Friday, October 28, 2011


Reading through some of the other maritime themed blogs is often interesting.  While we do see Posts about the latest adventures of "Lego-Man" - he was at Sarasota Beach, FL this past week - there are also more serious Posts.  There is one about vessel encounters entitled "When vessels encounter drunks".  It is by an experienced Master currently in Command of a large ocean-going car carrier if one remembers correctly.  No it is not wrong but the approach struck NAUTICAL LOG as a little different perhaps even strange.  But then NAUTICAL LOG does not have the greatest sense of humour or is even faintly amused when it comes to vessel encounters and the Navigation Rules not being followed. 

Living in South Florida on the edge of Biscayne Bay one encounters all too frequently BUI boaters and while the Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies do the best job they can the real answer is personal responsibility - unfortunately it is sadly lacking being in a large part due to the cult of 'machismo' prevalent to the area  That coupled with little or complete lack of knowledge of the NAVIGATION RULES as laid down in USCG M16672.2D (or latest edition).  This is the only book in the United States that counts to learn from, fully understand and follow.  Yes there are others designed to be helpful, make money for the author, however they are not the official word.

The article by the above mentioned Master quotes a Mr.Crawford's book who uses the medium of the theater as an aide memoire to the learning of the Navigation Rules.  The article quotes Rule 2 and then says, quote: "then be ready to 'ad lib' " when the Navigation Rules are not followed.

This is very bad advice indeed.  The Navigation Rules cover just about every situation that can occur between two or more vessels on the High Seas or Inland Waterways.  They even cover those situations where things go very wrong indeed, far from 'Ad Libbing' they give precise instructions on how to behave.  It is 'Ad Libbing' from those precise instructions that gets seafarers into serious trouble.  From appearing to be in the right they find themselves in left field and handing in their respective License/Certificate to their Maritime Authority.

So as well as following the Navigation Rules on what to do in a particular situation at sea know also what to do when things go wrong.  The solutions are found in Rule 2 (b), Rule 8 (e), Rule 17 (b) and of course in Rule 1 - General Application - how to follow the Navigation Rules as per USCG M16672.2D (or latest edition).

"A Collision can Spoil your whole Day."

Good Watch

There are still nearly 400 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia.  Simulation programmes, however well intended and useful for training, will not help a single one of them.  Skilled rescue using extreme prejudice would have a marked effect on piracy per se. NAUTICAL LOG fully supports armed vessel protection and response.

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