Recently, my husband and I enjoyed some time on the hook aboard the Bee Weems. We anchored in the Chester River across the Chesapeake Bay from our home port on the Magothy River. As we returned home, in the shipping lanes in the distance, we saw a large commercial vessel heading south from Baltimore. From three miles away we weren’t sure if we were on a collision course or not. Should we speed up and cross in front of her or slow down and fall behind her? Who had the right of way?
Setting the scenario on my Weems & Plath ROADRule, a quick reference tool (similar to the Weems & Plath LIGHTrule) that helps in times like these, I read that in a crossing situation, the vessel on the starboard side has the right of way. That being the case, we gave way; probably a good thing given the size and speed of the ship. It’s a good rule of thumb to never cross in front of large commercial vessels.
While I had the ROADRule in hand, I also tested my skill at finding the description of navigation aids as we passed along the way. Familiarizing yourself with equipment on board in non-emergency situations is always a good idea.
Here’s a marker we passed by on our port side. It was easy to find the chart symbol and definition on the ROADRule. “Lighted buoy: Port Hand Marker, Odd numbers, Green Light Only.”
Written by Cathie Trogdon