Originally Posted by jackdale
Rule 2 and 17(b) are still in effect.
Assuming these are the rules you are referring to:
Rule 2 - Responsibility
(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.
(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.
It appears that (a) is simply a disclaimer, while (b) seems to imply "If you have a motor, you need to use it (put it in gear) to avoid a collision". Thereby making the in/out of gear issue moot.
Rule 17- Action by Stand-on Vessel
(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.
Again, this rule says to me: "better put her in gear and avoid the collision!" making the in/out of gear issue moot.
Fortunately, I didn't need to read the rules to know this. Simply seemed prudent at the time!
In the OP, it wasn't apparent to me which boat was "stand on" if either. In addition, neither skipper would know if the other vessel was or wasn't under power, much less, in gear. So I still think it is a silly distinction.