How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat?


Knowing how should you pass a fishing boat is one of the first things that novices in fishing and boating should learn. By knowing who has the right of way, you are not only being courteous, but you are also promoting everyone’s safety on the water.

Like when you are driving, maneuvering a boat requires awareness of the traffic rules. Ignorance of the law is no excuse to put your lives or the lives of other people at risk.

If you want to know what side do you pass a boat on, read on, and learn from the insights we’ll share. You will know more about the important navigational rules to observe.

Pass on the Right Side of the Boat

When it comes to the question “what side do you pass a boat on,” the answer is on the right. This is based on the rules from the US Coast Guard. Bypassing on the right, the two boats will be passing each other through their left or port side.

The Importance of Knowing What Side Do You Pass a Boat On

From learning how to moor a boat to how to reef a sailboat, there are different rules you have to learn. This is important for safety considerations. For instance, as with determining what side do you pass on a boat, this will help to prevent a collision. Boat traffic can lead to accidents, which is why it is crucial to learn who has the right of way.

Knowing how should you pass a fishing boat is also important to avoid damage to fishing equipment, including nets and lines.

While knowing the right of way rules is crucial to safety, it is also important that you have the right equipment. With this, check out this list of boat safety equipment that you need.

Know the Exceptions

While we have already answered the question of what side do you pass a boat on and determined that it should be on the right, this may not always be the case. There are exceptions, and in most cases, you just have to use common sense to know when to break the rule.

For instance, if the boat has cast its fishing line on the port side and you are well aware of the situation, it makes sense that you should pass on the other side. Also, captains should communicate with each other and when the other boat says that you should pass on the left, then you have to follow the instruction.

If the captain of the other boat seems to be unaware of the rules, then you have to take full control. Determine which side should you be passing on, even if it means that you should not do it on the right.

How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat Tips and Tricks

Aside from those that have been mentioned above, below are other things that you need to know.

1. Know the Signals

Clear communication is important for boating safety. With this, you need to know how to signal to the captain of the other boat before moving the boat steering wheel in the desired direction. When passing on the starboard side, the common practice is to signal by blasting your boat’s horn once. If you are passing on the port or left side, you need to blast your horn twice. Wait for the acknowledgment from the other boat before you pass.

2. Have a Proper Lookout

Once you are passing a boat, the sailing rules dictate that you should have a lookout. As you concentrate on maneuvering the boat, it helps to have someone to help you.  It is also good to communicate with this lookout using VHF marine radios to maintain a clear communication line and stay alert.

3. Go Slow

Pay attention to the boat speedometer and go as slowly as possible when you are passing another boat. By maintaining a safe speed, there is a lesser chance that you will end up in a collision.

4. Have a Wide Berth

Maintaining a wide berth is another safety consideration when it comes to passing a fishing boat. The fishing lines of the other vessel will most probably extend beyond the boat, so you need to maintain a safe distance to avoid damaging their equipment. Putting the boat in neutral mode while you pass will also be a good practice.


Got questions about how should you pass a fishing boat? Below, we’ll try to answer some of them.


Q: What Side of a Boat Do You Pass On?


You need to pass on the right side of a boat. This is a general rule implemented by the Coast Guard. As you steer your boat on the right side, you will be passing each other on the left side.

Q: Who Has the Right of Way on a Boat?


Determining who has the right of way depends on the vessels that are involved. If it is a fishing boat and a sailboat, it is the fishing boat that has the right of way. When a powerboat meets a sailing boat, on the other hand, it is the powerboat that has the right of way.

Q: Why Do Boats Pass on the Right?


Boats pass on the right because this is the rule dictated by the US Coast Guard. This is mandated to avoid the cast nets and fishing lines. This will be crucial in preventing collision and making sure of everyone’s safety.

Q: Do Fishing Boats Have Right of Way?


Yes, fishing boats have right of way. Especially the boats that are engaged in commercial fishing, they have limited ability to move. Because of this, they usually have the right of way.

Globo Surf Overview

At this point, we hope that you learned a thing or two about how should you pass a fishing boat. According to the US Coast Guard, you should pass on the right. It is also important that you know who has the right of way. This is crucial not only for common courtesy but also for safe navigation.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!