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Old 21-08-2017, 10:11   #1
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Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

This thread is to carry over some out of place (but interesting!) discussions from another thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
Just out of curiosity, what do you believe the real and significant difference between having "right of way" and being a "stand on" vessel, or being the "burdened" or "give way" vessel, other than just terminology semantics?

I know there was a definite change in the "official" terminology many years ago, but my impression was that is was just semantics, perhaps to reduce the possible misinterpretation that a "right of way" boat had no obligation to avoid collision with a "burdened" boat, even though, to my knowledge, they always have, if the "burdened" boat, in fact, did not "give way".

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmz View Post
. . . "1)You attack my use of the terms "right-of-way" and "burdened." Others on this thread used those terms for good reason--they are commonly used and everyone here fully understands them. So what's your point--to get a gold star in terminology?
2) I did not advise "ignoring" class B vessels; I said "The class B targets are all small and maneuverable, and if you are a sailing vessel most of them will have to yield to you. In any event, when you get close enough you will both see each other easily and the burden vessel should yield" More importantly you can't get into "as much trouble" crashing into a class B vessel as a class A vessel;[Crash into a class B vessel and you will scratch your fiberglass] crash into a class A vessel, and you will die."


So you think it's more important for your Cliff notes to focus on virtually irrelevant terminology distinctions as opposed to protecting the lives of sailors? . . .



So is "right of way" the same thing as "standing on"?

No, indeed! The whole concept of "right of way" is ENTIRELY different from the concept of standing on according to COREGS. The distinction is not in terminology -- the distinction is in the whole concept itself.

Use of the term "right of way" immediately identifies the lubber, and will get you an instant flunk with many examiners even in a Day Skipper exam.

"Right of way" is a condition -- it's a right. You have priority -- you can drive on as you like and it is entirely up to the other driver to avoid you. This makes sense on the road where cars and trucks follow defined paths (i.e. roads) and travel at very high speed. What collision avoidance procedure can you follow driving 60 mph down a highway, with a car standing at a side street? You have the right of way and you drive on. The car at the side street is entirely responsible for staying out of your way.

It works completely differently at sea. Let me count the ways:

1. Unlike right of way, the requirements to stand-on and give-way under the COLREGS is not a permanent status which applies during all phases of a crossing. These obligations arise only after (a) vessels are in sight of one another; and (b) a risk of collision exists. And this order of maneuvering ends when either the stand-on vessel has a reasonable doubt as to the efficacy of the give-way vessel's maneuver, or action by the stand-on vessel is required.

2. Unlike the vehicle privileged with right of way, the vessel designated as the stand-on vessel remains at all times equally responsible for avoiding the collision. Standing-on does not mean proceeding heedlessly -- it means taking the passive role -- "holding still" -- so that the give-way vessel, which has the active role, can work out and execute a maneuver. The stand-on role is actually less privileged than the give-way role -- the give-way vessel has an actual right -- that is, to initially determine how the vessels will cross.

3. Unlike the vehicle privileged with right of way, the stand-on vessel has no right to maneuver as it likes. Because, as has been said, standing on is not a right. Standing-on is in fact an obligation – you are legally obligated to hold your course and speed for a certain phase of a crossing with another vessel, and this obligation is not a joke, and not something you have a right to ignore. That’s because the give-way vessel – which is actually more “privileged” than the stand-on vessel, because the give-way vessel has the right initially to determine how the two vessels will cross – needs to be able to count on your course and speed in order to work out the crossing. That’s why commercial skippers say over and over again to us – “Stand-on, for God’s sake, when you are required, and don’t jink around out there like a WAFI. Follow the Rules!”.


The terms "privileged" and "burdened" were banished from the Rules with the 1972 revisions, for the specific purpose of being very clear about all of the above, and to try to stamp out all of the misconceptions which come from this "right of way", "privilege", and "burden" thinking. There are notes to the 1972 IMO Convention available online if you want to read more.
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Old 21-08-2017, 10:18   #2
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

I'd like to know people's opinion of using yellow deck lights all around the boat perimeter and below the regular navigation lights.
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Old 21-08-2017, 10:32   #3
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

A close crossing situation happened to me this weekend, so a timely thread. I wonder how the judgement is made for the stand-on vessel to take action in accordance with Rule 17 (quoted below). I was skippering a sailing vessel, and a private fisherman was trolling approaching my port side (not defined as "vessel engaged in fishing" under Rule 3). It was close enough to worry about, but due to slow speeds it did not get that close. At what point should I have given up and tacked?

