One of the most disastrous things that can happen to anyone on a boat is a collision, particularly when it occurs many miles offshore. Such an incident can be crippling and result in an emergency situation that threatens the lives of all passengers. This is why it is critical for boat owners and operators to have marine electronics on board that can help them communicate with local marine authorities and request help from emergency personnel.
All boat owners should keep the following tips in mind when preparing for and dealing with boating collisions:
- If you're on the same tack as another boat, the leeward vessel (the vessel that is downwind) has the right of way. The boat that is on the windward side (upwind) must yield.
- Generally, the less powerful boat will always have right of way. Powered motorboats must give way to sailboats, and sailing vessels must give way to kayaks and other paddled watercraft.
- Make sure there is a life vest for every single passenger. It seems like an elementary consideration, but so often boaters are careless about equipping their vessel with life jackets. It's also critical to instruct passengers in using this equipment, as you never know when you'll have someone on your boat who has never worn one before.
If you own a boat you should ensure that it has the communication and navigation equipment necessary to signal to other water craft. This will make your journeys safer so that you can enjoy your trips rather than having to worry about whether you might damage your vessel.
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