RULES OF RIGHT-OF-WAY
Conduct of Vessels in Any Condition of Visibility
(1) Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.
(2) Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions. In determining a safe speed the following factors shall be among those taken into account by all vessels:
(a) The state of visibility;
(b) The traffic density including concentration of fishing vessels or any other vessels;
(c) The maneuverability of the vessel with special reference to stopping distance and turning ability in the prevailing conditions;
(d) At night the presence of background light such as from shore lights or from back scatter of her own lights;
(e) The state of wind, sea, and current, and the proximity of navigational hazards;
(f) The draft in relation to the available depth of water;
(g) The characteristics, efficiency and limitations of the radar equipment;
(h) Any constraints imposed by the radar range scale in use;
(i) The effect on radar detection of the sea state, weather, and other sources of interference;
(j) The possibility that small vessels, ice and other floating objects may not be detected by radar at an adequate range;
(k) The number, location, and movement of vessels detected by radar; and
(l) The more exact assessment of the visibility that may be possible when radar is used to determine the range of vessels or other objects in the vicinity.
(3) Every vessel shall use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions to determine if risk of collision exists. If there is any doubt such risk shall be deemed to exist. Proper use shall be made of radar equipment if fitted and operational, including long-range scanning to obtain early warning of risk of collision and radar plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects. Assumptions shall not be made on the basis of scanty information, especially scanty radar information. In determining if risk of collision exists the following considerations shall be among those taken into account:
(a) Such risk shall be deemed to exist if the compass bearing of an approaching vessel does not appreciably change; and
(b) Such risk may sometimes exist even when an appreciable bearing change is evident, particularly when approaching a very large vessel or a tow or when approaching a vessel at close range.
(4) Any action taken to avoid collision shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be positive, made in ample time and with due regard to the observance of good seamanship. Any alteration of course or speed to avoid collision shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, be large enough to be readily apparent to another vessel observing visually or by radar; a succession of small alterations of course or speed should be avoided. If there is sufficient sea room, alteration of course alone may be the most effective action to avoid a close-quarters situation provided that it is made in good time, is substantial and does not result in another close-quarters situation. Action taken to avoid collision with another vessel shall be such as to result in passing at a safe distance. The effectiveness of the action shall be carefully checked until the other vessel is finally past and clear. If necessary to avoid collision or allow more time to assess the situation, a vessel shall slacken her speed or take all way off by stopping or reversing her means of propulsion.
(5) A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel of a fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable:
(a) Notwithstanding section (5) of this rule and OAR 250-011-0010(3), a powerdriven vessel operating in narrow channels or fairways on waters of this state, and proceeding downbound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an upbound vessel, shall propose the manner and place of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by OAR 250-013-0010(1)(a), as appropriate. The vessel proceeding upbound against the current shall hold as necessary to permit safe passing;
(b) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a vessel that can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway;
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any other vessel navigating within a narrow channel or fairway;
(d) A vessel shall not cross a narrow channel or fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within that channel or fairway. The latter vessel shall use the danger signal prescribed in OAR 250-013-0010(4) if in doubt as to the intention of the crossing vessel;
(e) In a narrow channel or fairway when overtaking, the vessel intending to overtake shall indicate her intention by sounding the appropriate signal prescribed in OAR 250-013-0010(3)(a) and (b), and take steps to permit safe passing. The overtaken vessel, if in agreement, shall sound the same signal. If in doubt she shall sound the danger signal prescribed in OAR 250-013-0010(4). This does not relieve the overtaking vessel of her obligation under OAR 250-011-0010(2);
(f) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a narrow channel or fairway where other vessel may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall navigate with particular alertness and caution and shall sound the appropriate signal prescribed in OAR 250-013-0010(5);
(g) Every vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid anchoring in a narrow channel.
