Another who gives way

Posted by Director of Education on July 4, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

NauticEd offers a FREE course in Navigation Rules – it is a fun, entertaining, multimedia online course and will bring you up to speed on what you as a responsible sailor should know. Takes about 40 minutes and is well worth the time. Plus you’ll get to see how cool we are!

This rule is one of the most fundamental give way rules of sailing. It is Rule 12a in International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea (ColRegs) and Rule 10 in ISAF racing rules. Watch the video to learn the answer.

If you like this post – please like us on facebook – over there ——-> thanks, it helps us grow.

We encourage all sailors to learn the Navigation Rules – why would you not? The Rules are specifically called International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea. They apply to all boaters.

The NauticEd sailing resume is accepted by Yacht Charter Companies World Wide and we are the only global provider to facilitate the International Certificate of Competence (ICC) via online theory and Practical tuition. THE ICC IS NOW REQUIRED FOR SAILING IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. [learn more about ICC… ]

Please enjoy the video below created by a joint effort of Virtual Eye and NauticEd.

Don’t forget to sign up for the FREE course on Navigation Rules


International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Course

International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Sailing Course

Snap Test: Who gives way?

Posted by Director of Education on May 18, 2015 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Here’s a fun little test. If you like it, please LIKE this on facebook – thanks it really helps us grow and keeps people safe on the water.

Also look over there ——-> and LIKE our facebook page. We post really fun and cool stuff on facebook.

Know the Official Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea

Tap on the answer you think is best in the image below.

So here’s the deal – if you got it wrong or hesitated,  you should complete our FREE NauticEd Navigation Rules Course.

Some people have posted really great comments about this image on the facebook post from Not under Command to is B anchored or moored and these are all relevant questions. Well done if you are thinking at this level. There is a dead giveaway in the image here as to what B is doing. Let’s just assume however that the boats are under command – I just didn’t have a good 3d image of people to place in the pic.


Sign up here now for FREE and this course will automatically be in your Curriculum!

BONUS – Sign up now and we will also give you a FREE Basic SailTrim Course.

Already A NauticEd Student?

If you are already a NauticEd student, then this course is waiting for you in your Curriculum when you log back in.

Sign in – to access you free course.


International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Course

International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Sailng Course

You’re out there all the time. You look under the sail and you see this scenario above. You’ve got to know what to do instantly. If you make the wrong decision, you could cause a collision with serious damage, injury or death. And it would be your fault because you didn’t take the time to learn and know the rules.  I feel like I can give you a hard time here, because the course is absolutely FREE. We made it FREE because the rules are that important. I’ve seen and I bet you’ve seen too many bozos out there.

Take the FREE NauticEd Navigation Rules Course now for FREE. Did we say FREE?

If you have an iOS device then download our FREE NauticEd App and take this course here for FREE off-line when you are waiting in the doctor’s office or stuck on an airplane.


Why not take the test every 6 months or so just to stay current?

We even have a paper book that you can order from Amazon to keep on your boat.

Buy it here:

Or Learn more about the Paper book here

And one more place to get the International Rules is here as a eBook App for iPad.

FREE GUIDE:  Learn how to gain a sailing certification with NauticEd

Mast head light confusion

Posted by Director of Education on April 20, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Here is a question from a Student who posted it on Disqus. I felt it was important enough to post out here for public. Displaying correct lights on boats is important.


Could you please provide more of an explanation for the following:
Although ‘steaming light’ is used extensively, this does not have a definition within the IRPCS [International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea], the correct definition being a masthead light.

If the tri-colour light can replace the stern and red/green pulpit light on a sailboat how can it be unacceptable to use the tri-colour light with mast head light? If you are under power you of course need your steaming light/ mast head light illuminated. So if you don’t have pulpit or stern lights aboard as you are using a tri colour light how can you do this?


Agreed – lights can be confusing at the onset. In this particular topic, sailors tend to get confused because they think  a mast is only on a sailboat. But, a mast head light is also used (and defined for use) on power boats. Take a look at this image shown in the rules. It shows a power driven vessel longer than 50 meters using two mast head lights.

A large Power vessel displaying two mast head lights.

A large Power vessel displaying two mast head lights.

Here is the definition of a mast head light in the rules:

(a) “Masthead light” means a white light placed over the fore and aft centerline of the vessel showing an unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of 225 degrees and so fixed as to show the light from right ahead to 22.5 degrees abaft the beam on either side of the vessel.

