Now that summer is in full swing the waters in the Tri-State area are busy with pleasure boaters and sports fishing boats.  Occasionally, we as boat owners should be reminded about some of the key Ohio Boat Navigation Rules.  If we all keep some of these key and simple tips in mind while operating our boats then our waterways will remain safe.  So far this summer, if you are a boater, you have already witnessed some boaters that are not aware of Ohio Boat Navigation Rules and were possible acting in a very unsafe manner.


One navigation rule boaters seem to have trouble with is the situation when you are approaching another power-driven boat head-on.  When you are navigating your boat and you come upon another boat head-on, each boat shall take the starboard (right) course and pass the other boat on your port (left) side.  If two vessels deviate from this navigation rule, one vessel should give intention with one or two shorts horn bursts and the opposing vessel should answer with the same horn bursts if in agreement.


There are no passing lanes on waterways therefore the Ohio Boat Navigation Rules outlines guidelines for overtaking or passing another vessel.  The passing vessel must leave 135 degrees of space around the boat being passed.  If the vessel is overtaking another vessel on its starboard side two short horn blasts are given and the stand=on vessel responds in agreement.  If the overtaking vessel is going to pass on the port side, one short horn blast should be given and responded to.


What are you to do when two power-driven vessels cross paths?  According to Ohio Boat Navigation Rules, the give-way vessel is one that has the opposing vessel on its starboard side.  The give-way vessel must yield or avoid crossing the path of the vessel coming from its starboard side; the stand-on vessel.  If you are boating on the river, the give-way vessel is the one crossing the river and the stand-on vessel is the boat ascending or descending the river.


There are four factors that on course vessels must give the right of way to:

  • A vessel not under command
  • A vessel that has restricted maneuverability
  • A vessel engaged in commercial fishing
  • A sailing vessel


Knowing how to react when another power boat is headed toward you, when you and other vessel(s) are on course to cross paths and how to overtake another vessel are three important Ohio Boat Navigation Rules that can keep you safe while out on the water.  Etler-Kettenacker Agency urges everyone to review the Ohio Boat Navigation Rules if you are a boat owner.  EK Agency wants to keep their friends and clients safe and happy over the warm months.

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