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Crossing Situations - Right of Way

Two power driven boats

When two power driven boats are approaching at right angles or nearly so, and risk of collision exists, the boat on the right is the stand-on vessel, has the right of way and must hold its course and speed. The other boat, the give-way vessel, shall maneuver to keep clear of the stand-on vessel and shall pass it by its stern. If necessary, slow, stop or reverse until the stand-on vessel is clear.

Give-way stand-on vessel

In the example above, the blue vessel is the give-way vessel and should alter course and speed to pass behind the red vessel. If the skipper of the red vessel does not observe the blue vessel taking action to avoid collision, then the red vessel must take the required action to avoid a collision.

Sailing Craft and Vessels Propelled by Oars or Paddles

Sailing craft (not under power) and boats propelled by oars or paddles are stand-on vessels when approaching power driven vessels. In this situation, the power-driven vessel should alter course to pass behind the sailing vessel.

Sailboat in the stand on vessel

An exception to this is if the sailing craft or self-propelled vessel is passing a power driven vessel. In an overtaking situation, the overtaking vessel is the give-way vessel, even if an engine does not propel it.

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