Boaters certainly should pay attention to good seamanship in all aspects of boat operation, but is there an actual rule relating to navigation seamanship? Yes, there is. Rule 2(a) of the Navigation Rules (aka the Rule of Good Seamanship) says that there is nothing in the Navigation Rules that excuses a mariner who does not comply with the Rules, who doesn’t take precautions that a prudent seaman would take under the circumstances, and who does not take into account any special circumstances of a situation which may require special precautions. There are a lot of vague and undefined words in this rule. Seamanship evolves with technology, and the interpretation of good seamanship changes over time. All boaters are expected to know how to use all the functional navigational aids on their vessels; professional mariners are held to an even higher standard of seamanship. Read Rule 2(a) at www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesContent, and see the next post.
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.