Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Mexico, USA (Heron, Elephant Butte lakes); Arizona (Lake Pleasant)
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 5
Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor
The conclusion of the article that the sailboat technically was a stand-on (formerly right of way) vessel seems off for this situation, because San Diego Bay is a small place with a huge lot of traffic; a tug with tow here is very hemmed in and restricted in ability to maneuver. I'd disagree and the analysis didn't seem to tumble to the key phrase "in the bay".
Further, relative to the article, my own opinions were
(1) A key phrase in the original question was "in the bay". For a tug and tow, "in the bay" in San Diego is a confined situation in a frequently congested area in which opportunities for a tug with tow to maneuver are severely restricted. This was not considered adequately in the analysis of whether the tug was reduced in ability to maneuver (RAM). It's a different situation out in open, unobstructed, uncrowded, deep water.
-- Congested ports often also have special local regulations as well as designated traffic lanes off their approaches; movements of larger or sensitive vessels may be under the governance of a vessel traffic service such as in San Francisco or Seattle.
-- The amount of congestion is effectively increased in a place such as San Diego by the presence of numerous "approach me not" vessels such as military ships, cruise ships, ferries, etc.; in the US these have go-slow and no-go zones and in some parts of the world they carry moving exclusion zones with them as they maneuver. And don't forget to smile for the nice Coasties on the escort vessels with their 50-caliber machine guns.
(2) Many recreational anglers do not understand the limits and intents of which fishing vessels are considered reduced in their ability to maneuver and given priority as stand-on vessels. Hint: casting a worm out with your Zebco doesn't confer special status under the rules. This status is reserved for vessels whose ability to maneuver truly is limited, such as vessels working big nets... purse seiners, etc. I really think that the IRPCAS/COLREGs etc. should be clarified so that recreational anglers don't constantly mis-understand this.
(3) While the Rules generally are applied between a pair of vessels at a time, in a busy harbor the skippers must be aware of many other vessels and anticipate developing situations. General prudence and seamanship are always needed. Never follow the rules to the point of irretrievably standing into danger; indeed this is a rules requirement.
(4) Although the rules are generally consistent or similar, skippers need to know which rules apply ... the IRPCAS/COLREGs beyond the demarcation line in the ocean, the Inland Rules, or local or territorial rules in non-federal waterways, or even special "private" cases such as the racing rules.
Last edited by rgscpat; 11-09-2013 at 01:42 AM.