(6) Any vessel approaching, overtaking, being approached, or being overtaken by a moving law enforcement vessel operating with a siren or an illuminated flashing blue light, or any vessel approaching a stationary law enforcement vessel displaying an illuminated blue light, shall:
(a) Immediately slow to a speed sufficient to maintain steerage only, shall alter its course, within its ability, so as not to inhibit or interfere with the operation of the law enforcement vessel, and shall proceed, unless otherwise directed by the operator of the law enforcement vessel, at the reduced speed until beyond the area of operation of the law enforcement vessel;
(b) Notwithstanding the operational requirements of subsection (a) of this section, vessels shall not be required to operate in a manner that would endanger or be likely to endanger that craft, other nearby watercraft, or other persons or property.
Conduct of Vessels in Sight of One Another
(1) When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, so as to involve risk of collision, one of them shall keep out of the way of the other as follows:
(a) When each has the wind on a different side, the vessel which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other;
(b) When both have the wind on the same side, the vessel which is to windward shall keep out of the way of the vessel which is to leeward; and
(c) If a vessel with the wind on the port side sees a vessel to windward and cannot determine with certainty whether the other vessel has the wind on the port or on the starboard side, she shall keep out of the way of the other;
(d) For the purpose of this section the windward side shall be deemed to be the side opposite to that on which the mainsail is carried or, in the case of a square-rigged vessel, the side opposite to that on which the largest fore-and-aft sail is carried.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in OAR 250-011-0005 through 250-011-0010 any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken. A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam; that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights. When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly. Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.
(3) Unless otherwise agreed, when two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision each shall alter her course to starboard so that each shall pass on the port side of the other. Such a situation shall be deemed to exist when a vessel sees the other ahead or nearly ahead and by night she could see the masthead lights of the other in a line or nearly in a line or both sidelights and by day she observes the corresponding aspect of the other vessel. When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether such a situation exists she shall assume that it does exist and act accordingly.
(4) Notwithstanding section (3) of this rule, a power-driven vessel operating on waters of this state, and proceeding down-bound with a following current shall have the right-of-way over an up-bound vessel, shall propose the manner of passage, and shall initiate the maneuvering signals prescribed by OAR 250-013-0010(1)(a), (2)(a), or (3)(a), as appropriate.
(5) When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel. Notwithstanding this section on the waters of this state, a vessel crossing a river shall keep out of the way of a power-driven vessel ascending or descending the river.
(6) Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, so far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.
(7) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course and speed:
(a) The latter vessel may, however, take action to avoid collision by her maneuver alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these rules;
(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision. A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with subsection (7)(a) of this rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side. This rule does not relieve the give-way vessel of her obligation to keep out of the way.
(8) Except where OAR 250-011-0005(5) and section (2) of this rule otherwise require:
(a) A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(A) A vessel not under command;
(B) A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver;
(C) A vessel engaged in fishing; and
(D) A sailing vessel.
(b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(A) A vessel not under command;
(B) A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver; and
(C) A vessel engaged in fishing.
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing when underway shall, so far as possible, keep out of the way of:
(A) A vessel not under command; and
(B) A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver.
Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility
Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate maneuver:
(1) Every vessel shall have due regard to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility when complying with OAR 250-011-0005.
(2) A vessel which detect by radar alone the presence of another vessel shall determine if a close-quarters situation is developing or risk of collision exists. If so, she shall take avoiding action in ample time, provided that when such action consists of an alteration of course, so far as possible the following shall be avoided:
(a) An alteration of course to port for a vessel forward of the beam, other than for a vessel being overtaken; and
(b) An alteration of course toward a vessel abeam or abaft the beam.
(3) Except where it has been determined that a risk of collision does not exist, every vessel which hears, apparently forward of her beam the fog signal of another vessel, or which cannot avoid a close-quarters situation with another vessel forward of her beam, shall reduce her speed to the minimum at which she can be kept on course. She shall if necessary take all her way off and, in any event, navigate with extreme caution until danger of collision is over.
State Archives • 800 Summer St. NE • Salem, OR 97310