Compass Headings
Dedicated to raisng the bar


The Checklist:

Weather Planning
& Resources

Spare Parts &
Boat Outfit

& Equipment

Celestial Navigation
Vessel Conduct
Rules of the Road

Safety Equipment &
Vessel Paperwork

Trip Planning
Maneuvering, Anchoring
& Enroute Checks

Bar Entrances, Passes
& Narrows

Distances Reference
Mariner Math
Port Information
Panama Canal

Vessel Delivery
Selecting a Vessel
Selling Your Boat
Service Providers

Purchase Checklist

Conduct of your Vessel

Rules of the Road
The International Rules of the Road were formalized in the convention on the International Regulations for Preventing collisions at Sea in 1972. They are commonly called the 72 COLREGS. The Inland Navigation Rules were enacted by law in December of 1981.

These regulations govern actions and responsibilities between vessels.

If you are a Licensed Mariner you are should be versed in these rules and regulations.

If you are NOT familiar with the Rules of the Road, then the following common sense tips should help.

Drive Defensively

Stay clear of all Commercial Traffic.

Power driven vessels will stay clear of vessels under sail.

Assume that all other boaters are ignorant of the Rules of the Road.

Drive defensively. Stay clear of all other traffic. Use common sense and courtesy and error on the side of safety when making decisions.

Between you and the other vessel
When in a marked channel or fairway, stay as far to the right as possible.

Determine Risk of Collision with crossing traffic as soon as possible. (Determine Relative Bearing Drift)

When you make a course change, make it large enough so that there is no question as to your intentions.


When you have the other vessel on your right side, it is your responsibility to stay clear or pass to the stern of that vessel.


When you are overtaking or passing another vessel it is your responsibility to stay clear of that vessel.

Meeting Head On

When meeting another vessel head on, when possible alter course to the right. In any case make your course change large enough so that there is no question as to your intentions.

Risk of Collision

Relative Bearing Drift

When crossing traffic is spotted. Note its relative position using a reference point on your vessel.

Using that same reference point, Note the relative change left or right.

If the relative bearing of the other vessel does not change, then a risk of collision is present.

Take action to allow the vessel to pass Either ahead or behind you with a Wide margin of safety.

Vessel Wake

Your wake is your responsibility.

Use courtesy and common sense with regards to the wake your vessel is producing.

Always be aware of how your wake is affecting other boats, docks, structures, ect.

Ask the Captain
The Checklist
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offered by author
Chris Couch
Compass Headings Publishing.