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    Re: Rules of the Road While Backing
    From: Mike A. LeButt
    Date: 1999 Feb 08, 17:09 EST

    At 11:47 2/8/99 -0500, Jonathon C McLendon wrote in part:
    >note that the Rules are listed in order of importance, i.e.
    >Rule 2 overrides Rule 13 which overrides Rule 34, etc.
    Generally true, except that Rule 13 (the previously-mentioned "Overtaking"
    rule) overrides Rules 4 through 18.
    >I almost always begin every voyage by backing off the trailer...
    But you don't routinely travel across the sound this way :)
    >I don't believe that's it's the routineness of the travel that is the
    determining
    >factor.  I ascribe the ability to switch bow and stern to one fact: the
    ferry is >intentionally designed to normally travel in either direction,
    i.e. the propulsion >machinery is bidirectional in nature, both ends are
    "pointy" and the ferry is >equipped with navigation lights at both ends
    (and they can be switched so that >one set operates and the other does not).
    >But a vessel so equipped can both "operate astern propulsion" and can back
    down.
    >Which end of the vessel is the bow is not immediately determined by the
    >direction of travel, but by which end the master of the vessel has determined
    >is the bow.
    That's what I meant...better said by you, thanks.
    >Rule 13 applies to all (sailing and power) vessels although
    >it may be overridden by another (lower numbered) rule.
    Rule 13 says, NOTWITHSTANDING ANYTHING (contained in Rules 4 through 18)
    any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel
    being overtaken.  I take this to mean that lower rules do *not* override 13
    - except for Rule 2 which discusses responsibility to comply with the Rules
    and avoid danger.  Rules 1 and 3 address administration and definitions and
    don't impact the Rule 13 override.
    >But they certainly do operate astern propulsion and they certainly do back
    down.
    >We have lots of these ferries in NC. And they give the three short blasts
    >regularly in Silver Lake Harbor in Ocracoke, NC (although this statement
    >is not intended as an argument of the correctness of the position). Note also
    >that in NC, the ferry's bow is generally determined by the direction the
    cars
    >are pointing.  Whether this is to facilitate unloading or to increase
    tourism,
    >I don't know.
    I'll give you this one...though I hear a lot of misuse of the 3 blasts, so
    it would be difficult to know which end's propulsion gear is operating
    vis-a-vis backing down vs moving ahead (and many of the ferries in my
    former home state of Michigan and the ones I've traveled in Alaska have the
    automobiles hidden from view!)  I like your approach that it is the
    operator of the ferry who determines which end is the bow - we can only
    trust his judgement as to sound signals and lighting (while being always
    vigilant for unexpected moves!)
    P/Lt/C Michael A. LeButt, FC
    Balboa (Newport Beach, CA) Squadron
    "A ship in harbor is safe,
      but that's not what ships are for..."
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