How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat? (Pro Tips)

Few activities are as tranquil as boating. However, accidents do happen. In order to maintain safety on the water, it is important to know how to properly pass a fishing boat.

There are general steps that should be followed when passing any type of boat. The first step is to signal. You can do this by honking your horn or using hand signals. Once you have the attention of the other driver, you should wait for them to signal that it is okay for you to pass. After they signal, you should then begin to pass on their port side. As you are passing, be sure to go slowly and avoid any sudden movements.

It is also important to be aware of the type of boat you are passing. Different boats have different protocols. For example, when passing a yacht, it is considered polite to wave. When passing a sailboat, you should give them plenty of space and avoid creating any wake.

How Should You Pass A Fishing Boat?


If you see a fishing vessel while out at sea, it’s important to try to make contact with the captain. Unless they see you, there’s no way of knowing if they’re aware of being passed.

The first step is to try to get the attention of the captain. This can be done by waving your arms, calling out, using your horn, or using a signaling device such as a whistle. If the captain sees you and acknowledges your presence, then you’re all set. However, if the captain does not see you or does not acknowledge your presence, then you’ll need to take additional steps.


The first reason why it’s so important to wait for the all-clear signal before sailing is because it ensures that both captains are on the same page. It’s vital that both captains are in communication with each other so that there isn’t any confusion about the route or destination. If one captain were to set sail without waiting for the all-clear signal, it could easily lead to a collision.

The second reason why it’s important to wait for the all-clear signal before sailing is because it gives both captains a chance to assess their surroundings. Even if the route is well-known, there might be obstacles in the way that wasn’t there before. By waiting for the all-clear signal, both captains can make sure that it’s safe to proceed.

The third and final reason why it’s so important to wait for the all-clear signal before sailing is because it allows both captains to double-check their equipment. Before setting sail on any journey, it’s crucial to make sure that all of your equipment is in good working order. This includes things like the sails, rudder, and anchor. By waiting for the all-clear signal, you’re giving yourself an extra few moments to make sure that everything is in its proper place.

Pass On The Port Side

In most cases, the best way to pass another vessel is on the port, or left side. This allows the other driver a better view of your watercraft and gives them ample time to react if need be. However, there may be times when it is impossible for you to pass them on the port side. If this is the case, be sure to communicate with the captain of the fishing boat. They might already realize you need to pass on the starboard side. 

The Starboard Side Exception

There are some instances where it is considered acceptable to pass on the right, or starboard, side. For example, if you are approaching a dock from astern and need to pass a boat that is moored at the dock, it is perfectly fine to do so on the right side. Just be sure to give them plenty of room and avoid any sudden moves that could startle those aboard.

Slow Down

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to slow down. But there are some important reasons why slowing down is essential, especially when you’re on the water.

The first reason why you should slow down when passing a fishing boat is because of the wake. When you’re cruising along at speed, your boat creates a wake. And while this might not seem like a big deal, that wake can easily spoil a fishing boat’s day. Fish are attracted to areas of still water, so a big wake can quickly scare them away. So if you want to minimize your impact on those who are trying to enjoy a day out fishing, take it easy and give them plenty of room.

Another reason to slow down is that it’s simply more enjoyable. When you’re rushing around, you miss out on all the little details and the beauty that surrounds you. But when you take your time and savor the moment, you’ll find that life is much more enjoyable. So next time you’re out on the water, remember to slow down and enjoy the ride.

Be Courteous

Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s important to be courteous when passing a fishing boat. Give them a wave or shout out a friendly “hello” to let them know you’re coming through. A little courtesy goes a long way on the water!

What’s The Ideal Boat Speed In This Situation?

Whether you’re out for a leisurely sail or racing to the finish line, it’s important to be aware of the ideal boat speed in various situations. After all, the last thing you want is to find yourself in trouble because you weren’t paying attention to how fast you were going. So, what’s the ideal boat speed in this situation?

As a general rule of thumb, you should travel about 2 knots faster than the other boat in order to pass. However, there are some other factors to consider as well. For example, if they’re traveling at 8 knots, you’ll need to increase your speed to 10 knots. This situation isn’t ideal, so if you’re the one being passed, make sure to slow down to 4 knots whenever possible.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If the other boat is much larger than yours, it’s probably not worth trying to pass them. Additionally, if the water is choppy or there’s a lot of traffic, it’s best to err on the side of caution and slow down.

Special Circumstances

There are a few special circumstances in which boats must slow down. These include when passing head-on, when crossing boats, when traveling at night, and when passing through narrow channels. 


In a head-on situation, it is best to slow down as much as possible. This will give you more time to react and avoid a collision. If you are unable to slow down in time, the impact will be less severe if you are going slower.


Fishermen are out on the water for long hours, often in areas where there is little boat traffic. As a result, it’s important to know the proper etiquette for crossing a fishing boat’s path. Here are a few simple rules to follow.

The first rule of thumb is to treat a fishing boat the same as you would any other vessel. If you’re on the starboard (right) side of a collision, you’re considered the “stand-on” vessel and have the right of way. In other words, the fishermen will yield to you.

Of course, always follow the basic safety guidelines of signaling and slowing down when approaching another boat. Make sure you have plenty of time and space to safely pass.

If you see a fisherman actively reeling in a catch, give them extra space and time to land the fish before crossing their path. It’s considered bad luck to cross the path of someone who is actively fishing – so it’s best to err on the side of caution!

At Night

Speed is even more important at night since visibility is reduced. The ideal speed in this situation would be slow enough that you can easily see any obstacles in your path, but not so slow that you become a target for other boats.

Narrow Channels

When navigating through narrow channels, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and give yourself plenty of room to maneuver. The ideal speed in this situation would be slow enough that you can easily stop if necessary, but not so slow that you become a hindrance to other boats.

In Conclusion

By following these simple steps, you can help make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time on the water. Remember to signal, wait for the other driver’s signal, pass on the port side, and go slowly. And most importantly, have fun!

Scroll to Top