Note also that is does not say the light must be at the top of the mast.

For sailboats, a tricolored light is a light described by rule 25(b) in USCG Nav Rules. It is at or near the top of the mast and is for sailing vessels less than 20 meters in length. It is an optional alternative to having the lights down on the hull or pulpits. It faces a white light to the aft 135 degrees plus red from directly forward around to port 112.5 degrees and a green light directly forward and around to starboard 112.5 degrees. This makes up 360 degrees and meets the requirement for a sailboat sailing. When the sailboat turns on it’s engines it must also in addition to the white, red and green above, display a white light 225 degrees facing forward. You can name this light what ever you like but it must exist. These white “mast head” lights are also defined by the distance they must be seen by – it does not mean they have to be at the top of the mast. On power vessels they are typically at the top of the mast because that is what the mast is for.

Here is a sailing vessel under sail only with a tricolored light


Tri-colored lights on a sailboat

Tri-colored lights on a sailboat


On a sailboat less than 50 meters in length, a mast head light (white under power light) can by just “up the mast” anywhere. It’s not part of the tri color. It is white and faces forward 225 degrees and is to be used when the sailboat is under power. You also might be confusing the term mast head light with the two all around red and green lights at the top of the mast. These are not mast head lights. They can be used in addition to the hull or pulpit mounted red green and white. The rules prevent a top of the mast tricolored light AND the two all around red and green at the top of the mast. This would create confusion and may be your source of confusion. i.e it is unacceptable to use the tricolored and two all around red and green lights. Again the mast head is white 225 deg forward facing to be used under power only.

Here is a vessel with the two all around red and green lights.

The Vessel sailing "on starboard" is utilizing the optional two all around red and green lights.

The Vessel sailing “on starboard” is utilizing the optional two all around red and green lights.

Here are the rules as stated:
Rule 25 – Sailing Vessels Underway and Vessels Under Oars

(a) A sailing vessel underway shall exhibit:

(i) sidelights;
(ii) a stern light

(b) In a sailing vessel of less than 20 meters in length, the lights prescribed in Rule 25(a) may be combined in one lantern carried at or near the top of the mast where it can best be seen. [note this is the tricolored light]

(c) A sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in Rule 25(a), exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower green, but these lights shall not be exhibited in conjunction with the combined lantern permitted by Rule 25(b).

I hope that helps.

I highly recommend that you complete our Navigation Rules Course. It is free for everyone.

International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Course

International Rules for Prevention of Collision at Sea FREE Sailing Course

We also have a Paper Book that you should order and keep on your boat for reference.

The book is a stand alone excellent explanation of the Rules of the Nautical road and is a good and quick easy read. It has additional really cool features. Through out the book you will see QR Codes. When you scan any QR code with your mobile device, the book element comes alive and shows you animations and videos.


To get a QR Reader – 

For iOS use the built in function of the NauticEd APP – go here:

For Android go here:


Order the International Rules of Prevention of Collision at Sea Book from Amazon.


New Updated Sailing App

Posted by Director of Education on February 23, 2015 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, Uncategorized, Videos and photos, weather | Comments are off for this article

If you like our App please LIKE this post on facebook and g+1 it. Thanks.

Our new sailing app is now here

This weekend we launched our new updated NauticEd Sailing App. We think it’s pretty cool- mostly because of the thousands (and thousands) of dollars invested in it (well … and the cool features).

UPDATE: In the first 48 hours, we tracked  over 5000 updates and new downloads. This App is HOT.

Actually rather than me ramble on here – just watch the video it explains everything and shows you exactly how it works. We think it’s a must have best sailing app in the world.

What’s the cost – FREE

Here is the direct link:

Here is the link to it on our site:

Ok, quick ramble – can’t help it!!!!

It is pretty amazing – you can now see the content of all your sailing courses in your curriculum offline AND take the tests offline. Once you reconnect, the test results are sent up to the cloud. i.e. it does not matter where you take the test – on iOS or on online on your computer.

NauticEd Sailing App

NauticEd Sailing App

It is pretty amazing – you can now see the content of all your sailing courses in your curriculum offline AND take the tests offline. Once you reconnect, the test results are sent up to the cloud. i.e. it does not matter where you take the test – on iOS or on online on your computer.

Right now it’s for iOS – an Android version is coming.

