Smart™ - Navigation Rules
is a form of boating, paddlers have fewer rules to follow than captains
of powerboats or sailboats.
can go practically anywhere, unlike their boating big brothers, they will
make more common-sense decisions.
your small craft, it is necessary to understand you:
May not be visible to the captain and crew of a larger vessel ·
Are more maneuverable than larger boats
Require less draft than larger crafts
Are not "under power" As you paddle, a variety of situations will occur
when you need to know where you are, where you should be, and what you
can do to be safe.
a brief list of scenarios and what you can do to enhance your safety.
Yourself More Visible
Travel close to shore or large stationary objects
Use bright colors on your boat and equipment
Use additional reflective tape on boat and equipment
Stay close to your paddling buddies
rule of boating is that the craft under power has to yield to the boat
not under power. Though this is true, the fact may be that those under
power can't see you! This is why it is important to have bright colors
and possibly some additional reflective tape added to the sides of your
vessel and other equipment. If the approaching vessel is larger and moving
at a fast pace, there is even less time for the captain to notice you.
Be proactive in assisting the captain of the vessel in noticing you.
since you are more maneuverable, steer clear of larger vessels.
A good rule
of thumb is to stay closer to the shoreline or large stationary objects
as larger vessels naturally avoid these areas. If shore is not close, stay
within a few feet of other paddlers, thus making everyone more visible.
in groups ensures you are seen.
Oncoming vessel, pass to the right
Both traveling in the same direction, pass on left as on U.S. highways.
Exaggerate the turn or change in direction
Stay a safe distance away from other vessels
If you must
pass a vessel coming toward you, pass to the right of that vessel. If the
vessel is slower and you are both traveling in the same direction, go around
the vessel on the left. (This is similar to driving on the roadways in
the U.S.). If you must pass another vessel, when you turn either right
or left depending on your situation, exaggerate the turn. This will ensure
the other vessel recognizes you see them and lets them know your intention.
It is always
wise to keep a safe distance from another craft; the larger the craft,
the farther away you should stay.
Stay at least a mile away regardless of who has the right-of-way If you
see large cargo or ocean-going ships, stay a few miles away!
rule here is to remember: they cannot stop or adjust course as fast as
you when underway nor adjust course due to the depth they may require.
Due to their height and size, it is even more difficult for them to see
Keep a distance
of a mile or two behind ships as the water moving behind them is very forceful
and dangerous. The general rule is: if the vessel is larger than you, it
is best to stay out of their way regardless of who has the right-of-way.
Paddle outside of channels or to the far right
Cross at the shortest distance across
Cross as a group; stay close together If you are near a channel or a channel
marker, stay out of the channel or near the marker. Channels are designed
for vessels that need deeper waters. If you must go out a channel, stay
to the far right side as close to the marker line as possible or just outside
the channel. The waters are perfect for you here (and safer), but not for
If you must
cross a channel, do it together, within 20 feet of other paddlers, when
there is plenty of distance between you and an approaching vessel. This
will make you more visible, and the large vessel (being less maneuverable)
will not have to dodge multiple small craft in the same area.