Navigation Rules: Right of way

A conversation among Whalers
drewread
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Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby drewread » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:13 pm

Dutchman wrote:These bulk carrier here on the fresh water lakes always amaze me. Some people don't know that we have these 1,000 ft ships roam these waters. I always give the the right of way no matter if the "rules" say I have the right of way and no matter if I'm in my 32ft sailboat or my 15ft Whaler.]

Source: another thread on a completely different topic.

The rules say that you would never have the right of way, in any direction, around a ship of that size in either of your boats... ;)

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Tue Feb 23, 2016 7:46 pm

The navigation rules do not grant any vessel "the right of way." The rules just dictate the proper actions when two vessels meet in various situations. The only place in the navigation rules where the phrase "right of way" occurs is quoted below. Note that the quoted passage informs that vessel must NOT presume they have "the right of way."

Vessels using the identification light signal during public safety
activities must abide by the Inland Navigation Rules, and must not presume that the
light or the exigency gives them precedence or right of way.

Source: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navrules/handbook/cg_nav_rules_20140910.pdf page 137

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby JRP » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:37 pm

drewread wrote:The rules say that you would never have the right of way, in any direction, around a ship of that size in either of your boats... ;)

Are you saying that a sailboat can never be the stand-on vessel when encountering "a ship of that size"? If so, please provide a citation to the rule or rules which state that "a ship of that size" is never required to alter course and/or speed to avoid a sailboat that is the stand-on vessel.

Rule #9b, the "constrained by draft" rule, is an exception that only applies under limited circumstances, e.g. narrow channels and fairways. So we know it's not that rule.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:18 pm

Are you saying that a sailboat can never be the stand-on vessel when encountering "a ship of that size"?


The phrase "stand on vessel" is never used in the navigation rules. According to the navigation rules there is no such vessel as the "stand on vessel."

It would be great to discuss the rules, but we are going to have to actually discuss concepts that are in the rules. Neither "right of way" or "stand on vessel" are embodied in the rules.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby JRP » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:36 am

jimh wrote:The phrase "stand on vessel" is never used in the navigation rules.According to the navigation rules there is no such vessel as the "stand on vessel."

It would be great to discuss the rules, but we are going to have to actually discuss concepts that are in the rules. Neither "right of way" or "stand on vessel" are embodied in the rules.



Yes, it would be great to discuss the rules. But before wading into this discussion and adding more blatantly incorrect statements to the one originally posted at the beginning of this thread, please take the time to read the rules carefully. It's important to understand all the rules and their interplay, but you should probably begin with:

"Rule 17 Action by Stand-On Vessels"

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby cc378 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:19 am

I have to agree that misquoting the "rules of the road" on this site with an athoratatvie voice does a true disservice to the value of the information on this site..... I could imagine that a significant number of newer boaters read this site and would mistake this misinformation for facts..

My point of view as a licensed captain is as follows: Of course there is a well documented construct of a stand-on vessel. What I might interpret from the author's suggestion that a 30ish foot sailboat or a 15 whaler would always have to give way to a 1000' ship is actually based on the rules of manuverability and draft. It is fair to assume that the ship will have a deeper draft and a lesser ability to maneuver. For these reasons she is the vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver and as a result becomes the stand-on vessel even when compared to the sailboat.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:23 am

The best source of information about the rules comes from the rules. The opinions of individuals about what the rules say can make for interesting discussion, but will always be secondary to the rules. The "stand on vessel" is such in name only, and the phrase appears only as a heading and in the table of contents, not in the actual rules, nor is there any definition of such a vessel. The rules do not provide for any vessel to maintain its course no matter what happens.

Quoting the actual rules is appropriate. Let's review the mentioned Rule 17:

(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds
herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel
alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.


The above rule clearly does not give any vessel the "right of way" to to "stand on" when encountering another vessel. All vessels have to take action, if necessary, to avoid collision.

RULE 3 gives the definitions for terms. Note there is no definition of "stand on vessel."

RULE 3 also clearly delineates the meaning of a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver and a vessel constrained by her draft.

A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver gains that status only through the nature of her work, not from her size or draft. Please read the definition. A large vessel simply underway does not gain any special status.

Similarly, a vessel constrained by her draft can only occur when water width or depth is limited. In deep and open water, a large vessel simply underway does not gain any special status.

