Boating Basics Online - Basic Boating Safety Course
Chapter 5 - Preparation

Awareness of Environmental Conditions

Leeway

Leeway is caused by wind or current pushing your boat off course. Boats with a large amount of surface area above the waterline (freeboard) will be affected by the wind to a greater degree than low-profile boats. Additionally, boats with a large keel or underwater profile will be affected by current to a greater degree than planing boats with less structure under the water. You should compensate for leeway by steering into wind or current in order to make good a straight course to your destination.

You can visualize leeway by looking back at your wake while on a steady compass heading. If your wake is not following directly behind you, but being set to one side or the other, you are experiencing leeway and should correct your course.

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