Also in the App, is the ability to add to your new style logbook (launched in 2014). So on the dock after a day of sailing,  just right there – add the day and it will show up in your sailing resume.

A really amazing feature is that you now carry your sailing resume and certificate with you on your phone at all times and can email it in an instant to anyone.

Sound Signals for Vessels

Posted by Director of Education on January 28, 2015 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

The basic sound signals you should know are shown below. This information is embedded in the NauticEd Skipper Course and the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper Course.

Also, download our Navigation Rules eBook for iPad where the complete set of Navigation Rules are given and explained with animations – ONLY $2.99.

Tap each image to hear an example sound.


A short blast is to be one second long
A prolonged blast is to be between 4 and 6 seconds.

Between each successive signal you should wait 10 seconds or more.

These sounds are to made by power-driven vessels greater than 12 meters (39ft) in length and when operating in a narrow channel and have sighted each other.

I am altering my course to starboard

I am altering my course to port

I am running astern propulsion


The danger signal is general and can be used by anyone to signal disagreement with another vessel’s signal, which may lead to danger or just danger in general to anyone.

Sailboat in Fog

When operating in areas of restricted visibility IE fog, a Sailboat must make the following signal.

I am a sailboat in fog

Remember this by an average sailboat normally has two sails- thus the two shorts toots.

Powerboat if Fog

Where prolonged  is a prolonged blast (lasting 4 to 6 seconds) and signals are not more than 2 minutes apart. This signal above (one prolonged and two short) is also the signal for other vessels operating in fog such as vessels towing, broken down, commercial fishing, or restricted in ability to maneuver.

Power driven vessels operating in fog must make the following signal not more than 2 minutes apart.

I am a power driven vessel in fog making way

I am a power driven vessel in fog stopped and making no way

These are international rules. The above list of signals is not exhaustive. For a list of all sound signals visit Rules 32 through 37 of the USCG regs (which again are international).

Finally, a piece of advice: Make sure you have a loud sound making device at hand at all times near the helm available with in 1-2 seconds. The day you will need it is the day you will thank yourself for heeding this advice.

Oh and BTW, that day WILL come – read this story about how it was too late

RYA Day Skipper with NauticEd

Posted by Director of Education on November 1, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

This article helps you figure out the difference between the courses and which one you should invest in.

The Difference between RYA Day Skipper and the NauticEd Skipper Course

The RYA Day Skipper Course is the prerequisite course to attaining your International Certificate of Competence – the ICC. The ICC is the World’s only Sailing License created under Resolution 40 of the United Nations and is accepted and REQUIRED to sail in European waters.

The RYA Day Skipper Course on NauticEd is very similar in content to the combination NauticEd Skipper Course and the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. Thus, if you have purchased the NauticEd Skipper and NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course in the past then you will receive $95 credit towards the Full RYA Day Skipper Course making the RYA Day Skipper Course $255 ($350 – $95).

Why the difference in cost? We must ship to you the RYA charts, Almanacs, Books, Electronic Navigation CD, and a reference book PLUS we must pay a professionally authorized RYA Instructor/Evaluator to physically grade the written (online) exam as most of the exam is not allowed under the United Nations Standard to be multiple choice.

Getting Started Pack

So keeping economy of education in mind, we also designed a getting started package of $155 for those who have not yet begun their education. This package gives access to the RYA Day Skipper Course content BUT with this package, the student can not submit the final exam for grading to the Instructor/Evaluator. The student will need to eventually upgrade to the Full package whereby the “Submit Final Exam” button is activated. The upgrade cost is just the difference of $195. Included, however in the $155 getting started pack is a set of self evaluation test blocks to help the student assess themselves as to how they are progressing and understanding the material. PLUS also included is the RYA charts, Almanacs, Books, Electronic Navigation CD, and a reference book.

Full Pack

The Full package is $350 (or $255 for those who already bought the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation Courses) – here the Submit Final Exam button is activated and the Instructor/Evaluator fee is prepaid.

To incent the student to go for the full package outright, we offer a free Portland plotter and set of dividers included with the full package.

NauticEd Students who have already purchased the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation Courses

You receive $95 credit towards the Full Pack

AND for complete autonomy and fairness, you automatically receive free access to the RYA Day Skipper Course – just that you do not have the charts et al to work with. They are provided for free plus the Portland Plotter and dividers when you upgrade to the Full pack $255.