Rule 17- Action by Stand-on Vessel
https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageNam...Annexes#rule17
(a)(i) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course and speed.
(ii) The latter vessel may, however, take action to avoid collision by her maneuver alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.

(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.

(c) A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with Rule 17(a)(ii) to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side.

(d) This Rule does not relieve the give-way vessel of her obligation to keep out of the way.
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Old 21-08-2017, 13:17   #4
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
"Right of way" is a condition -- it's a right. You have priority...
I agree with you. The distinction is important, and much more than just semantics. I think the above really encapsulates it. As the "stand on" vessel you do not have any additional rights or priority. You are another vessel at sea, equally obligated to avoid a collision. Your obligation is to stand on, the other vessels obligation is to give way. You have no more "right" to the waterway than any other vessel.
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Old 21-08-2017, 13:22   #5
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Trusty View Post
At what point should I have given up and tacked?
Completely a judgement call on your part, but the rules make it pretty clear that you take action when you find yourself so close that you do not believe a collision can be avoided by action of the give-way vessel alone.

Before it got to that point, if I thought it was GOING to get to that point, I would have sounded 5 short blasts accompanied (most likely) by some choice expletives hurled at the other skipper.
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Old 21-08-2017, 14:49   #6
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Completely a judgement call on your part, but the rules make it pretty clear that you take action when you find yourself so close that you do not believe a collision can be avoided by action of the give-way vessel alone.

Before it got to that point, if I thought it was GOING to get to that point, I would have sounded 5 short blasts accompanied (most likely) by some choice expletives hurled at the other skipper.
Yes.

It's all in Rule 17.

You MAY start maneuvering when it "becomes apparent" that the other vessel is not "taking appropriate action". You MUST start maneuvering when you can see that action of the other vessel alone won't solve the situation.


The whole point of standing on -- which you are OBLIGATED to do -- is to allow the other vessel to take the active role in resolving the crossing. If it is obvious that the other vessel is busy fishing and is not interested in taking up the active role, then just do it yourself.

The context can add to this "becoming apparent" -- fishermen, whether they are "engaged in fishing" in the COLREGS sense or not, are rarely interested in collision avoidance. Fishing is hard work, even when it's being done for fun , and fisherman seem to always be busy with something other than navigating their vessels. I personally take very early action when I'm dealing with any kind of fisherman.
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Old 21-08-2017, 15:06   #7
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
This thread is to carry over some out of place (but interesting!) discussions from another thread.
That would be from here: Collision Avoidance -- Dealing with Multiple Targets
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Old 21-08-2017, 17:15   #8
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The terms "privileged" and "burdened" were banished from the Rules with the 1972 revisions, for the specific purpose of being very clear about all of the above, and to try to stamp out all of the misconceptions which come from this "right of way", "privilege", and "burden" thinking. There are notes to the 1972 IMO Convention available online if you want to read more.
Aww, come on!. That's only 45 years ago.

Some sailors are a bit slow in changing their ways.
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Old 22-08-2017, 01:57   #9
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_Trusty View Post
At what point should I have given up and tacked?
If the situation is unclear in the sense that the other vessel does not indicate that it is a fishing vessel but at the same time it is possible that the other vessel thinks that it is a stand-on fishing vessel, there is a risk of misunderstanding. If this is the case, we are at least partially back in rule 2 that tells us to do our best to avoid collision.

If it is unclear which vessel is (or thinks it is) the stand-on vessel and which one is the give-way vessel, following the rules properly becomes much more complicated and riskier. I guess one should prepare for all the alternatives and behave accordingly. This would mean that you should tack very early (and keep distance to that possibly erroneously behaving vessel) to make the situation less risky (and easy to understand to both vessels). In the worst case the situation could evolve into a game of chicken between the two vessels with very little time to react to the moves of the other vessel.

One could also say that the uncertain intentions of the other vessel makes the safe distance to that vessel longer, and we should steer away from it.

