The most important rules of boating


The U.S. Coast Guard’s Navigation Rules (International-Inland) publication can be ordered by calling the U.S. Government Printing office at (202) 783-3238. (You can also view them here) The 36 rules and five annexes contained within this publication are specifically designed to help you prevent vessel collisions. All mariners are required to know and responsibly apply these navigation rules when operating their vessels. Some of the most important rules contained within this publication are summarized below.

Capture2Rule – 2, Responsibility, requires that due regard shall he given to all dangers of navigation and collision. This rule allows the mariner to depart from the rules as necessary to avoid the immediate danger of collision. This rule is often applied when the risk of collision between three or more vessels may occur. It is the mariner’s responsibility to take the necessary actions to avoid a collision.

Rule – 4 requires that every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout using sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the possible risk of collision.

Rule – 6 requires that every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. In determining safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account: the visibility, traffic density, maneuverability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability, at night the presence of background light such as from shore lights, the state of the wind, sea, current, proximity of navigational hazards, and the draft in relation to the available depth of water. Additionally, vessels with operational radar must use that radar to its fullest extent to determine the risk of collision.

Rule – 7 Risk of Collision, states that every vessel shall use all available means to determine if risk of collision exists; if there is any doubt, assume that it does exist. Risk of collision shall be deemed to exist if the compass bearing from your vessel to an approaching vessel does not change. Constant bearing decreasing range (CBDR) is the term we use to describe this situation. Collision risk may sometimes exist even when appreciable bearing change is evident, particularly when approaching a very large vessel or a vessel towing or when approaching a vessel at very close ranges

Rule 8, Action to Avoid Collision, provides specific guidance on how to maneuver your vessel so as to avoid a collision. Changes in course and speed shall be large enough so as to be readily apparent to the other vessel. If there is sufficient sea room, alteration of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid a close quarters situation provided that it is made in good time, is substantial and does not result in another close quarters situation. If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel shall slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her propulsion. A vessel which is required not to impede the passage of another vessel shall take early and substantial action to allow sufficient sea room for the passage of the other vessel.

Capture3Rule 9, Narrow Channels, states that a vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel which lies on her starboard (right) side as is safe and practicable, A vessel less than 20 meters in length or sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel, which can safely navigate only within the narrow channel.

Rule 14, Head-On Situation, states that vessels which are approaching head-on shall alter course to starboard so each will pass port to port.

Rule 15, Crossing Situation, states that when two power driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other vessel on her starboard side shall keep out of the way, and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

The following quiz tests what you know when your boat meets another boat head-on, passes (overtakes) another boat or another boat crosses in front of you. In this quiz you are in BOAT B.





Free Navionics Boating App


Technologically speaking, RFA members are finding that about the hottest app for fishing today is available from the folks at Navionics, the leader in location-based services!

Right now, you can download the newNavionics Boating Intro app for FREE, and then you can begin exploring on government charts for the U.S., included for free on iPhone, iPad and Android. Then start to plan your routes, measure distances, or check wind forecasts.

Record data during your next fishing trip – tracks show the distance, speed and duration of your trips. Add markers to key fishing areas you want to target or tag the spot where you landed the big one!

You’ll also be able to save your routes, tracks, markers, and photos to share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.





NEW Boating site is launched

GOSPORT’S marine business network, Gosport Marine Scene, has launched a new website to help visiting and resident yachtsmen and boat owners find the services they need when berthing in the town.

The website,, provides information on everything including rigging services, shops and bars, and advice from the port authority on entering Portsmouth Harbour and a live tidal feed.

Related site:  New York State Boat Launching Sites by County 




Local Organization Aims to Decrease Boating Fatalities in the CSRA


One local organization is working to decrease the number of boating accidents and fatalities in the CSRA.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, Georgia and South Carolina both ranked as two of the top ten states for the highest number of fatal boating accidents in 2013, and a majority of the deaths happened during the summer time.

Click here to see video!




Six Simple Tools We Like


There are lots of expensive things aboard the average cruising boat that get very little use. EPIRBs, life rafts, drogues, storm sails, and spare anchors come to mind. But then there are the small, inexpensive things that we value almost daily. Their place aboard is secure, they’ve almost become part of the crew and if we lost them tomorrow, they would be replaced in short order.