How to purchase the RYA Day Skipper Course

How to purchase the RYA Day Skipper Course



We hope that this helps you realize that we went to a lot of trouble (and software code) to give you credit where credit is due. We very much value our students and want them to feel as though you always get more value than you expect. Not many companies would have gone to this trouble.

We are also very serious about giving you the proper education to help you gain the ICC AND be safe on the water. The United Nations Standards for the ICC are high and rightly so. You will be interacting with tankers and other dangerous traffic in foreign waters, you’ll be on the high seas (and beautiful anchorages), you’ll be in unfamiliar navigable waters with not-your-every-day navigation markers.

The United Nations, RYA and NauticEd want you to be properly schooled AND with that be proud of your accomplishment. The ICC is the ONLY Global Sailing License and you should be excited to hang it on your wall.

Practical and the ICC

You gain the RYA Day Skipper Certificate and  gain automatic ICC eligibility once you pass the RYA Day Skipper Online Course and do practical training at an RYA Practical Training Center. There are 500 such schools worldwide including Yachting Education School in Annapolis. If you are completely competent, you may do a one day practical evaluation to pass your practical. If you feel as though you need practical schooling, you do a 5 day training program at the RYA Practical Training Center. Caution, completely competent means “Completely Competent”. You will be tested on navigation, course planning, tides, navigation markers, lights etc.

A Few More Details

At NauticEd we believe heavily in the skill of Maneuvering and Docking. Thus, here is something cool we have done in our software. When you pass the RYA Day Skipper Course and the Maneuvering Under Power Course we award you the NauticEd Skipper Rank (with the caveat of having to achieve the required logged experience in your free logbook). We also automatically award you with passed grades for the NauticEd Skipper Course and the NauticEd Coastal Navigation Course. i.e. everything is autonomous considering that the NauticEd Skipper and Coastal Navigation courses are equivalent to the RYA Day Skipper Course. Same for the Bareboat Charter Master Rank – After RYA Day Skipper, just pass the Anchoring, Electronic Navigation, Bareboat Charter and Maneuvering Courses and you are awarded the Bareboat Charter Rank (with required logged experience). These Ranks give you an indication of how you are progressing with your Sailing Resume. Charter companies will often accept the ICC BUT our beleif is that you want to be properly educated to be safe on the water.

To learn more watch this video



International Certificate of Competence

Posted by Director of Education on August 26, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

If you like this post and found it helpful please LIKE it and g+1 it thanks for that it really helps us grow.

What is the ICC?

International Certificate of CompetenceWanting to go sailing in Europe? You’re going to need the International Certificate of Competence (The ICC).

The ICC is defined by United Nations Resolution 40 of which 22 member states in Europe have adopted the resolution. It is the only sailing certificate fully recognized by these countries. Additionally, many countries who are not signatories to the resolution still require the ICC via local marine laws. There is no other sailing certificate that is government issued and United Nations accepted.

Why do you need an ICC?

By it’s very nature, sailing is an international recreation. When sailing you will invariably interact with shipping lanes and internationally bound ships operating under international laws of the ocean as well as light houses, lights, buoys etc. One such set of laws is the International Rules of Preventing Collision at Sea. Another is the international agreements on lights and buoys known as IALA-A and IALA-B. As a recreational sailor YOU MUST adhere to these laws whether educated about them or not. In considering this and remarkably so, enough countries got together and developed a minimum standard of education a sailor must meet to be able to sail in their waters. This standard was then adopted by United Nations so that the standard would extend internationally. Wow what a great idea and huge kudos to the founding diplomats and promoters of this standard.

What is the requirement for the International Certificate of Competence?

The requirement is a demonstration of competence in all areas of sailing from the rules of preventing collision, navigation techniques, safety of lives at sea, understanding lights and buoys, meteorology, tides and currents, good seamanship etc. You must be able to demonstrate theory knowledge and practical competence.

How do I get an International Certificate of Competence?

This can best be achieved in one of two ways but only through an approved ICC issuing training center:
(1) A one day assessment. This is an intensive one day on the water test out. There is no instruction. The assessor will merely ask theory questions and require practical demonstration in all the areas of requirements above. If you can’t quickly and effortlessly demonstrate how to calculate, plot and follow a series of courses, determine tidal heights and current flows, answer questions about day markers, cardinal buoys, lights etc etc – then more than likely you will fail the assessment.

