How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat?

Right Way to Passing a Fishing Boat
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Before you start to operate a fishing boat, you should know the rules on how should you pass a fishing boat. Following the right way is very important to maintain the hierarchy of your vessels. Without having proper knowledge or experience, passing a fishing boat is a crucial job. Sometimes it can be responsible for an uncertain accident on the water. 

Fishing vessels are designed in a special format. You can see different category fishing boats that are used commercially or for personal recreational fishing. According to a survey in 2016, there are 4.6 million fishing vessels in this world. Like Bay boats, Catamarans, Fishing Kayaks, Bass Boats, and many more. So the controlling power of every fishing boat is not the same. 

But there are some basic rules to control the power of a fishing boat. To avoid a water collision and to save the boater’s life, proper fishing boat education is compulsory. Not only that, the importance of fishing vessel maintenance will make you concerned about the rules of boating. 

How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat?

How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat
How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat

According to common courtesy, a boat driver cannot cross the passing line until the opposite boat owner gives an all-clear signal. Therefore, an accident is not only harmful to you but also the onwards boat owners. No matter how skilled you are to operate your fishing boat. You need to follow the rules and the right way to pass a fishing boat

Steps to Passing a Fishing Boat

Rules of water

Boating on the water is not like driving vehicles on the streets. Here it would help if you balanced the power of the fishing boat with more caution. Every year we lose many boaters or anglers because of breaking the right of way rules on the water. Proper boating education can minimize the accident rate.  

When boating on an international water area like an island, river, or ocean, you need to follow different rules and regulations. Also, have specific laws for gear lakes and rivers. So as a captain of the boat, learning those rules is your prime responsibility. 

Using the fishing kits, avoid getting stuck, quiet yourself, respect the other boatmen, fishing limit regulation, fishing license, and fishing season. These are the most important things among fishing rules.  

Pecking order

As a new boater, you may not know about the “Pecking Order”. The condition of giving priority to other boats. According to the navigation rule, if your ship can move freely with that space, you must give way to the less freely moveable boat. 

For example, a large boat has less shift ability than a small boat in a narrow channel. So the priority will be based on the vessel status. , when you are in the local water area, you can pass the right way. But it is the negligence of rules. 

Followed orders are given more priority on pecking order – 

  • Power of driven vessels
  • Overtaken vessels by others
  • Trawling boats
  • Actively engaged fishing boat
  • Boat with restricted navigation
  • Limited maneuverability boat
  • Unnamed vessels
  • Sailing boats
  • Seaplanes

Navigation rules

If I want to discuss “How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat”, we need to talk about some terminology? First of all, look at the body of the vessel. Is it its hull? The bow of the boat, the left-sided port, right side starboard, and the back stern. 

Depending on the boat status, one will be a give-way, and the other will stand on. One should not change direction or be stopped. That can create a collision. So each other has to give signals and need to know the next action. The same action on the wrong root can be the reason for an accident. As a precaution, you have to inform your activity by using the horn and signals. 

Head-On fishing boat

If you meet head-on with the fishing vessel, you should apply a trick to face both boats on the port side. Then, with full precaution and enough distance from each other, you can pass your fishing boat. The best thing is to slow down your speed to a safe speed for passing one another. If the watercraft has a significant size difference, then you should follow this instruction more carefully. 

Remember whether you are crossing a fishing boat or not. If both are powered boats, you can apply the specific rule to overcome or cross each other, especially when the vessel is properly handy. However, if another is a fishing boat at the starboard side, you have to stand on it. And the fishing boat is the give-way. 

Night boating

In some specific situations, you have to apply a special navigation rule. The first one is night boating. Limiting your boat speed will help you to control the vessel and avoid an unexpected accident. At night time, it is very difficult to identify the exact direction of other boats. 

No worries. Different color lights on the boat will help you to identify the coming or passing ships. The left side has a red light with the same hue as the port. Also highlighted are the letters of the side’s name.

First four letters. The light color on the right side is always green. Also, the backside or the stern has a white color light. So these all will let you know the boat’s direction. 

