actions to avoid collisions between boats. To be a safe and courteous boater, you must learn the Rules of the Road!
Maintain Proper Lookout
Collisions are the most common type of boating accident. The first and most effective step in preventing a collision is watching the water. Maintaining a proper lookout is the key to avoiding a collision. Who is out there? What are they doing? What direction are they going? Every boat must maintain a proper lookout at all times. Proper lookout consists of using sight, hearing, and all other available means to be aware of your surroundings. Look all around frequently and be aware of what other boats are doing. At night and in the fog you may hear another boat before you can see it. If the weather is foggy, or traffic is heavy, have a friend help you keep a lookout. If you have radar, use it along with sight and sound. Pay attention to radio traffic! Be aware that even the best skipper will be a less effective lookout as the day wears on. Fatigue tends to narrow a lookout’s vision, hampering or even destroying his or her effectiveness. To combat fatigue, use a scanning method. Cover the horizon in a series of steps and cover the water from the bow out to the horizon in similar steps. Look all around the horizon and recognize what boats may be coming up behind you. To reduce the effects of glare, wear top quality sunglasses and apply non-reflective finishes on the forward portions of your boat. Also, don’t hesitate to ask someone else to keep an eye out, or steer, particularly in confined water. A second set of eyes will help spot things you may have missed. The requirements for a proper lookout are stated in the Rules of the Road: “Every boat shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”
The Rules of the Road incorporate the following definitions:
Boat– includes every description of watercraft, including non-displacement craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water (any water craft that can float and be directed from point A to point B). Power Driven Boat– a boat that uses mechanical force to propel it through the water. Sail Boat– a boat that uses wind force in sails to propel it through the water. When a motor is used to move a sailboat, outboard or inboard, it is considered a power driven boat. Stand-On Boat– the boat that is required to maintain course or speed when it encounters another boat. Give-Way Boat– the boat that must change course and/ or speed when it encounters the Stand-On boat. Underway– a boat that is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground. A boat is considered underway even if it is just floating and not under propulsion. Western Rivers – the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Great Lakes– Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, and their connecting and tributary waters including the Saint Lawrence River.
Every boat must proceed at a safe speed at all times so that the boat can take proper and effective action to avoid a collision. In determining what speed is a safe speed, consider the following factors: visibility; traffic density; the maneuverability of the boat in the prevailing conditions; weather conditions, including the speed and direction of the wind and the state of the sea; the speed, strength and direction of the current; the proximity of navigational hazards; and the depth of water. 43
How do you recognize the risk of collision?
When you see another boat, watch its path of movement over time. If the bearing (angle between you and the other boat) does not appear to change and the range (the distance between you and another object—in this case another boat) decreases there is a risk of collision. This is called Constant Bearing, Decreasing Range or CBDR for short. CBDR is easily recognized when you meet another boat head on or when you approach a boat from behind. When a boat is crossing your direction of travel you need to pay attention to what the other boat is doing until it is passed and clear. If the bearing between you and another boat decreases, the other boat will pass ahead of you. If the bearing between you and another boat increases, the other boat it will pass behind you.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of 2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook
2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook
Boats and Motors
Registration of Boats
Fueling and Ventilation
Safe Loading and Powering
Preparation for Getting Underway
The Marine Environment
Rules of the Road
Boating Related Activities
Accidents and Emergencies
Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter Review Questions Answers
2013 New York Safe Boating Textbook