RULE 8 also mentions the necessity to avoid collision, and seems to go to some length to avoid using the phrase "stand on vessel":

A vessel the passage of which is not to be impeded remains fully obliged to
comply with the Rules of Subpart B (Rules 4-19) when the two vessels are
approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:47 am

cc378 wrote:...My point of view...is as follows:...that a 30ish foot sailboat or a 15 whaler would always have to give way to a 1000' ship is actually based on the rules of maneuverability and draft. It is fair to assume that the ship will have a deeper draft and a lesser ability to maneuver. For these reasons she is the vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver and as a result becomes the stand-on vessel even when compared to the sailboat.


You can have that point of view, but it is not expressed in the Rules. A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver is a defined category, and such a vessel must be doing some work, not just sailing along. You don't get that status just by being a large vessel. RULE 3 explicitly list several examples of a working vessel.

And, again, there is no defined term "stand-on vessel", it is just a heading to one of the Rules, not the rule itself.

But, as a practical matter, I agree that when a 18-foot outboard boat encounters a 1,000-footer, it would be most expedient and practical for the 18-footer to keep out of the way of the 1,000-footer, even though there might be nothing in the Navigation Rules that requires the 18-footer to do that.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:02 am

As I recall, many years ago the terms used in the Navigation Rules were changed to better reflect the absence of any special status to stand-on or possess right of way. The old terms were privileged vessel and burdened vessel. Those descriptors were remove from the rules, probably to reduce this notion that certain vessels had been granted a privilege to hold their course no matter what, and to reduce the notion that the burden to avoid collision was only upon one vessel in a meeting situation. The present Navigation Rules go to great length to avoid imparting a sense of "right" or "privilege" to any boat to "stand on" its course.

When two vessels are in sight of each other and a risk of collision exists, each vessel is expected to follow certain actions to avoid collision. The notion that one of the vessels should initially take the action of holding its course and speed is there so that the interaction of two vessels is not a random situation where neither vessel has any expectation of what the other should do. In all meeting situations between two vessels in which a risk of collision exits, one of the vessels is expected to alter course and the other is expected to maintain course as their initial action. But neither vessel has the right of way over the other, and neither vessel is permitted to maintain its course no matter what the other vessel does. All vessels have to take action to avoid collision.

As someone who has carefully read and studied the Navigation Rules, that is my point of view. It has no value in any actual collision. But no one else who is participating in this discussion has any better authority. It is just a discussion of opinions. If your vessel collides with another, none of us will render legal judgement--unless one of us happens to be a judge in the Federal District Courts of the U.S.A. or the Admiralty Court of other nations, or possibly in a jury in a state court if certain rules apply.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby cc378 » Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:27 pm

So perhaps this is just a silly discussion on a winter day when many of us can not get out on our Whalers.. My POV is the best way to confirm that you have an understanding of the regulations and rules to safety operate a vessel is to get your captions license..

I am looking forward to Spring :)

End of my contributions to a really silly thread..

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:05 pm

Just my humble opinion, some of the rules we try and follow.

Rule Y "He who has the most tonnage usually wins"

Rule Z "You can be dead right to the rules, but you could still be dead"
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby Dutchman » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:55 pm

cc378 wrote:My point of view as a licensed captain is as follows: Of course there is a well documented construct of a stand-on vessel. What I might interpret from the author's suggestion that a 30ish foot sailboat or a 15 whaler would always have to give way to a 1000' ship is actually based on the rules of maneuverability and draft. It is fair to assume that the ship will have a deeper draft and a lesser ability to maneuver. For these reasons she is the vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver and as a result becomes the stand-on vessel even when compared to the sailboat.


Nothing wrong with those two phrases and maritime law isn't that clear, even the rules aren't, as interpreted differently by many lawyers. When I'm crossing the navigation lines in the middle of Lake Michigan (draw a line from Manitou Island(s) to Chicago) that 500ft or 1,000ft boat is in 300ft deep water 20 miles wide and not in a limited channel and therefore my AIS equiped 32ft sailing vessel (no power) alone could (depending on bearing and interception) have to be "given way" to, but as I meant to say in the OP I'll Give Way even if I'm the Stand-On vessel, because tonnage rules (maneuverable or not).

