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Commercial Vessel Situations

If at all possible, stay out of areas where there is commercial vessel traffic such as shipping lanes or traffic separation zones. Large ships and barges have special problems in maneuvering and cannot and will not get out of your way.

Large vessel

If you must operate around commercial vessels, take heed of the following:

  • Avoid ship channels. If you must cross, do so at right angles and as quickly as possible.
  • Be alert. Watch for traffic.
  • Be seen, especially at night.
  • Know the sound signals, especially the danger or doubt signal.
  • Keep your VHF radio tuned to channel 16 and listen carefully.
  • Order all aboard to wear PFDs.
  • Be familiar with the area and have current navigation charts.
  • Don’t be a non-survivor of a collision with a large ship.

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