Author: Samuel R. Clawson Jr.

When meeting, carefully assess other vessel’s bearing, course

The meeting or head-on situation often receives brief treatment in nautical treatises due to the common perception that it presents little danger to the vessels involved. However, the meeting scenario presents a unique set of challenges that the prudent mariner must consider. 

Overtaking or crossing? Don’t assume what other ship will do

The overtaking situation is generally regarded as a type of vessel encounter presenting the least risk to the vessels involved. This is primarily due to the fact that, in contrast to crossing and head-on situations, overtaking often involves low relative speeds between the vessels, resulting in a more slowly developing situation that the mariner is better able to appreciate, analyze and react to.