We all seem to understand the rules and as Captain cc378 said it's winter here and we want to boat. I must log hours in bigger boats this summer to get that CL, enough said we're boaters not lawyers.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby drewread » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:39 pm

Well, talk about taking a comment based on common sense and common practice and blowing it out of proportion.

Regardless of the actual Maritime Law and rules of navigation, I dare you to sail your boat in front of one of those Lakers and expect it to give way. Personally my life and the life of my passengers is substantially more important than crossing in front of one of those due to my righteousness in my "Right of Way" knowledge.

As far as I am concerned they are 'restricted in their ability to maneuver' simply due to their size and tonnage, and I have always treated them as such, and have been taught since my first day on the water to treat them as such.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:32 pm

cc378 wrote:My POV is the best way to confirm that you have an understanding of the regulations and rules to safety operate a vessel is to get your captions license..


I don't think you need a license to write a caption.

Good seamanship requires attention to details.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:56 pm

drewread wrote:Well, talk about taking a comment based on common sense and common practice and blowing it out of proportion.


Sorry, but your first comment was this:

The rules say that you would never have the right of way, in any direction, around a ship of that size...


What stirred the pot was your insistence that "the rules say that..." The dispute is over what the rules say, not whether it is common sense or common practice for a small outboard boat to keep out of the way of a 1,000-footer.

I have tried to demonstrate that the rules do not say what you suggested they say. The rules really never give size or tonnage a special treatment. There would never have been much discussion if you had not begun by saying "the rules say" something that the rules do not say.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:03 am

porthole wrote:Just my humble opinion, some of the rules we try and follow.

Rule Y "He who has the most tonnage usually wins"

Rule Z "You can be dead right to the rules, but you could still be dead"


Yes, good practical rules to follow.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:32 am

cc378 wrote:So perhaps this is just a silly discussion on a winter day when many of us can not get out on our Whalers.. My POV is the best way to confirm that you have an understanding of the regulations and rules to safety operate a vessel is to get your captions license..

I am looking forward to Spring :)

End of my contributions to a really silly thread..


I don't find these discussion to be silly. They often draw out quite interesting information. They may expose misconceptions.

As for getting a USCG Master's License, it may or may not document familiarity with the rules. There are plenty of collisions between boats operated by captains holding a USCG Master's License. Also, Master's licenses come in various ratings and for various waters. There are ratings for six-passenger uninspected vessels, and there are ratings for all tonnages, all oceans. That is a big range of authority for the holder of "a captions license" (sic).

By the way, about ten years ago I was quite serious about getting a ticket. I have held a few federal licenses in other areas for many years, and I figured I might as well get a USCG Master's License. I was aiming for a 50-Ton rating for the Great Lakes. I was just about done with all the paperwork when Homeland Security took over the USCG and changed the rules. They instituted a requirement to also hold a Transportation Worker's ID card, get fingerprinted and into a federal database, and pass a background checking by a federal law enforcement agency. That was just too much nonsense and added expense for me.

I believe Homeland Security later rescinded most of that, and you can now hold a Master's License without being investigated by the FBI and all the other rigamarole. I also realized that even though I had meet all the qualifications to obtain a Master's License from the USCG, I probably could not meet the necessary time at sea needed to renew the license. Nor did I anticipate ever actually gaining full-time employment with the license. All I was going to do with the license was frame it. However, the time I spent studying the navigation rules was a good investment in increasing my own knowledge and seamanship, as was the medical emergency and CPR training I underwent.

Hat's off to anyone with a 50-Ton or higher Master's License that has actually been renewed once or twice, and who actually works in the maritime industry. It is quite a crazy business, from what I have heard, read, and seen.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby Hoosier » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:00 pm

Jim, You couldn't have used the license anyway, Whaler doesn't make a 50 ton boat... ;-)
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby Dutchman » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:43 am

Hoosier wrote:Jim, You couldn't have used the license anyway, Whaler doesn't make a 50 ton boat... ;-)


YEA BUT A SIX PACK IS NICE TO HAVE TO RUN A WHALER OR ANY PLEASURE BOAT.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:55 pm

AFAIK the USCG no longer confers or grants a "license" and it never conferred a "captain's" license, no matter how you spell it.

