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Old 06-01-2019, 09:13   #1
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Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

Please lets keep this thread friendly and no insulting.

I have found over the years many common misunderstanding about the Rules of the Road (72 COLREGS) and thought it would be fun to discuss them in a friendly atmosphere.

Many times people are confessed about the picking order.
One area of confusion is what is a fishing boat.

The Picking order is
Overtaken
Non Under Command
Restricted in their Ability to Maneuver
Fishing
Sailing
Power
Seaplane

Based on the above when a sailboat and boat engaged in fishing meet the boat that is engaged in fishing is the stand on vessel and the sailboat is the give way vessel.

Many times when I am talking with other boaters some will say I own a fishing boat so you sailors have to stay out of my way.
Most of the time this is wrong because they are talking about a sport fishing boat.

The USCG COLREGS are written for commercial boating and a fishing boat is a commercial fishing boat with nets, trawling and other equipment for hauling in large numbers of fish and is engaged in fishing at the time.
6 guys out fishing with poles off the back of a charter fishing boat is just a power boat.

So unless you are in a commercial fishing boat and engaged in fishing you are just a power boat, the Sailboat is the stand on vessel and you are the give way vessel.
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Old 06-01-2019, 13:29   #2
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

For any forum members who want to learn and understand the mysteries of the " Colregs" , this expanded explanation of each and every one of the 38 rules is worth a read ....
Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey.

It's available free online but the link failed to attach. A google search will find it. It's not light reading though.
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Old 06-01-2019, 14:22   #3
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

I'd have expected seaplanes to have more priority. For a start, they are somewhat restricted in their ability to manoeuvre. They can't reverse, really can't stop easily, and dont steer all that well at low speed.
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Old 06-01-2019, 14:30   #4
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

It's up to the seaplane to decide when and where it's safe to land and take off. Not much I can do to "give way" to one. I have enough trouble with the ferries and water taxis in NY Harbor!

The "fishing" debate is a good one to seek some agreement on. My own definition, not really spelled out but (in my view) implied by the rules, is a vessel encumbered by fishing gear such that it cannot maneuver to give way. A dragger with nets on the bottom, or anything with more than a couple of hundred meters of gear out would fit the bill.

On the other side of the coin, when was the last time you actually saw a commercial fishing boat take down their day shape when they were done handling their gear? For that matter, when they tied up at the dock?
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Old 06-01-2019, 15:10   #5
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
Please lets keep this thread friendly and no insulting.

I have found over the years many common misunderstanding about the Rules of the Road (72 COLREGS) and thought it would be fun to discuss them in a friendly atmosphere.

Many times people are confessed about the picking order.
One area of confusion is what is a fishing boat.

The Picking order is
Overtaken
Non Under Command
Restricted in their Ability to Maneuver
Fishing
Sailing
Power
Seaplane

Based on the above when a sailboat and boat engaged in fishing meet the boat that is engaged in fishing is the stand on vessel and the sailboat is the give way vessel.

Many times when I am talking with other boaters some will say I own a fishing boat so you sailors have to stay out of my way.
Most of the time this is wrong because they are talking about a sport fishing boat.

The USCG COLREGS are written for commercial boating and a fishing boat is a commercial fishing boat with nets, trawling and other equipment for hauling in large numbers of fish and is engaged in fishing at the time.
6 guys out fishing with poles off the back of a charter fishing boat is just a power boat.

So unless you are in a commercial fishing boat and engaged in fishing you are just a power boat, the Sailboat is the stand on vessel and you are the give way vessel.
Colregs are written for all vessels, not just commercial vessels.

Indeed a key as to establishing stand on and give way is whether the fishing apparatus that has been deployed restricts manoeuvrability of the vessel.

Rule 3 (General definitions)
For the purpose of these Rules, except where the context otherwise requires:

(a) The word "vessel" includes every description of water craft, including non-displacement craft, WIG craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

(b) The term "power-driven vessel" means any vessel propelled by machinery.

(c) The term "sailing vessel" means any vessel under sail provided that propelling machinery, if fitted, is not being used.

(d) The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls or other fishing apparatus which restricts manoeuvrability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict.



—INTERNATIONAL—
Steering and Sailing Rules
RULE 18
Responsibilities Between Vessels
Except where Rules 9, 10 and 13 otherwise require:
(a) A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver;
(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing;
(iv) a sailing vessel.
(b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver;
(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing when underway shall, so far as possible,
keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver.

