Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Chapter 390. Watercraft: Safe and Reasonable Operation of Vessels
1/21/2020

4VAC15-390-50. Responsibility Between Vessels.

A. The operator of a motorboat underway shall keep his vessel out of the way of:

1. A vessel not under command;

2. A vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver;

3. A vessel engaged in fishing with nets or other commercial fishing apparatus that restricts maneuverability; and

4. A sailing vessel.

B. The operator of a sailing vessel underway shall keep his vessel out of the way of:

1. A vessel not under command;

2. A vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver; and

3. A vessel engaged in fishing with nets or other commercial fishing apparatus that restricts maneuverability.

C. The operator of a vessel engaged in fishing with nets or other commercial fishing apparatus that restricts maneuverability when underway shall, so far as possible, keep his vessel out of the way of:

1. A vessel not under command; and

2. A vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver.

D. The pilot of a seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep his seaplane well clear of all vessels and avoid impeding their navigation. In circumstances, however, where risk of collision exists, he shall comply with the responsibility between vessels provisions above.

E. When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, so as to involve risk of collision, the operator of one of them shall keep out of the way of the other as follows:

1. When each has the wind on a different side, the vessel that has the wind on the left side shall keep out of the way of the other;

2. When both have the wind on the same side, the vessel that is to windward (upwind) shall keep out of the way of the vessel that is to leeward (downwind); and

3. If a vessel with the wind on the left side sees a vessel to windward (upwind) and cannot determine with certainty whether the other vessel has the wind on the left or on the right side, it shall keep out of the way of the other.

For the purpose of this section, the windward (upwind) side shall be deemed to be the side opposite to that on which the mainsail is carried or, in the case of a square-rigged vessel, the side opposite to that on which the largest fore-and-aft sail is carried.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-103, 29.1-501, 29.1-502, 29.1-701, and 29.1-735 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR325-04-3 § 5, eff. July 1, 1973; amended, Volume 19, Issue 05, eff. January 1, 2003; Volume 29, Issue 09, eff. January 1, 2013.

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