Motorboat And A PWC Are Approaching Head-On: What Action Should Be Taken?

When you meet another vessel on the sea, it is necessary that you know what to do in order to prevent an accident. Just as it is with road safety rules and regulations, navigating the ocean also requires certain guidelines.

Being well informed of these guidelines is necessary so as to be prepared upon encountering another vessel at sea. Many craft operators are ignorant of these guidelines. That is why it is important you know them, so as to avoid unnecessary mishaps.

When A Motorboat Encounters A PWC, What Is The Next Step To Take?

This is a common exam question for those who take the Boat Safety Education course. The answer to this is that each vessel should veer off to its right side, speed up, keep its course until they are very close by, and then the vessel coming from the left (port) side should reduce its speed and give way for the other vessel coming from the right (starboard) side to pass on.

Motorboat And A PWC Are Approaching Head-On, What Action Should Be Taken?

Motorboat And A PWC Are Approaching Head-On, What Action Should Be Taken?

Some Guidelines For Encountering Other Vessels On The Water. There are a few essential rules the captain of every vessel should know, in order to expertly navigate the waters.

The vessels with right-of-passage

These are also called stand-on vessels; These are vessels that keep their speed and do not alter their direction when they come in contact with another vessel at sea.

They must act in accordance with the rules assigned to stand-on vessels until the intersection is passed, except a precarious situation presents itself.

The give-way vessels

These are vessels that have to stand by; reduce their speed and alter their directions when they come across another vessel at sea. They come from the port or left side of the intersection.

When an interaction occurs, these vessels are to adhere to the rules that are assigned to vessels that give way, and send a signal to the other vessel to proceed, while looking for a way to safely navigate around the oncoming craft.

Should A PWC Give Way For A Motorboat?

When a PWC & a motorboat meet, there are certain rules to follow; This is because a PWC is often regarded as a motorboat hence, the rules that apply to motorboats are also applicable to them. These rules are:

  1. In the occurrence of a PWC & a motorboat meeting, since they are both motorboats, they are both to move to their individual right sides, and pass by each other according to regular traffic rules.
  2. If an event occurs, such that a PWC seeks to cut across the path of an oncoming motorboat, two things take place. First, if the PWC is coming from the right side, then it is by rule allowed the right of passage, and therefore should stay its course and speed.Whereas, if it’s coming from the port side, which is the left side, then it has to reduce its speed, send a signal to the oncoming craft to pass on, and safely find a way to navigate around the other boat.
  3. Overtaking is allowed on the waters. If one boat seeks to overtake another, it can achieve this from whatever side of the boat it wants to, be it the port or the starboard side.Before overtaking, however, the vessel that wishes to overtake the other should signify with a horn blast. Upon which, if there are no obstacles, then, the vessel being overtaken should also give a signal with a blast for the overtaking vessel to carry on.However, this is for when the overtaking vessel wants to do so from the right side. But, if it wants to do so from the left (port) side, then it must signal with two horn blasts.

    After which, if the left side is free, then the vessel to be overtaken must respond back with two horn blasts signifying for the overtaking vessel to carry on.

Precautions To Take Upon Encountering A Sailboat At Sea.

If your craft is a PWC or a motorboat, then, when you come across a sailboat on the sea, it is according to rules that you make way for them, especially when they plan to overtake your boat.

There are some guidelines that point out which vessel has the right of passage and which doesn’t. Keep these guidelines always on your mind when at sea.

On this list, vessels listed near the top have the right of way, while those nearer the end of the list have to give way for other vessels to pass by.

  1. A vessel that wants to overtake.
  2. A vessel that is unmanned.
  3. A craft that cannot be easily maneuvered.
  4. Draft-constrained crafts
  5. Fishing boats containing fishing equipment
  6. Sailboats
  7. Powerboats

Precautions For Sailboats When Encountering A PWC

The sailboat should continue on its course. It has the right of passage, and therefore, the oncoming PVC should slow down its speed, change direction and find a way to successfully navigate around the sailboat. This is because; the sailboat cannot be easily maneuvered like the PWC.

