About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed Boat Pennsylvania Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Pennsylvania Boater Education Certificate.

Learn More Register for the Course

Responsibilities When Operating a Power-Driven Vessel

If 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, laying cable, or picking up navigation markers, or a vessel constrained by its draft, such as a large ship in a channel
  • A vessel engaged in commercial fishing
  • A sailing vessel unless it is overtaking
Responsibilities When Operating a Sailing Vessel

If operating a sailing vessel, you must give way to:

  • Any vessel not under command
  • Any vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver
  • A vessel engaged in commercial fishing
Avoiding a Collision
Rendering Assistance

The navigation rules also require operators to stop and render assistance to a vessel in distress unless doing so would endanger their own vessel or passengers.

Additional Information on the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules
Coast Guard Navigational Rules

The navigation rules summarized here cover the most common situations for the recreational boater. Additional and more in-depth rules apply regarding various types of waterways and operation in relation to commercial vessels and other watercraft. It is the responsibility of an operator to know and follow all the navigation rules. For a complete listing of the navigation rules, refer to the U.S. Coast Guard publication, Navigation Rules, that can be obtained by writing to:

Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402

For state-specific navigation requirements, refer to the laws of the state where you intend to boat.