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As promised, this week will be all about Navigation Rule #8 – Steps to take to avoid a collision.
While this is not only critical on the water, with school going back in session right around the corner, it is also important to think about how these rules can be important on dry land as well. Without further delay, here it is.
First and foremost, when you take any action to avoid a collision, your actions should be made as soon as possible, using your best seamanship and done in the most positive manner.
In other words, act early and be kind.
If you change your course to avoid a collision, make sure that your change of course is large enough that there is no question for another boater visually watching you or monitoring radar as to what you are doing. Small changes can cause confusion and create a more dangerous situation.
In all situations, it is always the best choice to change your course to avoid a collision as long as there is enough room, you are not creating another dangerous situation, and the change is large enough to avoid any confusion.
When you are changing your course to avoid a collision, you must constantly reassess your position to make sure that you are remaining safe until you have completely passed the other vessel.
If you need more time to determine the best decision to avoid a collision, slow down or stop your boat. That may require using reverse propulsion to stop forward movement.
All boaters are required to avoid collision. It does not matter who has the right of way, who is supposed to get out of the way first. Ultimately, there are no reasons not to do whatever it takes to avoid a collision.
As Auxiliarists, we have seen a lot and heard even more from boaters, other Auxiliarists and news stories. What matters most to us is that everyone who goes out on the water comes home safely. We teach it, practice it and all joined the Auxiliary to help others.
Collisions not only cause extreme property damage, but can also lead to serious injury and death. We are not a highly populated area where emergency services are close.
The risk of serious injury or death rises the longer a person remains in the water. Please do you part to prevent a collision when at all possible.
As Sherrie says, Safe Boating is no Accident.
Prevention is, as in other aspects of seamanship, better than cure - Sir Robin Knox Johnston.