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Large ships, Wind and Oar Powered Vessels

When you're out on the water it's a good idea to put yourself in the place of other boaters. Ask yourself, "What are the other boater's expectations?" Be considerate. Coming too close or staying in one area for a prolonged period can easily ruin another boater's experience.

Sailboats, sailboards, canoes, rowboats, and other boats not propelled by mechanical power are stand-on vessels when encountering personal watercraft except when they are overtaking the PWC. They are not as easy or quick to maneuver as powered vessels. Large, deep-daft ships have even less maneuverability, requiring very large distances to stop or turn. Never underestimate the speed and power of these vessels. Stay well clear of these ships or commercial shipping channels. The Rules of the Road are very clear on the fact that vessels operating in marine traffic channels are the stand-on vessels.

Be aware that many areas have a Vessel Traffic System operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. They control the commercial vessel traffic in shipping lanes. Commercial Vessels operating inside the controlled traffic lanes and under the control of the Vessel Traffic System have the right of way over recreational craft.

Smaller recreational powerboats should avoid deep-draft ships. PWC operators have even greater incentive to keep clear because they are almost impossible to see from the bridges of large ships.

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