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Old 08-03-2006, 21:57   #16
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I didn't hear the audio, but clearly the Coasties at fault here as goes the rule of the road (and excepting that the first rule is to avoid a collision).

Did TLC portray it as the other guy's fault??
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Old 08-03-2006, 22:06   #17
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If these boats were cars. I would hate to be the police, who trys to figure out the guilty party here?
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Old 08-03-2006, 22:08   #18
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Ummm, actually guys, take another look at the video. You will see that the CC vessel IS infact taking evasive action. They are in a very very hard turn to Port. Also, you just don't stop a boat of that size at that speed and it is also obviuose that they were indeed throttling off. Even though the CC boat has the speedboat on starboard, the speed boat was at such a speed that I believe judgement of distance and intentions by the CC boat were severly impaired. Once the CC boat realised they were on a collision course, at that speed there would be little anyone could do. I do realise the CC boat should have taken a course up under the speed boats path, but I think some large amount of repsonsibility has to be placed on the Speedboat for this.
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Old 08-03-2006, 22:29   #19
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Wheels... I agree with your assessment that the CG boat makes a hard port turn just before the collision, as well as starts to throttle down from the full plane you see in the beginning (with fenders flapping away!)

The problem is... that manouver is too little and too late, as well as incorrect. The proper manouver after waiting until the last second, as they did, would be a starboard turn. They were the burdended vessel should have given way, passing to the small, oblivious boat's stern.

You can place a small amount of blame on the speed boat for not paying attention, but the illegal actions (and those you would lose your captain's license for) are clearly with the CG skipper. The rules they broke are both International and what we in the states call "Inland." I'm sure the skipper was relieved of duty after this.

To all who say the speedboat is at fault: I understand the difficulty in this rules of the road exercise, but anyone who has studied the nav rules would agree that this is a textbook case of errors on the part of the CG captain.

To everyone in general: It's easy to see from this thread how many people might make mistakes in interpreting nav rules.... this is why the "golden rule" of steering and sailing is so important: No matter what rule applies, it's mandatory for any skipper to avoid a collision. This rule supercedes all others, and the CG skipper clearly failed to follow it. You cannot assume that just because you are "more important" that the other vessel will see you. The CG captain not only put the lives of the people on the small speedboat at risk, but put the lives of his own crew at risk.
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Old 08-03-2006, 22:34   #20
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Quote:
sneuman once whispered in the wind:
I didn't hear the audio, but clearly the Coasties at fault here as goes the rule of the road (and excepting that the first rule is to avoid a collision).

Did TLC portray it as the other guy's fault??
Yes... TLC, without mentioning fault, zoomed in on the small speedboat, saying that they weren't paying attention, and left the view with the impression that this was the cause. They made it look like the small speedboat was at fault, in a typical "COPS" (tv show) narrative.
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Old 08-03-2006, 22:36   #21
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Gee Sean.

I could'nt of said that better myself!! Your right!!
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Old 09-03-2006, 00:01   #22
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Hey Kai.

This book you said you have for me. What's the title of this book called?
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Old 09-03-2006, 10:54   #23
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Both skippers are at fault here.. CG boat made the errors already noted in this thread .. BUT ... the speedboat 'driver' failed to keep an adequate lookout - he (by his own admission) didn't even SEE the boat that hit him - plus failed to take evasive action as required by the Rules.

A left turn prior to collision is seldom correct, and in most cases makes things worse. Although in this case it does reduce the relative speed at time of impact. Too bad Cg didn't alter to STBD earlier as CSY Man pointed out already.

Pretty basic mistakes here.. what a shame. Increase the bearing rate OR reduce the relative speed to 0 and this will never happen to you.

