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Boating Basics

Navigation Rules


The following are guidelines and are not incorporated in Missouri State Statutes.

Two terms help explain these navigation rules.

Stand-on vessel: The vessel that should maintain its course and speed

Give-way vessel: The vessel that must take early and substantial action to avoid collision by stopping, slowing down, or changing course

Meeting Head-On

Power vs. Power: Neither vessel is the stand-on vessel. Both vessels should keep to the starboard (right).

Power-driven vessels meeting head-on
Power vs. power meeting head-on

Power vs. Sail: The powerboat is the give-way vessel. The sailboat is the stand-on vessel.

Power-driven vessel meeting a sailboat head-on
Power vs. sail meeting head-on

Crossing Situations

Power vs. Power: The vessel on the operator’s port (left) side is the give-way vessel. The vessel on the operator’s starboard (right) side is the stand-on vessel.

meeting head-on
Power vs. power in a crossing situation

Power vs. Sail: The powerboat is the give-way vessel. The sailboat is the stand-on vessel.

Power vs. sail crossing situation
Power vs. sail in a crossing situation

Overtaking

Power vs. Power: The vessel that is overtaking another vessel is the give-way vessel. The vessel being overtaken is the stand-on vessel.

Power-driven vessel overtaking another power-driven vessel
Power vs. power overtaking

Power vs. Sail: The vessel that is overtaking another vessel is the give-way vessel. The vessel being overtaken is the stand-on vessel.

Sailboat overtaking a power-driven vessel
Power vs. sail overtaking