They did grant you a nice piece of paper called a license that was qualified with the actual rating, e.g. OUPV, mate, master etc.
Whatever your rating was, [what the USCG gave you] was not a license, it was Master or mate [credential or certificate]
Not sure about the mate endorsement, that might have changed with the rest of the terminology when they did away with a piece of paper "license" and started issuing passport type booklets known as a MMC, Merchant Mariner's Credential.

I know these changed some, but this is what I have gone by since my first [credential] in 1990.

Tonnage and geographical limitations [are] the geographical limitation [which] used to be based on your actual area of experience, but [these] were changed to just any waters, domestic near coastal.

OUPV (operator of uninspected passenger vessel) [requires] 360 days sea time, [and is] commonly referred to as a "six pack license" because you were limited to carrying six or less passengers on a vessel that was not inspected by the USCG.

Mate [requires] 360 days sea time, and authorizes [the holder] to be in command of an OUPV or second-in-command of an inspected vessel

Master [authorizes the holder to be] first-in-command of an inspected vessel up to the tonnage rating.

You can roughly equate a 100-ton limit to your average New Jersey head boat carrying 12 to 100-passengers.

[Transportation worker identify cards or] TWIC's are no longer required If you will not be subject to any secured port or designated secure area.
When the TWIC first came out it was a requirement for new or renewal MMC. The USCG eventually relaxed the requirements and issued a policy letter exempting the requirement if you had no other reason to need it, such as a charter boat operator.

Coast Guard Policy Letter 11-15
https://www.uscg.mil/nmc/twic/pdfs/twic_809_policy_letter.pdf

Jim mentioned the requirement for a 50-ton ticket. If you had enough time on the ContinuousWave motor vessel, you could have applied and received a Master, Great Lakes 25 ton [rating]. You do your five years of operation "within the scope" of your MMC (25 tons or less) and you would receive an upgrade to 50-tons just for the asking on your renewal. Same with the next renewal. Although that would require X amount of days on board a 25 to 50 ton vessel.

And to clarify, the USCG's definition of ton-tonnage, it has nothing to do with weight. It is a measurement of below deck storage space.
For example, my 42 Post Sportfisher was a USCG documented a 30 ton vessel, but it only weighed 18,000 pounds.

jimh wrote:As for getting a USCG Master's License, it may or may not document familiarity with the rules. There are plenty of collisions between boats operated by captains holding a USCG Master's License. Also, Master's licenses come in various ratings and for various waters. There are ratings for six-passenger uninspected vessels, and there are ratings for all tonnages, all oceans. That is a big range of authority for the holder of "a captions license" (sic).


Sitting for the test means nothing more then you passed the (30 questions) Rules of the Road section at a 90-percent correct or better. Although to actually pass that test under the pressure of a USCG officer watching over you, usually meant you had to be able to practice test at 100-percent. Anyone with a new first-issued [rating] probably is on top of their rules knowledge, for a period of time.

There are four modules to the exam and their passing grades:
--Rules of the Road 90%
--Deck General 70%
--Navigation 70%
--Plotting 70%

Plotting can be fun or a nightmare, you have to know set and drift among other things.

jimh wrote:...I also realized that even though I had meet all the qualifications to obtain a Master's License from the USCG, I probably could not meet the necessary time at sea needed to renew the license. Nor did I anticipate ever actually gaining full-time employment with the license. All I was going to do with the license was frame it. However, the time I spent studying the navigation rules was a good investment in increasing my own knowledge and seamanship, as was the medical emergency and CPR training I underwent.


Your renewal sea time has changed as well. If you do not have the required sea time at time of renewal, you can sit for an open book test, which is mailed to you. You mail it back when finished. And you have 90 days to complete the tests.
The renewal tests are Master or Mate NMT 200GT, any waters refresher (20 questions) and Rules of the Road any appropriate tonnage, international and inland (30 questions). Both tests require a passing score of 90 or better.

First aid and CPR is only required at the initial issuance. For renewals only if it is deemed necessary for your industry.
Last edited by porthole on Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:52 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:02 pm

There are several endorsements that can be added on for the pleasure of taking an endorsement test. Sail and commercial assistance towing are two that come to mind.

Commercial assistance towing is for the guys you see on TowBoatUS and Sea Toe for example. Although at one time it might possibly get you on with some tug work, the tug stuff has become very difficult to obtain. A "master of towing" has a lot of requirements to get, probably up there with harbor pilot requirements.

