Navigation Rules Quiz

Navigation Rules Quiz

Hopefully for many of you, as we make our way into the heart of spring, that bottom job is done, the rig is tuned and things are ready to go for a great season of amazing sailing. In anticipation, let’s make sure you’re good to go on some important rules of the road. Sailing is a free flowing world of wind and sea, but we all need to be on the same playing field when it comes to the “who goes where” stuff. Nail this quiz and hit the water with a little more confidence. These answers are based on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Navigation Rules and Regulations Handbook.

  • When two reaching sailboats are on a collision course – each with the wind on different sides, who needs to give way?
    1. The boat that has the wind on the port side keeps out of the way of the other. Bingo!
    2. The boat that has the wind on the starboard side keeps out of the way of the other. No, starboard tack is the stand on vessel
    3. The boat with a greater amount of velocity stands on. Faster boat = more rights? You might like that to be true, but it’s not.
    4. The larger and less maneuverable boat gives way. Actually larger and less maneuverable need more respect
  • When two sailboats have the wind on the same side, which boat needs to keep out of the way?
    1. The leeward boat. No, but you’re on the right track
    2. The windward boat. Indeed!
    3. The boat with the least amount of raised sail area. That would be a no…try again
    4. There is no defined rule for this scenario. Actually there is and you should know it!
  • Many believe power always gives way to sail, but that is not true if:
    1. Boats under power are traveling in excess of 25-knots. Incorrect, but if they don’t see you, get out of the way anyway.
    2. A sailboat is overtaking a powerboat. This is right, but the stand on vessel must hold its course.
    3. A powerboat is reversing. Wrong, but be careful of reversing boats and evade if necessary.
    4. A sailboat is sailing dead downwind. Wrong answer, you are the stand on vessel but always be ready to avoid any kind of collision.
  • When a sailboat is under full sail but the engine is running and in gear:
    1. A melding of navigational rules is at play. Incorrect. Not really any melding going on.
    2. It is still a sailboat by virtue of the raised sails. One might think, but that’s not right.
    3. The sailboat is considered power driven and must adhere to rules that are written for power driven vessels. Correct!
    4. Sailors should use their best discretion for there is no written rule to obey. Ah, but there is! Wrong choice…
  • Who do the rules say is the stand on vessel when it comes to vessels driven by oars?
    1. Rowboats, kayakers, SUPs, etc are the stand on vesselsThis is not right, but not a terrible guess.
    2. As in many situations, sailboats are the stand on vessels in this scenario.Nope, not best to think that.
    3. The navigation rules do not mention human powered vessels. This is right, but in practice sailboats try to give way because oar-driven vessels are usually slow and not overly maneuverable!
    4. Oar driven vessels 18-ft and above are considered stand on vessels in most situations.Got ya! Try again…
Click on an answer above to start!