There are cases when two ships are going to cross paths and it is clear that there could be a collision. Ideally, the ship that does not have the right of way will see the danger in time to move or alter its course before the crash happens.
Naturally, this doesn’t always play out perfectly, and collisions between two ships can be very dangerous. If this collision happens because one of the ships did not give way, the next important question to ask is which ship had the right of way to start with. The other ship will be the one that is at fault.
Which craft is on the starboard side?
The question to ask is simply which vessel is on the starboard side of the other vessel. The craft that is on that starboard side is known as the stand-on vessel, and it gets to continue on its way. The craft that has the other boat approaching from starboard is the give-way vessel, and it needs to make way for the other craft.
In most cases, it is easy for the operators to adjust their course even a small amount to make sure that a crash doesn’t happen. But things do get harder in situations where visibility is reduced, perhaps by rain or fog, or when the captain of one of the vessels does not understand the rules that govern which one has to give way. When things happen quickly, such as with commercial shipping when deadlines are tight, that can make accidents even more likely.
When two boats collide, there’s a good chance that individuals on both of them are going to be injured. It is important for all involved to understand exactly what legal rights and options they have.