In some sense we are breaking the colregs if we do not maintain our course and speed although we think that we are the stand-on vessel. This is one more reason to make our move early enough (just changing course for whatever reasons), so that we will not confuse the other vessel with our possibly surprising behaviour. Rule 2 should save us if we end up in court .
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Old 22-08-2017, 07:01   #10
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
This thread is to carry over some out of place (but interesting!) discussions from another thread.









So is "right of way" the same thing as "standing on"?

No, indeed! The whole concept of "right of way" is ENTIRELY different from the concept of standing on according to COREGS. The distinction is not in terminology -- the distinction is in the whole concept itself.

Use of the term "right of way" immediately identifies the lubber, and will get you an instant flunk with many examiners even in a Day Skipper exam.

"Right of way" is a condition -- it's a right. You have priority -- you can drive on as you like and it is entirely up to the other driver to avoid you. This makes sense on the road where cars and trucks follow defined paths (i.e. roads) and travel at very high speed. What collision avoidance procedure can you follow driving 60 mph down a highway, with a car standing at a side street? You have the right of way and you drive on. The car at the side street is entirely responsible for staying out of your way.

It works completely differently at sea. Let me count the ways:

1. Unlike right of way, the requirements to stand-on and give-way under the COLREGS is not a permanent status which applies during all phases of a crossing. These obligations arise only after (a) vessels are in sight of one another; and (b) a risk of collision exists. And this order of maneuvering ends when either the stand-on vessel has a reasonable doubt as to the efficacy of the give-way vessel's maneuver, or action by the stand-on vessel is required.

2. Unlike the vehicle privileged with right of way, the vessel designated as the stand-on vessel remains at all times equally responsible for avoiding the collision. Standing-on does not mean proceeding heedlessly -- it means taking the passive role -- "holding still" -- so that the give-way vessel, which has the active role, can work out and execute a maneuver. The stand-on role is actually less privileged than the give-way role -- the give-way vessel has an actual right -- that is, to initially determine how the vessels will cross.

3. Unlike the vehicle privileged with right of way, the stand-on vessel has no right to maneuver as it likes. Because, as has been said, standing on is not a right. Standing-on is in fact an obligation – you are legally obligated to hold your course and speed for a certain phase of a crossing with another vessel, and this obligation is not a joke, and not something you have a right to ignore. That’s because the give-way vessel – which is actually more “privileged” than the stand-on vessel, because the give-way vessel has the right initially to determine how the two vessels will cross – needs to be able to count on your course and speed in order to work out the crossing. That’s why commercial skippers say over and over again to us – “Stand-on, for God’s sake, when you are required, and don’t jink around out there like a WAFI. Follow the Rules!”.


The terms "privileged" and "burdened" were banished from the Rules with the 1972 revisions, for the specific purpose of being very clear about all of the above, and to try to stamp out all of the misconceptions which come from this "right of way", "privilege", and "burden" thinking. There are notes to the 1972 IMO Convention available online if you want to read more.
I've just reviewed excerpts from the Colregs of 1960 and see absolutely no distinctive change other than terminology and semantics, the obligations of vessels did not change appreciably. The rules of Colregs have not really changed ever. (Before Colregs there were conflicting rules established by various countries.)
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Old 22-08-2017, 07:12   #11
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ramblinrod View Post
...the obligations of vessels did not change appreciably.
That is true. But I still think it is an important change that transcends "just semantics."

Way too many people -- especially those who only vaguely understand the rules of the road -- think of "right of way" in the context with which they most often hear the term. That would be in the context of driving. The meaning of the term on the water is COMPLETELY different than the meaning of the term on the highway, as explained above. Hence the importance of using different terms.

Most importantly because when we talk about people who "only vaguely understand the rules of the road" we are talking about the majority of the folks out there toodling around in boats! I can tell you that on an average day here on Tampa Bay, it is readily apparent that only about 10% of the people driving boats are even "vaguely" familiar with the COLREGS.
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Old 22-08-2017, 07:30   #12
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
That is true. But I still think it is an important change that transcends "just semantics."

Way too many people -- especially those who only vaguely understand the rules of the road -- think of "right of way" in the context with which they most often hear the term. That would be in the context of driving. The meaning of the term on the water is COMPLETELY different than the meaning of the term on the highway, as explained above. Hence the importance of using different terms.