Rule 26 (Fishing vessels)
(a) A vessel engaged in fishing, whether underway or at anchor, shall exhibit only the lights and shapes prescribed in this Rule.

(b) A vessel when engaged in trawling, by which is meant the dragging through the water of a dredge net or other apparatus used as a fishing appliance, shall exhibit:

(i) two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being green and the lower white, or a shape consisting of two cones with their apexes together in a vertical line one above the other;

(ii) a masthead light abaft of and higher that the all-round green light; a vessel of less than 50 metres in length shall not be obliged to exhibit such a light but may do so;

(iii) when making way through the water, in addition to the lights prescribed in this paragraph, sidelights and a sternlight.

(c) A vessel engaged in fishing, other than trawling shall exhibit:

(i) two all-round lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower white, or a shape consisting of two cones with their apexes together in a vertical line one above the other;

(ii) when there is outlying gear extending more than 150 m horizontally from the vessel, an all-round white light or a cone apex upwards in the direction of the gear;

(iii) when making way through the water, in addition to the lights prescribed in this paragraph, sidelights and a sternlight.

(d) The additional signals described in Annex II to these Regulations apply to a vessel engaged in fishing in close proximity to other vessels engaged in fishing.

(e) A vessel when not engaged in fishing shall not exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in this Rule, but only those prescribed for a vessel of her length.

ANNEX II: INTERNATIONAL ADDITIONAL SIGNALS FOR FISHING VESSELS FISHING IN CLOSE PROXIMITY
1. General

The lights mentioned herein shall, if exhibited in pursuance of Rule 26(d), be placed where they can best be seen. They shall be at least 0.9 meter apart but at a lower level than lights prescribed in Rule 26(b)(i) and (c)(i). The lights shall be visible all around the horizon at a distance of at least 1 mile but at a lesser distance than the lights prescribed by these Rules for fishing vessels.

2. Signals for trawlers

Vessels of 20 meters or more in length when engaged in trawling, whether using demersal or pelagic gear, may exhibit:
when shooting their nets: two white lights in a vertical line;
when hauling their nets: one white light over one red light in a vertical line;
when the net has come fast upon an obstruction: two red lights in a vertical line.
Each vessel of 20 meters or more in length engaged in pair trawling may exhibit:
by night, a searchlight directed forward and in the direction of the other vessel of the pair;
when shooting or hauling their nets or when their nets have come fast upon an obstruction, the lights prescribed in 2(a) above.
A vessel of less than 20 meters in length engaged in trawling, whether using demersal or pelagic gear, or engaged in pair trawling, may exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section, as appropriate.
3. Signals for purse seiners

Vessels engaged in fishing with purse seine gear may exhibit two yellow lights in a vertical line. These lights shall flash alternately every second and with equal light and occultation duration. These lights may be exhibited only when the vessel is hampered by its fishing gear.

But a vessel engaged in fishing is required to display appropriate signals and lights designating its fishing status. But in the world of reality, not one in a hundred might know what the signals or lights are. Presumably if the vessel that is engaged in fishing needs to display appropriately so as to aid in establishing its priority of standing on or give way, and the nature of the fishing apparatus defines whether the vessel is in fact restricted in its manoeuvrability.

Just look at how few sailboats display the appropriate day shape signals, e.g., a black ball signal while day anchoring > 7m (not in channel) > 20m (in anchorage).

Rule 30 - Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground
(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:
Vessels at Anchor

(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;
(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in Rule 30(a)(i), an all-round white light.
(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in Rule 30(a).

INLAND rules:
(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or where other vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shape prescribed in Rule 30(a) and (b).

g) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Coast Guard, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule.

Vessels Proceeding Under Sail and Power

Sailboats are often required to carry dayshapes when being propelled by sail and power [i.e., motor-sailing]. You are now a power-driven vessel, and must make that clear to those around you. In International waters--or those waters seaward of the Demarcation lines, you must carry a cone with the point downward hoisted in the rigging.

In Inland waters--or those waters of the U.S. shoreward of the Demarcation lines, only sailboats 12 meters (39.4 feet) or more in length have this requirement. That's not to say smaller sailboats could not do so, but they are not required to do so.

