Boats include pleasure crafts of various kinds and types, as well as motorboats such as speedboats, runabouts, cabin cruisers, and outboards, steam yachts, sailing yachts or sailboats (with or without auxiliary engines), rowboats, and canoes.
In the eyes of law, navigation for recreation and pleasure and navigation for commercial purposes are of equal importance. Small crafts and large steamers have the same rights to navigate navigable or public waters. Each one owes the other the duty of observing due care so as to avoid injuring the other, and injury resulting from the violation of this duty, whether intentional or through negligence, carries with it the legal responsibility of covering damages.
Under the rules of navigation, there is no legal distinction between vessels operated for pleasure and those operated for profit, between large boats and small ones, or between those with a numerous crew and those operated by one man, and the very smallness of a boat or the fact that it is a pleasure craft does not entitle the owner or operator thereof to cast all the burdens of avoiding collision on a larger vessel. However, the relative size and maneuverability of boats may be taken into consideration in determining fault in a collision. Moreover, large, fast, and powerful vessels have a duty not to travel upon navigable waters at a speed that will produce displacement waves or suction and cause injury to other properly handled craft. The operators of the larger vessel are required to avoid such risk by ceasing normal operation of their vessel until the smaller boat has passed outside the danger zone.