Action in fog.
Having been at sea for the last two weeks I have been sailing in quite foggy conditions. As a result I was interested in reading the press coverage given to the two yachts that were run down in the Channel in the last week.
One point that came up was the concept that the sailing yachts had right of way in this situation.
It is important that all seamen realise that the International Regulations never specify that there is a right of way vessel. Careful reading of the rules indicate that if there is a collision, both vessels are at fault (Rule 17).
Also under Rule 19, the normal convention that power gives way to sail does not apply.
The rule states that when vessels are not in sight of one another and a risk of collision is believed to exist, both vessel should slow down and if necessary stop.
Many yachtsmen believe that power vessels should give way to them in restricted visibility, this is not the case. However, if the ship sights the yacht Rule 18 applies. It would be a foolhardy yacht skipper who relied on a ship missing his vessel at the range of visibility available in fog.
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