Article by Steve Waas, Lic. FL Yacht Broker
There are rules that every captain must follow when encountering other vessels, and these two terms help may explain.
Give-way vessel: The vessel that is required to keep away from other vessels by stopping, slowing, or changing course.
Stand-on vessel: The vessel that must maintain his speed and course unless it is apparent the give-way vessel is not taking appropriate action.
Meeting head-on both vessels are give-way, with both turning to starboard.
Overtaking another vessel, the overtaking vessel is the give-way. The vessel being overtaken is the stand-on vessel.
Paths that cross, the vessel on the operator's port side is the give-way vessel. The vessel on the operator's starboard side is the stand-on vessel.