Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vessel Encounters - The Play

In comments of my post Vessel encounters drunks. Which rule applies?   I said I was going to take another stab at making my point so here goes.

One of the books I have here at home is Mariner's Rules of the Road by William P. Crawford.  

The book uses the analogy of a play to explain the rules of conduct between vessels. From the book, regarding the rules:
"The structure, though, can be reduced to this: a code of conduct and a code of signals. Vessels are given a script to follow when they meet; that is the code of conduct."
The analogy of a script is apt. Performers acting out parts in a theater are guided by the playwright's specifications of who says what and when.Vessels approaching each other so as to involve risk of collision also require direction.

When a recreation vessel deliberately uses it's superior maneuverability to harass a larger vessel one actor is not following the  script and  the play is over.

Searching through the rules of the roads for the appropriate rule in this case would be  like searching for Booth's line "Sic semper tyrannis"  in the script for Our American Cousin. It's not  there, the play was over when Booth shot Lincoln.

At sea, once Booth jumps onto the stage it's time for the pedantic types to turn to Rule 2 also called "The Rule of Good Seamanship and the General Prudential Rule.

Again from Crawford's book:
"If there is no script, or if what script exist won't work, then be ready to 'ad lib'."


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