sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Anatomy of a sailing boat collision - test your judgement
Anatomy of a sailing boat collision - test your judgement

'Neither boat had a bow watch'    .

Here's a chance to test your knowledge of the COLREGS (International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea) with this real example of a collision between two sailing boats, bow to bow:

The Collision:
Two sailboats are approaching each other, bow-to-bow, on a collision course. Both boats are under power, each traveling at four to five knots, and are closing quickly. A few seconds before impact, the skipper of the larger boat, a 40-footer, throws the helm hard over to starboard and yells at the skipper of the smaller boat, who responds by turning sharply to port.

The two boats collide, with the smaller boat ramping up onto the deck of the larger boat. There were no injuries, but both boats suffered extensive damage (Claim 0810161).

As is often the case when two boats collide, both skippers insisted the other was at fault. There were no outside witnesses. These sorts of disagreements are routine and are typically settled by the respective insurance companies. In this case, however, no agreement was reached and the claim went to arbitration.

Who was at fault? How would you judge it?

Discussion:
Sails were neatly furled on the larger boat but on the smaller boat the mainsail was up. The smaller boat’s skipper claimed he was 'sailing' (A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of a sailing vessel) but a check of nearby weather buoys confirmed that San Francisco Bay was uncharacteristically calm that day and his argument was quickly dismissed by arbiters.

The skipper of the larger boat claimed the collision was solely the responsibility of the smaller boat; after all, it hit him. Again, the investigators were not convinced. One of the primary Navigation Rules (rule five) was ignored by both skippers: Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision. Had either skipper been paying attention, the collision would not have occurred.

The Judgment:
In most, if not all collisions, there is more than one cause and usually enough blame to go around, even if on the surface the reasons seem obvious. There is no 'right of way' for boats.

There are stand on vessels, which are required to maintain course and speed, and give way vessels, which are required to take whatever measures are necessary to avoid a collision, usually specifically pointed out in the Rules.

As the investigator noted, 'being the stand-on vessel does not unconditionally impart immunity, but rather confers specific responsibilities.' The Rules make this apparent: When, from any cause, the (stand on) 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.

Even if the smaller boat was a stand on vessel, she still may be required to make course adjustments to prevent a collision. Finally, if vessels are meeting head on as was the case: Each shall alter her course to starboard so that each shall pass on the port side of the other.

The skipper of the smaller boat made the mistake of turning to port, which violated another rule as well; the Rules specifically state that vessels shall not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side. In a meeting situation such as this, where both parties were not paying attention, a last second turn to starboard by both skippers would not have avoided the collision but likely would have reduced the impact and resulted in less damage to both boats.

After reviewing all the facts gathered by the investigators and the statements from the skippers, the arbiters concluded that, 'Based on the diagrams offered by both parties, it is not clear why the two boats did not see each other much sooner than they did.

'Both parties had a duty for lookout in this case that was breached. That duty was breached slightly longer by [the skipper of the smaller boat]; as a result, he shoulders sixty percent of the liability for the loss and that portion of the damages.' The skipper of the larger boat was responsible for the remaining 40 percent.

***********

Chuck Fort is the Associate Editor of Seaworthy, the BoatU.S. Marine Insurance damage-avoidance publication, which is free to all BoatU.S. insureds. For an insurance quote, please call apply online at www.BoatUS.com.


by Chuck Fort, Boat US/Sail-World

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=101570

8:41 AM Fri 31 Aug 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Safety and the cruising sailor

Related News Stories:

28 Aug 2012  Hurricane precautions and preparations for boat owners
07 Aug 2012  Occasional need for EPIRB? PLB's? Here's the solution (if in the US)
06 Aug 2012  Dog Overboard in amazing rescue
15 Jul 2012  Canada increases boating safety dollars
14 Jul 2012  10 things to do if you are the 'Man' Overboard
01 Jul 2012  US Hoaxes point to the general problem of hoax distress calls
19 Jun 2012  Taxpayers paid $330,000 for hoax rescue call
18 Jun 2012  Sabbath laws and 'who will pay' hampers search for missing sailors
15 Jun 2012  Satphone - to become mandatory for offshore sailors?
30 May 2012  Product of the Week: Hand-held laser flare, prize-winning Odeo
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Express 27 National Championship overall + Video by Erik Simonson, Pressure-Drop.US,




















America's Cup: Louis Vuitton Cup's Yves Carcelle dies at 66 *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,












Audi Melges 20 World Championship - ‘Samba Pa Ti’ crowned champion by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,










Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Final race to decide champion by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,










Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - 13 things to See and do by Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show,




Volvo Ocean Race: Update from Team Vestas Wind in images by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,








Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Classic Garda conditions on day 2 by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,


PWA Alacati World Cup - Intense competition on day 3
America's Cup: 'The Doc' appointed as Commercial Commissioner
Wake Park Triple Crown - Registration open for final stop
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Day 2 images by Stefano Gattini
Volvo Ocean Race - Two more join Dongfeng Race Team
OHPRI Teen Summer Camps make a splash
East to West: A profile of Volvo Ocean Race crew Team Dongfeng
Extreme Sailing Series - First-ever Turkish team to race in Istanbul
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Race 4 images by Max Ranchi
New Around Britain and Ireland Monohull 40ft and less world record
Detroit Cup - Fifth place finish a difficult result for Neptune Racing
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Alessandro Rombelli's 'STIG' leads
Volvo Ocean Race: Call of Duty comes first for Team Alvimedica
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini
Helping boaters understand weather basics
PWA Alacati World Cup - Exciting finish on day 2
Match 40s find the surface again + Video
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Day 1 images by Max Ranchi
Clagett Regatta names first Executive Director
Transatlantic Race - Fleet expanded for 2015 edition
IFDS World Championship overall   
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi finishes second - Extreme Sailing Series   
2014 18' Skiff International Regatta - Day 2   
2014 Audi Melges 20 World Championship - It's go time in Garda   
2nd Annual Keith Dinsmoor Regatta September 13-14   
Aldo Alessio Regatta - Three days of tight racing   
PWA Alacati World Cup - First blood to Van Der Steen and Offringa   
Oakcliff Sailing hosts the Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX Nationals + Video   
International 18ft Skiff Regatta underway on San Francisco Bay   
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014 - Quality fleet for Maxi Classic   
Sailing Champions League - which is Europe's best sailing club?   
Weta fun at the Wine & Roses Regatta   
Extreme Sailing Series: The Wave, Muscat claims victory on Cardiff Bay   
International 14 World Championships 2015: Not just for boys   
Rio de Janeiro achieves 50% treatment of sewage outflow *Feature   
2014 AWT Quatro Desert Showdown - Event memorable videos   
2014 18' Skiff Int Regatta: Day 1 at San Francisco - Reversal on beach   
Emirates Team NZ: Last race boost cannot save team from table bottom   
PWA Alacati World Cup - Furious slalom is upon us   
J/111 World Championships - The Winner is Shmokin Joe!   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT