Rule 6: Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision. It then goes on to list six (6) points that will help to assess that safe speed. In addition it lists a further six (6) points for vessels that have operational radar.
Rule 7: Every vessel shall be able to access if risk of collision exists and which vessel must be the first to react to the situation. It includes the use of radar information.
Rule 6: Again the Inland Rules address this same issue in the same manner.
Rule 7: Once again the Inland Rules say the same thing and make the same points of responsibility.
Before leaving the dock file a Float Plan, there is usually a box at the Harbor or Dock Masters Office. Once you return safely remember to cancel the Float Plan.
Always carry a navigation chart of the area you are operating in. Learn how to read the symbols and use the chart for safe navigation. Also learn the system of buoyage - USATONS - used by the USCG it is extremely simple and effective when used correctly.
There used to be a Uniform State Waterway Marking System of black and red buoys USWMS but this was discontinued in 2003. The black and red buoys were replaced USATONS aids. This would be something to ask advice about from the VSC Examiner mentioned in BTR #1.