Something I found odd when I took the towing endorsement, although the goal was to be able to tow pleasure boats with TowBoatUS (small stuff), the actual test was 20 questions of ocean going tug and barge stuff. Of which 3 of the 20 questions were given to you because the exam had the wrong answers.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby msirof2001 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:46 pm

The "law" I follow is the law of physics. I have encountered a lot of sailboats who seem to have no objection to t-boning other boats because they feel their right of way is more important than avoiding a collision. Like "go ahead and make my day". The reason we have courts is to look at laws, circumstances and facts. I think if someone does an illegal maneuver because it was safer to do so in the circumstances, I think a judge would rule in favor of safety. I think the basis of right-of-way laws is a boat's maneuverability. Power can maneuver (avoid collision) better than sail. While a tanker is a power boat, it cannot maneuver as nimbly as a small craft. Maybe not as well as a sailboat either. Written law or not, and including the law of physics, tanker wins, I'll give the right of way.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:23 pm

Duane--That is all interesting information. Thanks for contributing. Information like that that is why I don't consider this thread to be "silly."

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:52 pm

Now that I have learned that I don't need a transportation workers Identity card (TWIC), an FBI check, and to have my fingerprints on file with the federal government in order to get Master Mariner's Credentials, and that I don't have to spend two years at sea in the next five to keep them, the thought of getting certified or accredited or licensed as a master mariner is more reasonable than it was the last time I was thinking about it.

As for chart plotting, I can do that in my sleep. I spent years plotting our sailboat's DR track across Lake Huron when we had no LORAN and never even heard of GPS.

By the way, it is quite enjoyable and nostalgic to pull out some 25-year-old paper charts and look at all the DR tracks plotted on them. It brings back a lot of memories. I have drawer full of old paper charts that I don't plan to throw out (yet).

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:21 am

I have had [a] TWIC since they were first issued. And even though this is a government issued ID, I have yet to be able to use it at a "transportation hub" as an ID, e.g. airport.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:24 am

Something to keep in mind with the rules of the road (silly moniker there) and right of way etc.

In every serious marine incident where the USCG will be performing an investigation, if two or more vessels are involved, a percentage of fault will be found with all the vessels involved when the investigation has concluded.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:48 am

According to material posted on several USCG cites, the primary purpose of a USCG accident investigations is:

...to ascertain the cause or causes of an accident, casualty, or personnel behaviors to determine if remedial measures should be taken and to determine whether any violation of Federal Law or Regulation has occurred. The results of such investigations play a major role in changing current and developing new laws and regulations, as well as implementing new technologies in areas of U.S. Coast Guard concern.


These sources also state:

The Investigations Division carries out all the statutorily mandated investigations of commercial vessel casualties and reports of violation that require a determination for apparent cause and culpability (fault).


Compare at: http://www.uscg.mil/d13/sectpugetsound/investigations/ and elsewhere.

Note the emphasis on commercial vessel casualties.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:35 am

porthole wrote:Rule Z "You can be dead right to the rules, but you could still be dead"



Fishing Boat Hits Large Sailing Ship In Good Visibility

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a6a_1373154960
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Sat Feb 27, 2016 2:01 pm

You don't have to go farther than Lake Michigan and the sad tale of the fishing tug LINDA-E to find a case of a collision where apparently one or both boats was failing to maintain a proper look out. For an account of this tragedy see

http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg545/docs/d ... Lindae.pdf

In particular, see page 9, where the investigation finds paint markings on the bow and hull of large commercial ship that match the paint used on the hull of the sunken LINDA-E fishing vessel.

For the appropriate rule, see RULE 5 (source cited far above). It says:

Rule 5
Look-out
§ 83.05
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as
well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and
conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Sat Feb 27, 2016 3:58 pm

Since I am into the whole wreck thing both as a sport diver and doing search and recovery. I thought [the LINDA-E story] sounded familiar. This link is the updated report and conclusion from the USCG after the Linda E had been found and surveyed with a ROV

http://www.offsoundings.com/WEB%20PDF/LINDA_E_(2).pdf

Page 23 alludes to what I said above, fault was found with both vessels.

