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To my knowlege, By the Rules, current is only a factor upon Western Rivers. Everywhere else it is generally considered courtesy to give way to a vessel moving with the current.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this rule, a power-driven vessel operating on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers, or waters specified by the Secretary, and proceeding downbound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an upbound vessel, shall propose the manner of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by Rule 34(a)(i), as appropriate.
This is the interpretation
Paragraph (d) extends to all channels the general right-of way given by Inland Rule 9(a)(ii) to vessel in narrow channels in the Great Lakes, western rivers, and waters specified by the Secretary (see Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations--contained in Appendix I of this website). Although this Rule 14(d) exception contains most of the language in the Rule 9(a)(ii) narrow-channel exception, 14(d) does not give the downbound vessel as much control as does 9(a)(ii) for the trickier narrow-channel situation. The 14(d) provision does not require the downbound vessel to propose the place of passage and does not require the upbound vessel to "hold as necessary to permit safe passing." Presumably if those two added precautions were needed for a safe passing, the channel would be narrow enough to bring Rule 9 into effect.
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