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post #20 of Old 07-15-2007
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Originally Posted by sailaway21
If you hold course until such time as you deem yourself "in extremis" and must take action, your only action can be a turn to starboard. If you alter to port, while close aboard, and the other vessel, finally, alters course to starboard, as she is required to do, you may collide and the fault will be assigned to you. The legal-beagle theory behind this is two-fold. The first part, and most baffling, is that "risk of collision" does not exist if no collision results. This is known as the miss is as good as a mile interpretation. The second, tied closely to the first, is that, by altering course to starboard, admittedly at the last minute, the give-way vessel's defense that he had a decent reason to delay course alteration until he did is irrefutable. Even though you are wetting your pants, his defense that he still had room to alter slightly to starboard, passing harmlessly under your stern, admittedly closely under your stern, will stand up in any court. Your alteration of course, to port, will be held as the proximate cause of collision.
None of which keeps the other guy safe from a good ass kicking the next time you see him at the dairy queen.
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