Determining the Risk of Collisions
You obviously never want to be in a collision. Being able to determine the risk of collisions will help you avoid them. You are at risk of a collision if:
- Another vessel is heading for your vessel and does not appear to be changing course.
- Another vessel is heading for your vessel but does not appear to be changing course soon enough or quickly enough.
If a collision is possible, it doesn't matter whether or not you are the give-way vessel - you need to get out of the way as quickly and safely as possible.
You can overlook a Navigation Rule only if necessary to avoid immediate danger. To avoid a collision, take as many of the following actions as the situation needs:
- Move out of the way of the other vessel according to the Rules of Navigation in this chapter.
- Move early enough that you have plenty of time to avoid a collision.
- Make your course changes large enough (greater than 30°) so that the other vessel has no doubt where you are headed.
- Make sure when you change your course to avoid one vessel, you don't come too close to another vessel.
- Watch the other vessel the whole time you are navigating around it to be sure you keep a safe distance.
- Keep your speed constant unless that speed will cause a collision. If you need to change speed, either slow down, stop altogether, or reverse the propulsion of your vessel.
- If you need more time to figure out where the other vessel is headed, you can slow down, stop altogether, or reverse the propulsion of your vessel.
If you have radar equipment on your vessel and see another vessel on radar alone, take whatever action is necessary to avoid a collision as soon as you can. Follow the rules you learned for safe navigation.
Whenever there is a risk of collision, if you hear a fog signal that seems to be coming from forward of your vessel, slow your speed to the minimum that lets you keep on course. Use extreme caution until the danger of a collision is over.