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Old 07-06-2014, 11:13 AM   #1
refugio's Avatar
City: Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Refugio
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 1,118
Pennsylvania Rule

Richard Rodriguez's Bitter End blog mentioned the "Changes to the Inland Navigation Rules" to (in part) align them closer to the COLREGS, which is a pretty interesting read since it contained comments and the Coast Guard's response. One of those comments said:
"Lastly, we recognize that our use of
the phrase ‘‘other electronic equipment’’
in 83.07(b) might have had unintended
consequences in light of the
Pennsylvania Rule. Specifically, in
litigation following a collision, the
Pennsylvania Rule as applied to the
proposed language could potentially
have been used to shift the burden onto
a navigational watch officer to prove
that his or her failure to employ every
electronic device in the wheelhouse did
not cause the collision. Our intent in
proposing the phrase ‘‘other electronic
equipment’’ in 83.07(b) was to require
a navigational watch officer to utilize
equipment such as the Automatic
Identification System (AIS) to determine
whether the risk of collision exists.
Paragraph (a) of Rule 7 ( 83.07)
achieves this purpose, without the
unintended consequences discussed
above, by only requiring officers to use
those available means ‘‘appropriate to
the prevailing circumstances and
conditions. . . .’’
I wasn't familiar with the Pennsylvania Rule (named after the ship, not the state). There are lots of resources online, and I found this article useful in explaining it.

After reading about this Pennsylvania Rule, I have new respect for the provisions of the Nav Rules / COLREGS with respect to equipment like lights, whistles, radar, et cetera.

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Old 07-06-2014, 11:39 AM   #2
psneeld's Avatar
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 12,721
The beauty of the legal system here in the uS at least...whatever side has the takes an atomic blast to shift it back the other way.

A great example is me in my little assistance towboat running the intracoastal in daylight and unlimited visability.

The boat is fitted with radar so the USCG has pretty much gone on the record that I need to use it to avoid a collision and what possible harm could it be.

Well...coming from the land of "bureaucrats" whose main experience comes from running offshore in large cutters for the most part (the people that make the rules)....the harm is that if I turn the RADAR on and tune it to pick up what I'm likely to miss visually...I would be adjusting the gain every time I went by a cluster of homes . When this happens, the RADAR pretty much saturates the screen in the auto mode or with the gain set high enough to pick up that errant intracoastal swimmer's head or the guy in the black lifejacket in the camo kayak with no other visual marker pointing straight at me and is hard to see even when staring straight at him.

Sure I could cruise the ICW in my assistance boat like I cruise along at 6 knots in my trawler...but the "market" won't bear that. Telling someone I'm over 2 hrs away instead of 45 minutes would put many out of business over a conehead safety rule that should be superseded by the simple language already in the COLREGs (for the prevailing circumstances and conditions".

If I'm stopping every couple of minutes to fiddle with the RADAR or I cruise along "distracted driving" playing with gain...I'm WAYYYY more likely to run over someone than just leaving the RADAR off or I wouldn't need it because I'll be looking for another job.

So what's a captain to reasonable or follow the USCG's advice so he doesn't wind up bankrupt from some insane lawsuit?

o now confused...I'll have to wait for the next couple of serious marine incidents to see which way the legal wind is blowing

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Old 07-06-2014, 12:32 PM   #3
ancora's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,354
Tried to muddle my way through it all, but my head started to hurt. How's about they put out a condensed version in English?
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