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Navigational safety guidance

  • avoid sailing in the main navigational channels where possible, especially in poor visibility. Be aware of the effect of passing close to a large vessel. The displacement can pull the water from under you without notice
  • give right of way to large vessels which are limited in their manoeuvring space. Remember they may have less room than is immediately apparent
  • if you have to proceed within the channel keep to the starboard (right hand) side
  • be Alert - keep a sharp look out for vessels surveying, dredging and laying buoys or moorings. Look around you - especially astern
  • watch your wash - even when you are proceeding within the speed limit, you may be creating a wash. Slow down whenever you see other vessel activity which could be affected, for example craft embarking passengers or youngsters in canoes
  • the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea apply to all vessels - including those racing
  • take particular care with boats under sail, especially when they are racing
  • be visible and make your intentions clear. You may think that you know exactly what you are doing and where you are going, but put yourself in the shoes of the Master of the cross channel ferry - does he know?
  • you may see a large ship at all times, but if you disappear from the view of the Master of that ship you are too close
  • do not underestimate the speed of other ships. If your boat is slow you might not be able to take effective action to keep clear if you find yourself on a collision course. If in doubt, take avoiding action and take it early
  • do not anchor or drift in any navigational channel or create an obstruction within the channels
  • do not secure to, or obscure any navigational marks, buoy, beacon or stake.


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