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Course Outline

The rules for operating in a narrow channel are found in the Collision Regulations.

  • A vessel in a narrow channel must keep as far to the edge of the channel on the vessel’s starboard (right) side as is safe and practical.
  • If you are operating a power-driven vessel and are heading upstream, all power-driven vessels coming toward you from the opposite direction (heading downstream) have the right-of-way and you must give way.
  • If you are operating a vessel less than 20 metres (65.6 feet) in length, a sailing vessel, a vessel engaged in fishing, or a vessel crossing the channel, you may not get in the way of vessels that can only navigate within the channel (such as a large ship). Narrow passageways restrict movement for large vessels and make it dangerous for ships to alter their courses.
  • You must not anchor in a narrow channel, unless the circumstances require anchoring.
  • You must use the appropriate sound signals and use caution while operating in a narrow channel when:
    • Overtaking or being overtaken
    • Your view is obstructed such as when you approach a bend in the channel
  • If you are leaving a dock, slip, or tie-up mooring, you must give way to all approaching vessels.
  • Small vessel not visible from the bridge of large commercial vessel
    Small recreational vessels often cannot be seen from the bridge of commercial vessels. Always stay astern of deep-draft traffic.
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