Boating Etiquette 101
When you are out at sea, remember that stopping to help another boat is more than a common courtesy; it is the law. The friendliness
of the boaters and the willingness to help each other make boating so special! Keep the tradition alive on the waters and around the
Remember that there is no substitute for learning the rules, guidelines and laws of your lake, marina or other boat location. Boating is
about having fun and being part of a special community. Read also our Glossary of Nautical Terms.
Boating Safety and Etiquette
Boat etiquette is not just about social norms, it is also about safety, so it is good to learn a few rules before loosening the ropes. The
rules of the road are numerous and detailed, but if you only learn a few, you will be covered in most recreational boating situations. It is
an accepted system of right of way, which one must follow in order to be polite and safety-oriented.
rules for different boating scenarios
The following indicates which ship has the right of way and which one yields when another ship has to accommodate the other. In this
situation, the two boats should get as close as possible before turning starboard and going from port to port. Either way, there is no
guessing about the other captain’s intentions and a collision can be avoided. A sailboat that goes straight ahead has right of way in
front of a motorboat. If the sailboat is running without motor, it should drive straight ahead.
If two boats have the same priority for the right of way because of their classification, the position and direction of travel is decisive.
To determine the position of another ship relative to your own, you need to know the different sectors of your ship (starboard, port,
stern, etc.). Once you have identified another boat compared to yours, you know the right of way.
When two boats approach each other, you have to determine who has the right of way. Position, direction and different priorities for
different ships make up the majority of the rule