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Old 06-29-2020, 01:33 PM   #1
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COLREGS Questions

After yesterday being an absolute madhouse on the water, I'm left with 2 questions to clarify. One situation where I'm pretty sure I had the right answer and one where I'm a bit less sure and the rules don't seem to provide any explicit guidance.

Situation 1 is shown on the annotated chart below. I was doing about 7 kts, green arrow represents my course. Yellow arrows represent overtaking boats at 20+ kts, all of no concern as long as I maintained course, as the one angling across my bow would be well ahead of me and the others were on an approximately parallel course. Red arrow represents a jetski on a reciprocal course to my own, heading directly for my bow as if he never saw me. Based on the traffic and available water around me, the only maneuvering I could have safely done would have been a hard 180* turn to starboard, which seemed like a not-great solution. So when it was clear that the jetski wasn't turning and was still headed directly towards me, I sounded 5 short. He immediately made a hard turn to starboard (with plenty of time to cross the boats passing me, as he was moving fairly fast). Complete with a loudly yelled "sorry!" from the passenger on the jetski.

That situation resolved fine, but I'd like to clarify whether I took the best course of action.

Situation 2 happened in the river while heading back to my slip. This one is much less clear to me. I was doing about 4.5 kts in the channel (full width of the river at that point), so not much room to slow down. A boat exits a marina fairway off my starboard bow and it appears that he's set on crossing in front of me to turn into the channel regardless of traffic (he likely took the attitude of "crossing from stbd, stand on"). He's also going fairly slowly. There was enough room for him to turn inside of me and pass stbd to stbd, but he didn't. I couldn't have turned significantly to starboard within the available space (channel narrows a bit right after the fairway he came out of). Turning to port would have made things worse by the time I was past the opposite direction traffic and had room to do so, as I'm not sure he would have understood to turn and stay to my starboard. So I pulled the engines back to idle, then into neutral (idle is about 4 kts). And kept my hands on the shifters in case I needed to go for reverse. As-is, the guy crossed my bow fairly close, and then turned in extremely close to my port side (with plenty of space to give more distance).

In that second situation, who was actually stand on? Was he, because he was crossing from starboard, or was I, because he was coming out of a marina and should have given way to traffic already in the channel? The last time I was in his position (would have come out in front of another boat into the channel) I stopped and waited in the fairway until it was clear to proceed into the channel.
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Old 06-29-2020, 01:46 PM   #2
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Regarding situation one, you were limited in maneuverability. Standard action to a head-on trajectory would be for both vessels to turn to Starboard, however that presented two problems. You were the stand-on vessel to those overtaking on Stbd and the action would have had you turning into un-navigable water. Therefore you needed to remain the stand-on. The action for the oncoming jetski would have remained the same (turn to Stbd).

In the second situation, I've always felt that if you're entering a channel from a marina, you should become the 'Give Way' vessel, like pulling out of a driveway or merging onto a highway, however there are no provisions for such (to my knowledge) in the Col Regs.

In the circumstance of situation #2, the only action was to slow and eventually stop and give-way. Although I think the other captain was being ridiculous. It would have taken very little effort to pass on your stern, invoking Col Reg #8 (avoid collision). He obviously put himself on a collision course and forced you to give way, leaving very little room to maneuver. (What I've sometimes heard referred to a "Being Dead Right"). Not smart IMHO.
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Old 06-29-2020, 02:02 PM   #3
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In the second situation, I've always felt that if you're entering a channel from a marina, you should become the 'Give Way' vessel, like pulling out of a driveway or merging onto a highway, however there are no provisions for such (to my knowledge) in the Col Regs.

I've always felt the same, but I haven't found that situation mentioned explicitly either.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:05 PM   #4
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For the first situation, rslifkin, I would have done exactly the same thing.
I will take this opportunity to rant about jetskis and the like. Seems like there are more and more of them on the water, and that they are capable of going faster and faster. I expect the rules & regulations for them vary by state and country, but it appears to me that almost any type of navigation, operation or safety knowledge is not required. Kustbevakningen (the Swedish Coast Guard), nabs these craft all the time for speeding, endangering harbor and beach areas, etc. etc. During the summer, it seems like I read about an accident or near-accident involving jetskis every day.
End of rant.


For the 2nd situation, I think you took the most prudent course of action. From my courses here in Europe, I learned that one must wait for traffic in the main channel to clear when entering from a marina or smaller channel. Seems like common sense, really. I found online something in COLREGS that sounds to me like it's trying to address this situation:


"In Rule 9 a vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway is obliged to keep "as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable." The same Rule obliges a vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel not to impede the passage of a vessel "which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway."
The Rule also forbids ships to cross a narrow channel or fairway "if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway." The meaning "not to impede" was classified by an amendment to Rule 8 in 1987. A new paragraph (f) was added, stressing that a vessel which was required not to impede the passage of another vessel should take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel. Such vessel was obliged to fulfil this obligation also when taking avoiding action in accordance with the steering and sailing rules when risk of collision exists."

COLREG
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:07 PM   #5
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First situation I would have slowed then turned to port about 30 degrees to give everyone room had the ski not reacted to the 5 or more blasts....but without it being exactly to scale hard to tell. When more than 2 boats are affected by rules in the same place...really only rule 2 applies...everyone should slow down and not hit one another.

Yes I know about not crossing another's bow...but in this case, depending on my boat and total amount of space...easily argued. Heck, the chart shows so much room hard to believe there was anything but a blind PWC.

The second, I concur with the boat entering the channel being give way as a manner of courtesy.

