More Navigation Rules Series – Narrow Channels and Special Situations

Navigating Narrow Channels

When operating in a narrow channel, the rules tell you to stay as far to the outer limit of the channel as practical on your starboard side.

Boats less than 20 meters (65 feet) long, or a sailboat, shall not impede a boat that is constrained by draft, i.e. a large ship that must operate within the channel in order to make way safely. When crossing a channel, do so at a right angle and in such a way as to avoid causing the traffic in the channel to make course or speed changes.

Do not anchor in a narrow channel.

Special Situations

When operating on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers and other designated rivers, the down bound boat (going with the current) has the right of way over a boat going upstream. This is because a boat going upstream can maneuver better than a one going downstream.

Additionally, a boat crossing a designated river shall keep out of the way of boats ascending or descending the river.

Navigating narrow channelsIf you approach a bend in a river around which you cannot see, sound one prolonged blast to alert boats approaching from the other side of the bend that you are there. If another boat is around the bend, it should answer with one prolonged blast. Conversely, if you hear a prolonged blast as you approach the bend, answer with a prolonged blast.

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Filed under Boat Operation, Boating News, Boating Safety, Navigation, Rules of the Road, Sailing News

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