Rules of the Road

Updated 10 months ago by IT

When you are sailing with other boats, whether- or not you are an expert helmsman, there are certain ‘Rules of the Road’ that you must commit to memory and obey. They are internationally used so will always stand you in good stead.

 Keep an eye for others who may be in distress. If they need help, you must give it. Find out how. You can do a great deal of damage by incorrect procedures.


  A vessel on the ‘Port Tack’ (wind from the Left) gives way to a vessel on the ‘Starboard Tack (wind from the right).



Or the little memory jog there is no red port left”

This rule takes precedence over all points of sailing, whether close-hauled, running or any course in between.

The sudden yell “STARBOARD”, means politely, “Please keep out of my way. I am on the starboard tack and I perceive that you are on the port tack. Therefore, it is your responsibility to take avoiding action by changing course”.


  • When both boats have wind on the same side, the boat that is to windward (i.e. nearer the Wind) must give way.
  • When both boats have the wind on the same side, the boat that is to windward keeps clear of the boat that is to leeward.
  • An overtaking vessel keeps clear of a vessel being overtaken.
  • A vessel under power gives way to a vessel under sail. (Not of much significance on our lake, nor at sea these days with the advent of those un-maneuverable super-tankers.)
  •  When avoiding action is being taken, do so positively in such a way that the other vessel knows that you are changing course.
  •  When in doubt, keep clear; But do so by changing course early and in such a way that is clearly seen by other vessels.


In the event of insurance claims due to collisions on the lake, these rules will be duly considered.

 These notices are given to you in the kindest possible spirit and with our wish that you feel “at home” with the least possible delay.

 The club is only as good as its members and we ask you to come forward to offer help whenever it seems required of you or if you can involve yourself in general committee work.


We hope you enjoy many years of safe and pleasant sailing with us.

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