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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor
IMHO the law of tonnage trumps COLREGs. Rules don't matter if you're dead.
But, also IMHO the maritime law expert is missing the narrow channel argument. For a tug pushing a barge, I'd interpret San Diego bay as a narrow channel, and give the rights to the tug/barge on the push.
While this is a "common sense" approach, the other boat needs to know if you are going to change course, even if to get out of his way. The Colregs specify what vessel is sand on, and they are not supposed to change course. Doing so even in an effort to give the commercial vessel more room could put you into jeopardy and in an accident situation they could say to you "you were were sand on vessel, why did you alter course?" That would put you at fault. The reasoning behind the regs there to make your actions predictable, so be careful, trying to give more space. Not saying not to do it just communicate your intentions.