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Guidelines For Boaters - The Dos & Don'ts


  • assist any boat in distress.
  • slow down when passing dredgers or water areas where divers may be working.
  • slow down when making sharp turns or in bad weather.
  • slow down, or give a wide berth, when passing small craft.
  • learn the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  • carry distress signals, especially when operating at night.
  • keep your boat clean. Oil in the bilges or dirty rags are a fire hazard.
  • familiarize yourself with the limitations of your boat.
  • carry an anchor and sufficient length of cable or rope.
  • where practicable, join a boat club and keep yourself fully up-to-date with all the regulation.
  • get yourself familiar with the Traffic Separation Schemes in Hong Kong waters and try to stay clear of fairways when large vessels are using them.
  • take note of the latest tropical cyclone information and related announcements broadcasted on radio / TV and given on the Hong Kong Observatory's Internet website and Dial-a-Weather system (Tel.: No.: 1878 200).
  • keep to the outer limit of fairways and narrow channels which lies on your starboard side.
  • keep the licence number of your boat well painted and unobstructed. If you have a mooring, keep it under repair and make sure the number is clearly visible.
  • watch for Marine Department Notices and Notices to Mariners which appears in the web site of Marine Department.
  • carry charts of the areas in which you are operating.
  • stop immediately if the signal "L" (._..)is made to you by light, sound or flag from a Government or Police launch and wait for instructions.
  • learn all important International and Local signals by their flag codes and in some cases in Morse code equivalents where such signals can be made by sound.
  • pass close to another craft when underway.
  • pass closer than 100 metres from the shore or piers in the Victoria Harbour.
  • stand up or change seats in a small boat, particularly when the boat is full.
  • mix liquor and boating.
  • use a leaky or poorly built boat.
  • operate near swimmers.
  • cruise at a fast speed near smaller boats, the wash caused could well capsize them or cause damage to the boat or injuries to its occupants.
  • leave the tiller or helm unattended, especially when in crowded waters.
  • throw refuse into the sea.
  • sound your horn unnecessarily.
  • wait until last minute before following the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  • anchor near other boats so that they are inconvenienced.
  • drop anchor, fish or in anyway make connection with the seabed in areas marked on your charts as "Cable Area", "Cable Reserve" or similar notation.
  • exceed the speed limit in Typhoon Shelter which is five knots (jogging speed).

Speed Restricted Zones For Vessels

Speed restricted zones for all vessels is established by the Marine Department to ensure safety of navigation in Hong Kong waters. Details may refer to Speed Limits of Vessels within Hong Kong Waters (PDF).

  1. Before taking a trip, check that you have all the necessary equipment and that it is workable.
  2. Do not carry more people on your boat than your licence allows.
  3. Check the latest weather report. Fog, rain and wind coupled with rough seas are your enemies. If you are in any doubt - don't go.
  4. Study the charts to learn the hazards: submerged rocks, strong tides, ocean traffic, fishing obstructions, etc.
  5. Remember large vessels cannot take rapid action to avoid collision and fishing vessels may have gear out which could foul your propeller.
  6. You should leave with these thoughts firmly fixed in your mind:
    I will be alert.
    I will be cautious.
    I will be seamanlike.
    I will be courteous and considerate to other boat users.