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Leisure Users

Facts to Keep in Mind

When using a power boat.

  • Avoid sailing in the commercial shipping channels, especially in poor visibility. Obey Rule 9 of the Collision Regulations(ColRegs) for conduct in narrow channels by keeping to the starboard side of the channel and crossing only when this does not impede the passage of a large vessel that can safely navigate only within the narrow channel.
  • Do not underestimate the speed of ships. If your boat is slow, allow sufficient time to take effective evasive action in the vicinity of large ships.
  • Be visible. At night make sure your navigation lights can be seen. If you see the navigation lights of a vessel and you think you have not been seen, get out of the way. Use torches, search lights or a spotlight on sails, or fire a white flare to indicate your position. Carry a radar reflector high on your boat. Remember, from the bridge of a loaded container ship or large tanker, the captain or pilot will lose sight of you a third of a mile ahead, although you can see the ship at all times!
  • Be alert. Look around every so often, especially astern.
  • Keep watch at night. Even on a clear night you will have difficulty seeing a big ship approach. You might see it first as a black shadow against a background of shore lights, or as a growing shadow – at that point you are not far apart. Remember that your lights will not be easily spotted from the ship.
  • Know the visual & sound signals Stated in the ColRegs.
  • Keep your VHF R/T tuned to channel 11, when North of a line OSB to Gilkicker, to listen for vessel traffic information from QHM’s Harbour Control. In an emergency, if you believe you have not been seen or you re unsure of a ship’s intentions, call them on VHF Channels 11 or 16 then shift to a working frequency for intership safety messages.

Ships with deep draught may have less room for manoeuvre than is immediately apparent.

Restricted view from the bridge of a large ship means small vessels may not be visible when within a third of a mile.


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