When I am on the water for recreation and I encounter commercial traffic I stay clear regardless of who has the right way. I do this because I know the bridge watch has enough to do without worrying about dodging recreational craft. I also don't want to take the chance I might get run down just because the mate on watch needs to catch up his log at the same time the AB decides it time to put on a fresh pot of coffee.
My advice to boaters near commercial traffic is to stay the @##%& out of the way. Commander Brian J. Downey Jr. of the USCG says it much more diplomatically:
From The Working Waterfront - I have the right of way...or do I.
Going back to my youth, I picture my father at the helm of our 23-foot boat trying to calm my frantic mother by explaining that the big ship in front of us was required to get out of our path as we were under sail, availing us the right of way, assuring our safe passage. Well...not exactly.
The diplomatic part comes at the end:
My advice is to stay safe by giving our commercial operators a wide berth; there's plenty of ocean for all of us.
Yeah, that's what I meant.