Home' Afloat : AFLOAT April 2015 Contents 12 AFLOAT.com.au April 2015
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There are some on the water that have attitudes which lead
to dangerous actions making it unpleasant for the rest of us to
say the least. Many reading this can relate and have survived
to tell the tale.
There are usually two sides to any story. There have been
times when a prudent ferry skipper reduced speed, gave ample
warnings or altered course slightly to avoid congested boating
It is a credit to all afloat that there are not more incidences
considering the congestion of vessels on the harbour at times.
Most skippers usually excerise the duty of care necessary to
maintain safety and enjoyment of all on our waterways.
Navigate safely and avoid unnecessary risks. Having an
altercation with a large vessel would certainly spoil your day.
All skippers have a duty of care to ensure that our waterways
are as safe as possible.
Consider your vessel, crew and others on our waterways which
is there for all of us to share. So let’s do it.
Sailing catamaran owner/skipper.
If in doubt ... Keep Clear
Further to letters from Gerry Nolan & John Murray (Afloat
Mar’15), except in the immediate vicinity of their wharves,
neither Taronga Park nor Manly ferries have particular channels
in which they must navigate. Certainly, there are no obstacles
or restrictions off Middle Head.
Regarding the ‘Orange Diamond Rule’, unfortunately the
Boating Handbook does not tell the whole story. The full situation
is set out in Schedule 2 of the Marine Safety (General) Regulation
2009. In this, Rule 13 of the Col Regs states: “Notwithstanding
anything contained in the Rules of Part B, sections I and II, any
vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel
The ‘Orange Diamond Rule’ is a NSW Special Rule which is
in Part B, at the end of Section II, so therefore Rule 13 overrides
the Special Rule.
This means that all overtaking vessels, even Manly ferries,
must keep clear of vessels being overtaken, whatever their means
of propulsion. It would be unwise for anyone to rely on this as
it seems that many skippers do not know their obligations and
if it comes to the crunch, a collision will ruin your whole day.
It is only common sense not to insist on your ‘rights’, but if
you are feeling aggressive, Rule 17(b) states: “When, from any
cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds
herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action
of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will
best aid to avoid collision.”
Regarding the Middle Head incident, when the ferry master
first sighted the group of vessels (all of which were under power)
there was no reason he could not have altered course by a few
degrees and kept well clear, but he chose not to. Instead, he
deliberately headed for the group and put his hand firmly on his
horn! Very macho, but he had no right to do so. He was required
to keep clear and could easily have done so.
Rule 34(d) states that the only signal to indicate doubt about
a vessel’s intentions is five short blasts. The ferry driver could
not even get that right.
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