How should you pass a fishing boat? Anyone driving or traveling in a speedboat needs to know the answer to this question. Reckless pleasure craft operators can suddenly ruin calm, peaceful days of recreational fishing with little regard for the safety of other boaters. Make sure you follow safety tips and rules to improve your time on the water.

How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat?

Carefully, that’s how.

The open water is a marvelous playground for those who enjoy boating. However, those who fish in narrows, lakes, rivers, or even seas know the dangers caused by careless boaters.

Boating rules and common courtesy are crucial for traveling on the open water. Boats traveling at high speeds cause waves and loud noise. Both of these factors have the potential to create a disturbance for a fishing vessel.

Indeed, there are navigational rules and etiquette you need to follow when you zoom past a fishing boat.

It’s crucial to understand navigational rules and remain safe in a watercraft. Just as regulations for vehicular driving on our roadways are necessary to follow, so are rules governing boating.

There are five significant rules that those participating in recreational boating need to know. These rules will answer the question, how should you pass a fishing boat?

Not so fast, buddy

Speed is one of the primary variables that you must consider when coming close to a fishing boat.

Slow down!

A stationary fishing boat is not able to adjust to your approach. Thus, a strong wake is going to disrupt the fishermen’s stability and their equipment.

wake is created by your motor regardless of speed. Nevertheless, a slow approach will ensure that this wake will be less disruptive to the fishing boat.

Always follow speed limits that you observe posted on the waterways. Also, use your common sense regarding precisely how fast to pass a fishing boat.

However, realize that to stop a motorboat suddenly will cause a jolt that will disrupt your crew. There are no seat belts or airbags in speed boats, making the passengers vulnerable to fast stops.

Furthermore, depending on your speed and the tilt of your motor, your boat will lurch upwards with a quick stop. This effect will immediately disrupt your field of vision.

That’s close enough

When you think about it, how should you pass a fishing boat? You must know that speed and distance are related. The closer you are to a fisherman’s vessel, the more care you should take with your speed.

There are circumstances in which it isn’t possible to take a wide berth. However, you should always be alert and aware of the distance between your boat and the fishing boat.

Also, when gauging distance, be conscious of weather factors such as wind that will create choppier waters and cause more substantial wakes.

Given that there are no designated lanes on the water, it’s essential to show courtesy and be respectful of another vessel’s activity.

As the captain of a watercraft, it’s your responsibility to maintain distance while driving. Don’t let your boat crew or the beauty of your surroundings distract you from this job.

Right of way

There is a hierarchy given to different types of boats concerning the right of way. This system always ensures that a commercial fishing boat takes precedence over motorboats.

However, even a small recreational fishing boat that is trolling with fishing lines in the water is less maneuverable than a powerboat. Therefore, use common sense when you are establishing the right of way.

In the right of way situation, the first assessment must be, which is the stand-on vessel and which is the give-way vessel. The give-way vessel must yield the right of way to the stand-on boat.

Since a recreational fishing boat is either stationary or slowly trolling, speedboats need to acknowledge the right of way rules. They can communicate their passing intention using sound signals.

What’s that sound?

How should you pass a fishing boat? Using sound signals is an effective way of communicating with fishing boats when passing. There are two different types of signal.

The first is a short horn blast, while the second is a more prolonged sound blast. One quick blast indicates a pass on the starboard side while two short horn sounds indicate a pass on the port side.

Do you see that?

Every pleasure craft traveling on open water needs to designate a lookout among the crew. The lookout needs to watch for all other vessels, including those that are fishing. A lookout should be able to communicate to the captain quickly regarding any offshore obstacles, signage, or boats.

There have been several recent court cases that have found the captain of a vessel to be culpable in a crash because they had not assigned this duty.

The Importance of a Boating Safety Certificate

In the United States, the rules regarding boating licensing vary by state. In most states, a boating safety certificate is needed when driving a motorboat. Many boaters buy watercraft and don’t realize that there are laws that demand this certification course be taken.

However, although required by law, it can be difficult to enforce given the vastness of waterways throughout the country and the lack of law enforcement resources available.

A boating safety certificate never expires and is a valid accreditation in all states. You ask, how should you pass a fishing boat? This course will give you not only an in-depth explanation of this question but also a wide range of safety information.

Regardless of whether your state requires such a certificate, it’s important to get one. Boating is different from vehicular driving. When you are out on the water, you need to consider many variables that are not factors on the highway.

Therefore, be wise and invest the time and effort into studying and getting this certificate.

Importance of navigation rules

A boating safety certificate will teach navigational principles which will help you as you drive your boat. They are important because having this knowledge will ensure when you have to think quickly, you will have the confidence to make the right boating decision.

Navigational rules have the same relevance to boating as driving rules do to driving. There are many boaters who lack basic knowledge of these principles. It isn’t stressed enough to novice boaters that this education is crucial for their safety.

Not knowing how should you pass a fishing boat will lead to the disruption to the fishers and possibly an accident.

Types of Fishing Boats

There are three types of fishing boats: commercial, artisanal, and recreational. For this article, we have discussed the recreational kind. However, asking “How should you pass a fishing boat?” is a legitimate question to ask regarding the other two types.

Given that artisanal fishing boats are small and local, you should pass with the same care and rules as we have discussed. A commercial fishing boat will be traveling at a higher speed, and you must ensure that you recognize its right of way privilege and keep your distance.

You aren’t likely to see a commercial or artisanal fishing boat at your inland family cottage. However, if you’re out on international waters in your boat, passing a commercial fishing vessel can be even more of a task than passing a smaller recreational one.

Although we have reviewed many ways to pass a fishing boat in this article, obtaining a boating license and reviewing navigational rules will help you.

Stay Safe

Your boat should always be fitted with proper marine lighting. As dusk approaches and visibility is reduced, you will find that lights are indeed a fundamental necessity to boating.

Also, be sure that your horn is functioning correctly and that you have proper bailing equipment on board.

You and your crew members need to wear life jackets at all times. They are not the most attractive or pleasing outerwear, but they will save your life in an emergency.

The rules for alcohol are the same on a boat as they are for vehicles. Don’t drink on board.

Ship Ahoy!

Boating is a fun activity that you can enjoy at the lake or on open waterways. Remember though, there are other boats on the water, including fishing boats. How should you pass a fishing boat? Common courtesy and navigational rules are crucial for the safety of your boat and fishing boats.

There are a lot of distractions you need to consider when piloting a watercraft. They will affect you when passing other boats if you don’t have the confidence to know how to react. Always ensure that you’re alert while driving and be aware of your surroundings.

On a warm summer day with the sun glistening off the water and a crew of eager boaters, go out and have a great boating experience with family and friends!

Please feel welcome to comment in the comment section. We would love to hear about your day on the water!

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