Big ships, little boats
Recreational vessels have a responsibility to stay well clear of large vessels.
What you need to know
- Big ships operate at all times of the day and night.
- The speed of a ship can be deceptive. It may not look like it from a distance, but they could be travelling at speeds in excess of 20 knots.
- Ships can weigh up to 100,000 tonnes and do not have brakes. They cannot stop or change course suddenly and will travel a long distance before stopping.
- A ship's blind spot can extend for many hundreds of metres ahead (see diagram below)
- Bow waves caused by a ship can swamp a small boat hundreds of metres away.
- Sailing vessels do not have right of way over ships restricted in their ability to manoeuvre.
- A ship will sound five short blasts on its whistle if it believes a smaller vessel is at risk of collision. Small vessels must take evasive action immediately.
As this diagram shows, a ship's blind spot can extend for many hundreds of metres ahead.
This video explains some simple rules for recreational boaters to apply to avoid collisions.