Collision today

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by DAVA390, Aug 17, 2018. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,125 posts, 412 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    To make it clear that just because you are the stand on vessel, you are still obligated to avoid collisions, even if it means altering your course, changing your speed, etc.
     


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  2. Head Sail

    Head Sail

    Joined Nov 13, 2013
    471 posts, 159 likes
    Catalina 34
    US Tacoma
    Not everyone is a lawyer and understands common law. An important purpose of the colregs is to educate the public and promote safety on navigable waters.
     


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  3. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    3,966 posts, 948 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Barnegat, NJ
    Fair enough! I think that is where we essentially divide. I tend to agree with you that it is a fundamental principle of common law that both parties must take action to mitigate damages or injury, therefore the provision is unnecessary in Colregs. IMO, it doesn't help to make anything clear because it is already self-evident common sense law. Instead, I think Rule 8 (f) (iii) tends to obfuscate the responsibility of the "give way" vessel and can lead to erroneous judgement against a victim.

    My position is that there must be an assumption that the victim has taken appropriate action to avoid damages or injury. It is common sense. They must not be burdened by proving that they took appropriate action when they are the victim of clearly wrongful actions by the other party. If both parties took demonstrably wrongful actions, then there is reason to question. but failing avoidance of a collision isn't necessarily a wrongful action and (f) (iii) shouldn't be used against the victim.

    That's about as simple as we can break it down, no? :biggrin:
     


    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
  4. Brian D

    Brian D Moderator

    Joined Feb 17, 2006
    4,442 posts, 1,065 likes
    Lancer 27PS
    US MCB Camp Pendleton, Ca KF6BL
    I see that someone stated the sailboat took no action to avoid the collision. What if the sailboat had no means of taking evasive action? Little or no wind to perform any kind of maneuver? What if this boat did not come equipment we any sort of propulsion system? I see in the image what looks like an exhaust pipe so it probably did have an inboard. So what if the sailboat had issues trying to start said engine if it had one.

    Just wondering.
     


  5. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    6,936 posts, 1,196 likes
    Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    :stir:
     


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  6. Stu Jackson

    Stu Jackson

    Joined Feb 26, 2004
    20,559 posts, 967 likes
    Catalina 34
    224 CA Maple Bay, BC, Canada
    First, you could not have read the entire link because it is over 11 pages long and quite detailed. Even if you'd started an hour ago, you couldn't possibly have read it all.

    Second, your partial quote above is offensive and reportable. This is not the Sails Call Lounge. I find theft, grifting, lying and corruption far more offensive actions.

    For the newbies reading this thread, please understand that Colregs has been developed over, literally, centuries. If you're really interested, read my link and Colregs themselves.

    Scott is simply wrong, because common law has nothing to do with it.
     


  7. SVMusic

    SVMusic

    Joined Aug 2, 2018
    96 posts, 16 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 40cc
    Music us Little River, SC
    Oh wow oh wow!!
     


  8. Brian D

    Brian D Moderator

    Joined Feb 17, 2006
    4,442 posts, 1,065 likes
    Lancer 27PS
    US MCB Camp Pendleton, Ca KF6BL
    Who? Me? Never! :twisted:
     


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  9. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    3,125 posts, 412 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westport, MA
    I am only continuing to reply because I find this so fascinating. I'm sincerely trying to wrap my head around what you are saying, but it keeps coming up as pretzel logic.

    You say "the victim." I don't think of a collision as having a victim and a perpetrator. I think there are simply two parties to a collision. After that, there is a finding of fact, and then an apportionment of responsibility. The finding of fact and apportionment are not prejudiced by victim or perpetrator assumptions.

    If actions were "clearly wrongful" and there was a victim, we wouldn't need to find facts and apportion responsibility, would we? But who is it that determined who was the victim and the wrongfully acting party, if we skip the fact finding phase? That's where this discussion "pretzels." You are presuming determinations that have not been made.