6 Ratcheting crimpers

5. Colored tool bags

4. Nesting stainless steel bowls

3 . Oil extractor

2. Vacuum cleaner

1. Screwdriver

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Tips for safe boating with your pet

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Be sure to take these necessary provisions to ensure that your pet’s boat cruise is a happy and safe one.

• Identification Tag

• Familiarization with the Boat

• Safe & Easy Boat Access

• Flotation Device

• Proper Hydration & Staying Cool

• Going Potty

• Health Records

• Call Ahead




Real Boaters Anchor Out

Scrimping on anchors and anchor line is much like buying an expensive automobile with cheap brakes.

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Anchors keep you off the rocks if your motor or the wind fails. Anchors set up your boat for convenient fishing. Anchors can save your life in extreme conditions. Anchors and their lines, calledrodes, are the ground tackle that can make a critical difference. Unfortunately, most boaters fail to select proper ground tackle. Others buy decent rode (lines) and anchors and simply do not know how to use them.

Marina water tastes like it comes from a garden hose — which it does. In the South it smells like sulfur, and in the Bahamas you’re charged for it. The best water on Earth comes from the sky. Add a plastic through-hull fitting in your Bimini top and some clear hose to the tank, and you have a rain catcher. A short summer shower will fill your tank. Fire your water heater by running the engine, or install an on-demand propane heater.

Now the only reason for staying at a marina is companionship, which you probably get too much of during the week anyway. So, the next time I see you outside the inlet, I hope you’re on your way to anchoring out.




Boating group offers 10 tips to keep your boat from sinking



About two out of every three (69 percent) boats that sink do so at the dock or mooring, with the rest sinking while underway. Those were the findings of a review by the Boat Owners Association of The United States of its boat insurance claims files to identify the causes of boat sinkings. Its review found most sinkings were preventable.


To prevent a sinking, here are 10 tips from the group:

• For inboard-outboard powered boats, inspect sterndrive bellows annually and replace every 3-5 years. The shift bellows is usually the first to fail.

• For inboard-powered boats, check the stuffing box every time you visit the boat, and repack — not just tighten the nut — every spring.

• For engines with raw water hoses, replace them the moment they indicate wear — such as small cracks appear or when they feel spongy when squeezed. Rusty hose clamps should be replaced.

• Replace the engine cooling system impeller every 2-3 years.

• Inspect the boat’s cockpit and livewell plumbing — checking hoses, clamps and cracked or broken fittings. Make sure you can inspect all such plumbing.

• Take a look at all below-waterline fittings, hoses and clamps each season.

• Don’t forget the drain plug. It is all too easy to forget.

• Keep a good lookout and ask guests to help keep their eyes open for objects in the water. If you’ve grounded or hit something, consider a short-haul to inspect the bottom or drive gear.

• Always pull trailerable boats from the water when major storms are forecast. These boats generally have too little freeboard to stand up to any kind of wave action.

• Dock-line management systems that keep a boat centered in its slip can prevent snags that sometimes lead to a sinking.


Dragon boating for kids


Dragon boats will be back on the water this summer.

The Dragon Boat Association of Southern Alberta kicked off its youth dragon boating program earlier this week, which sees youngsters between the ages of 13-17 hit the water Wednesday nights at Henderson Lake from 6-7:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required for the program, which will cover everything even the most inexperienced dragon boaters need to know.

The youth program runs over six weeks, to Aug. 23, though Burton added the association’s boats do not come out of the water until mid-September, as open practices are held each Tuesday from 5:45-7 p.m.

Young people can pre-register by contacting Burton at, or through the link on the association’s Facebook page at

The next youth session is July 23.





A Solution For Hard To Reach Screws And Bolts



Almost everyone who has worked on a DIY or renovation project has applied too much torque and stripped a screw head clean. It can feel like a frustrating dead end, especially if you don’t have a specialized extractor kit on hand. But you might be able to remove a stripped screw using a very common household item probably already sitting in your desk or kitchen drawer…


DIY boaters often need to install a fastener in a hard to reach place, one so tight it can only be accessed with one hand. When in that situation, apply a dollop of grease to the end of your screwdriver. It can often hold the screw long enough to get it started. Super glue and caulk also work. Check back next month for more tips!