Sailing Guide‎ > ‎

Right of Way

These rules (adapted from US Coast Guard rules should only be applied when two
sailcraft (boat or windsurfer) are equally able to maneuver. If one sailcraft faces obstacles, is
towing another vessel, or is confined to a dredged channel, it automatically gets right of way.
  1. When one sailcraft is coming up from behind another, the slower one has right of way.
  2. When the two sailcraft are on different tacks, the one on starboard tack has right of way.
  3. If both sailcraft are on the same tack, the downwind one has right of way.
If you have right of way, hold your course. Yell and gesture to the other boat or windsurfer if it
looks like they're on a collision course with you and they don't see you. If they don't make eye
contact with you and respond by changing their course, change your own course to avoid the
collision. A quick tack is often the best emergency maneuver to avoid a collision, but sometimes
it’s better to just change course (without tacking) or jibe.

.Always give plenty of room for beginning windsurfers, and never get within a mast’s length of
a windsurfer to avoid getting clobbered.

.In summer, give even more room to boats in Cal Adventures’ beginner classes for kids! They
have lots of fun, and can capsize hard without warning.

Collision Courses:  Check frequently for other boats or windsurfers coming your way, and always do so before
coming about, jibing, or turning suddenly. A boat or windsurfer coming at you may be on a
collision course if it appears to stay in a fixed position relative to a distant (miles away) object or
landmark on the horizon, while getting bigger.