    You back up from the moment of the collision all the way to the boats not being on a collision course, and construct a timeline of headings and speeds, actions taken or not, and overlay the wind, sea, and visibility. You determine, by various means who knew what when, who did what when. And you begin apportioning responsibility based on this.

    I speculate that if this ever did get that far, to an apportionment of responsibility by a judge or magistrate, that while the powerboat would be almost completely responsible, the apportionment to the sailboat would not be zero. But as I've stated, I don't think it will get that far. I'm not a lawyer, much less a maritime lawyer, but I think the insurance companies will settle, and the powerboat captain will face discipline, and that's it.
     


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  10. gettinthere

    gettinthere

    Joined Nov 26, 2008
    1,867 posts, 162 likes
    Endeavour 42
    US Cruisin
    Scott, what you are inferring is that if the sailboat was in the right, he as no obligation to do anything. What if the powerboat driver had had a heart attack and the boat was not under command? The sailboat skipper KNEW he was on a collision course and did NOTHING.
    If there is nothing codified to require the sailboat skipper to do something then his obstinance is made legal. I'd guess the sailboat will be found much more than 10% at fault. It would have been easy to bear off and he made a conscious choice to not avoid the collision.

    Two wrongs don't make a right.
     


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  11. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    3,966 posts, 948 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Barnegat, NJ
    No that's not true. I've never said that there is no need to find the facts. Of course all the facts should be found before there is a determination. I'm not using pretzel logic, either. It's pretty straightforward that I think that if the facts show that a powerboat ran over a sailboat under sail, then the powerboat should be found to be at fault. That's an obvious conclusion based on the Colregs.

    Where it seems to me that you use pretzel logic is the notion that because there was a collision, it is probable that the sailboat didn't take sufficient evasive action. You conclude that the sailboat captain should have done something to avoid the hit and for that reason, he may share the blame to some extent. You seem to base this conclusion on your own experiences and your understanding of a provision in the Colregs, which I just happen to think is wrong and misleading. That's not twisted logic, it's just opinion. What a difficult world we live in where one side of an argument feels compelled to label a differing opinion simply because we don't agree.

    My complaint is that the Colregs introduce a provision that can obfuscate a seemingly obvious conclusion. Why should a sailboat captain be partially blamed for a collision with a powerboat simply because he couldn't get out of the way?

    You can label my logic but that doesn't make the label fit.
     


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  12. Scott T-Bird

    Scott T-Bird

    Joined Oct 26, 2008
    3,966 posts, 948 likes
    Starwind 27
    US Barnegat, NJ
    No, that isn't what I am inferring. First, it doesn't sound like the powerboat captain had a heart attack, so that is probably a straw man argument and it makes no sense to consider it. Second, we know that the sailboat captain tried to raise the powerboat on the radio, so we can't say that he did NOTHING. Stu and others say that "stand on" is an obligation. Presumably that means the sailboat captain should maintain a steady and predictable course so that the intersecting boat can respond accordingly. That is a reasonable thought process, until it is too late. That also didn't seem to work, so appropriately, that argument would have to be thrown out. It appears that you think the captain of the sailboat was obstinant! I find it surprising that this conclusion could be drawn. So if he is "stand on" and he acts responsibly, that is obstinant?!?!

    My conclusion is that the sailboat was essentially a sitting duck for an out-of-control power boat. Action or inaction could lead to collision. It may have been impossible to determine in advance what could be done (other than try to get their attention) to avoid the hit.

    We all have differing opinions, that is for sure. In case you are wondering, yes, I believe that avoidance of a collision does NOT have to be codified. It is such an elemental rule of survival that I think it is absurd to find a need to codify this as a requirement. As I have said previously, I think it has more potential to lead to wrongful conclusions.
     


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  13. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    6,880 posts, 868 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    AND THUS WE AVOID NEW JERSEY.
     


