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post #33 of Old 09-26-2012
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This is just silly. I've already explained that your scenario is meaningless because it wouldn't happen... if I light myself as a powerboat, I'll certainly know I did that, and certainly behave as a powerboat. Yeah, I'm going to light myself as a powerboat and then quibble over stand-on / give-way status as though I were a sailboat... how does that even make any sense? Let's face it... a LOT more collisions happen because the boats simply did not see each other, than happen because of confusion over status. Even if you're convinced you're stand-on, are you really going to press it all the way to a collision with another vessel that you're aware of? First and foremost, in a small boat on a dark night, you want to be SEEN.

Standards, best practices etc are good things. They keep a lot of people safe in a lot of circumstances. But there's a point where you have to be able to think for yourself. In my aviation career, I've seen a couple people follow that rulebook right into the ground. This lighting scenario is obviously not that drastic, but it's kind of the same idea - if the circumstances are such that deviating from the rules in a conservative way is actually safer, and you are properly aware of what you're doing (realizing how others will perceive you in a right of way scenario), then it's sometimes the smarter option. It's all about JUDGEMENT. On a visibility-compromised night, choosing not to use an available highly visible light is, to me, poor judgment.
Agree or disagree, doesn't matter... at least hopefully you'll see me if we ever meet at night. And who knows, maybe I'll end up having to give way to you even though, if I turned off the steaming light, I'd be the stand-on. Maybe then you'd stop complaining. ;-)
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