I would like to offer my condolences on both sides of this incident, no one wants to see this happen.
I have commented on this in the past discussing the lack of communication between recreational vessels and kayaks specifically.
I’ve had an ongoing discussion in my comment section as a result of my post regarding the same. Let’s take a moment to clear up a few things I’m seeing in the comment sections of the many posts floating around trying to assess blame, cause, and right of way.
The rules are specific and if followed, the thinking is (theoretically) that a collision should never occur. Real world, not so much.
(a) (i) A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable.
|(ii) Notwithstanding Rule 9(a)(i) and Rule 14(a), a power-driven vessel operating in narrow channel or fairway on the Great Lakes, Western Rivers, or waters specified by the Secretary, and proceeding downbound with a following current shall have theright-of-way over an upbound vessel, shall propose the manner and place of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by Rule 34(a)(i), as appropriate. The vessel proceeding upbound against the current shall hold as necessary to permit safe passing.|
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any other vessel navigating within a narrow channel or fairway.
(d) A vessel [ shall | must ] not cross a narrow channel or fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within that channel or fairway. The latter vessel [ may | must ] use the signal prescribed in Rule 34(d) if in doubt as to the intention of the crossing vessel.
(i) In a narrow channel or fairway when overtaking [can take place only if the vessel to be overtaken has to take action to permit safe passing, the vessel intending to overtake | the, power-driven vessel intending to overtake another power-driven vessel] shall indicate her intention by sounding the appropriate signal prescribed in [Rule 34(c)(i) | Rule 34(c)] [and take steps to permit safe passing]. The [power-driven] vessel [to be |being] overtaken, if in agreement, [shall] sound the [appropriate | same] signal [prescribed inRule 34(c)(ii)] and [may, if specifically agreed to,] take steps to permit safe passing. If in doubt she [may | shall] sound the signals prescribed in Rule 34(d).
(ii) This rule does not relieve the overtaking vessel of her obligation under Rule 13.
(f) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a narrow channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall navigate with particular alertness and caution and shall sound the appropriate signal prescribed in Rule 34(e).
(g) Any vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid anchoring in a narrow channel.
My view, find the kayaks. Get it?
And here is an example of what the prospective traffic can be..
It has been cited that rule 9c applies, in this case it does not.
It has been claimed this was a narrow channel, it is not.
It has been stated the “rule of tonnage” should have applied. There is no such rule. It is a construct of common sense similar to “let the big boat go first”, it is not a rule, reg, or statute. It is a common sense admonition for small craft surviving encounters with large vessels in close quarters.
So far as I know, what has been reported is that the ferry was leaving his berth and turned into the sun for his westbound crossing and met with a flotilla of kayaks that were following the pier-heads close in. Was there any communication from the kayaks? So far, unknown. Did the ferry sound signals properly? Too early in the investigation and no one has said that he didn’t. Were the kayaks being led by a club or organization? Was there notice given to VTSNY (USCG Vessel Traffic Service)? All this and more will come out in due course. It is cold comfort that no one died, I take no pleasure in my prediction that this was a matter of “when ” as opposed to “if” it might happen.
For those of you who follow this blog, I ask that we all make an effort to educate those recreational boaters of their need to understand the dynamics of sharing the waterways in a safe manner and comply with the rules.
I see quite a few professionals misquoting the rules as well, this is not acceptable.
As professionals we are held to the higher standard and will suffer as well as impose suffering on others for our ignorance. The hearing will not be pretty when it becomes apparent that our industry isn’t upholding the standard that sets us apart.
We must do better.
Read and understand the “Rules”
, it’s clear there is a need to post this again.