Originally Posted by psneeld
I used to teach captains licensing.... and usually the USCG, company and convention would spout off "right of way" doesn't really apply in the Navrules. Except where specifically noted.
Well I also taught boating safety to complete newbies for a lot longer and decades of hands on training too.
The arguing of "right of way" whether an appropriate term or not is really just flypoop or fancy words to be argued academically. Just like going though an intersection where the other guy had the stop sign so you just go ahead and T-bone him....I don't think that flies either when witnesses said you could have easily stopped.
Sure all parties are responsible for being "reasonable" and following the rules....but absolutes never really apply all that much in real life. Much of the boating on the ICW has little in common with applying the Navrules to the letter as there's a bunch of "other factors" that always seem to be present.
So yes, there's little in the way of "right of way"...yet the basic concept still applies as much as a lot of other things....especially when tying to talk with most boaters due to their understanding of the Navrules.
In Driver's Training, we were shown a tombstone. It read, "I had the right of way."
The point is obvious, safe driving and safe boating depend on all to take precautions, to drive responsibly, to look out for others and to drive defensively. On the road, someone pulls out in front of me where they shouldn't, I slow or stop. On the water, the fact that I know the rules better than others might could, in fact, lead to me making a huge mistake if I didn't temper it. Just as driving a car, I assume every motorist coming out of a side street is going to pull out in front of me, when at the helm of a boat, I assume every boat I see may do the wrong thing. It's not just the more complicated regs, but it's basic rules of the road. How often has a boat just pulled across in front of you, forcing you to tak action to avoid an accident. Last time we were home on the ICW there was a boat that apparently thought they were in the UK and were supposed to stay on the left side of the road. We saw at least 6 other boats take measures to avoid them. A few months ago we saw a boat taking it's half out of the middle pretty much. However, they were on the radio apologizing in advance and making sure it was ok for them to maintain their course. Turns out they'd lost their steering and were using their twin throttles to control their boat and thrusters for correction. As they approached the marina everyone gave them way and prepared to help. We jumped in tenders and they threw us lines. We were barely needed as they did an excellent job docking to the applause of many.
The biggest mistake a captain can make is assuming every other operator out there won't make a mistake and will follow all the rules. Avoiding accidents is everyone's responsibility.