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By Bob Keefe

Always be on the lookout. Always be alert.

With the water getting more crowded with summer, it’s important to remember some rules of the road. Determining who has right of way on the Bay (or any other body of water, for that matter) can be tough for rookie sailors. But here are some easy tips to help, adapted from Chapman Piloting and just plain common sense:

  • If it’s bigger or has guns on it, get out of the way. When it comes to giant cargo vessels or Navy ships, it really doesn’t matter who has right of way. They have a harder time stopping than even you do and in any collision, you’ll definitely lose. Well that’s kinda obvious, but how about other rules…
  • If it’s dead in the water or less maneuverable than you (swimmers, kayakers, rowboats, drifting boats, etc.) avoid it.
  • If you are passing a vessel, stay out of its way.
  • Vessels under power must stay out of the way of vessels under sail. But that doesn’t mean every motor boater knows that, so watch out nonetheless.
  • If you’re approaching another sailboat and you each have the wind on a different side, the boat with the wind on the port side must stay out of the way of the other boat.
  • If you’re approaching another sailboat and you both have the wind on the same side, the boat that is to windward must stay out of the way of the boat that is to leeward.
  • If you’re approaching another sailboat that’s to windward and you’re not sure whether that vessel has the wind on its port or starboard side, stay out of the way of the other vessel

There are many tourists and pleasure seekers day-‘tripping’ on the water and not familiar with boating rules. Make clear and definitive maneuvers well in advance to avoid last minute guessing.

You are responsible to avoid a collision no mater who has right of way.

As Captain and Commander of a Convair Sailing Club sailboat you are responsible and liable for the safety of the boat and the passengers.  Rather safe than sorry.

Nobody could say for sure how it happened… but it happens

The founder of the Annapolis School of Seamanship (Chesapeake Bay Media’s sister company) was teaching a course on the Rules of the Road when the accident happened a few minutes before noon on August 17, 2018….