2015 New York Safe Boating - 49

Special Lights

suction effect caused by these large vessels may pull you way
out into the river, perhaps too far out for you to swim back.

When police boats are engaged in law enforcement or public
safety activities such as boat stops, pursuits, and emergencies,
or when towing, they'll show flashing blue lights. Only boats
operated by law enforcement agencies may use flashing blue
lights.

When operating a power-driven boat in a narrow channel
on the Great Lakes or Western Rivers, if you are proceeding
downstream with a following current you shall have the rightof-way over any upbound boat. The stand-on boat shall initiate
the appropriate maneuvering signals. If you are the upbound
boat, going against the current, you will hold as necessary to
permit safe passage.

Boats engaged in government sanctioned public safety
activities can show alternating yellow and red flashing
lights. Public safety activities include safety patrols for marine
regattas, fire boats, as well as search and rescue boats. This
light does not give the boat any special privileges.

If you are trying to cross a narrow channel, you must not
impede the passage of a boat that can only safely navigate
within the channel.

Towing

Operating Near
Commercial Boats

Absolutely never attempt to pass between a tug and its tow.
Even if the tow line isn't visible, it may be just below the

Narrow Channels
If you will be plying the waters of New York's harbors
and rivers, you need to be aware of the maneuvering
characteristics and limitations of large commercial vessels.
Because these large vessels aren't able to change course
quickly, you need to try to stay out of their way, particularly
in congested areas. When meeting any large vessel on the
water, a little courtesy goes a long way.
As a general rule, avoid hampering the progress of any
large commercial vessel even if you believe you have to
maintain your course and speed. Large commercial vessels
are restricted to the deeper navigable channels whereas
your boat
may safely
operate in
relatively
shallow
water. If
you feel that
you must
stay within
the marked
channel due
to your draft,
always observe good seamanship and keep as far to the
starboard (right) side of the channel as is safe and practical
for your boat.

surface and become taut at any time. If it does become taut,
the force of a cable is easily capable of flipping or splitting
your boat. Learn the signals tugs display and stay well clear
of them, their tows and any cables.

Larger, deeply laden vessels can also take up to a half mile
or more to come to a complete stop. Never put yourself
in	a	position	where	a	boat	needs	to	execute	an	emergency	
maneuver in order to avoid running you down.

For a complete listing of the navigation
rules, refer to the document "Navigation
Rules of the Road" published by the U.S. US
Coast Guard (COMDTINST 16672.2 Series)
and available through the U.S. Government
printing office or on the web at www.
navcen.uscg.gov

Navigation Rules of the Road
The Navigation Rules of the Road contained
in this course summarize basic navigation
rules for which a boat operator is responsible.
Additional and more in-depth rules apply
regarding various types of waterways and
operation in relation to commercial boats and
other watercraft. It is the responsibility of
a boat operator to know and follow all the
navigation rules.

Never haul or launch your boat at a ramp when these larger
commercial vessels are transiting. The large amounts of water
they displace may cause a surge in the water level. Also
remember that large vessels generally throw large wakes as
they displace water. This can not only damage your boat, but
also can sweep you into the water, endangering your life. For
the same reasons, if you are swimming and you see a large
vessel approaching, get out of the water. Otherwise, the

For State specific navigation requirements,
refer to the state laws where you intend to
boat.
49


http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesContent

2015 New York Safe Boating

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