How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat?

How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat? – Do You Know What The Rule Is?

Now when it comes to driving a boat out on the water, it can be very relaxing, and good to just get away.

However, when you are out on the water, common courtesy is an important thing.

You cannot go over lines unless communication has been made with other boats and you have been given the all-clear.

Being the boat’s owner, you become the one responsible for carrying out safe practices when you are fishing or just enjoying some time on the water.

Just like road rules, imagine the chaos if nobody went by the road rules and showed each other common courtesy.

Knowing and abiding by the road rules when boating can ensure the safety of you and those around you.

How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat?

In order to pass a fishing boat, you need to steer the boat on the starboard side, also known as the right-hand side of the boat. Then, both boats need to go past each other on the left-hand side or also called the port side.

What If The Starboard Side Is Not Available?

There can be some instances where you might not be able to pass on the starboard side.

If you get to a fishing boat that has all its lines cast out in that direction, it can limit where you are able to pass. In this case, you can go on the other side, but you must first communicate with the boat, so they are aware of what you are doing.

You can honk the horn and wait for the other boat to honk back, which is the signal they are happy for you to pass.

If you are going on the port side, then the general rule is to honk the horn twice and wait until the other boat gives you a double honk back to indicate you can pass.

 You are required to leave a minimum wake when you are passing by a boat.

This maintains the safety on the water as the big wakes can sometimes become an issue for the boat you are passing. It is also just a general courtesy.

Consider purchasing a boating rule book to make sure you understand everything you need to do on the water to ensure everyone has a safe time.

Why Do You Need To Be Careful When Passing Boats?

The amount of people on the water is growing, which means there are more boats on the water that you need to be aware of.

There are several rules and regulations when it comes to boating and being out on the water.

If you own the boat and are the navigator, then you are responsible for those around you.

Following the regulations and rules is the first step to having a safe and secure trip.

The water itself isn’t a very safe place which is why you need to be careful, so you don’t find yourself sitting in the middle of an accident.

Not all accidents are minor; some can lead to death, so everyone needs to be careful out there.

The hooks and lines that boats have in the water become an accident waiting to happen.

Sometimes these lines can end up out to a distance of 100 yards. The fishing lines can become stuck to other boats, which can lead to an accident.

In order to avoid a situation like that, rules come into play, so safety and order are maintained.

There would be far more accidents and fatalities if these rules were no put into place.

People Say Passing Boats Can Be Complicated

From what we know about fishing boats, some have so many features it’s hard to keep up.   

Quite a few have cast lines and nets. Trying to navigate through these types of obstacles can prove to be a challenge.

You should let a boat know if you will be passing it. It is also important to control the boat’s speed to avoid losing control and having an accident.

Additionally, you will be able to reduce your chances of accidents and collisions with other boats by operating at a safe speed. If the weather is bad, this will keep you safe when the water is turbulent.

If the spots are switched, and you are the one who is being passed, make sure you do your part and inform the other boat of your situation.

Consider A Boating Course

A huge advantage of taking a boating education course is to ensure you are up to date with boating safety.

A boating safety course will help you become a safer boater and give you the education to help others if an accident occurs.

If you are a beginner or an expert who wants to freshen their knowledge of boating rules, completing a course is a good idea.  

Rules do change, so completing a course every few years helps ensure you are up to date with rules and regulations.

Enjoy your boating to the fullest.


It can be exciting to go out boating, but sometimes the trip doesn’t work out properly, and accidents can occur.

You must pass a fishing boat on the left side, and sticking to this rule means everyone is aware of what is going on.

Sometimes we don’t see the hazards or anything important until they occur. If everyone sticks to the same rule, everyone knows what is going to happen and how it will happen.

This will keep everyone safe and ensure that all fishing trips are full of fun and adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions about Passing a Boat

What Is The Best Way To Notify Another Boat You Are Passing?

Making communication with the other boat is the best thing to do here. Ensure you let the boat navigator know you are bypassing and which route you are taking.

Which Side Is Best To Pass A Boat On

The left-hand side is the general rule for all boats. Boats need to be located on each other’s left when bypassing.