Before you started driving on public roads, there were certain rules you needed to learn beforehand. Some of these rules were more of a common courtesy than an official rule, but nonetheless feature every time you hit the streets. The same can be said for boating. There are certain rules that you need to be aware of and follow to ensure that your time on the water is as pleasant as possible.

Let’s Start with the Basics

There are certain practices that you need to familiarise yourself with before you take your first water-based journey. Here are some of the basic rules when interacting with other vessels on the water.

  • If you appear to be approaching another vessel headfirst, both you and the oncoming vessel need to turn starboard. This will allow the two vessels to passport-to-port, preventing a collision.
  • Sailboats using the power of their sails will always have right of way when approaching a powerboat. In fact, any boat that uses human power has the right over vessels with engines propelling them.
  • When being overtaken, stick to your speed and direction, unless there are objects blocking your path. If that is the case, slow down and wait for the vessel to pass you before speeding up again.
  • Vessels coming from the right have right of way and are referred to as stand-on vessels. This term can also refer to vessels that will have difficulty manoeuvring in the water.
  • When coming into port or anchoring, follow the same setup used by the other boats.
  • Follow speed limits and keep an eye out for swimmers.
  • The ocean is not your dustbin, do not throw your trash overboard. Not only does it destroy the habitat below the water, but it also ruins the experience for other people in the water.
  • Offer help when it is safe to do so – you are legally obligated to.
  • Use VHF channel 16 for distress calls or hailing, change channels if you want to have a conversation with other skippers.
  • When you are in serious danger, you can issue a Mayday distress call. This is only used for serious, deadly situations and not if you run out of gas. The coastguard is available to assist you with anything you may need – within reason of course.
  • All vessels need to have lifejackets available, enough for each person present. A fully stocked first aid kit also needs to be available at all times.

These rules may seem pretty basic, and they are as simple as finding the horse racing tips New Zealand offers. However, the consequences of not adhering to them are not so basic and you may land yourself in some hot water if you are caught not following them. In addition to the abovementioned guidelines, you also need to ensure that you have the correct licenses and permits in place to be on the water in the first place.