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Boating Basics


Safe navigation on Arizona waterways is everyone’s responsibility. Every operator is responsible for knowing and following the relevant navigation rules. You are legally obligated to know the rules and to apply them to avoid collisions.

Encountering Other Vessels


There are some rules that every operator should follow when encountering other vessels. It is the responsibility of both operators to take the action needed to avoid a collision. The next page shows what to do when encountering another vessel.

To prevent collisions, every operator should follow the three basic rules of navigation.

  • Practice good seamanship.
  • Keep a sharp lookout.
  • Maintain a safe speed and distance.

Encountering Vessels With Limited Maneuverability

When operating a power-driven vessel, you must give way to:

  • Any vessel not under command, such as an anchored or disabled vessel
  • Any vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver, such as a vessel towing another or laying cable, or one constrained by its draft, such as a large ship in a channel
  • A vessel engaged in commercial fishing
  • A sailboat under sail unless it is overtaking

When operating a vessel under sail, you must give way to:

  • Any vessel not under command
  • Any vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver
  • A vessel engaged in commercial fishing