Most importantly because when we talk about people who "only vaguely understand the rules of the road" we are talking about the majority of the folks out there toodling around in boats! I can tell you that on an average day here on Tampa Bay, it is readily apparent that only about 10% of the people driving boats are even "vaguely" familiar with the COLREGS.
The operator obligations prescribed in the regulations, have not appreciably changed, with respect to crossings.

These are merely terminology changes and semantics.

The rules with respect to cars are irrelevant, but in fact are the similar to vessel Colregs, in essence, where it makes sense, with the major differences only being between prescribed lanes vs not.

If one does not know the underlying rules, what significant difference does a change in terminology defining them really make? A rose by any other name.....
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Old 22-08-2017, 07:41   #13
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

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I'd like to know people's opinion of using yellow deck lights all around the boat perimeter and below the regular navigation lights.
I don't know of any regulation prohibiting additional lighting (unless it were to obscure required lighting).

In Lake Ontario, during the rec boating season, especially during the LO300 (annual long distance sailboat race) and other major regattas, all freighters are lit up like Christmas trees, scanning waters ahead of their bows with large floods (especially in convergence zones).
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Old 22-08-2017, 09:07   #14
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

"1)You attack my use of the terms "right-of-way" and "burdened." Others on this thread used those terms for good reason--they are commonly used and everyone here fully understands them. So what's your point--to get a gold star in terminology? "

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

**************

Use of the term "right of way" immediately identifies the lubber, and will get you an instant flunk with many examiners even in a Day Skipper exam..
So you admit that your point is to get a gold star in terminology ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
The terms "privileged" and "burdened" were banished from the Rules with the 1972 revisions, for the specific purpose of being very clear about all of the above, and to try to stamp out all of the misconceptions which come from this "right of way", "privilege", and "burden" thinking. There are notes to the 1972 IMO Convention available online if you want to read more.
Would you kindly site those notes that you are referencing; because as noted by others here, the changes appear to be simply terminology without significant substance.

Moreover, I never alleged that "right-of-way" was totally synonymous with "stand on." Whether they can be used interchangeably depends on the context, as I noted above. Moreover, even the US Coast Guard permits them to be used interchangeably, depending on the context:
Quote:
"The Rules are simple when a sailboat and a small recreational powerboat meet:
 In most situations the sailing boat is the stand-on vessel and the powerboat must give way.
 If the sailboat is overtaking a powerboat, the powerboat is the stand-on vessel and the sailboat must give
way.
 Any boat with more maneuverability must give way to any boat with less maneuverability (see below).
Maneuverability Is Key!
Sailboats under sail generally have right of way over most recreational powerboats, because sailboats are assumed to
have more restricted maneuverability than powerboats (for example, a sailboat cannot turn and sail straight into the
wind to avoid a collision). But by the same principle, sailboats must give way to any boat with less maneuverability"
http://wow.uscgaux.info/Uploads_wowI..._Sailboats.pdf
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Old 22-08-2017, 09:56   #15
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Re: Thread for Basic COLREGS Questions

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Originally Posted by bmz View Post
Moreover, even the US Coast Guard permits them to be used interchangeably, depending on the context:
http://wow.uscgaux.info/Uploads_wowI..._Sailboats.pdf
I don't think an excerpt written by a recreational sailor on the USCG Aux site really qualifies as the USCG's official word on the subject.

Here's an excerpt from the USCG's Navigation Center for Excellence. Italics are mine:
Who has the "right of way" on the water? The Navigation Rules convey a right-of-way only in one particular circumstance: to power-driven vessels proceeding downbound with a following current in narrow channels or fairways of the Great Lakes , Western Rivers, or other waters specified by regulation (Inland Rule 9(a)(ii)). Otherwise, power-driven vessels are to keep out of the way (Rule 18) and either give-way (Rule 16) or stand-on (Rule 17) to vessels not under command or restricted in their ability to maneuver, sailing vessels or vessels engaged in fishing, and, similarly vessels should avoid impeding the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draft (Rule 18), navigating a narrow channel (Rule 9) or traffic separation scheme (Rule 10). The Rules do not grant privileges they impose responsibilities and require precaution under all conditions and circumstances; no Rule exonerates any vessel from the consequences of neglect (Rule 2). Neglect, among other things, could be not maintaining a proper look-out (Rule 5), use of improper speed (Rule 6), not taking the appropriate actions to determine and avoid collision (Rule 7 & 8) or completely ignoring your responsibilities under the Rules.
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