[QUOTE=jameswilson29;927644](snippage)At 7 miles at night, I should be able to see a commercial ship and it may see me if we are both displaying the required lights, unless visibility is obscured. QUOTE]
While I would think that most likely the commercial ship would be visible to the sailor at 7 miles, it might not work both ways at that distance. Even the ship's lights are only required to be visible for 6 miles, and a vessel less than 20 meters the requriements are 3 miles, or less. Hence, lights found on smaller vessels are not nearly as bright.
Maybe a stretch to think the difference would cause a collision, but it can't be ruled out. Anyway, like you said, the sailor would likely see the ship 7 miles out, and take action at that time. Standing on in such a circumstance would be foolhardy.
This used to be a dead horse, not much left but hooves and bit of mane now...