Story on how the family got the search continued.

http://www.milwaukeemag.com/2008/01/31/ ... HELINDA_E/
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby fno » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:19 pm

Duane, thanks for the concise information about USCG ratings and the efforts needed to obtain (earn) them. Like you, I run a boat and also dive. I really do not see the value in having a USCG captains rating for the average recreational boater. In many situations, that rating will become a liability even if it is a simple matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not that anyone is exempt from liability without a rating, it's that a rated seaman is responsible for almost everyone and everything within his control on a boat or near the water. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:07 pm

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the term "Right of Way." Perhaps we can let the Coast Guard speak on this topic by quoting from their frequently asked questions section on Navigation Rules. In case anyone thinks there is some sort of "misquoting" of the rules, you can see the original material at

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesFAQ#0.3_5

Here's the USCG on "Right of Way" in the Navigation Rules:

5. Who has the "right of way" on the water?

The Navigation Rules convey a right-of-way only in one particular circumstance: to power-driven vessels proceeding downbound with a following current in narrow channels or fairways of the Great Lakes , Western Rivers, or other waters specified by regulation (Inland Rule 9(a)(ii)). Otherwise, power-driven vessels are to keep out of the way (Rule 18) and either give-way (Rule 16) or stand-on (Rule 17) to vessels not under command or restricted in their ability to maneuver, sailing vessels or vessels engaged in fishing, and, similarly vessels should avoid impeding the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draft (Rule 18), navigating a narrow channel (Rule 9) or traffic separation scheme (Rule 10). The Rules do not grant privileges they impose responsibilities and require precaution under all conditions and circumstances [emphasis added]; no Rule exonerates any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2). Neglect, among other things, could be not maintaining a proper look-out (Rule 5), use of improper speed (Rule 6), not taking the appropriate actions to determine and avoid collision (Rule 7 & 8) or completely ignoring your responsibilities under the Rules.

Note, a power driven vessel means any vessel propelled by machinery; regardless of the machinery being used or not.


I hope that by quoting the USCG on their answer to the "Right of Way" question that readers will gain a greater appreciation of the Navigation Rules (even if their answer has run-on sentences and lacks some punctuation).

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:24 pm

You have to know the rules, but common sense should prevail. If some sailboter wants to place chicken with a VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) coming into New York harbor, well good luck.

Like I said above, you can be dead right, but you still could be dead.
Last edited by porthole on Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:04 pm

fno wrote:Duane, thanks for the concise information about USCG ratings and the efforts needed to obtain (earn) them. Like you, I run a boat and also dive. I really do not see the value in having a USCG captains rating for the average recreational boater. In many situations, that rating will become a liability even if it is a simple matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Not that anyone is exempt from liability without a rating, it's that a rated seaman is responsible for almost everyone and everything within his control on a boat or near the water. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.


Personally, I see little value if you never plan to run charters, only liability. Years ago the USCG had no leeway when defining "consideration". A "passenger for hire" [see definition in 46CFR2101--jimh] on the SS Minnow required a credential from the USCG for the operator. Passenger for hire was defined as receiving "consideration" [see definition in 46CFR2101--jimh]. So if you and your wife took out another couple on the SS Minnow for, [let's] say, a three-hour tour around the harbor, and you did not charge your friend, but, your friends brought the lunch and soft drinks to share, that became consideration. And without being credentialed, you were in violation of USCG regulations. So, at one time getting your ticket was beneficial, just so you could go fish with your friends.

So I do agree with you [that is, with fno's comments] on the concern for potential liability.

Years ago just the sitting for the test was tough; heck, the paperwork was almost as bad as the test! [Yes, that is my impression, too--jimh] But now there are so many schools that offer the OUPV (Six Pack) or Master ticket, you take the class and the test and they help you submit the paperwork, you may never see an official USCG officer.

The problem with the schools is they don't teach you how to be a "captain", they only teach you how to take the test. I would venture to say many of the captains coming out along the Jersey shore leave a little to be desired. I would also guess much of the Sea Time that is submitted is false as well. To have 360 days within the last 5 years is an average of 72 days a year, during a season that may only be 6 months and what I figure to be an average of 15-20% blow out days.