You must know all the theory. Therefore, you should complete the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course.

(2) Complete the RYA Day Skipper Certification. This is a five day on the water training combined with extensive theory training. To do the theory training, complete the  NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course online prior to your practical training. At the end of the 5 days and given that you have demonstrated growing competence, you will more than likely be awarded the RYA Day Skipper Certificate which automatically qualifies you for the International Certificate of Competence (ICC).

If you don’t do the Day Skipper Course theory onshore prior to the practical, you will not be able to demonstrate the competence required. For example, during the 5 days on the boat you will be expected to already understand the theory of navigation. On board you will learn how to apply the theory already known to the practical situation. Simply stated, if the theory takes 40 hours to go through at home, how could you go through this on board while also trying to learn the practical?

Watch this video to understand about the RYA Day Skipper Course and the ICC


Who are approved ICC issuing training centers and where are they?

Signatory countries to Resolution 40 appoint their sailing governing bodies to issue the ICC to their citizens.

But what about non-signatory countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand?

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) through the government of England is the largest governing body appointed to issue the United Nations ICC. Approved training centers of the RYA worldwide are assessing and training centers able to issue the ICC to English and non-English citizens.  Americans, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis then are able to gain the ICC through an approved RYA training center. For Americans and Canadians the best place to go is the approved RYA training and assessment center Yachting Education in Annapolis, Maryland. Yachting Education’s chief instructor is Mark Thompson who  uniquely holds a United States Coast Guard Masters Licence as well as an RYA Chief Instructor Licence. Mark also has over 20 years of sailing instruction under his belt. Strange as it may sound to you but no American sailing association of any type or name or school can issue the ICC.

Why is this? Well simply stated, the United States and Canada did not sign Resolution 40 and thus are not able to appoint any governing body to issue the ICC. This means that there is no certifying body resident  in the USA or Canada who can issue the ICC. Other certifying private companies have tried to fake it by making up an international certificate. These are not recognized by the United Nations and are not government approved or issued and the level of tested competence is not to the standard of the ICC in any case. If there was an accident on your boat and you did not have the right Government Approved Sailing License you can be held personally responsible as the captain of the vessel regardless of the Charter Company who leased it to you.

So how does NauticEd fit into the ICC equation?

NauticEd through its approved RYA Day Skipper course provides the proper level of theory instruction as required by the standard to pass the theory knowledge portion of the ICC. NauticEd directs its North American students seeking the ICC to Yachting Education in Annapolis who is an affiliated practical sailing training school of NauticEd and an RYA approved training center. For other countries, after taking and passing the NauticEd theory, NauticEd directs its students to visit an RYA training school in their area to do the practical. As above, you have the choice of 1 day assessment or 5 day training.

Are you considering Europe for Chartering? Contact Yachting Education in Annapolis or visit your local RYA training Center.

So what about the Caribbean and Pacific etc?

As of now there is no government approved certificate required by any country in the Caribbean and equatorial Pacific Islands. While NauticEd still recommends the ICC under any circumstance, our Bareboat Charter Master Certificate without the ICC stamp is sufficient proof to Charter Companies of competence. The Bareboat Charter Master Certificate is not the easiest to obtain. It requires at least 50 hours of home based theory study with extensive exams plus it requires 50 days of logged sailing experience on the water – 25 at least of which must be as master of the vessel and 25 at least of which must be on a vessel 28 ft or greater. Other companies will issue a Bareboat Certificate after a weekend on a boat training – but we just say “come on everyone – really? One weekend? With the potential of all the what-if scenario’s at sea one weekend or even two is asking for trouble and is irresponsible”. Fortunately, Yacht Charter Companies require a practical resume even if a student shows up with one of these weekend or two certificates. If the experience is weak then the yacht charter company will not accept the charter reservation despite the “certificate” and will require a captain on board for the duration. This is exactly why NauticEd provides it’s cloud based sailing resume built automatically from experience logbook entires and eLearning courses passed in addition to  practical instructor electronic signoff and NOW the latest – CrewMate Authentication whereby your sailing logbook can be fully authenticated and digitally signed.

Practical instructor sign off can be achieved through a NauticEd affiliated sailing school where instructors have been socially rated by pier students. And if 5 days on the Chesapeake Bay is out of the question for you, then get instruction at your local NauticEd Sailing school then do the one day assessment option in Annapolis.

