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    Rule os the Road while Backing
    From: Dennis W. Farrell
    Date: 1999 Feb 05, 9:34 PM

    Some time ago there was a thread discussing application of the rules of the
    road while a ship was backing, and whether the rules should be "reversed" to
    account for the new virtual bow.  I don't remember how that thread came out.
    I was looking through my old copy of "Knight's Modern Seamanship" Tenth
    Edition (Revised 1941) and came across the following which might be of
    "An interesting and important point arises when one of two crossing vessels
    is going astern instead of ahead.  It is the practice of seamen to consider
    such cases that the rules apply with reference to the direction of motion of
    the ship so that for the time being, the starboard side becomes the port
    side and the port side the starboard side.  This practice has been
    sanctioned by several decisions of the courts, and may be regarded as fully
    established.  In other words, we must consider the pilot of a backing vessel
    to be facing aft toward the direction in which his ship is moving.  He must
    then keep clear of a vessel on his right hand as if that were his starboard
    side.  And his whistle signals must correspond.  Similarly, the vessel which
    is crossing him must regard the stern of the backing steamer as if it were
    the bow, etc.
      --  dwf
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