So how can we verify whether or not we must hoist this dayshape when we are motor-sailing? Let's look at Rule 25(e) for the answer. Throughout the NavRules, if a Rule says "shall", that means we are required to comply with that specific Rule or that specific part of the Rule. If it says "may", that means we have a choice. These two words--"shall" or "may"--can make a whale of a difference in any Rule!

International - Rule 25(e)
(e) A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downwards.

Inland - Rule 25(e)
(e) A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downward. A vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not required to exhibit this shape, but may do so.

As you can see, just those vessels in Inland Waters less than 12 meters have an option. All others are required to hoist the dayshape when proceeding under sail and being propelled by the engine.

That being said, it is good manners and practice for sailing vessels to avoid interfering with fishing when it is apparent there is fishing apparatus deployed, such as trolling and when course can be altered to give way to the fisherpersons be the fisherpersons' boaters or shoreline. We are typically talking about adjusting course by few tens of yards unless the fisherpersons are deploying surface or near surface lures. Fisherpersons deploying in restricted water channels of course are faced with boats crossing their lines routinely. The major difference is that a deep keeled sailboat can snag towed lines more readily than a shallower draft vessel. In Montana a similar controversy arises on large streams and rivers as to Row vs. Wade. A wader has limited manuervability but then so does the raft. The key for cooperation and safety is for the rowed craft to not run over the wader and for the wader to pull in their line and to avoid casting until the rowed boat passes clear or to at least cast clear of the path of the rowed boat. There being some designate Wade Only stretches and of course catch and release sections of water also.
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Old 06-01-2019, 15:30   #6
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

“Row vs wade” Hahaha
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Old 06-01-2019, 15:57   #7
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
Please lets keep this thread friendly and no insulting.



I have found over the years many common misunderstanding about the Rules of the Road (72 COLREGS) and thought it would be fun to discuss them in a friendly atmosphere.
. . . .

As a new member you probably haven’t had the time to go back and look at previous COLREGS threads but if you do you will find a lot of unfriendly discussion.
On the other hand what insults you find will be pretty moderate since the severe insults will have been deleted by the moderators.
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Old 06-01-2019, 15:59   #8
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipperpete View Post
For any forum members who want to learn and understand the mysteries of the " Colregs" , this expanded explanation of each and every one of the 38 rules is worth a read ....
Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey.

It's available free online but the link failed to attach. A google search will find it. It's not light reading though.


http://navruleshandbook.com/
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Old 06-01-2019, 16:43   #9
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

Overtaken is not at the top NUC is.
Fishing does not include sportsfishermen of any size.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:04   #10
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

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Originally Posted by skipperpete View Post
For any forum members who want to learn and understand the mysteries of the " Colregs" , this expanded explanation of each and every one of the 38 rules is worth a read ....
Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey.

It's available free online but the link failed to attach. A google search will find it. It's not light reading though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post

Thank you both very much, this is an excellent review of the Rules.
From what I have read so far is does a good job in explaining the rules in normal english.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:08   #11
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

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Originally Posted by JC Reefer View Post
“Row vs wade” Hahaha
Once, I was ticketed by Montana Fish Wildlife and Park personnel when floating down the Beaverhead River on a hot summer day, with my wife and daughter because I did not have life jackets in our small raft. We were in swim suits and often taking turns floating in the water in deep sections instead of rafting.

I challenged the ticket at the local justice of the peace with a detailed written statement titled Row versus Wade. The court clerk and the judge greatly enjoyed reading my written argument and asked if they could copy it and send it to other Montana judges and justices. They each laughed heartily when reading my statement noting the citations of law.

The basic argument was that if we had been swimming in the river without a boat, or wade fishing in the river we would not have had any legal requirement for having a possession of a life jacket but if we floated the river with a tiny raft, a two person cheap inflatable we were required to have possession of PFDs, but no requirement to wear or even have the PFDs readily accessible in the raft.

Of secondary argument was whether "tubing" the river which is very popular amongst the high schoolers during summer would qualify as "boating" or wading. Tubers almost never wear PFDs, the tube is the PFD, just as our tiny raft was in essence the PFD. Realize that much of the Beaverhead River is small enough that if you fell out of the raft you could hit your head on the shoreline on either side of the raft. And where it is broad it is very shallow, one has to drag the raft over the rocks.