Back to Navigation Rules and the right of way: many years ago I was anchored 3.5-miles offshore with four divers in the water and two divers, myself and deck hand on the boat. Proper 1 meter square flags were displayed (diver down and the Alpha). I had one of the local fishing boats coming in from offshore to Manasquan Inlet. I have no doubt they were on autopilot and no one was in the wheel house. Many attempts to hail on 16, 13, 5 and 70 (before the DSC days the commercial boats used 70). I called a Pan Pan and then called the USCG and explained that I was about to be run down and was requesting the station send out a boat.

I was in a real dilemma, cut my line and run and hope for the best for my divers in the water, or stay on station and hope the captain wakes up. I probably got a little excited on the radio and was about to call a Mayday when the boat veered off.

That was in broad daylight, flat calm seas on a Sunday afternoon, a time when there may be 200-boats transiting Manasquan inlet. And, that was not my only close call

I'm certainly no expert, so every season before I start, I get out my rules flash cards and go through them, usually have my wife or daughter give me a test. I also go online and will play around with any of the online rules study guides that I can find by searching. And of course, I keep the Col Regs. on the boat, as they are one of the required items when operating within the scope of your credential.
Last edited by porthole on Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby Dutchman » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:56 am

porthole wrote:In every serious marine incident where the USCG will be performing an investigation, if two or more vessels are involved, a percentage of fault will be found with all the vessels involved when the investigation has concluded.


Right.

And [unclear--perhaps means the finding of fault or cause for a collision with another boat as may be determined by a USCG investigation will] most likely [be] due to not having a "Proper Lookout" on both vessels. Hence don't fall asleep while wind-sailing across a shipping channel at 4 a.m.; the commercial ship look-out might be asleep too.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:04 pm

The code of federal regulations in Title 46 Part 2101 defines the terms mentioned above, as follows:

(5a) “consideration” means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.

(21a) “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel.


While it is interesting to hear personal interpretations of what provisions the Navigation Rules or other federal regulations contain in individual's minds, the best source of information about what the Navigation Rules or federal regulations say is to read the Navigation Rules and the federal regulations themselves, not secondary or personal interpretations of them. The USCG is also a reasonable source for opinions about what the rules say.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:12 am

jimh wrote:The code of federal regulations in Title 46 Part 2101 defines the terms mentioned above, as follows:

(5a) “consideration” means an economic benefit, inducement, right, or profit including pecuniary payment accruing to an individual, person, or entity, but not including a voluntary sharing of the actual expenses of the voyage, by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies.

(21a) “passenger for hire” means a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a condition of carriage on the vessel, whether directly or indirectly flowing to the owner, charterer, operator, agent, or any other person having an interest in the vessel.


While it is interesting to hear personal interpretations of what provisions the Navigation Rules or other federal regulations contain in individual's minds, the best source of information about what the Navigation Rules or federal regulations say is to read the Navigation Rules and the federal regulations themselves, not secondary or personal interpretations of them. The USCG is also a reasonable source for opinions about what the rules say.


My comments above were not my personal opinions. I did edit and add a bit of emphasis to suggest my comments were related to past practice.

Where did I get my info on "consideration"?

In 1975 a group of dive boats got together and formed the Eastern Dive Boat Association. The EDBA grew from a group of New York and New Jersey dive boats. One of many things the association did was to get a definition of what constitutes a charter boat operation, whether inspected or un-inspected.
Mostly this came about because of the proliferation on small dive boats with the advent of affordable and easy to use LORAN C navigation devices, and the resulting uneasiness with inspected boat owners dealing with the various aspects (think $$$).

My description of supplying lunch and drinks above came directly from the Captain of The Port, NY, USCG after being petitioned on the subject (mid 1980's).

FWIIW, I believe it is more then just a coincidence that the CFR now deliberately mentions "by monetary contribution or donation of fuel, food, beverage, or other supplies."

jimh wrote: the Navigation Rules and the federal regulations themselves, not secondary or personal interpretations of them. The USCG is also a reasonable source for opinions about what the rules say.


The CFR's, Navigation Rules, federal regulations et all, are all black and white, but when they are subject to interpretation or "plain meaning", they get challenged and then we get rulings, administrative codes, statutes annotated etc.

As far as the USCG being a reasonable source of "opinions" about the rules, they are only one source, and that may have little valued information.
Last edited by porthole on Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:43 am

Duane--I think you misinterpreted my remarks. I have been hearing the "story" about chipping-in for gas turning a friendly boat outing into a charter situation for years, and then I find out that there is specific and explicit language in the federal regulations that exempts that circumstance from being considered a charter. That is what I mean about going to the actual rules to find out what they say, not listening to second-hand stories.