Some students have asked us the obvious – if I can get a bareboat charter certificate easier through another company why would I not do that. Our answer is two fold (1) Yacht charter companies go off a resume not the certificate. It maybe so that they approve you anyway based on the NauticEd certificate we digitally produce for you based on your courses and own logbook entries (2) our personal belief is that if you have not yet achieved at least our standard of education and experience then we think you should prior to risking lives of friends and family at sea. What if … ?

See our post and video on a Sailing Rsume vs. a Sailing Certification

Additionally, NauticEd is the only company in the world that produces a cloud based authenticated logbook. This gives charter companies the confidence that your stated time is more than just made up. It is living proof of your experience. Learn more about the authenicated sailor’s logbook.

In Conclusion

Given all the time constraints and directional pulls in our lives, there are few things left for us to be able to achieve on a personal basis. What about achieving for yourself an International Certificate of Competence. It means that you will be approved by the United Nations to sail anywhere in the world. Let’s hang that on the wall in your office. Maybe even your boss might recognize it. But it’s going to take some work and sweat investment.

Start the process through NauticEd now – start by investing in the NauticEd RYA Day Skipper course.

Did you like this article? Please LIKE it and g+1 it.


Grant Headifen
Director of Education

International Navigation Rules of Preventing Collision at Sea

Posted by Director of Education on July 23, 2014 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

Stand-On and Give-Way: You just might have it wrong

FIRST If you think boaters should know the Rules of Preventing Collision please LIKE this post via facebook or g+1 it. Thanks it really helps get the word out there and help water safety.

(Jump directly to the FREE updated International Rules of Preventing Collision at Sea course it’s quick, easy and entertaining)

Two sail boats collide. One had wind over their port side and one had wind over their starboard side. The starboard tack boat saw the port tack boat and gave the port tack boat plenty of warning with a horn, but the port boat just kept on going straight. Who will loose the legal battle in court? Are you really sure? If you said starboard is the stand-on boat over port you could be dead wrong.

Below, the aft boat who is on a starboard tack catches up to the forward port tack boat. Port tack boat does not get out of the way and starboard passes close just to prove the point that port should give way because port gives way to starboard right? right? But there is a collision because port refused to move – who’d loose?

Starboard Tack Boat and Port Tack Boat

Starboard Tack Boat and Port Tack Boat – who gives way?

Power boats give way to sailboats right? So if a power boat collides into a sailboat the powerboat looses in court right? Well maybe not!

The above might have a few sailboaties jumping up and down wanting to pick up the phone and call us – first you might want to take a look through our new Navigation Rules Course.

Inspired by our Sailing School Instructor, Tim McMahon of Sail Quest in Thailand we have revamped our Navigation Rules Course. And because of Tim’s passion for explaining the dry – we were able to turn a completely dry topic into something interesting and engaging.  In fact, we actually guarantee that you will love this course AND we guarantee you will learn something. If you do neither then we’ll give you money back on this course – well that’s slightly hard because the course is free. But none the less – OUR NEW NAVIGATION RULES COURSE ROCKS – thanks Tim McMahon of SailQuest Thailand.

What we did with the revamp of this course was to go through the International Regulations on Preventing Collision at Sea.  We pull the rules apart and describe them with animations and example situations. Then we added a discussion about that rule to show who and why you might loose in court if there was a collision. What you say? But I was in the right! The discussion points out why even though you may have been the stand-on boat you might loose.

What this means is that everything you have learned from reading and learning the Rules of the Road might be wrong. This free sailing course is a definite must do and a definite must share.

Take the FREE Navigation Rules Course now.



If you think Boaters should know the Rules of Preventing Collision please LIKE this post via facebook or g+1 it. Thanks it helps get the word out there and help water safety.

How to Handle Wind Gusts and Rounding Up

Posted by Director of Education on February 17, 2014 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, weather | Comments are off for this article

Rounding up is so – so – so dangerous. Last weekend we were out sailing and a speed boat came ripping by at about 20 knots to the windward of us and only about 60 ft away. Yes they are stupid – yes they should know better and yes they should be shot – but that is not going to save your life. You have to take responsibility for yourself out there. Think about what could happen if a last minute gust hit you and you rounded up into that speed boat. You’re dead – and actually by maritime law it would be your fault.

So you’ve got to know how to handle a wind bullet and you’ve got to be at the ready. A last minute gust can kill you and your crew.

