Boating Tips: Bridge Right of Way

Welcome to Boating Tips with MarineMax! Knowing the rules of the water is important for safety and to have better days out boating. Here, Captain Nick breaks down bridge right of way. Ask your questions, make comments, and learn a thing or two about your favorite outdoor activity.

Who Has the Right of Way?

You’re out boating enjoying a day on the water, you are coming up to a draw bridge and right at that moment, you notice another boat that is doing the same from the opposite direction. Who goes?

This might seem awkward and stressful, but don’t worry - it’s really simple!

When two boats are approaching each other from opposite directions of a bridge, the boat that has the right of way is the boat that has the current to their stern. This is because when the current is running behind you, it is essentially “pushing you forward” and you have less control over your vessel. For this reason, you must yield to the vessel with the current at (flowing toward) their bow.

Other Rules of the Water

Want to learn more on bridges? We have resources that teach you things like how to hail a bridge and also how to safely pass through

When you buy your boat with MarineMax, you’ll receive a free New Owner’s Orientation where you will receive a ton of valuable instruction and information to make boating even better. If you have any questions about the rules of the water or other boating related questions, feel free to contact your local MarineMax, we’re always happy to help. See you out there.


You can see or hear more episodes of Boating Tips and our sister podcast, From the Helm Boating Broadcast, on The MarineMax Blog, accessible on the website or via mobile phone through the MarineMax App. You can also access more episodes on Amazon, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcast news. See you out on the water! 

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