Stand on Vessel: Expert Insights and Practical Use Cases

Last updated:
stand on vessel

A stand-on vessel is one that has the right of way in a particular situation. This designation is important because it helps to establish clear guidelines on how vessels should interact with one another to avoid collisions or misunderstandings. By understanding the concept of stand-on vessels, boaters can navigate with confidence and minimize the risk of accidents on the water.

An easy rule of thumb to identify stand-on and give-way vessels is to observe the direction from which the vessel is approaching. If a vessel arrives from the port side, it’s considered a stand-on vessel. Conversely, if a craft approaches from the starboard side, it’s classified as a give-way vessel.

Understanding Vessels

As a boater, I find it important to understand the concept of stand-on vessels. According to the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs), vessels crossing paths can be distinguished as stand-on or give-way vessels. In navigating waters safely and with certainty, both types of vessels have specific responsibilities.

I’ve learned that the stand-on vessel is the one that currently has the right of way. On the other hand, a give-way vessel is responsible for taking the necessary action to avoid a collision. Remembering this crucial distinction helps me ensure safe and smooth sailing on the water.

Marine navigation rules emphasize the importance of avoiding accidents, even more so than adhering strictly to the rules. As a stand-on vessel, my responsibility is to maintain my course and speed. However, as the old adage goes, “Better safe than sorry” – ultimately, it’s essential to prioritize safety and avoid collisions whenever possible.

The Basics of Standing on a Vessel

Safety Measures

When I’m standing on a vessel, my paramount concern is safety. To ensure that, I always:

  • Wear a life jacket at all times, even if it’s not mandatory
  • Keep a firm grip on railings, especially during rough water conditions
  • Avoid standing near the edge of the boat to minimize the risk of falling overboard
  • Communicate with my fellow boaters to stay aware of any potential hazards

Correct Standing Posture

Maintaining proper posture is crucial when I’m standing on a vessel, as it helps maintain my balance and prevent injuries. Here’s what I do:

  1. Keep my feet shoulder-width apart for better stability
  2. Slightly bend my knees to absorb any sudden movements of the boat
  3. I maintain an upright posture with my back straight and shoulders relaxed
  4. Hold onto a secure object on the boat, like a railing or seat, for additional support

Duration of Standing

I always consider the appropriate duration for standing on a vessel, as it depends on the boat’s size, stability, and operating conditions. Some factors that I take into account are:

  • Weather: I avoid standing for extended periods during rough weather or poor visibility, as it increases the risk of accidents.
  • Size of the boat: Larger boats offer more stability, allowing for longer periods of standing.
  • Passenger traffic: I’m mindful of other passengers and crew on board and try to keep standing durations reasonable to not obstruct their movement or comfort.
  • Personal physical condition: Listening to my body is essential, so I take breaks as needed and avoid standing if I feel tired, dizzy, or unwell.

By keeping these principles in mind, I can ensure that my time standing on a vessel remains safe, comfortable, and enjoyable.

Advanced Practices

Stability Techniques

As a stand-on vessel operator, I am responsible for maintaining course and speed in various situations. Stability is crucial to ensuring a safe journey. Achieving stability involves a few key techniques:

  • Proper Weight Distribution: I make sure to distribute the weight of gear, passengers, and fuel evenly across my vessel. This helps maintain a balanced center of gravity and prevents undue listing or pitching.
  • Trimming: I regularly adjust my vessel’s trim by shifting the position of the center of gravity, either by moving weight or adjusting the position of the engines or sails. This ensures optimal performance and stability.
  • Seamanship: I maintain a good understanding of the nuances of my vessel’s handling characteristics and adapt to changing conditions on the water. This includes adjusting my speed, course, and load to accommodate for rough seas, wind, and currents.

Gear Recommendations

Equipping my stand-on vessel with the right gear can improve safety and performance. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Navigation equipment: Accurate charts, GPS devices, depth sounders, and radar systems enable me to determine my position and understand the waterways around me.
  • Communication devices: VHF radios, satellite phones, and emergency beacons ensure that I can communicate with other vessels and the authorities in case of an emergency.
  • Safety gear: Lifejackets, flares, fire extinguishers, and EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons) are essential for maintaining safety on the water.

Environmental Considerations

As a responsible seafarer, I strive to protect the environment while operating my vessel. Here are some steps I take:

  • Efficient power management: I use energy-efficient engines and minimize my vessel’s environmental impact through proper maintenance and fuel consumption. This includes regular engine tune-ups, using the appropriate grade of oil, and avoiding excessive idling or high-speed operation.
  • Waste management: I ensure that garbage, sewage, or other pollutants are not discharged into the water. Proper systems, like holding tanks or on-board waste treatment, are in place to manage waste responsibly.
  • Wildlife protection: I respect no-wake zones and observe marine life from a safe distance, avoiding any disturbance to their habitat. Furthermore, I act to prevent the entanglement of marine life, such as using propeller guards and being mindful of fishing gear.

By employing these advanced practices, I make sure my stand-on vessel operation remains safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

Potential Risks

Physical Risks

As a stand-on vessel, I should be aware of the potential physical risks involved while navigating the waters. These can include collisions with other vessels, especially in high-traffic areas. I must always maintain a proper lookout, use all available means to determine if a risk of collision exists, and adjust my course and speed accordingly to avoid any accidents. If I am operating in close quarters with other vessels, I should also take into account the size and maneuverability of my vessel, as well as that of the surrounding vessels, to minimize the likelihood of any mishaps.

