To really thoroughly understand the rules of the road takes quite a bit of time in the book. Just ask anyone who's sat for a USCG license. For most, that is time they will not spend. A decent working knowledge can be had, and should be pursued, without commiting to memory the details necessary for licensing.
A word of advise I would offer, that may be of aid to those found in a situation where they are unclear as to their responsibility, is to make course alterations early and substantial. Small progressive course alterations have been the root cause of many a collision or near collision.
At sea, at night or restricted visibility, while on watch on an ocean-going ship I would quite often make a substantial course change, say 45 degrees, just for the purpose of "showing her a red". Another vessel seeing this, while on my starboard bow, would have no doubt that my intension was to pass under his stern. As you open, you can then start walking back around towards original course. This technique works well on radar also, providing a display showing a large bearing drift.
“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.