… and btw if you are a speed boater please pass to the leeward side of a sailboat …  (leeward is the downwind side btw)

First a definition and explanation of Weather Helm:

weather helm on a dinghy

Forces from the wind aft of the keel are balanced by the rudder.

Weather helm is when the boat wants to turn towards the wind and you have to hold the helm in a leeward turning position to maintain a straight course. i.e. if you let the helm go the boat would automatically turn towards the wind.

Usually a boat is trimmed so that you purposefully have a little weather helm. Why? Well if you are turning the rudder so that you are fighting the weather helm it means that the leading edge of the rudder is pointing upwind. i.e. the boat wants to turn upwind but you are counteracting this by turning the boat downwind. Turning the boat downwind means by definition the leading edge is pointing upwind. See the graphic.

All this means that as the water hits the rudder there is a component of the water force that pushes the rudder (and thus boat) in a windward direction i.e. it actually makes your boat  climb upwind from  the water force on the rudder. This is a desired outcome when sailing towards a windward destination. Few sailors know this.

I say all that to say this – your boat should naturally have a little weather helm.

Here is what a wind gust does:

First, it immediately heels your boat over. Because of the heeling angle, less and less of the rudder area  is effective in providing turning force to counter act the weather helm. See the animation below.

Second, in a gust, the wind force on the sails increases with the square of the velocity but the counteracting force from velocity of water over the rudder does not increase because in that instant the boat speed has not increased.

So you’re trying to dip twice to use the rudder – eventually there is none left. The helm will be all the way over and the wind force has completely overpowered the rudder = round up.

Third, by definition an increase in true wind speed across the water shifts the apparent wind angle on your boat so that it comes more from an aft angle. i.e. if you are on a close haul, the wind now more feels like a beam reach. This exacerbates the heeling force because your sails are now in too tight. The wind gust is pushing sideways on the sails rather than flowing smoothly around both sides of the sails. This is now a triple whammy on the rudder. Poor Rudder!

Why does an increase in wind increase weather helm?

A boat is trimmed with weather helm by raking the mast backwards. This shifts the force on the sails backwards. To see the effect now, push sideways on a pencil on your desk. If you push in the center, the pencil moves laterally sideways. If you push towards the eraser end the tip moves “upwind”. Increase the force, the tip mores upwind more. i.e. the more force towards the back of the boat, the more the boat wants to turn up into the wind = weather helm.

But remember – a small amount of weather helm actually helps you “climb” upwind using water force from the rudder.

Why does an increase in wind speed move the apparent wind angle more aft?

Best you take a look at our free sailing course on sail trim. There is an excellent explanation there.

Wind Gust Directions

Offshore the wind gust is more likely to be in a consistent direction as the existing wind. Close in to cliffs, the gust can be heading in many different directions.

Back to dealing with gusts.

First off – you can see them coming. They are a change in perceived water color because the light reflects different off the small ripples generated by the extra wind. Seriously – they are easy to spot. Haa haa during the daylight.

Here is an animation that we did for our iBook “Your First weekend in Dinghy Sailing” showing how a gust is handled on a dinghy but also note how the animated rudder effectiveness changes with the heel angle.

As the wind gust approaches you should be prepared in your mind and with your crew for the outcome. Don’t leave it until the gust hits to start battle stations. Remember, gusts can be dangerous. Unprepared crew members can be thrown around. Boiling water in the galley can be splashed. People tossed out of bunks. Gear can be thrown around into someone. Someone can be thrown against a bulk head. Someone can loose footing and go overboard and finally as we started, you can be rounded up into another boat.

  1. A crew member should be stationed and attentive to the traveler. You should warn the crew member of the approach. As the boat begins to heel, the traveler crew member should begin to ease the traveler. With a big gust, the traveler may need to be dumped all the way to leeward. This spills the wind out of the mainsail.
  2. The mainsheet crew member should be made aware that if the traveler dump does not work that the mainsheet should be eased. But make sure that both sails are not being dumped at the same time. Traveler first then mainsheet if needed.
  3. Tune the crew into whether an ease will work or a complete dump is needed. A good crew member will be able to anticipate and adjust. Training is good!
  4. As the helmsperson, you can turn up into the wind gust a little assuming it is a lift. A quick look at the masthead wind indicator can tell you that answer. The gust will hit the top of the mast before it hits the boat. Turning into the gust will alleviate the heeling a little and allow you to take instant advantage of a lift. But make sure that you don’t overturn.
  5. The headsail (jib or genoa) is to be left alone in a gust. Since the force on the headsail is positioned forward of the keel, the headsail does not contribute to rounding the boat up into the wind. In fact it acts opposite it helps prevent rounding up because the force on that sail is far forward of the keel. i.e. push on that pencil on your desk again. The head sail does however contribute to heeling. But again, the heeling in a gust can be controlled by the mainsail traveler and sheet.

