Interactions Between Various Pleasure Craft

Interactions Between Various Vessel Types

A power-driven pleasure craft  underway shall keep out of the way of sailing pleasure craft  and pleasure craft  propelled by oars.


Keep well clear of any pleasure craft that you are overtaking.

Altering Course

Altering course to avoid a close quarter situation with another pleasure craft  shall be bold, positive and early.

Crossing Situation

If two power-driven pleasure craft  are crossing, so as to involve a risk of collision, the pleasure craft  with the other on the starboard side shall alter course and/or speed and avoid crossing in front. Golden Rule “ Alter course to port – see you in court “.

Give-way Vessel

The pleasure craft  that alter speed and/or course to avoid another pleasure craft.

Stand-on Vessel

The vessel that does not need to alter it’s course and/or speed to avoid a close quarter situation with another vesse

2 Power-Driven Vessels – Crossing Situation

As you can see, the power pleasure craft  at the bottom of this graphic is considered the give way vessel because it is altering course for the other power pleasure craft  (Stand-on). Another option for the give-way vessel would be to reduce speed or stop.

Overtaking Situation

In this situation, the overtaking pleasure craft must alter his/her course to overtake the other vessel..

Crossing Situation – Power vs. Fishing

As you can see here, the power pleasure craft  must give way to the fishing vessel (stand-on). The power vessel alters its course but it could also reduce speed or stop.

Responsibilities between Vessels

Toadenpole of Power

  • Not under Command
  • Restricted in ability to maneuver
  • Fishing vessel (commercial)
  • Sailing vessel/vessel under oars
  • Power driven vessel.

Traffic Lanes

Vessels of less than 20m or sailing vessels shall not impede the safe passage of a power- driven vessel following a traffic lane. Pleasure craft operators must use extreme caution when in or near vessel traffic lanes. Larger vessels cannot often see small pleasure craft operating ahead of them in these traffic lanes.

Narrow channels

A vessel of less than 20m or a sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a vessel that can only safely navigate within the narrow channel or fairway.

Large vessels are often restricted in their ability to manoeuvre in narrow channels therefore pleasure craft should stay clear of them. Vessels should keep to the starboard side when transiting in narrow channels to avoid head-on situations.

Yield to Large Vessels

Pleasure craft can not interfere with large vessels that are “not under command or restricted in their ability to maneuver.

Keep in mind, that large vessels are less manoeuvrable therefore pleasure craft should stay clear of large vessels.

Small Vessel Navigate in Groups

Navigate in groups of other small boats when possible, to be more visible.

Keep Clear

Stay clear of docked ferries, ferries in transit, vessels in tow and working fishing vessels. Large vessels will often sound one long blast on their horn when departing a dock.

Pleasure craft operators need to use extreme caution when operating around cable ferries because of the submerge cable ahead and behind the ferry.

Tugs and their Tow

Tugs may tow vessels on a long tow line that extends behind the tug. The tow line is often so long that it hangs below the surface of the water and is nearly invisible. Never pass between a tug and its tow. If a small boat were to hit the hidden line, it could capsize and be run down by the object being towed. Many towed objects will also have a long trailing line behind them. Give the tug and its tow plenty of space in every direction


When you see either flag, give divers plenty of room by keeping your boat at least 100 m (328’) from the flag. If you can’t stay that far away because of the size of the waterway, slow down as much as possible, move ahead with caution, and keep clear of the vessel and diving site. To avoid motor/propeller strikes stay well clear of divers. The wake from your boat, along with weather and other factors, can make it hard to see divers’ bubbles on the surface of the water.

Divers’ boats must display the international blue and white Code Flag Alpha. A red and white flag that may also be carried on a buoy marks the area where diving is in progress, although divers may stray from the boundaries of the marked areas. If you decide to go diving from your boat, remember to display these flags as well. Best practice includes staying within 100 m (328’) of your flag.