The sort of funny thing about the instance was that one of the FWP rangers very nearly drowned trying to get to our raft when we stopped on an islet midstream after the two rangers hailed us to stop; in hindsight we should have just continued on and made them try to catch up with their drift boat which would have been difficult because in the shallow sections their drift boat would have to be pulled over the rocks for considerable distances as the water flow rate was low being the middle of summer. They had been hiding behind some willows on the outside deeper portion of the river and they tried to pull their drift boat across the deeper, rapid current portion of the river, maybe 8 or ten yards distance to the islet we stopped upon. The FWP agent that was not maning the oars jumped over the side of their drift boat and instantly sunk completely over his head being weighed down by his full uniform, boots, protective body armor, gun / holster, ammo, radio, hand cuffs, mace, etc. I was about to jump in to the river without a PFD to try to find and save him when he somehow bobbed back up downstream a ways and struggled towards us. Neither of the FWP rangers were wearing PFDs, albeit they had two stored in a compartment of their drift boat. I asked to see if they were "in possession" of two PFDs since none were readily visible in their drift boat, as I thought this might be a case of the kettle calling the pot black.

When they were ticketing us they asked each of us for identification. We were wearing only our swimsuits, so I asked them sarcastically, yes, I have identification back in our car but that no we don't have any IDs on our persons as we don't carry identification when swimming in the river in anticipation of having to show such to two Dickh%$ds like them. After ticketing us, they had the further audacity to request that we immediately stop floating the river, to which I stated that I would be trespassing if I was to cross the land beyond the public easement of the high water mark of the riverbed and that it was impractical / nearly impossible for us to haul our raft to the distant roadway; so then they asked us to contact someone in town [fifteen miles down river] to have them bring us life jackets, to which I replied how can we contact someone from way out in the remote part of Montana and if we could contact someone who had lifejackets, how would they be able to locate us on the river or to not trespass to bring us life jackets. So they then told us they would "permit us" to continue down the river until the next bridge crossing which we did. I told them they were "permitted" to not speak another word. It turned out the first bridge was a private bridge for a large ranch. Fortuitously, the ranch manager just happened to be crossing his bridge when I climbed up the bank. He was hauling an empty cattle trailer behind his dually wheeled pick up truck. I explained the situation and he kindly offered to take my family and to load up our raft back up to the public boat access point where we had left one of our vehicles. He took one look at the two FWP rangers and told them to F%$# Off and to continue through his ranch without stopping. They had asked the ranch manager earlier in the day, if they could sit on top of his private bridge and check boaters that floated by to see if they had fishing licenses and lift jackets. He had told them Hell No and to never return to his ranch property or he personally would arrest them for trespassing on private property. There was no way that ranch manager was going to help the FWP ruin recreationalist outings and alienate himself or the out of state ranch owner from the community. Fishing access to waterways can become very contentious in Montana but the law is quite clear now. Typically it is only the rich out of state land owners who try to inhibit people from enjoying the waterways.

After some fun discussion I agreed with the Justice to settle the matter by paying the fine of just one of us not having a PFD instead of three fines, but she said I could have requested that the FWP rangers travel two plus hours from the adjoining county to her court to testify during a hearing if I demanded a trial. I felt that would be a further waste of taxpayer's money taking up at least a half day of the FWP time and would mean that the two agents would be back in the Beaverhead County where they were not welcome. I preferred that the FWP stay out of our county and she agreed that the lack of their presence would be the better option, but that she would have welcomed the legal debate on the inconsistency of the public safety law.

The Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks stresses its belief
that no amount of legislative action or rulemaking can do more to
promote harmony between landowners and recreationists than the
individual actions of the parties concerned. Because the success
or failure of the law hinges on the behavior of the landowners and
recreationists, we cannot overemphasize the need for cooperation
and mutual respect.

Montana is unique among other Western states and most states in general. In 1984, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that the public may use rivers or streams with recreation capability, for activities such as fishing and floating, regardless of whether the river is navigable or who the streambed property owner is.

This ruling allowed anglers and floaters to have full use of most rivers in Montana for fishing, floating, swimming and other river related activities. This ruling became what is now called the Montana Stream Access Law.
Following this ruling, in 1985 the Montana legislature created regulations to better help define the public’s right to access Montana’s rivers and streams. In particular, the legislature had to determine what constituted a river. It was determined that a river is anything between a rivers ordinary high water mark. The legislature defines the ordinary high water mark as:

“Ordinary high-water mark” means the line that water impresses on land by covering it for sufficient periods to cause physical characteristics that distinguish the area below the line from the area above it. Characteristics of the area below the line include, when appropriate, but are not limited to deprivation of the soil of substantially all terrestrial vegetation and destruction of its agricultural vegetative value. A flood plain adjacent to surface waters is not considered to lie within the surface waters’ high-water marks.