If you were unable to maneuver in the channel cause it was very narrow...then he is crossing a narrow channel you needed and is definitely give way (rule 9).
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:42 PM   #6
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Greetings,
Mr. rs. NOT quoting or going by COLREGS here but in situation #1 I would have sounded the 5 and gone to idle (in gear) while still maintaining steerage. The thought being to minimize collision speed.



Situation #2. I would have done the same as you. Slow and let the idiot pass. COLREGS are great if everyone abides by them. MY response is to avoid collisions at pretty well all costs.
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Old 06-29-2020, 03:56 PM   #7
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One more thing, the boat leaving the harbour should have sounded his horn - if he did not do that, he is immediately in the wrong, I believe.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:01 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Mr. rs. NOT quoting or going by COLREGS here but in situation #1 I would have sounded the 5 and gone to idle (in gear) while still maintaining steerage. The thought being to minimize collision speed.



Situation #2. I would have done the same as you. Slow and let the idiot pass. COLREGS are great if everyone abides by them. MY response is to avoid collisions at pretty well all costs.
Last sentence of Firefly`s response nailed it - ultimately, no matter what the COLREGS say - the onus is on all parties involved to avoid a collision- whether they are in the right or not. I think that that is actually a REG
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottC View Post


"In Rule 9 a vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway is obliged to keep "as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable." The same Rule obliges a vessel of less than 20 metres in length or a sailing vessel not to impede the passage of a vessel "which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway."
The Rule also forbids ships to cross a narrow channel or fairway "if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway." The meaning "not to impede" was classified by an amendment to Rule 8 in 1987. A new paragraph (f) was added, stressing that a vessel which was required not to impede the passage of another vessel should take early action to allow sufficient sea room for the safe passage of the other vessel. Such vessel was obliged to fulfil this obligation also when taking avoiding action in accordance with the steering and sailing rules when risk of collision exists."

COLREG
The crazy part about Rule #9 is the inclusion of the verbiage "which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway."

So it infers that crossing the channel is fine. making the vessel crossing, if on Stbd at 90 degrees, the stand-on vessel, provided that the 'give-way vessel travelling within the channel, has sea room to give way. Which IMHO is ridiculous!!
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:06 PM   #10
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Years ago in this area of the ICW, a boat load of wedding guest, bride and groom were traveling on the ICW. W/O warning a go-fast boat darted out of side canal and t-boned the wedding party, (had been drinking) killing a number of the guest and either the bride or the groom. The driver of the go-fast boat went to prison..... after a few years, he appealed the sentence. The judge said, no deal.... go back to prison.
What some people do not realize is, any tickets and or points also go on your auto drivers license.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:10 PM   #11
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For situation 1, reducing to idle or making a 180 were the next options if the jetski hadn't immediately reacted when I signaled. As far as turning to port, I don't think I would have cleared the other boats at the speed I was going. If I turned and stuffed the throttles forward, I could have done it.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:11 PM   #12
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Inland Rules on prolonged blast

"(e) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other
vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one
prolonged blast. This signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any
approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind
the intervening obstruction.
(f) If whistles are fitted on a vessel at a distance apart of more than 100
meters, one whistle only shall be used for giving maneuvering and warning
signals.
(g) When a power-driven vessel is leaving a dock or berth, she shall sound
one prolonged blast."
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:13 PM   #13
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One more thing, the boat leaving the harbour should have sounded his horn - if he did not do that, he is immediately in the wrong, I believe.
Xsbank, I had 2 more bells added to my air horns for a total of 3 bells.
I sound that set of horns and people immediately start look for a Hatteras. Especially that 'one long and continuous' sound.
Yup, far exceeds the USCG requirements for a 34ft boat.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:28 PM   #14
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If the small boat coming out of the marina even had a horn, he certainly didn't use it. But it's not a tight, blind exit either. He easily could have slowed and waited after reaching the point where he could see. And there was also enough space that he could have come out and made a tight turn into the channel and then crossed behind me.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:33 PM   #15
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I fully agree with those on here saying that it's best to do whatever (i.e. generally slow down or stop) to avoid a possible accident - no matter if I'm right and the other guy is wrong. This is how I operate. I have been in courses, however, where there's been "spirited" discussion on just this topic and the instructors generally insist that it's safer to MAINTAIN COURSE AND SPEED in such situations, because that's what the other boat (who absolutely, of course, knows all the same rules you do) is depending on.
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:45 PM   #16
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I always enjoy these threads as I learn lots.



I think you did everything correctly based on your description.


One thought on Situation #2. Is it possible that with current, narrow fairway, and limited sight distances, that the boater coming from starboard may not have been able to slow or stop to allow you to pass? I have seen narrow fairways in locations with significant tidal current at times where a boat that stops would simply be swept against a dock or boat in the fairway. This may not be the situation here of course, but could provide a possible explanation given you were in a river.
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:00 PM   #17
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There is a little bit of river current, but no tide. This time of year, the current is pretty minimal, a few tenths of a knot at most. Small enough that I rarely find it to be any factor in maneuvering. Wind is almost always more of a concern.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:06 PM   #18
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Thanks for clarifying that PS!
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:15 PM   #19
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... it's safer to MAINTAIN COURSE AND SPEED in such situations, because that's what the other boat (who absolutely, of course, knows all the same rules you do) is depending on.
1. I have seen far too much idiocy in boats to assume that everyone is well versed in the Col Regs.

2. Isn't one of the regs essentially "do whatever is necessary to avoid a collision" ??

So in some cases it seems the only acceptable course of action is to follow the Col Regs until a collision is imminent......then go back in time, and violate the regs to avoid that collision.
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:21 PM   #20
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I view that issue as follows: I'll maintain course and speed, but if I'm getting close to the point where I may lose my ability to take evasive action and the other boat is not taking suitable action, then I'll alter course or speed as necessary to resolve the conflict.
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