Know boating traffic rules before you go out on the water

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2021 | Maritime Law

When boating, it’s important to take steps to be as safe as possible. Unfortunately, those who don’t follow the rules on the water could end up causing a collision and injure or kill others as a result.

For example, there was recently a boat collision in Columbia, South Carolina, in which five people were injured. This happened when the two boats hit one another on Lake Murray, according to a May 30 report.

In this incident, a pontoon boat and cabin cruiser collided. Everyone who was injured was aboard the pontoon. Two of them were seriously hurt. The cabin cruiser sank as a result of the collision.

While it’s not clear who was responsible for that crash, there are some things you can do to make sure a crash like this doesn’t happen to you.

What are the basic boating traffic rules?

There are some basic boating rules that you should follow if you’ll be boating. Most important are the right-of-way rules, which determine which boat should give way to another. For example, if your boat is approaching one that doesn’t have power but yours does, then the other boat has the right of way. This makes sense, because it’s much easier for your boat to maneuver than to have the non-powered vessel give way.

If you are traveling with other powered boats, there are some simple rules to follow as well. If a boat approaches from your left and in front of you, then you should both stay on course, like you would if you were facing traffic on a two-lane street. If a boat approaches from the right and will cross your path, they have the right of way, so you should slow down or maneuver away from them to your right.

Finally, if you have another boat approaching from your stern (rear), then you have the right of way and should continue on your course unhindered.

Keep these rules in mind to help prevent boating collisions. Simple adjustments in how you travel may help you avoid coming into contact with other boaters and allow you to get to the dock or your destination unharmed.