How you should pass a fishing boat is one of the key questions that many people who are out on the water ask. Being able to pass other watercraft safely is essential when you are out on a lake or a river.
Passing fishing boats properly is important for a variety of reasons to do with safety and politeness.
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Why Safety When Boating is So Important?
When you are passing a fishing boat, you will want to be sure that you always steer your boat to the port side of the fishing boat. This means that you will need to slow down and be careful as you navigate as well. Remember that the fishing boat is not typically in motion, and your wake will impact it far more than a boat that is also moving near you.
In 2020 alone, fishing boat and general boating accidents increased by 26.3%. This could be attributed to the use of alcohol, but it might also be linked with a lack of proper boating safety training. The wake of a larger boat or a boat going much faster can greatly impact the safety of fishing boats and can also impact their ability to catch fish.
Also see - What Is a Fishing Charter?
What is the Hierarchy of Right of Way?
Much like driving rules of right of way, you will need to follow the hierarchy of right of way on the water. As a general rule of thumb, boats that are being overtaken by other boats and vessels that are not manned have the greatest priority.
Fishing boats have a higher priority over all powered boats for the sake of their safety and to make sure that powered boats do not make them take on water due to high boat wakes. It is also just common courtesy, as fishing boats are usually trying to remain tranquil to lure in the fish!
The rankings for the hierarchy of right of way are as follows:
How to Pass the Fishing Boats? (Guide for Passing Slowly)
The process of passing a fishing boat safely and slowly is not that hard. You should always remember these steps:
1. Wait for the All Clear
All boats trying to pass one another in tight quarters need to be sure that an all-clear has been given to go ahead by. You might not see nets or other fishing gear that is near the boat, and slowing down to wait for the all-clear is very important for this reason.
2. Pass on Port
You will pass the fishing boat on the left side, just as you would when driving a car in most locations. If you're meeting a boat head-on, you will need to carefully steer for the starboard and pass slowly and carefully on that side. Look out for fishing nets and other gear that might be an issue for you when you are passing. If you cannot pass on the port side, you will wait for an all-clear signal from the captain to pass on the other side of the boat. This is done by honking your horn twice. They need to honk back twice for you to be able to proceed.
3. Go Slowly
Always be sure that you are not rushing by any other boat, but especially fishing boats. You will be more likely to get tangled in fishing gear, overset the boat, or scare away fish if you go by a fishing boat too fast.
What Side Should You Overtake a Slower Fishing Boat?
You will always want to pass a fishing boat on the port side. This is to help prevent issues with nets and other kinds of fishing gear that might be cast off the starboard side of the boat. You will need to be sure that you always check for nets and equipment on the port side of the boat and wait for the all-clear signal to pass on the opposite side if that is necessary.
The need to assess what is going on with fishing gear and other items attached to the boat makes moving slowly when you are passing a fishing boat a must. You will always need to be sure that you are considering the gear that is attached to the boat as well as the boat itself when you are passing a fishing vessel.
Also see - Which Time to Go Fishing
People also Ask (FAQs)
What side do you pass a boat on the river?
You will always want to default to passing other boats on their port sides. If this is not possible in the small and tight spaces of some rivers, you will need to stop and wait for an all-clear signal to pass on the incorrect side. This can frequently happen when rivers narrow to choke points, and you will need to be sure that you are moving slowly enough to assess the situation before you pass.
What do three short blasts of a horn mean on a boat?
Three short blasts means that you are backing up away from something. This is called astern propulsion and warns other nearby vessels that you are moving backward and not forward.
What do 2 long blasts from a horn mean?
Two short blasts means that you are about to overtake a boat on their port side. This means that you will pass on their port side with your starboard side. You should still be careful about going too fast by the other boat and make sure that you are looking for fishing gear and other things that could be an impediment to travel past the other boat.
What is the minimum distance you should keep between boats?
It is a general rule that you should keep about 50 feet away from any other vessel on the water when you are moving more than 10 MPH. This can be complicated when you are considering non-engine boats that might be operated more safely in closer quarters, but you should still seek to keep some room between you and other vessels at all times for the sake of safety.
Fishing and boating safety is critical for the enjoyment of everyone that is on the water. You will need to remember that fishing boats are not usually going to be moving while they are fishing and that fishing gear can extend well past the boat while it is being operated.
Make sure that you use proper passing rules and rights of way and that you are always careful to pass fishing boats slowly enough not to upset them or scare away the fish that they are trying to catch.