AIDS TO MEMORY
Red over Red
This boat is dead
Red over Green
Red over White
Fishing boat lights
If the fishing gear extends over 150 meters (492 feet) from the boat, an all-around white light must indicate the direction.
They are stopped over a white fish
Green over White
White over White
Short tug/tow in sight
White over White over White
Long tug/tow in sight
Red over Red over Red
Rudder Rubbing Rocks
White over Red
Red over White over Red
Red When Restricted
Yellow over White
My towline is tight
Port Rudder Action
Blast twice short,
Turn to port
Three in turn,
Blast quick five
To stay alive
T V makes dull company
TVMDC True Variation Magnetic Deviation Compass
Can Dead Men Vote Twice at Elections?
Charter Boaters Detest Returning
"Stay to the right and you'll be right,"
General responsibility. Above all else, don't have a collision. "I had the right of way" isn't a defence if there was something you could have done to avoid the other boat.
Anchored. Anchored, stopped, or moored boats must be avoided by all other vessels.
Overtaken. Boats being overtaken have the right of way over the overtaking vessel. (This is true even if the slower boat is power and the faster boat is sail.)
Restricted maneuverability. Boats with restricted maneuverability, whether due to fishing, draft, length, towing, or other causes, have the right of way over vessels not so restricted.
Traffic separation. Vessels participating in a traffic-separation scheme have the right of way over non-participating vessels. (If you must cross a traffic lane, try to do so at right angles.)
Man-powered beats sail beats motorboat beats seaplane. Human-powered boats (canoes and rowboats) have the right of way over sailboats, which in turn have the right of way over powerboats, and even they have the right of way over seaplanes. I think of this in terms of increasing technological sophistication: the fancier your equipment, the fewer rights you have (sort of a class reversal).
This is an important one for sailors, of course, but note that there are a number of situations listed above where sailors must still give way.
Sail- Starboard boat or starboard tack wins. This actually represents two rules, depending on whether the meeting boats are both sail or both power. (If one is sail and one is power, the rule above applies.) For power boats, the boat approaching from starboard has the right of way. For sailboats, the boat that is on starboard tack has the right of way, regardless of from where it is approaching.
Sail- Leeward boat wins. When two sailboats meet on the same tack, the leeward boat has the right of way over the windward boat.
Not Under Command. ("NUC" for "nuclear"). A vessel that is "not under command" in the technical sense has the right of way. This refers to anchored or unoccupied vessels as well as those that have lost the ability to manoeuvre (e.g., through loss of power or their rudder).
Restricted manoeuvrability. Boats with restricted manoeuvrability, whether due to fishing, draft, length, towing, or other causes, have the right of way over vessels not so restricted. (Note: Rod McFadden has pointed out that while it makes sense for NUC boats to have the right of way over those with restricted ability to manoeuvrer, this is not explicitly mentioned in the COLREGS. He comments, "I've been unable to find any case where a NUC/RAM collision occurred; it's safe to say that if such a collision ever does occur, the Admiralty Bar will dine well for quite some time!")
Constrained by draft. Boats constrained to a narrow channel by their draft have the right of way. (This is really a special case of restricted manoeuvrability).
Fishing vessels. Vessels engaged in fishing (this means towing nets, etc., not people with a pole off the back end) have the right of way. (Again, this is a special case of restricted manoeuvrability).
Sailing vessel underway. Sailboats have the right of way over powerboats.
Power-driven vessel underway. Powerboats are near the bottom, but have right of way over:
Seaplanes. Seaplanes must avoid everybody else.
Red sky at morning,
Sailors take warning.
Red sky at night,
Small scale, small detail; large scale, large detail.
A spar used to give shape to the bottom of any sail. If you don't watch out, it'll hit you in the head, and you'll hear a loud boom.
The forwardmost, lowest part of a triangular sail. Just remember that the tack is where the sail is tacked (attached) to the boat, usually by some sort of shackle. Not to be confused with the other meaning of the word, which has to do with the relationship of the sailboat to the wind.
The aftmost, lowest part of a triangular sail. Expert sailors make all sorts of adjustments to a sail, but beginners can adjust the clew to catch the wind even if they don't have a clue about the finer points of sail trim.
The leading (forward) part of a sail, the part closest to the wind. If you adjust the sail improperly, it will flap, which is called luffing, and the luff is the part which luffs first. (Got that?)
The trailing (aft) part of a sail, the part where the wind exits. When the sail is adjusted properly, the wind will cling to the aft edge like a leech.
Andy Oliver also points out that "leech" is a corruption of "lee edge" (say it fast).
Any structural member that supports a sail or helps to maintain a sail's shape (e.g., the mast or the boom).