Who Gives Way, Adrift Powerboat or Sailboat under power?

Posted by Director of Education on April 29, 2016 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper | Comments are off for this article

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This is a question in our FREE Navigation Rules Course which covers in-depth the International Rules of Collision at Sea aka ColRegs.

The Powerboat is adrift. Who gives way?

Who gives way

Using our nano forum technology, one of our student’s asked the question.

Q: Please help! In the image, a sailboat has a powerboat (looks like a cabin cruiser) to port, apparently adrift in this example. However, there are no sails deployed on the sailboat. The sentence beneath this picture says the powerboat must give way, making the sailboat the Stand on boat. Why is this the case? Is it because the powerboat has the sailboat to starboard? Is it because the powerboat is adrift? Is the sailboat under power or adrift? This picture is confusing me because it seems the sail boat is also either under power or adrift. It’s certainly not overtaking the powerboat from the rear. Can anyone help with this one?

Here is our answer

A:Powerboat rules apply. The power boat sees the power driven sailboat on its right (sees a red light) and thus must give way. Additional note: adrift is still under power regardless if the engines are on or off. Why is that? Well, how could the sailboat know if the engines on the powerboat are on or off? For consistency of the rules then, adrift IS underpower. Further note: the sailboat even tho stand-on still has the responsibility to not cause a close quarters situation. Thus, let’s say the power boat could not start its engines, then there is no problem because of the sailboat’s continued responsibility. Further note: the student also asks what if the sailboat is adrift. Well, that point is moot because both adrift would not cause a collision. However, even if the wind was pushing the adrift sailboat towards the adrift powerboat, technically both are still underway and the powerboat is still the give-way vessel. Further note:  if the powerboat was at anchor, then it is at anchor no longer underway.

Thanks to Perry G of Oregon for asking the question using our Nano forums “SeaTalk”.

On every page of our sailing courses, there is a SeaTalk button. Use this button to ask and answer a question. In particular, please help the community by answering questions when you see that there are comments or question on the SeaTalk page.

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Someone on this planet must surely know everything. I’m yet to meet him or her however.

FREE Rules of Right of Way Course for Sailboats

Posted by Director of Education on December 29, 2008 under Rules of Right of Way | Read the First Comment

Since we have just launched this new FREE rules of right of way for sailing vessels course, this is the first blog. The free online sailing course has many visuals of right of way situations as depicted here. There is a lot of thought out there that sailboats have right of way when in actual fact there are many instances when they must give way. So hopefully this course can dispel those safety hazards in discussing the rules of the road for vessels. The free online sailing course for rules of right of way for sailboats is atour sailing courses section.

In this situation the blue boat must give way as it is on port whereas the red boat is on starboard.