As the TOPIC line of this thread indicates, there seems to be a great deal of misconception about terms like "right of way." We've got comments from boaters suggesting that a certain vessel has "right of way," and then, when you read the actual rules, you cannot even find that term defined or used. And when you read the Coast Guard's advice, you find that no vessel is granted a "right of way" except for a very unusual and specific situation involving special circumstances.

The real authorities on the rules are the rules themselves. That's my point.

I did find your anecdotes about east coast divers interesting. And, again, I don't find anything silly about this thread. I think it has excellent information content.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby kmev » Thu Mar 10, 2016 2:09 pm

jimh wrote:Now that I have learned that I don't need a transportation workers Identity card (TWIC), an FBI check, and to have my fingerprints on file with the federal government in order to get Master Mariner's Credentials....the thought of getting certified or accredited or licensed as a master mariner is more reasonable than it was the last time I was thinking about it.


A valid TWIC is no longer required for renewals. It is required for the initial issuance of Master and OUPV licenses.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby porthole » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:10 pm

Jim, I knew where you were coming from, I should have added my extra comments and the additional emphasis on the original reply. That language wasn't there 30 years ago.

jimh wrote:Duane--I think you misinterpreted my remarks. I have been hearing the "story" about chipping-in for gas turning a friendly boat outing into a charter situation for years, and then I find out that there is specific and explicit language in the federal regulations that exempts that circumstance from being considered a charter. That is what I mean about going to the actual rules to find out what they say, not listening to second-hand stories.

As the TOPIC line of this thread indicates, there seems to be a great deal of misconception about terms like "right of way." We've got comments from boaters suggesting that a certain vessel has "right of way," and then, when you read the actual rules, you cannot even find that term defined or used. And when you read the Coast Guard's advice, you find that no vessel is granted a "right of way" except for a very unusual and specific situation involving special circumstances.

The real authorities on the rules are the rules themselves. That's my point.

I did find your anecdotes about east coast divers interesting. And, again, I don't find anything silly about this thread. I think it has excellent information content.


Right of way - ever wonder about divers?

What do the flags mean? The red flag with white diagonal stripe is a non "codified" diver down flag. Some states coded the "dive flag" in their respective state laws, but the feds don't. It doesn't mean much other then a courtesy.

The Blue and white Alpha flag (1 meter and rigid) - daytime - means you are conducting diving operations. Although not specified in the Colregs, it is meant for vessels conducting dive operations with surface supplied divers, not free diving sport divers.
Neither flag gives you the right of way, just a visual request for others to stay away.

And the day and night flags and lights for divers are really meant to protect the vessel, not the divers in the water.

After all, all these rules are for the "International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea"
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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby fno » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:41 am

Duane, I have found your posts well written and informative. I am not going to cite Florida statutes but your description of dive flags is also concise in that the Feds it is courtesy flag. In Florida, the red/white is mandated by law even when snorkelers are in the water. I am also led to believe that it is a violation to display a dive flag while moving under power in Florida. Not sure if the blue/white is even mentioned by Florida's statutes.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby fno » Fri Mar 11, 2016 7:44 am

I forgot to mention that other boaters are required by law to give 300 feet of clearance to a boat displaying a dive flag on open water. The distance is reduced to 100 feet in a river, inlet, or channel.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby jimh » Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:56 am

What happens in Florida if a dive boat anchors in the middle of a narrow fairway, puts up the required signal flags, and puts a group of divers in the water. Then along comes a vessel constrained by her draft. What does that vessel do if it cannot pass 100-feet away from the dive boat and still stay in the fairway?

I suspect that if the larger vessel is operating in waters where the "Col Regs" apply, the Florida state law is ignored.

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Re: Navigation Rules: Right of way

Postby fno » Sat Mar 12, 2016 9:56 am

Jimh, you bring up a good point. In this case, the dive boat would certainly be encouraged to give way and get the divers out of the water. Just like many other states that have robust multilayered law enforcement, Florida's finest would find some citation or "safe boating award" for the operator and possibly his divers. That mostly depends on the stupidity level of the situation and the a$$holishness (new word for dictionary) of the people involved.