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  14. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,943 posts, 1,489 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    It would not have mattered, since he was operating his charter fishing boat without an operating radio! It wasn’t until he had hit the sailboat that SOMEONE ELSE on the charter fishing boat turned the radio on and called for assistance.
     


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  15. Stu Jackson

    Stu Jackson

    Joined Feb 26, 2004
    20,559 posts, 967 likes
    Catalina 34
    224 CA Maple Bay, BC, Canada
    Except, Scott, that is not.
    Except, yet agiin, it IS codified. There is a reason for that.

    Of course you are entitled to your opinion. I don't think anyone has said you aren't.

    However, the issue here is what is in COLREGS. Your opinion is that it is not required, etc.

    The reality and the FACT is that it is. And if you dig a little deeper into the link I sent you, you might be enlightened.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but opinions don't change facts. About Colregs.

    I do agree wholeheartedly with you that the sailboat was a sitting duck.
     


  16. Davidasailor26

    Davidasailor26

    Joined May 17, 2004
    1,727 posts, 441 likes
    Beneteau Oceanis 37 LE
    US Havre de Grace
    Not quite. As I read the rules the obligation is to hold course until just before it's too late - a time when action is necessary based on demonstrated inaction of the other boat.
    No, he's obstinant if he fails to act after it's evident that the other boat won't, and the only way to avoid a collision is to evade.
    Maybe, but that's one of the facts that needs to be found, not a foregone conclusion. Maybe he was a sitting duck, or maybe he had enough way on that he could have avoided the collision if he had turned sooner.
    If he *couldn't* get out of the way by taking any action, then he he shouldn't be blamed. But if he could have taken some action and failed to then he should be partially (not equally) responsible. Maybe he failed to take action because of obstinance (unlikely), or maybe because he just improperly judged the situation and didn't turn early enough. Either way it could be fair to place some blame on him.
     


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  17. waterpirate

    waterpirate

    Joined Sep 6, 2015
    110 posts, 20 likes
    Unknown snipe
    US delaware bay
    At the end of the day the duty of the skipper is to protect vessel and crew/ passengers. Somehow these two knuckle heads failed in their charged duties. I do not give a rats ass about what the rule book says and who thought they were in the right. See first sentence. They both are to blame. We should all be thankful that these two ass hats did not kill or injure anyone other than a lot of fiberglass. That damage is for the insurance companies to sort out.
    Eric
     


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  18. rpwillia

    rpwillia

    Joined Sep 29, 2008
    1,750 posts, 26 likes
    Catalina 310 #185
    US Quantico
    Just google Bismarck Dinius, Lynn Thornton and Chief Deputy Sheriff Russ Perdock. Bismarck was at the helm of a sailboat with navigation lights on in the evening and had consumed a beer. He was prosecuted for manslaughter. The miscarriage of justice was that Russell Perdock was driving a speedboat at excessive speed and drove over the sailboat and Thronton was killed in the collision. Perdock, the Chief Deputy Sheriff for Lake County, was escorted away by fellow deputies and not given a sobriety check until the next morning. And then they went after Dinius with everything they had, but he was acquitted by a jury of his peers. Perdock as far as I know was never charged. It is good to be one of the good old boys!
     


  19. Gunni

    Gunni

    Joined Mar 16, 2010
    5,943 posts, 1,489 likes
    Beneteau 411 Oceanis
    US Annapolis
    You couldn’t swing a dead cat in Lake County, California without hitting a crooked cop! No such issues here.
     


  20. Daveinet

    Daveinet

    Joined Sep 20, 2014
    1,036 posts, 221 likes
    Rob Legg RL24
    US Chain O'Lakes
    I think it is critical to point out that the first hand account stated that the sailboat tacked just prior to collision. It would be reasonable to assume the sailboat took evasive action, just as unfortunately required. From the power boat perspective, if he had a plan to evade contact, and the sailboat changed course, it matters not why the sailboat changed course, but that change in course may have been the final cause of the accident. Did the Colregs actually cause the accident???
     




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