2015 New York Safe Boating - 46
RULES OF THE ROAD
or other apparatus that doesn't limit or restrict the maneuverability of
Many on-water situations will involve more than two boats
operating under less than ideal conditions. All mariners
should exercise good seamanship and operate at a safe speed.
If you are ever in doubt as to the intentions of another boat,
immediately sound the danger signal, reduce your speed,
stop, or reverse the engines until the risk of collision passes.
If you are the stand-on boat in any situation you must hold
course and speed-until it becomes apparent to you that the
action of the give-way boat alone cannot avoid a collision.
Don't be stubborn! Even if you are entitled to maintain your
course and speed, be prepared to yield. Remember that your
fellow boaters may not know these rules as well as you do
and may not know the correct action to take.
Unable to determine. If a boat with the wind on the
port side sees a boat to windward* and cannot determine
whether the wind is on the other boat's port or leeward**
side, the leeward boat shall keep out of the way of the
The Rules of the Road don't address kayaks, canoes or other
manually propelled craft. Good seamanship, common
courtesy and consideration of any special circumstances
should dictate which boat gives way when a sailing or motor
boat encounters a manually propelled craft.
*the windward side shall be deemed to be the side opposite on
which the mainsail is carried.
**the leeward side shall be deemed to be the side on which the
mainsail is carried
Responsibility Between Vessels
Restricted visibility means any condition in which fog,
mist, falling snow, heavy rainstorms, sand storms, or any
other similar circumstance limits your ability to see your
surroundings clearly. Boats not in sight of one another when
navigating in or near an area of restricted visibility must
travel at a speed that is safe in the prevailing conditions. If
you are operating a power-driven boat in restricted visibility
conditions, have the engines ready for immediate maneuver in
case you suddenly see another boat or a hazard. If your radar
detects another object, indicating there is a risk of collision,
you must take action to avoid the collision in ample time.
Whether or not you must get your boat out of the way
of another depends on where your boat fits with in
the hierarchy of boats. In general, boats that are more
maneuverable have the responsibility to keep out of the way
of less maneuverable boats.
Who has the responsibility to move
out of the way?
Boats with a lower priority must keep out of the way of
boats with a higher priority unless being overtaken.
If you hear another boat's fog signal and it seems to be
coming from forward of your beam, reduce your speed. Keep
going as slowly as you are able while staying on course, and
navigate with extreme caution until the risk of collision has
a. A boat not under command (unable to maneuver)
b. A boat restricted in its ability to maneuver
Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility
c. A boat engaged in fishing*
If you're operating in conditions of restricted visibility, such as
fog, heavy rain, snow, etc., all motor boats making way must
sound a prolonged blast (4-6 seconds duration) on the horn
or whistle once every two minutes. Sailboats in conditions of
restricted visibility must sound one prolonged blast followed
by two short blasts. Boats less than 12 meters (39ft.) in length
that can't give this signal must make some other efficient
sound signal once every two minutes.
d. A sailing boat
e. A power driven boat
f. Sea plane
In an overtaking situation the overtaking boat is the give-way
boat regardless of the hierarchy of boats.
If you are at anchor in restricted visibility you must ring
the ship's bell rapidly for a period of five seconds at least
every minute. Boats that can't give this signal must make
some other efficient sound signal at intervals of at least two
minutes. A boat under 20 meters (65 ft.) anchored in an
approved special anchorage is not required to sound signals.
A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of
all boats and avoid impeding their navigation. However, in
the circumstances where risk of collision exists, a seaplane
shall comply with the Rules of the Road.
* A boat engaged in fishing usually means a commercial fishing
boat. It doesn't mean sport fishing with rod and reel, trolling lines