What Should You Do To Avoid Colliding With Another Boat?

What precautions must be taken to avoid collision with another boat?

Boat accidents are a reality and every year many precious lives are lost and millions of dollars wasted on these accidents. These can happen to anyone whether a seasoned sailor to a newbie. Various reasons lead to accidents of boats due to colliding. Some are machine-driven but a majority of the collision accidents are due to human carelessness and error. So this blog is all about learning to avoid these collisions by following and understating certain rules, procedures and safety measures. Whatever may be your boat type from paddle craft to powerboat not following these procedures can lead to a collision with other boats.

Always follow the rules of navigation:

Getting up-to-date with the rule of the place is the first and most important step towards avoiding boat collision. Every state has different laws regarding boats traveling on their waters. This information are very necessary and important and tells you a lot about the navigational practices and do’s and don’ts of the place. The boat operators must know these rules thoroughly. By knowing and following these rules the collisions can be minimized even to nil.

Understand your responsibility to avoid collision with another boat:

As an alert boat owner, it is your duty to understand your responsibility and its importance. You should be always active and alert while on the boat. The lives of fellow boaters in your boat as well as on any other passing boat depend upon how seriously you take your responsibility. Although it is essential for every boat operator to be alert and sharp in his responsibility the severity of these fluctuates depending upon the type of boats also.

• When operating a sailboat:

When you are the operator of a sailboat you should always make sure to give way to every ship that is not in your ownership or command, maneuvering vessels and commercial fishing or ski boats.

• When operating a powerboat:

When you are the operator of a powerboat, you should give way to commercial fishing boat, anchored or broken down the vessel, towing boat, sailboat, and workboat which transports navigational makers.

• When operating a commercial fishing boat:

When you are operating a commercial fishing boat you should always give way to boats which are broken or anchored down, ships which have restricted moving drawbacks or which need a large draft.

Understanding and learning to communicate with signals:

Signals are really important for boat navigation. There are a ton of sound signals in marine navigation. There are different signals for passing a boat on the starboard side and head-on passing a boat. The signal for passing a boat head-on is blowing the horn with one short blast, which signals the other boat that you would change course to starboard. If you are to turn to the port side then tow blast would do the signaling part. When you are to go on the reverse then three blows of the signal are needed.

At the point when you are attempting to leave behind another pontoon, you would utilize two long explosions of the horn followed by one short impact to signal that you need to move to their starboard (right) side of the vessel. If you choose you need to move to their port (left) side, you would utilize two long impacts and two short impacts to signal to the pontoon in front of you. In the event that they concur, they will signal back with four impacts of the horn: one long, one short, one long, and one short impact.

Keeping the speed check:

Speed is really a crucial factor that in control can always avoid a boat on boat collision. It is always advisable to have a controlled and low speed. There are various other factors also which can determine or influence your speed.

Visibility influencers like darkness, fog, mist, and rain.
Current conditions, wind, and weather
Traffic of boats
Type and build of the boat
Other navigational problems and hindrances.

These factors are very detrimental in deciding on what speed to adopt while operating your boat. So study these factors and decide on the speed that is best for boat safety.

Boat type-based approach to avoid a collision:

The collision with the boat can be avoided if you learn how to react and signal to each boat according to their type and build. Also you need to understand the different areas in the boat and their terminology. You need to know what is a stern, starboard, and port of a boat. These are mostly similar to every boats and vessel, be it canoes, rowboats or powerboats.

When two power-driven boats meet:

Understanding the coming boat is very important. If you know the type of boat you can very well handle the situation. These are the options you must do when this happens:

Overtaking a power-driven boat:

• When you want to cross or overtake a running or stagnant power-driven boat, you have the option to overtake it from either right or left. Both have a different approach.
• When you want to overtake from the right or starboard side one short blast of the horn should be given.
• When you want to pass through the left side of the port side two short blows of horn are enough

Crossing the power-driven boat from the side:

In this, you are the give-way boat. In this type of situation you need to:
You need to put a short blow of horn to let the other boat know of your presence.
The other boat would do the same action and then you can cross it by maintaining constant speed and distance.

When approaching a power-driven boat head-on:

This is a very dangerous and very crucial situation, in this case, there can be two approaches which you can take:

Use the port to port approach:

Right now, ships need to modify their course to the starboard and pass each other on the port side. One vessel must blow its airhorn once, and the other pontoon must react with a similar burst. Staying away from such a crash isn’t hard, know the sound signals; this will help you a ton, in avoiding a head-on collision.

Use the starboard to starboard approach:

Flagging a starboard pass on a head-on experience is made with two short blasts. You will wind up right now there is some block or shoreline. The two vessels must restore a similar sound sign.

When a sailboat meets a power-driven vessel:

In this case, the sailboat is the stand-on vessel so the power-driven boat must always give to it. The common approaches to be followed when in situations such as:

Overtaking: The vessel that passes is the give-way vessel, it doesn’t make a difference if is a power-driven boat or sailboat.

Head on: In this way, the power-driven boat is the give-way and sailing boat is stand on.

Approaching sailboat from the side: The sailboat must be given the way.

When sailboat meets another sailboat:

The sailboat is run by the wind direction. So understanding the direction of the wind is of paramount importance when avoiding a sailboat to sailboat collision. If the situation is like that that the wind on each sailboat is different than the boat which has the wind on the port side would be the giveaway boat. If the situation is opposite that is if the wind is on the same side then the boat closer to the upwind would be the give-way boat.


Boat collisions are bad but with a little insight towards the rules and navigational methods can save you from a lot of harm. Here we have covered the whole area which can be thoroughly studied and implemented to avoid boat collisions.