Colregs mini-quiz--restricted visibility - SailNet Community

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  • 3 Post By sailingfool
  • 2 Post By nolatom
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Old 08-07-2013
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Colregs mini-quiz--restricted visibility

You're sailing on port, in thick fog. Another vessel appears on radar off your starboard side, steady bearing, decreasing range. It's going to be close. You don't hear an engine , so probably a sailboat, wind angle would mean he's on starboard. who is stand-on?

Same visibility. You're sailing on a run, and hear a fog signal of a powerboat dead ahead. Getting louder all the time, still ahead. Going to be close. Who's stand-on?

Same visibility. You're a powerboat, and see on radar another powerboat off your starboard bow, steady bearing decreasing range. Who is privileged?
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Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Colregs mini-quiz--restricted visibility

For paragraph 1 and 3, the boat on the others starboard (right) has the right of way.
Paragraph 2, the sailboat may (or might) have the right of way.

Last edited by Seaduction; 08-07-2013 at 01:14 PM. Reason: may or might?
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Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Colregs mini-quiz--restricted visibility

No vessel is stand on in conditions of restricted visibility. In the above cases, you should reduce speed until the circumstances become more clear. If the range change is quick, consider turning sharply to port in 1 and 3, to starboard in 2.
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Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Colregs mini-quiz--restricted visibility

Being under full sail in restricted visibility is probably a bad idea to begin with. Proceeding at "safe speed" means reducing sail to a minimum to maintain some headway. If it became apparent that collision was imminent and the other boats could not see you, sounding 5 blasts to signal danger and stopping or attempting to move out of the path of an oncoming boat would be the next step. Judging distance and bearing in the fog is always difficult, even when boats have reduced speed. Power boats too often ignore the fact that they can't see and keep barreling right along in fog. Probably the overriding idea of doing what's necessary to avoid collision fits these situations.
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Old 08-07-2013
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Re: Colregs mini-quiz--restricted visibility

Winner, winner on posts 3 and 4 above.

There is NO stand-on nor give-way vessel in fog/restricted visibility. Rule 19 (aka "Subpart III" applies, and rules 11-18 (the ones in "Subpart II" about starboard over port, sail over power, overtaken over overtaking, all that "who's privileged, who's burdened" stuff) do NOT apply. those Part II right-of way rules are only for vessels IN SIGHT OF EACH OTHER. this means visual sight with our eyes, not "seeing" you by radar.

Many folks don't seem to get this, and it's why we have fog collisions and very close calls. Rule 19 requires ALL vessels to slow down, be real careful, determine if it's going to be close, and stop or proceed with caution til the close-quarters situation is past. This rule doesn't care who's on starboard, or whether we are sail versus power. We are ALL tasked with avoiding close calls with each other-- this is a rule of "equals" so to speak. In practical terms, this is when VHF radio, properly monitored and used, is worth its weight in gold..

Now we might still figure the guy on port will yield to the guy on starboard as a "logical" way to open up the CPA while both going real slow, but that's just common practice, and Rule 19 does tell you to avoid turning to port if you're trying to get away from someone who is out ahead of you. But no one in the 3 questions is 'stand-on', nor 'give way'.

Problem is, many don't know the Rule well, and some who do don't actually follow it. But the rule is how you'll be judged if you get into a fender-bender, or worse.

And we also have to obey the rules in Subpart I (since they apply in Any condition of visibility), such as lookout, safe speed, determining risk of collision, narrow channels, and Traffic Separation schemes, but these dovetail nicely with Rule 19.

Put it an other way: Subparts 1 and 3, 1 and 2, can dance nicely with each other. Subparts 2 and 3 can't.

I will stay away from the trickier question about sailboats racing in the fog. They will still have the Yacht Racing Rules to obey since they agreed to be bound by them under the relevant regatta instructions, but those will apply to race participants only, not to the nearby tug or fishing boat.

Okay, I'd seen others give little quiz questions, so that was mine. Hope it was fun, and keep on discussing if you like
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Last edited by nolatom; 08-07-2013 at 09:50 PM.
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