Dangerous Curve Ahead

April 1, 2019


There are countless reasons and causes for unsafe navigation situations resulting in risk of collision or grounding while on the water. Most all of them include one undeniable truth in vessel control, and that is, Advance and Transfer. The diagram shows graphically how all this works. Let's break it down to its roots and see where the hazards reside in this critical aspect of piloting. 


All watercraft behave differently when underway, even those of the same design and class. Considerations could be weight, distribution, position of the pivot point, height of the center of gravity, environment, and other factors that play an integral part of maneuvering. These elements are some of the prime components in this curve representation. 


Reliable geographic positioning of a vessel has to always incorporate Speed, Distance, and Time. The Big 3 as I like to refer to them, constantly change, and so does the shape of the curve on the diagram. High speeds will give an extended Advance, increasing the distance traveled in the original direction. This is exactly where a great percentage of the maneuvering risk is located and these multiple characteristics have to be completely understood by the person in charge to safely pilot. The Big 3 are connected, each value of the equation effecting the Advance and Transfer uniquely.  


One of the biggest misconceptions by inexperienced boat drivers is that the vessel will act like a vehicle on a roadway. Maybe similar is some aspects, as if driving on ice or a slippery surface, but that's where the resemblance abruptly ends. Comprehending how your craft reacts under all variable conditions is a sign of good seamanship and remarkably increases boating safety.


There is a remedy, a control point to Advance and Transfer, that is so easy to master, all operators can perform this action effectively. It is mandated in the USCG Rules of the Road in various sections, the most profound; 


Rule 8  Action To Avoid Collision


(e) If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel shall slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion



Next time you're driving your boat please remember there might just be a



...Dangerous Curve Ahead 


























cts in a turn. This is where boaters get into trouble and one of the fundamentals of the USCG Rules of the Road aka Collision Regulations, COLREGS. 

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