Yet another common scenario is encountering another boat moving at a right angle to your current path, where if both boats were to continue there would be the potential for a collision. In this case, the boat to the right is considered to have the right of way.
Hint? Think of it like two cars arriving at a four-way stop at the same time. The car to the right is considered to have the right of way, and should be the first car to proceed. In nautical terms, the boat to the right is considered the “stand-on vessel” and has the right of way to continue along their path. The “give-way” vessel is required to slow or stop to let the stand-on vessel safely pass.
Exceptions to the rule? If the other boat is not powered, like a sailboat or canoe, or is in the process of actively fishing, that vessel has the right of way regardless of its position. It’s your responsibility to give them plenty of room and change your path accordingly.
Approaching any other boater when you’re unclear about the rules and the risk of collision is imminent. Here, common sense prevails. If you’re unsure what to do in any situation, both craft should immediately slow and yield the right of way.