As a matter of reality, however, - and reinforced to me once again during this past week's voyage - the main rule of the seas continues to be the Law of Gross Tonnage. Those who sail in proximity of the oil rig crew boats and tugs in the Gulf know exactly how the game is played. Rule books and unrestricted seaways notwithstanding.
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Old 09-03-2006, 11:54   #24
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The rules of road at sea are not hard and fast. They can and are over written by local bylaws. I am not saying that the video case has such a situation, but it would be interesting to know the results of the hearing, if there is one. And was the pilot boat flying flags or other indicators to acknowledge they have a right of way??
Especially in harbours, the Rules of road may not always apply. It is important to follow the normal navigation rules, but also be aware that there could infact be a bylaw in place that alters such rule. I remember reading just recently a post on this BB, about a harbour were the ferries have right of way. Here in the Marlborough Sounds, we have a similar bylaw. The large Ferries have right of way and no other boat is to hinder their progress. (not actual wording) So if you run across the path of these vessels and they run you down, it is you in the wrong. They will of course try and avoid you, but they still have sole right of way.
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Old 09-03-2006, 12:12   #25
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No doubt in my mind that the Coastie reaction was totally in the wrong. The speedboat guy can also bear a modicum of blame for not keeping an adequate lookout.

If the coastie had reduced speed he may not have had to take any avoiding action - but this appears to be a reaction that a lot of mobos are reluctant to take.
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Old 09-03-2006, 13:14   #26
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I agree that both boats have some "fault" in this video, but the important difference between the two boats is that the CG skipper was *aware* of the danger and did nothing to prevent a collision. That's what really turns my stomach. To be so pompous as to simply smash into someone that doesn't see you... that's insane. It's also illegal. The small power boat may have bent rule #5, which deals with keeping a "proper lookout." The person looking out wasn't doing a great job of it, although they did have people on deck observing the course to some extent.

Wheels brings up an interesting aside... in cases where the rules of the road *seem* to be superceded by local laws, this isn't the case at all. A ferry could qualify as a vessel that is "restricted in her ability to maneuver." This classification of vessel is carefully laid out and defined to have the right of way over all other vessels, with the exception of a vessel that is not under command.

Alas... I feel like I'm preaching here, so I'll shut up, but the nav rules (COLREGS) are the LAW on all waters both in the US and Internationally. They were set up by the International Maritime Organization.

There is no case of exception, and no excuse for operating a vessel without following them. If you fail to follow these laws, and cause injury, property damage, or death, you personally, as the skipper are 100% responsible for your actions... this applies if you know the COLREGS laws or not! You can be liable for manslaughter, etc... if you kill someone by not following the rules, just as this Coast Guard skipper would have been. If one of those guys died, the skipper would have been up on manslaughter charges.

The only slight "bend" to the rules is one of etiquitte. Our small pleasure craft can change course more quickly and sail in more shallow places than a large ship. This is why we have to get out of the way. Another reason is that the large ship often can't see you. From the bridge, there is blind spot immediately forward of the bow. If you enter this area and the skipper of the ship doesn't see you, you'll soon be seeing the underside of the ship.

Anyway, I hope this thread helps us all remember that there is a lot more going on than the starboard tack rule.
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Old 09-03-2006, 14:29   #27
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I would say the speedboater shares more than a "modicum" of blame. I'd say that in 99% of collision cases that make it to court, the blame is apportioned to both parties. My guess here is 60/40 coastie/speedboat. The rules specifically put the onus on all mariners to avoid collision - if you are in a collision, then you have failed the rules in some part. The International Colregs are NOT the law on Lake Michigan - the US Inland rules are. For the most part they are one and the same - certainly for the various infractions that have been mentioned. I don't know of any other state or federal statutes that would apply here - however the USCG does have the power to hail and stop any vessel within its jurisdiction. BTW, rule 1 of the Int'l Rules allows special rules to be put in place by the appropriate authorities - this is where the "crossing ferry has ROW" rules would be allowed; not as a RAM vessel.
It's unfortunate that the video doesn't tell the whole story - there is certainly another vessel on the CG's stbd bow; maybe there are others that would prevent an alteration to stbd. I certainly agree that the coasties, being the enforcers of the law, should be held to a higher standard and their actions or inactions are not mitigated by the speedboater's culpability. For sake of discussion, I see the infractions as follows (I won't regurgitate the whole rule - I'm sure all can find the letter of the law if necessary):
Rule 2 - both vessels at fault. Although a rescue/law enforcement vessel may not have any special privilege by Inland Rules, the observance of good seamanship would put the added expectation on the the speedboat to stay out of the way if the coasties were using flashing blue light or clearly proceeding to an emergency call;
Rule 5 - speedboat did not maintain a proper lookout - nuff said;
Rule 8 - both at fault, although the onus was on the coasties to take early and substantial action, the speedboat definitely broke rule 8(e) and possibly 8(f);
Rule 15 - the crossing rule - the coast guard was solely at fault;
Rule 16 - action by give way vessel - coasties at fault;
Rule 17 - Action by stand on vessel - speedboat at fault, first for not maintaining his course and speed (he is apparently altering his course throughout the video) and finally for not taking action to avoid collision; and
Rule 34(d) - both vessels - neither vessel sounded 5 short blasts.

