Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey

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Rule 16 -- Action by Give-way Vessel


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, so far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.

Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, so far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.

 

Rules 12, 13, 15, and 18 (all of which apply to vessels in sight of each other) direct one of two approaching vessels to keep out of the way of the other. Rules 16 and 17 assign respective responsibilities to each vessel. Rule 16 applies to the give-way vessel, the one directed to stay out of the way of the other. Rule 17 assigns more complicated responsibilities and privileges to the other vessel, the stand-on vessel.

Rule 16 commands the give-way vessel to take "early and substantial action to keep well clear," that is, "action to avoid collision," precisely the title of Rule 8.

Rule 8 contains some of the same tenets as Rule 16, but the language differs. Rule 16 says "take early and substantial action"; Rule 8 says take action that is "positive, made in ample time." Rule 16 says take action "to keep well clear"; Rule 8 says take action that will "result in passing at a safe distance." Rule 16 says take the prescribed action "so far as possible"; Rule 8 says take the action "if circumstances of the case admit." Although the language varies, the meaning is essentially the same.

Rule 8 also provides more specific guidance for the give-way (and other) vessels. Maneuvers should be large enough to be readily seen. The maneuver may be by course change alone but slowing or stopping may be necessary. The effectiveness of actions taken shall be observed (and further measures carried out if need be) until risk of collision has passed.

Depending on the situation, the give-way vessel may or may not be allowed to cross ahead of the stand-on vessel. Rule 15 does not permit (under normal circumstances) a power-driven give-way vessel to cross ahead of a power-driven vessel. A give-way vessel can cross ahead of a sailing vessel, hampered vessel, or vessel it is overtaking. If you cross ahead of a stand-on vessel, remember that you must pass "at a safe diatance" (Rule 8) and keep "well clear" (Rule 16).

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