If you’re getting hit by a lot of gusts and the crew is working hard to control – consider reefing the mainsail. This has three effects:

  1. It shifts the center of pressure of the sail forward so that the rounding up effect from aft pressure is reduced
  2. It reduces sail area aloft which reduces the heeling moment
  3. It reduces the sail area in total which reduces the heeling moment

Heeling will be reduced by reefing the headsail, from the above arguments then this helps the rudder effectiveness.

Don’t try to tough out a windy situation by not reefing. Your boat will actually sail faster if you’re not weaving all over the place each time you round up and your crew will have a better time.

A professional delivery Captain told me once that his motto when crossing the Atlantic was “if you are thinking about reefing you should have done it yesterday. If you are thinking about shaking out the reef, wait until tomorrow”.



About Sailing Badges and Status

Posted by Director of Education on October 29, 2012 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Videos and photos | Comments are off for this article

If you think Badges are a great idea and help people become better sailors, please LIKE this via facebook and g+1 it. Thanks it helps promote safety on the water.

Earn Sailing Badges and Status with NauticEd

Earn Sailing Badges and Status by doing the right kind of activities on the water. This training system is FREE and gives you instant feedback on how you can be better.

Watch this explanation video

Why Do We Sponsor This?

Boating is dangerous. Because of our extremely wide student body reach, coupled with deep technology implementations, NauticEd is uniquely positioned to take responsibility of promoting safe and proper boating habits worldwide. These include having a well maintained boat, being properly educated, regularly inspecting onboard equipment and having the proper practical experience along with other behaviors.

Through our Status and Badge technology platform, we recognize and promote those individuals who exhibit the proper and responsible boating behavior albeit through anonymous user names for privacy. We believe this leads to a viral and peer pressure effect to make our global waterways more safe and enjoyable for all.

Thus, this is no gimmick. When you participate in this effort, you are showing the world you’re also committed to safe boating and you’re encouraging others. Please participate to your maximum ability!


How Do Badges and Status Work?

Each Badge has associated and related behaviors called Activities. Each Activity has an assigned amount of points.

You earn Badges by earning points from the related Activities. For example you are awarded points towards your Safe Sailor Badge if you check your fire extinguishers, inspect your rigging, have an onboard functioning and inspected EPIRB etc etc.

You earn Status from your total accumulated points regardless of Badges.

Higher Status and more Badges indicate your proper responsible behavior associated with boating.


Expiring and Declining Points

Some points expire: We do this because it is necessary to constantly keep vigilant with things on your boat. For example you’ll need to inspect your rigging and change your oil on a regular schedule. You’ll see this type of expiring points when there is a check box next to the Activity and we’ll send you an email to remind you of the correcting Activity to gain back the points (you can turn these off). In this we’re helping you keep diligent about your responsible boating behavior.

Some points decline over time: We do this because your activity in the past, while important, has declined in its value. For example, if you sailed using a spinnaker this month, this is more practically valuable than having gone sailing with a spinnaker 2 years ago. You’ll see this type of declining point activity when you see an ADD button next to the Activity. “ADD” because you can repeat this behavior many more times than once. Thus the points accumulate but then decline over time.

Automatic Points

Some points are awarded automatically based on your NauticEd site behavior. For example, when you pass a course we know you’ve been educating yourself. When you go sailing and log the time in our online logbook we know you’re gaining practical experience. You’ll see these types of automatic points when there is no checkbox or ADD button.

The Honor System

Yes this is mostly all build on the honor system. If you cheated a boy scout badge when you were young you probably feel pretty bad about it today. Be honest with thy self.

We sincerely hope you participate. We’re sure that Status and Badges will lead to discounts with many participating and affiliated companies in the future.

Start building your Status and Badges today!

Login and click on your Sailing Badges tab

Grant Headifen

Grant Headifen
Educational Director