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Boating rules help you avoid collisions

Boating is part of the fun of the summer months. You can head out with your family or friends, race and enjoy your time on the water. The wide lakes and oceans in Rhode Island also make it easy to forget that others may be on or in the water, which could lead to a serious boat crash if you're not cautious.

Boat collisions can and do result in injuries and deaths every year. Boaters know that there are rules on the water to prevent this, but if they haven't read up on them recently, there is a potential that they could have forgotten the rules for the waterways. Here is a reminder.

1. If you're boating at night, look for lights

Did you know that boats use lights at night to signal that you are the stand-on or give-way vessel? If you see another vessel's red light, it means you should stop and give-way to the other. If it's green, you can continue on your path.

2. Consider the circumstances you're in

If you have the right-of-way but the other vessel isn't giving way, it's best to stop. If you notice a boater isn't paying attention, you still have the ability to pause or get out of the way. Don't put yourself in harm's way just because you have the right of way.

3. Remember the danger zone

In front of your vessel and to 22 degrees abaft on your starboard beam, boats are privileged. That means they have the right of way.

4. Right of way does matter

Basic rules show that starboard boats have the right of way, while those on the left do not.

Boating rules keep you safe. Remember these and you can help avoid crashes.

Source: Boating Magazine, "Tips for Avoiding a Boat Crash," Kevin Falvey, accessed May 09, 2018

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