Originally Posted by puddinlegs
Well.... You're in NY and clearly unfamiliar with local navigation conditions and rules. Local ferry traffic (WA, BC) is heavy and often done in restricted waters... Most of it matter of fact. Download a chart and have a look. Facts are often less interesting than speculation from afar.
Rule #1: AVOID COLLISION. Have you ever been through NY Harbor? Ferries of all sizes, speeds, shapes are all over the place, transiting currents that sometimes move at 4 knots. They don't run sailboats down. The smaller ferries are VERY maneuverable and predictably abide by all the usual rules of the road. If, as a small vessel, you follow those rules there is no problem whatsoever. The more I read of this collision, the more it becomes clear that the ferry was mostly at fault.
The main problem with larger, fast moving craft in open water is that they fail to keep an adequate lookout many times. Complacency, as mentioned above is probably the cause. It seems that sometimes they put the boat on autopilot and forget to pay attention. I have seen this occur on more than one occasion. I had a near-miss a couple of years ago with a tanker that was oblivious to the fact that I was ahead of him, changed course as I was attempting to gth out of his way, and nearly ran me down. No passing signal, No radio contact, Nothing. Oblivious. If coming from behind all the avoidance in the world on your part is useless if a large, fast moving ship is not paying attention. The only thing you can do is to move at right angles to where he MAY be heading as soon as you detect him coming from behind but if he is altering course, that is impossible to figure.