The problem was that a trainee was at the helm and when the captain told her to turn to port she turned to starboard and ran completely over the sailboat (the skipper survived, boat didn't).
A minor digression, but there is good reason many maritime organizations including the US Navy use "left" and "right" for helm commands. Nothing you can do about people with mild dyslexia but you can avoid letting vocabulary get in the way of performance.
In regards to language, every licensed officer of navigational watch is required to speak the language of the sea, which is English.
Some are better than others of course, and there are always cultural issues. For example, I sometimes hear foreign watch officers calling USCG Sector Baltimore or the Annapolis Harbormaster (!) asking permission to send crew ashore on leave. *grin* It happens often enough that Sector Baltimore appears to have added a page to their flip book to make sure crew have cleared C&I then just give permission.
There has been the underlying premise in many posts on this subject that small boats just have to give way to larger boats.
I have not inferred that from anyone else's posts and certainly did not imply it in my own. There is a big difference between "should" and "must."
There has been plenty of evidence of hideous seamanship by commercial captains around the globe. Of course I did not intend to generalize but I've seen way too many cowboy acts from the local high speed ferry operators to tankers. Somebody needs to rein these types in.
There have been a very small number of really bad performers in the news. There are some historically poor seamen, particularly among large ferries including the Staten Island Ferry and the Isle of Wight Ferry and--I'm told--some in the PNW who seem to operate as if they ran on rails. Regardless they are at least predictable, which is more than can be said about most recreational boaters.
My experience with commercial traffic has been pretty positive.
Large traffic is not nearly as maneuverable as you describe. Although people with personal experience to that effect, including me, have said otherwise you persist in your belief. I'm not sure what we can do make reality evident to you. We haven't even talked about restricted sightlines and visibility.
Originally Posted by christian.hess
thats where courtesy and in my opinion simple prudent seamanship plays a more important role than whatever rule is written.
Exactly. Ultimately the rules are the rules but as I noted earlier some simple civility goes a long way.
Hmm. Perhaps I can talk to Judith Martin about a column in Maritime Reporter or Maritime Log. Maybe gCaptain would host a blog ....