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Thread: Right of way on River

  1. #1

    Thumbs up Right of way on River

    Ok folks I need some help on this one please. Downstream traffic has right of way. when both boats approach do you each go to "your' right? I was always under the thought that 2 crafts approaching each go to their right. But all bets are off with a small river where the channel dictates. Any help on this would be great. I hate P*ssing folks off and hate getting P*ssed off, just want to have a safe day on the water. Any pointers from you Veterans would be great.

  2. #2
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    Cool ROW

    Just stay off MY river and we won't have any problems.















    (Let's see how many comments I get on this one, even with this disclaimer?!)

  3. #3
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    Hmmm. Never even thought of it. Have gone upriver to the Kwethluk where it narrows, but have never met anyone in a too narrow spot.

    If I was comitted to a line and couldn't deviate...I am coming through.

  4. #4

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    LOL , well I will say this much, if it keeps getting worse, I am getting Full Insurance on the boat. Seating only to the rear and going WFO as needed. Sucks to be you sitting in the front during a head on. At age 13 I knew the rules of the road and drove a grain truck during harvest. So why is the river the wild west? Oh well, in every major military operation you have an acceptible number of casualties?

  5. #5
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    The boat that draws less water takes the shore shallow water...Lats year going up the Deshka....freaking carzy narrow areas on blind turns I ran not once,not twice but three times I had airboats flying around the turns,everytime we both went as shallow as possible,'cept the last one where he went up on the gravel bed....
    I also had to take a gravelbed myself on the Chatanika,gotta love that Sports Jon.Like you I dont want to piss anyone off so I always go as shallow as I can to accomodate the other's.Daniel

  6. #6

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    Normally when I meet another boat I will climb right up against the shore to my right unless I can tell the other boat needs deeper water then I motion to the other Capt to take the channel and I will go to the other side if needed.

  7. #7

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    Its just like the road, stay right. Down stream boat has right of way, because they have less control.

  8. #8

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    As soon as I see a boat I start going right. If there is the least bit of confusion I'll just cut the power. I'd rather play it safe than risk the lives of my passengers and the other boats occupants.

  9. #9
    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Default the way

    I was taught, since i was little, Ahem 40+ yrs, ago. Oh that hurt typing that! Thats it is, red to red. To the rookies out there that didn,t catch that, take a look at your bow lights, Hold your line stay to the right, The ones, i can,t stand is darting back and forth trying to make up there mind!! Then cut across your bow at the last moment... I,m glad they don,t drive down the road like that!! Oh all right some of them do...

  10. #10

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    Thanks folks. This is why I love this site. Safe boating.

  11. #11

    Default stop

    Gotta love my sport jon, I can slam it in reverse and stop on a dime when needed. Glad I am not running too many rivers with such high traffic though!

  12. #12
    Member chriso's Avatar
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    Default This is a great question, and deserves some real soul searching...

    There are several great points made here. I really like the "run shallow" and "stop on a dime" ones. What I discovered though, is that until we really visualize the potential for meeting someone on the waters we frequent, I tend to shine it on by saying things like the downriver guy has the right of way rather than really consider what I may need to do.

    But, the fact is, several places I run just don't have room for 2 boats to pass abeam, regardless of who has the right of way. If I can reverse out like Northway, well then thats super. And I guarantee you if it's me coming downriver with the "right of way" and I have the option to reverse out and let you pass rather than run into you, I will. (In fact, the actual application of the "right of way" rules on a stream with no room for 2 boats to pass abreast without grounding may surprise you, I promise you you don't have the right to run me over!)

    Visibility, awareness, and willingness to go out of your easy or previously chosen path have the most to offer in these encounters I believe.

    To increase visibility, approaching narrow or blind spots at a rate of speed slow enough to maintain step, and allow maximum maneuverability in the event evasive maneuvers are required is the first and best choice. I back off to minimum step speed and stay just to the right of center channel while looking vigilantly for approaching craft possibly already committed to the tricky spot and counting down my evasive options as I get more and more commited myself to the trick. Sooner or later you will pass the point of no return and are committed, most times you still have evasive options available, but they will require possibly getting stuck or beaching your boat. Still better than running into or over a boat full of other folks.

    Standing up, wearing brightly colored identifiable life vests, wearing high quality polarized glasses to cut the glare, all serve to make yourself more visible, and to see others more readily. Along with visibility, shutting donw the motor briefly before entering such a spot can serve to let you hear other craft who may be in the trick, or approaching it as well. I know Alaska is hunter central in the US, but if I'm meeting you in a tight, narrow bend with high banks and worried about you hitting me, I'd rather not be in a camo boat for whatever thats worth.

