PLEASE - stop using the term "right-of-way." It does not exist in the marine
world or the COLREGS. There is the "Stand-on" and the "Give-way" vessels. "Right of way" does not exist because of Rule
7&8&17 - Both or any vessel must do what is necessary to avoid a collision
regardless of any other rule. And do it as early as possible.
There are only two basic concepts behind the COLREGs that you need to know - 1. (based on Rule 18 for sailboats) you stay out of the way of vessels that are "restricted" in their ability to maneuver. Classically a large freighter/cruise ship and other obviously restricted vessels must be avoided. So besides size and weight maybe even "stupidity" or "arrogance" should be added to that category as they are obvious so focused as to be oblivious to anybody else. And 2. Rule 7&8&17 require that you must do whatever is necessary as early as possible to avoid a collision regardless of the other Rules.
- - Just about every response has been along those lines - stay out of the way of everybody stupider than you. And in the case of kids
and others, simple courtesy calls for avoiding the area. I have even stopped my 60footer in a channel to wait until the "little ducklings cross the street." With supposedly "grown ups" is it really necessary to assert yourself in a duel of ego's?
- - There is NO right-of-way in COLREGS, only common sense rules to keep collisions to a minimum. You will both loose when standing in court with your boats on the bottom and maybe arms in bandages and slings because of Rule 7&8&17. Both are responsible to take action to avoid a collision regardless of any other rule. You cannot win and you just lost
your boat, or badly damaged it, or yourself.
- - Unfortunately in the real world rules and laws are made to be broken or ignored. We all do it one way or another and one time or another. "PYA" in "PYB" protect your A.. or Boat is my policy. The cost and time in paperwork is not worth the 10 seconds or so I save on getting to my destination
and more importantly I like my boat and do not want to damage it. One early interesting problem that popped up on southern Florida
waterways a number of years ago was that the COLREGS are only printed in English
and a huge amount of new boaters to the area only spoke Spanish. That was fun. We had to modify the mythical Rule of Tonnage from if the vessel is bigger and heavier than you stay out of its way to if the Vessel is also faster, more expensive, or had lots of silicon enhanced beauties on board, stop, give way, and enjoy the sights until they are clear, then continue.