Tuesday, December 4, 2007


The handling a ship while overtaking another vessel are routine and safe so long as the ship handler realizes that it is the speed at which the maneuver is performed that is most important. If the over­taking ship is abeam of the other vessel or tow for any length of time she increases the chances that the overtaken vessel will become unman­ageable, particularly when her stern is abeam the bow of the vessel being overtaken. Give the overtaken ship as much room as possible and maintain a moderate speed to minimize the period of time that the two ships are abeam.

The overtaken vessel reduces her speed as much as possible before the maneuver begins while still maintaining steerageway, to further reduce the time required to complete the overtaking maneuver. While being passed, the slower vessel increases revolutions as needed to increase the flow past her rudder and maintain steerage.
The Rules of the Road give the ship or tow being passed the respon­sibility for agreeing to any passing situation. It is obvious why this is so. It is the overtaken vessel that is most likely to have a problem, and which will be the most likely to go aground should any problem arise. No prudent mariner agrees to be passed until the maneuver can be performed under conditions that he or she feels comfortable with.