The right hand side of a boat looking forward is called the starboard side of the vessel. This is symbolized by a green light at night. The left hand side is called the port side of the vessel. This is symbolized by a red light at night. The front of the vessel is the bow and the back of the vessel is the stern
When meeting an oncoming vessel, you should always pass port side to port side or red on red.
When you see a red light on your starboard side or in front of you, indicating a vessel is crossing your path, you should slow down or stop and give the right-of-way to the other vessel.
Never turn your vessel to port side to avoid a vessel; this is a bad practice and contravenes collision regulations. You should turn to starboard, slow down or stop.
Never be afraid to try to contact another vessel on vhf radio on channel 16 to find out his intentions or his course and speed. This can be very important information and it can be logged for your protection.
Channel 16 on vhf radio is the international emergency station. When calling a vessel on Channel 16, you should always change to a working station other than 16 such as channel 06,08,or any other working station.
Always try to cross traffic lanes at right angles and always give the right-of-way to larger vessels because their ability to manoeuver may be restricted.
Always try to contact vessel traffic services to tell them of your presence and to find out if there is a large amount of traffic in the area.This can be done on channel 16 or verify your radio aids to marine navigation book for the local channel for vessel trafic service.
Always let someone know where you plan on going and when you plan to return. If you are delayed, call them. A cell phone can be very handy. If your radio doesn’t work, dial *16 and you will be connected to the local coast guard.
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