    Once in the tricky spot, hurry and evaluate how and where you can best position yourself so as to clear the usable channel for the other guy should he show up. I don't lollygag in places where no one can get by me.

    These points kind of all arise out of an awareness that I might sometime meet someone in a bad spot, the toughest one for me to accept though, is the idea that if it comes down to a choice between hitting you and beaching my boat, regardless of who has the "right of way"... I'll be on dry ground safe and sound. I think I'd have no business out there on these kind of stretches of water without an attitude such as this, any other attitude will get someone killed someday and cause all of us to lose priveledges we obviously all love to take advantage of.

    Like I said, run over a boat full of people coming upstream with no options and no room for both craft to safely pass, and kill someone and find out for yourself just how much "right of way" you really had because you happened to be the boat going downriver.

    To sum it up, I try to make it a point to always stay slightly right of center channel so I have the maximum evasive options available to me at all times. If I can't see well due to sun, corners, shadows, narrows, etc, I slow to mimimum step speed to increase my odds of seeing you. Once I commit to a channel with no room for 2 to pass, I hustle through it and set up as quickly as possible for anyone I meet to safely pass me rather than "road hogging" even if I feel I have the "right of way". I try to remain mentally prepared to put my boat ashore if need be, and am looking constantly for safe places to do so if the need arises.

    Regarding the waving to the other boat thing... I've had people wave at me for where they want to go, where they want me to go, just to plain be friendly, and sometimes for some other reasons too! I often can't tell the difference. I've seen boaters in challenging or new waters, or new boats, who seem to get "tunnel vision" and wouldn't see my waving no matter how hard I tried, or much their lives depended upon it. Be really careful what you interpret a wave to mean, and be really clear what you mean when you wave if you plan to count on waving for a safety method.

    One last note sort of aside from all this, a friendly attitude towards other boaters seems to go a long ways towards ensuring everyones mutual cooperation in keeping our rivers safe for each other.

    Great question, I know it made me rethink and remember my commitments about this stuff from last year so ought to help make me a safer guy on the water this year.

    Thanks, Chris

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    Excellent post Chris. Couldn't have said it better.

  14. #14
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    When I come up river to a tight spot I'll cut motor and listen for a boat coming down. I'll wait for them to come down then I'll go on. If I'm on a waterway that has only room for one I'll put on the brakes and put on or near the bank giving the down river boat the room. Then push off and go.

    Now the blind corners and hairpin turns like 5 mile clearcreek I just creep around just on step and very often cut motor to listen.

    I have my family in my boat most of the time and I'm very cautious.


    GS

    PS. How is the log jam up the Salcha just at Winthers cabin? I just got back from vacation and haven't been up yet.

  15. #15

    Default Down River Has Right of way

    Port to port is always the rule, go right when you meet IE: port to port.
    Shut down on the blind corners/tight spots and listen for oncoming traffic.
    Crosses erected on the Deshka will make ya think. Be courteous let em have it if they wont heave to.

    Safe Journey every one Louie

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    Default Navigation rules

    I've been watching this thread for a couple of days, mostly to see what people think/believe about the navigation rules. Frankly, I'm impressed at the number of folks who have the correct information. We often find that a large majority of recreational boaters often have only a vague concept of the navigation rules. Here's a useful link: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/mwv/navrules/navrules.htm

    Back to the thread; the circumstances described by Jeffster would involve several rules including Rules 5,6,7,8,9,14,16,17 & 18...and likely others as well. A bit of important information; Alaska is governed by the International Rules (72 Colregs) not the Inland Rules...the term "Right of Way" doesn't exist in International Rules and if you do get into an accident, you can safely bet that the attorneys will be pulling out the rule book to see what applies...and the terminology won't be so trivial then! Obviously, the rules are intended to reduce accidents, but they're only effective if everyone knows/obeys them. That being said, common sense must ultimately prevail and if the hair is standing up on the back of your neck rounding a left-hand downstream hairpin and your 24' jetboat is in the good water on the inside as the roar of an upstream-bound airboat assaults your ears, you might safely pass starboard to starboard, rather than the prescribed port to port.....or you might end up on the short end of a really short stick! The point is, do everything within your power to avoid the situation by taking the advice of the pros....stop, look, listen...pay attention to your situation and don't put yourself and others at unnecessary risk...the results of not mitigating the risk can be unfortunate, expensive and sometimes deadly. Don't go through life thinking that those things only happen to other people like those guys who won't wear lifejackets because they "don't fall overboard"....stay safe and stay alive! Mike

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Thanks CG. Good advice!

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