By any chance, you face a fishing vessel next to you, and the channel is very narrow, follow the road traffic rules. Stand on the right side. Let it go if it is a larger vessel and the wideness is too tight. This rule is restricted for a fishing boat because the fishing boat contains extra fishing kits and ropes

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Why We Should Be Careful While Passing Fishing Boats?

The purpose of a fishing boat is to catch fish. That’s how it contains different fishing kits, nets, wires, and more lines. If you want to pass a fishing boat, make sure the boat owner has cleared all the obstacles in the way.

Or those can be harmful to any ongoing ship. You can lose your boat, be dragged, or be injured by the spreading nets or other tools.

So, it would help if you were careful while passing by a fishing boat. Wait until the fishing boat gives you the all-clear signal or horn. You should not cross the line until it is clear.  

What Happens When You Don’t Pass A Fishing Boat Properly?

Many unexpected accidents can happen. There are a lot of reasons. First of all, it can be dangerous if you are trying to cross a commercial fishing boat. The first thing is the significant size of a fishing boat—something like the street laws. If you have to pass a fishing boat, pass through the left side. 

If you want to cross the fishing boat line, the widespread net can be a trap for your boat. Unfortunately, you can lose your life. The next is, it can be a large environmental impact. If the vessel is containing any harmful chemicals or materials, it can be dangerous for aquatic animals. 

Why A Boater Should Have More Concerns While Passing A Fishing Boat?

Maximum accidents happen due to beginners level boaters. They have never sailed before. That creates a set of unique dangers on the sea or river or canal water. Day by day, the percentage of anglers is increasing. The rate of an expert angler is very low, so to continue this profession successfully, the boaters need to be more concerned. 

Especially when you are passing a fishing boat, you can be mixed up with different fishing tools or kits. So you should follow the steps mentioned above while passing a fishing boat. In addition, make sure you know all the necessary navigation rules for Passing a fishing boat

Why do You Need to Know The Overtaking Rules?

If you are on the right of way and have enough space to cross the boat, you can overtake the other vessel. When the vessel behind has a high priority level of Right of practice, it can overtake the next one like the sailboat. If both boats are powered drivers, then they also need to provide a sound signal while overtaking. 

Here the rule of the overtaken vessel is to take substantial early action to have a clear direction and stand on the ship. 

What Side do Boats Pass On Fishing Boats?

From the navigation rule of the US coast guard, we know that the vessel should stand steer at the right-hand side of the fishing boat. By this law, both will pass each other by their left-hand side. It means facing the port. So try to avoid crossing the fishing line. Or it can be the reason for a great loss. 


How fast should you pass a fishing boat?

You should pass the fishing boat simultaneously. Slow down the speed of your boat and consider the boat size. It’s a common part to show courtesy while a ship has a significant size distinction. 

Why should go to slow down while passing recreational fishing boats?

To avoid a big wake-up, you should slow down the boating speed. Maximum people of a recreational fishing boat stand on the deck. That is near the ending edge of the ship.

In the meantime, if another boater passes his boat at full speed, there will be strong waves in the water. That can make the people fall into the water or can be injured seriously. It can be the reason for many people’s death. 

Which side do you pass an oncoming boat on?

A very simple rule you have to follow here. Portside to the port side. That means when the boat heats approaching one with another, keep your left side in front of the oncoming boat’s left side. If the position is in a crossing situation, give way and stand in the right place.

Is it compulsory to pass your fishing boat always on the port side?

No, in some specific situations, you can pass the fishing boat from the right side. For example, if you have enough space to overtake a fishing boat or a high-priority powered boat, the ship can stand on the right side to avoid a collision.

How should you pass a fishing boat with minimum wake?

If you are approaching a fishing boat from the rear, slow down and pass at a speed that will create the least amount of wake.


However, the US coast guard always keeps its water legislation rules updated. Therefore, we have only discussed the basic rules of “How Should You Pass a Fishing Boat”. To keep yourself up to date, you should also read or collect relevant information. That will help you to avoid an unexpected collision. 

Fishing or boating can be a wonderful source of making fun. But the safety rules are essential while casting the line from shore. Your negligence will not only fall you into danger but also the other co-workers. So as a captain or an owner of the boat, you should be more concerned about the Navigation Rules of passing a fishing boat.

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