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United States Of Marine Safety Association Updates

It is important that vessel operators are completely aware of their surroundings when sharing waterways and have a good working knowledge of the Navigational Rules. Navigation rules gives vessel owners and operators clear instructions about passing, approaching, giving way and overtaking other boats.

This safety warning from the USMSA comes after a catamaran passenger ferry struck a group of kayakers in a busy city waterway. Unfortunately, sun glare blocked the ferry operator’s view of the kayakers, which resulted in multiple collisions with other kayakers, ending up in two serious injuries. All commercial and recreational operators should familiarise themselves with the basic rules of the water and understand their responsibilities when it comes to sharing waterways with other vessels. The Navigation Rules are essentially a set of guidelines that help prevent collisions out at sea, and include such regulations as Steering and Sailing Rules, Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another, and Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility.

Boaters should keep a lookout for dangers and always be aware of their environment, especially in severe weather, restricted visibility and at night. They should also take the time out to recognise the different nautical lights, shapes and sounds that they may encounter, so that they can take appropriate action to avoid colliding with other vessels. Operators are reminded to be very deliberate with their movements out at sea, so that others can see their intentions. If uncertain of what another vessel intends to do, it is important that boaters are able to contact the other vessel on the radio in order to determine their location and ask if they can be seen. Keep your copy of Navigation Rules aboard your vessel at all times!

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