Some other physical risks to consider include groundings and contact with underwater obstacles, such as reefs or sunken debris. To evade these dangers, I should stay up-to-date on my charts, know where safe navigational channels are, and properly navigate around hazards. If my vessel is equipped with navigational aids, such as radar or GPS, I need to use them effectively to provide me with additional information and situational awareness.

Risks in Varying Conditions

As the operator of a stand-on vessel, I must be prepared to face risks brought on by varying weather, sea, and visibility conditions. Poor weather conditions, such as fog, heavy rain, or high winds, can drastically reduce visibility and make navigation more challenging. In these circumstances, I should rely on my navigational equipment, stay vigilant about upcoming hazards, and adjust my speed and course to keep everyone on board safe.

Changing sea conditions, such as strong currents or rough waves, can also pose risks. In such situations, I must assess navigational safety, the stability of my vessel, and ride comfort for all on board. Depending on the scenario, I may need to alter my planned route or even wait for the sea conditions to become more favorable before continuing my journey.

In summary, as the operator of a stand-on vessel, I must be aware of the various risks associated with different conditions and adapt my strategies and tactics accordingly. Diligent management of these risks is crucial to ensuring the safety of everyone on board and the surrounding environment.

Tips and Tricks for Standing on a Vessel

Mastering Balance

When I’m on a boat, one of the first things I focus on is maintaining my balance. This is crucial to ensure safety and to make the most of my time on the water. Here are some tips that I follow to improve my balance:

  • Stance: I make sure to keep my feet shoulder-width apart and my knees slightly bent. This helps me maintain stability during unexpected movement.
  • Using handrails: I always use available handrails when moving around the boat, especially in rough waters or when the boat is moving at high speeds.
  • Anticipating movement: I try to predict the boat’s movement by paying attention to the waves and the boat’s speed. By anticipating changes, I can adjust my balance accordingly.
  • Core strength: I consistently work on building my core strength, as it is essential for improving overall balance and stability.

Efficiency Techniques

Another aspect I focus on while standing on a vessel is making my movements efficient. Here are some techniques I use to make my time on the boat more enjoyable and productive:

  • Traveling with purpose: I plan my movement on the vessel, avoiding unnecessary trips and minimizing zig-zagging.
  • Keeping essentials handy: I make sure to have essential items within reach, like sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, to avoid having to go back and forth to fetch them.
  • Proper footwear: I always wear non-slip shoes. This helps me maintain a good grip on the deck and reduces the chance of slipping and falling, especially in wet conditions.
  • Conserving energy: I’m mindful of my energy levels, taking occasional breaks when needed. This allows me to enjoy my time on the water without exhausting myself.

By following these tips and tricks for standing on a vessel, I ensure that my boating experience is safe, efficient, and enjoyable.

Consequences of Poor Standing Procedures

As a maritime professional, I’ve observed that poor standing procedures on stand-on vessels can lead to serious consequences. Maritime safety relies on the correct execution of these procedures, and failure to do so can result in hazardous situations.

One major consequence of not following proper standing procedures is the increased risk of collisions. When a stand-on vessel does not maintain its course and speed as required, it may confuse the give-way vessel, leading to miscalculations and ultimately, collisions. These accidents can cause significant damage to vessels, property, and even lead to loss of life.

Additionally, improper standing procedures can have legal implications for the crew and the vessel’s owner. In cases where a collision occurs, and it’s deemed that the stand-on vessel did not fulfill its obligations, it may be held partly or fully responsible for the accident. This can result in fines, penalties, and potential lawsuits. It could also damage the reputation of those involved, making it more difficult to secure future employment or contracts in the maritime industry.

Furthermore, poor standing procedures can lead to increased workload and stress for the crew members. When the stand-on vessel’s actions are unpredictable or inappropriate, it places extra responsibility on the give-way vessel to avoid collisions. This can place more stress on the crew members of both vessels, especially if they have to frequently perform sudden course adjustments or evasive maneuvers.

In summary, properly following standing procedures on stand-on vessels is of utmost importance in ensuring maritime safety. Failure to do so can result in collisions, legal issues, and increased stress for everyone involved. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize the implementation and adherence to correct standing procedures in the maritime industry.


In my experience as a boater, understanding the concept of stand-on and give-way vessels is crucial for the safety of everyone involved. As a stand-on vessel, it is my responsibility to maintain a steady course and speed, allowing the give-way vessel to maneuver around me.

When I am the stand-on vessel, it is important for me to remain vigilant and monitor the actions of other vessels in my vicinity. This includes regularly scanning the horizon, listening for sound signals, and using available navigation tools such as radar or AIS to maintain situational awareness. By doing so, I contribute to preventing potential accidents on the water.

However, it’s also crucial for me to be prepared to take action in case the give-way vessel does not follow the rules. This could mean altering my course, reducing my speed, or making a full stop, depending on the situation. It is essential for me to remember that the ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of my vessel and those around me, even if it means deviating from the standard procedures.

In conclusion, I believe that being a responsible stand-on vessel requires a balance of maintaining the right of way while staying attentive and flexible in case of unexpected situations. By doing so, I contribute to a safer and more enjoyable boating experience for all.

Photo of author


I am an experienced captain with over 6 years of experience navigating the waters of the North Carolina coast and the Chesapeake Bay. I am the founder of Vanquish Boats, a leading resource for boating enthusiasts seeking to learn more about boating safety, navigation, and maintenance. Whether you're a seasoned boater or a novice just starting out, you're in the right spot to get the most out of your time on the water.

Leave a Comment