If navigation around the sailboat is impossible, the crafts should go by each other, port-side to port-side

Action Steps For Powerboat Operators When A Sailboat Signifies Interest To Overtake.

Whenever a vessel is about to be overtaken by another craft, the vessel doing the overtaking has the right-of-way, while the other vessel has to stand back and ease off on its speed.

So, as an operator of a powerboat that is about to be overtaken by a sailboat, you should ease off on your speed, and make way for the overtaking vessel to pass on.

Can The PWC Be Regarded As A Vessel?

According to the U.S Coast Guard, the PWC is a “Class A” Inboard Boat. These crafts are smaller than sixteen feet length-wise and are meant to accommodate just three passengers.

It does not have the physical features of a regular boat, but it is operated by the guidelines of a yacht and has the same boating licenses as other vessels.

Criteria For Operating A PWC

Before operating a PWC, there are some requirements to take note of.

  1. The intending operator should be no less than sixteen years old.
  2. A life jacket is compulsory for all occupants of the PWC.
  3. Navigation lights are an absolute must for night rides.
  4. Before you can drive a PWC, you must be certified by Boating Ed, that is, Boating Safety Education.
  5. All intending PWC operators should know the Boating rules and regulations and strictly follow them. Failure to do so attracts legal repercussions.

More About PWC

PWC is the abbreviated version of the name, Personal WaterCraft. This craft is often used as a means of recreation and is propelled by an inboard-jet drive. It is also called a water scooter and one can operate it either by kneeling, sitting, or standing on it.

Is It Advisable To Take A PWC For Night Rides?

The answer to this is, No. This is applicable for most states within the United States. But in the remaining states, you can actually take a PWC out on night rides, but you must have your navigator light turned on.

That is a top requirement. Driving a PWC at night, however, is a dangerous venture, as there are higher chances of someone getting hurt, most especially the PWC’s operator.

This is because, due to the PWC’s speed and easy maneuverability, it can easily and swiftly change direction and its headlights can be a source of confusion for other oncoming vessel operators.

See Also: What should you do to Reduce the Risk of Capsizing or Swamping your Boat in Rough Water?

Do You Need A PFD While Abroad A PWC?

Yes, you do. Before boarding a PWC, you need to have an approved U.S. Coast Guard wearable. Be it a Type One, Two, or Three PFD.

What Is The Safest Distance Allowed Between A PWC And Other Crafts?

Fifty feet is the safest. For whatever boat type it encounters on the water. The same thing goes for people as well as stationary objects in the water.

When A Sailing Sailboat Encounters A PWC And There’s An Intersection Of Paths, What Is The Necessary Course Of Action?

A sailboat that encounters a PWC, while on a sail, is to carry on and not change direction or speed.

This is because it has the right of way as the stand-alone vessel. The PWC has to reduce its speed, change direction and find a way to maneuver around the sailboat.

When Two Vessels Are About To Cross Paths, What Are The Right Procedures To Follow?

For two boats about to cross paths on the waters, there are various factors that determine which boat has to give way, and which boat gets to stand-alone, that is, proceed without any change in course or direction. These factors are:

What kinds of vessels are they? Are they both power-driven? or both are sailboats? Or one is a sailboat while the other is a motorboat?

From which direction are they approaching each other? There are three ways vessels encounter each other on the water.

One, it could be a head-on encounter, whereby there is another craft coming directly in front. Two, it could be that one boat is cutting across the path of the other.

Three, it could be that one vessel is about to overtake the other. Whichever way the vessels encounter each other on the waters, the rules remain the same:

Vessels approaching from the starboard side have the right of passage while the other stands down. Easily maneuvered crafts give way to unmanned, bigger, or restricted vessels.

Read Also: In Areas Of Heavy Boat Traffic, How Can The Operator Reduce The Chances Of A Collision?

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