Letters to the Editor
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Who Has the Right of Way
Dear Bay Weekly:
I am appalled, aghast, and more than a little frightened by what the author of “Confessions of a Certified [Un]Safe Boater” [Vol. xiv, No 27: July 6 said she was taught: “We learned in the second class what I thought was the most valuable lesson: the rules of the road governing who has the right of way under what circumstances … One basic rule: the biggest boat has the right of way.”
Please tell me that the instructor did not say that! And no editorial comment to the effect that this is just not so? Shame on you!
She is not the first to cite this “rule.” Does this explain the dangerous habits of so many boaters who ignore the real Rules of the Road?
Seamanship textbooks do not say the biggest boat has the right of way. The rules are based on vessels’ maneuverability. Chapman Piloting Seamanship & Small Boat Handling summarizes the “general right-of-way provisions:
“Except for vessels specifically designated otherwise … vessels may be ‘ranked’ for right-of-way as follows: A listed vessel must give way to higher-listed vessels, and is the stand-on vessel to lower-listed vessels:
• Vessels not under command.
• Vessels restricted in ability to maneuver.
• Vessels engaged in fishing.
• Sailing vessels.
• Power-driven vessels.”
Chapman’s notes that fishing “does NOT include vessels with trolling lines or drift fishing with hand rods and lines.” Simple courtesy tells us to stay clear.
Chapman’s explains the “very unofficial rule of tonnage. “Smaller boats should always avoid “close quarters situations with big ships.”
Bob Stevenson, Edgewater
Thanks to Those Ride, Walk and Run for Others
Dear Bay Weekly:
I have been meaning to write to you on staff writer Carrie Steele’s father’s Reflection on his MS ride. As someone with MS, I want to thank him. I am so touched by people who choose to do the fundraising for these long challenging rides, walks and runs. I enjoyed reading about his experiences.
I am currently training for the Chesapeake MS Challenge Walk, a two-day 50K walk from Annapolis to Baltimore. I, like Vernon Steele, have participated in numerous fundraisers, two Avon Breast Cancer three-days and another MS Challenge walk. He and all the others I meet at these events inspire me and give me hope.
Dotty Doherty, Annapolis