Thus, an angler or a floater has full recreational use of a river below the rivers ordinary high-water mark. For clarification, recreational use is considered to be:

“Recreational use” means with respect to surface waters: fishing, hunting, swimming, floating in small craft or other flotation devices, boating in motorized craft unless otherwise prohibited or regulated by law, or craft propelled by oar or paddle, other water-related pleasure activities, and related unavoidable or incidental uses.

In other words, anglers can fish and float with non-motorized craft, provided they follow the restrictions listed in the latest fishing regulations. Motorized watercraft have further restrictions on their use (these restrictions are there to prevent conflicts between motorized boats and floaters/wade anglers/float anglers).

Since the Montana stream access law applies to most rivers and streams that flow through private property, many rivers have various man-made and natural obstructions. A floater or angler who encounters these obstructions may climb above the high water mark, if necessary, to avoid these obstructions in the least intrusive way possible (some landowners don’t like it, but it says – explicitly – that you can do this in the statute.).

Thus, Montana has a very liberal stream access that allows the public to have full use of most rivers and streams in Montana for recreational purposes. However, it is important to realize that this law does not give the public right to cross private property to reach the rivers.

A person may cross private property to reach a river if:

The land is not fenced, and…
The land is not posted with no trespassing signs or is not marked by orange paint markings (orange paint markings on trees, posts and various other things signify private property in Montana and essentially say “Stay Out”), and…
The landowner has not specifically told the person to stay out.
If all three conditions are met, a person may cross land that is private property to reach a river to fish or float. Not surprisingly, most private property in Montana is marked with lots of orange paint and “No Trespassing” signs. This limits the public’s ability to cross private property without permission.

As a result, anglers and floaters instead often use the easement alongside public bridge crossings to access a river where:

A road does not follow the river, or…
A designated fishing access site does not exist, or…
Where the river does not pass through federal/state lands (such as National Forest, BLM and State Forest property).
Finally, all the orange paint and “no trespassing” signs do not mean angler’s can’t cross land to reach a river to float or fish. Instead, to gain access to property that is posted, all that is usually required is a polite request to the landowner. In most areas of Montana (there are some exceptions, mainly in the Ruby River area, which is home to most of the states “pay to fish” areas), many landowners allow access to private property for fishing and floating purposes.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:11   #12
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
As a new member you probably haven’t had the time to go back and look at previous COLREGS threads but if you do you will find a lot of unfriendly discussion.
On the other hand what insults you find will be pretty moderate since the severe insults will have been deleted by the moderators.
Yes the discussion of the COLREGS can get heated.
That is why I am asking everyone to play nice and keep the discussion friendly.
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Old 06-01-2019, 17:54   #13
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

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Overtaken is not at the top NUC is.
Fishing does not include sportsfishermen of any size.
Thanks for your response.
If you look at just Rule 18 (Responsibilities Between Vessels) yes NUC is at the top.
If you include Rule 13 (Overtaking) where it makes it clear that the vessel being overtaken by any vessel is the stand on vessel.
So Overtaken is at the top.

I would agree with you that it does not make sense but it is the rule.

You are correct about the sport fishermen.
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Old 07-01-2019, 00:42   #14
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

I'm with Captain Graham on rule 13 and it's one that causes a lot of debate. Sometimes heated!!
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Old 07-01-2019, 03:41   #15
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Re: Lets have a friendly discussion about the Rules of the Road

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Originally Posted by Captain Graham View Post
Thanks for your response.
If you look at just Rule 18 (Responsibilities Between Vessels) yes NUC is at the top.
If you include Rule 13 (Overtaking) where it makes it clear that the vessel being overtaken by any vessel is the stand on vessel.
So Overtaken is at the top.

.
That’s a BIG negatory skipper. The simplest example is a sailing vessel in a channel being overtaken by a vessel constrained by draft is a give way vessel.

Practical example a sailboat leaving Gov cut Miami is never standon to the cargo ship passing it.

The overtaken rule is within the same “class” of vessel (constrained, restricted, etc) and below (sail vs power) it does not apply to vessels above in the pecking order (sail vs NUC or constrained).
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