Chapter 5: Navigation Rules

Maintaining a Safe Speed

The best way to maximize the time one has to act in a hazardous situation is to keep a safe speed. One always wants to have enough time to react and avoid a collision. There are different factors that account for deciding safe speed. Consider these factors when deciding if the vessel moving too quickly, and reduce speed to maintain safety.

  • The current visibility, whether it is restricted by the time of day.
  • The effect the weather is having on operating conditions.
  • The presence of high waves, heavy winds, or fast currents.
  • The density of the surrounding boat traffic.
  • The types of vessels sharing the water and their proximity.
  • The vessel's draft and the depth of the water one is heading toward.
  • At night, or a time of limited visibility, are there additional shore lights and background lights which may complicate navigation and ability to detect other vessels?
  • The responsiveness of the vessel.
  • The potential responsiveness of the vessels nearby. Remember, larger boats need more room to turn and they can usually move faster, meaning more room to stop is needed.
  • If operating with radar, consider whether the device is accurately detecting small ice, floating objects, or small vessels in the area.
  • The presence of any navigational hazards in the area.
Maintaining a Safe Speed