2015 New York Safe Boating - 45
Two short blasts means: "I intend to leave you on my
starboard side." I will alter my course to port (left).
(right) side is the give-way boat. The boat to starboard is the
stand-on boat. The stand-on boat should maintain course
and speed. The give-way vessel must take evasive action and
should do so by turning to starboard (right), reducing speed
or stopping. If the give-way boat turns to port it will be
turning into the path of the stand-on boat. If the give-way
boat speeds up, it will probably just hasten the collision.
Three short blasts means: "I am operating astern
propulsion." Or, in other words, I have put the vessel in
reverse, also known as "backing down."
Five or more short blasts is the danger signal. Use it
when you doubt that enough action is being taken to
At night the give-way boat will see the other boat's port (red)
sidelight and the stand-on boat will see the starboard (green)
light of the other boat.
One prolonged blast means that a boat is leaving its
slip. You may also use this signal to indicate your presence
when coming around a bend in a river or channel.
IF YOU SEE A RED LIGHT, STOP! IF YOU SEE
Avoiding collision gets more complicated when two sailing
boats are approaching one another. If two sailboats are risk
of collision, one of them must get out of the way of the
other as follows:
When one boat comes up behind another boat, we say the
passing boat is overtaking the other. The overtaking boat is
the give-way boat. The boat being passed is the stand-on
boat. The stand-on boat maintains course and speed while
the give-way boat must take action by turning either to
Both have the wind on the same side. The boat which
is to windward* shall keep out of the way of the boat
which is to leeward;**
starboard or port. The give-way boat must also stay out of
the stand-on boat's way until well past and clear.
At night, if you are the give-way boat you will see the other
boat's stern (white) light. If you are the stand-on boat,
you will see the other boat's masthead (white) light and the
Each has the wind on a different side. The boat which
has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of
Maneuvering Sound Signals
Safe and competent boaters learn the language of sound
signals. Sound signals let boats within sight know how they
intend to maneuver, and warn other boats that can't see
them, that they are there. You can also use sound signals to
declare danger or distress. If the path of your boat will lead
you into close quarters with another boat, you must exchange
Sound signals are either short blasts or prolonged blasts. Short
blasts are one second in duration, and prolonged blasts are
four to six seconds. You must learn how to give and recognize
the following sound signals which let other boaters know how
you intend to maneuver:
One short blast means: "I intend to leave you on my
port side." I will alter my course to starboard (right).