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Navigating the Waterways

Collision Avoidance Rules: Sailboats

 

Sailboat Navigation Terminology:

Port Tack: When the wind is coming over the port (left) side of the sailboat.

Starboard Tack: When the wind is coming over the starboard (right) side of the sailboat.

Windward: Indicates the direction from which the wind is coming (‘upwind’).

Leeward: Indicates the direction the wind is blowing toward (‘downwind’).

Sailboat Right-of-Way

Even if you never plan on operating a sailboat, understanding the Collision Avoidance Rules for sailboats is part of being a responsible boat operator. You should know sailboat rules in order to operate around sailboats safely. 

A sailboat always has the right-of-way over a powerboat (unless the sailboat is overtaking the powerboat, in which case the sailboat becomes the give-way craft).  The following rules determine which boat has the right-of-way when a sailboat approaches another sailboat.

 

Wind on Different Sides:  When each sailboat has the wind on a different side, the sailboat which has the wind on the port (left) side shall keep out of the way of the other.

Wind on Same Side: When both sailboats have the wind on the same side, the sailboat that is windward shall keep out of the way of the sailboat that is to leeward.

Note: If the operator of a sailboat with the wind on the port (left) side sees a sailboat to windward and cannot determine with certainty on which side the other sailboat has the wind, then the operator should keep out of the way of the other sailboat. 

 

  

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Man on yellow ATV riding through dirt tracks
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Person paddling in white water rapids
Three individuals backpacking across a yellow, grassy plain

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LET'S WORK TOGETHER

 

Go boldly, tell your story. Campfire is building a collective of ambassadors who share a passion for the wild. If you’re an influencer, publisher or sport expert drop us a line. Let’s hook up and inspire others.

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