Which Vessel Was Most At Fault in This Collision?
Last Sunday, a pleasure boat named Nap Tyme approached the Washington State passenger ferry Chetzemoka from the ferry’s starboard side. The boat crossed the ferry’s bow and the two vessels collided.
The ferry performed a crash stop, but it still struck the Nap Tyme amidships on the port side.
A spokesman for the Washington State Ferries system said that it is believed that the boat's operator was not in the wheelhouse in the moments leading up to the collision.
The incident occurred in good visibility and calm weather conditions.
No injuries or significant damage were reported, and the Coast Guard cleared the ferry to return to its regular service between Vashon and Point Defiance the same day.
Who do you think was most responsible?
N.B.: In addition to the COLREGS, regional U.S. Coast Guard regulations may apply
For the Puget Sound only, the U.S. Coast Guard has enacted a regional safety and security regulation covering navigation near large passenger vessels, specifically including Washington State Ferries.
The regulation requires all vessels to maintain a distance of at least 100 yards from a large passenger vessel under way.
By transiting within 100 yards of the Chemotka without explicit permission, the Nap Tyme may have entered a situation in which this highly specific federal rule would apply.
While this federal regulation effectively bans traffic interactions within a 100 yard radius of a Washington State ferry, the regulation makes clear that the Rules of the Road still apply within this zone.