Who Gives Way, Adrift Powerboat or Sailboat under power?
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This is a question in our FREE Navigation Rules Course which covers in-depth the International Rules of Collision at Sea aka ColRegs.
The Powerboat is adrift. Who gives way?
Using our nano forum technology, one of our student’s asked the question.
Q: Please help! In the image, a sailboat has a powerboat (looks like a cabin cruiser) to port, apparently adrift in this example. However, there are no sails deployed on the sailboat. The sentence beneath this picture says the powerboat must give way, making the sailboat the Stand on boat. Why is this the case? Is it because the powerboat has the sailboat to starboard? Is it because the powerboat is adrift? Is the sailboat under power or adrift? This picture is confusing me because it seems the sail boat is also either under power or adrift. It’s certainly not overtaking the powerboat from the rear. Can anyone help with this one?
Here is our answer
A:Powerboat rules apply. The power boat sees the power driven sailboat on its right (sees a red light) and thus must give way. Additional note: adrift is still under power regardless if the engines are on or off. Why is that? Well, how could the sailboat know if the engines on the powerboat are on or off? For consistency of the rules then, adrift IS underpower. Further note: the sailboat even tho stand-on still has the responsibility to not cause a close quarters situation. Thus, let’s say the power boat could not start its engines, then there is no problem because of the sailboat’s continued responsibility. Further note: the student also asks what if the sailboat is adrift. Well, that point is moot because both adrift would not cause a collision. However, even if the wind was pushing the adrift sailboat towards the adrift powerboat, technically both are still underway and the powerboat is still the give-way vessel. Further note: if the powerboat was at anchor, then it is at anchor no longer underway.
Thanks to Perry G of Oregon for asking the question using our Nano forums “SeaTalk”.
On every page of our sailing courses, there is a SeaTalk button. Use this button to ask and answer a question. In particular, please help the community by answering questions when you see that there are comments or question on the SeaTalk page.
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Someone on this planet must surely know everything. I’m yet to meet him or her however.