I have to make the assumption here that neither rule 9 (narrow channel) nor rule 10 (traffic separation schemes) played a part; I don't know Lake Michigan and it wasn't apparent in the video. And as I said before, I don't know if the Coast Guard has any special privileges due to local or federal laws, that would cause them to doggedly plow ahead on the port bow of a crossing vessel - anyone know a CG skipper?
Anyway, that's my take - I'm open to comment.

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Old 09-03-2006, 17:07   #28
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Pretty good take, Kevin.

I hadn't the time to formulate as complete a response as you did. Very well put.

You make some good points.

I guess what really gets me is this:

The CG skipper had the opporunity to avoid the collision. They did not take action to do so until seconds before the impact. If someone does not see a threat, it's hard to react - as in the case of the powerboat without someone doing their lookout job. If someone sees an impending threat and does nothing... that is far FAR more troubling - especially in the case of a Coast Guard skipper.

This movie shows an example of the worst semanship I've ever witnessed... and it's on the part of the CG skipper.

PS: I'm not convinced with the interpretation of Rule 1 you laid out. Looking at the Inland version of Rule 1, I see only references to special rules made by the Secretary of the Navy. I see nothing about Government rules superceeding the steering and sailing rules. I do see this wording in the International version however. Rule 1 says nowhere that a govt craft has any special trump over any other craft. It merely talks about "special rules made by the Secretary of the Navy with respect to ... litghts... shapes... whistles.." etc...

I also see the area where it talks about "vessel traffic service regs being in effect in certain areas." This is the ferry stuff. My mistake regarding the "vessel restricted in ability to maneuver." I mis-read that and posted that incorrectly before.
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Old 09-03-2006, 18:41   #29
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The definitive answer...

Here is the response from a buddy of mine in Newport that has the following credentials:
***
Captain Kent Dresser began working as a watch-stander for Safe/Sea in 1989 at the age of 14. In 1992, at age of 18, Captain Dresser became one of the youngest licensed captains in the area.

In 1998 he graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Coastal and Marine Policy. He currently holds an Unlimited Master of Towing Vessels as well as a 100 Ton Master, STCW 1995 Certification, and an unlimited tonnage able-seaman certification.

Capt. Dresser has experience on New York Tugs moving petroleum products throughout the East Coast and Hudson River and has successfully sailed across the Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan Pass, and Caribbean Sea. A Safe/Sea Captain for 14 years, Captain Dresser has been in charge of over 2,500 small vessel rescue operations and is still an active Senior Captain and Salvage Master for Safe/Sea.
***

His verdict? And I quote: "Amazing. I have no idea what the CG coxswain was doing as the small boat had
the right of way. The commentator was incorrect; CG does not have the right
of way over another vessel even if he has the blue light on. Hope they yank
the guys coxswain status."
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Old 09-03-2006, 18:46   #30
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I think the only rule being used was by the CG. We are bigger, we are the fuzz, we have cool uniforms and we are very important. Do not get in our way. The small boat is guilty of not posting a propper look out. They admitted to not seeing the CG.
But the collision is the coasties fault in my opinion. Of course another angle and a broader few might show things differently.
The courts can often take the word of a uniformed officer over some Joe Blow, even if the officer is wrong.
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