Non-racers and Right of Way

Boats that are racing do not have right of way over boats that aren’t racing. When boats that are racing meet a boat that isn’t racing the standard right-of-way rules apply. But we must assume that kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and other small sailboats may not (probably don’t) know the basic right-of-way rules. Many will think that the car rules of the road apply. (And there are similarities to boating rules.)

Here are the assumptions I encourage you to make:

  • A watercraft crossing you from your right has the right of way
  • A watercraft ahead of you has the right of way
  • No one has the right to bump or hit another craft
  • A capsized watercraft has the right of way (both racers and non-racers)
  • Treat all non-racing craft as obstructions and avoid
  • Avoid passing too close to a non-racing craft as it may scare them or they may turn in front of you
  • Our right to race does not allow us to any special privileges on the water
  • Treat each encounter on the lake as an opportunity to advertise how friendly our club is
  • Communicate with obstructions: “You may want to move over there as the whole fleet will be rounding this mark.” “It will be safer to just stay still until those boats pass.” “You’re enough out of the way that staying there is great. Thanks!” “What a day to be on the water. Have fun!”

Rule 1.1 – Safety

Each of us must give all possible support to any person or vessel in danger. It’s a racing rule!

Rule 69 – Misconduct

If you are threatening toward, if you harass, scare, or endanger another craft, you can be protested out of a race for misconduct that is contrary to the sport. And this can include foul or threatening language.

The club finishes first when we’re friendly and careful. Give other users of the lake lots of room.

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