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How long to stand on? A poetic answer

An answer to the question of how long to stand on, as discussed at a recent meeting, courtesy of local RIN member Charles Wylie.

By Charles Wylie

The Colregs are, I’m pleased to say, good rules which most obey,
And in our brains they ever nestle, for careful conduct of a vessel;
But there is still a minor bunch whose ineptness can cause a crunch
In spite of whatsoe’r we do, so how can we avoid these few?

If burdened, you must not get near. Your early duty’s to keep clear,
It’s usually a piece of cake to put a good kink in your wake.
Be bold in this I do implore; a move that’s positive is the law.
By doing this you’ll error not, and ne’er be judged to be a clot.

A seaman claiming right of way, whether it be night or day,
Has failed to read the Colregs through, or made his own up: this he’ll rue.
The concept’s not within the rules and those who think so are but fools.
‘Required to keep her course and speed’ is how the rules describe the need.

The ‘stand-on vessel’s’ not exempt from making clear her own attempt
To obviate a nasty crump by prudent moves to stop a bump.
If t’other makes no early move then she must turn or else she’ll prove
To be at fault as well, I fear. So say the regs; they are quite clear.

You may well ask “Who is this man who dares to tell us what we can,
Or cannot do? He is, I wean, a bloke whose record is not clean.
He’s perpetrated every cock, and yet avoided every rock,
And managed to avoid the blip of bouncing off another ship.

If you don’t want to end in court, for doing what you didn’t ought,
Take heed of what is written here. It is your duty to keep clear,
Whether burdened or stand-on, don’t plough the seas with abandon.
Altering course in ample time can hardly ever be a crime.

  • 08 December 2013
  • Solent Branch

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