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Which sailboat must adhere to navigation rules for a powerboat?

As a boater, it is essential to be aware of the navigation rules that apply to your vessel. While some may believe that sailboats have the right of way in all situations, this is not entirely accurate. In fact, both sailboats and powerboats must adhere to navigation rules, with one exception.

According to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), sailboats are considered to be privileged vessels when they are under sail alone. This means they have the right of way over powerboats in most situations. However, if a sailboat is also using its engine, it is no longer considered a privileged vessel and must give way to other vessels in certain situations.

Under COLREGS, power-driven vessels must always give way to sailboats that are under sail alone. Therefore, if a sailboat is not using its engine and is sailing in open water, powerboats must stay clear of the sailboat and avoid crossing its path. This rule applies even if the sailboat is sailing in the opposite direction of the powerboat.

But, when a sailboat is also using its engine, it becomes subject to the same rules as a powerboat. In this situation, the sailboat must give way to other vessels under the same conditions as a powerboat. This means that the sailboat must avoid crossing the path of another vessel and must give way to vessels on its starboard side.

In summary, sailboats under sail alone are privileged vessels and have the right of way over powerboats. However, when a sailboat is also using its engine, it becomes subject to the same rules as a powerboat, and must give way to other vessels under the same conditions.

As a responsible boater, it is crucial to be aware of these navigation rules and to always take precautionary measures to avoid collisions while out on the water. By adhering to these rules and staying aware of your surroundings, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience for you and others around you.

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