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» Online Classroom   »   » Public Discussion of the Nav Rules   » Logic Check on Question 04230

   
Author Topic: Logic Check on Question 04230
Dan Cline


 - posted January 08, 2006 07:11 AM      Profile for Dan Cline           Edit/Delete Post 
Coast Guard Question 04230 reads:

04230 In restricted visibility, a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver, at anchor, would sound a fog signal of ________.
A. the rapid ringing of a bell for five seconds every minute
B. two prolonged and two short blasts every two minutes
C. one prolonged and two short blasts every two minutes
D. two prolonged and one short blast every two minutes

Tne answer key gives C as the correct answer, citing Rule 35f.

Rule 35f deals with composite vessels, and I think the correct cite should be Rule 35d. Rule 35d applies to "a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver when carrying out her work at anchor," which led me to wonder if A is also a correct answer, since the question says nothing about whether the vessel is carrying out her work. If the vessel is not carrying out her work and is at anchor, Rule 35g might apply.

However, "vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver" is defined in Rule 3g as "a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver," and gives examples of vessels "engaged in" various activities. In other words, to be a "vessel restrictued in her ability to maneuver," the vessel MUST be "carrying out her work," making this clause in Rule 35d redundant.

So, logic tells me that A is incorrect because if the vessel is not carrying out her work, she is by definition not a "vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver," which was one of the conditions of the original question.

So, am I on the right track, or is there a simpler reason for eliminating A as a valid answer?

From: Midland, MI
David Burch


 - posted January 09, 2006 12:02 AM      Profile for David Burch           Edit/Delete Post 
It seems the citation is wrong. thanks for finding this. The correct citation is Rule 35c and it is exact wording. There is no ambiguity there... although it is fair to raise the question you did.

One might think that any vessel at anchor is restricted in their ability to maneuver, but that is not the definition.

The definition is:

The term “vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver” means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel;

If you are not a "restricted vessel" you could indeed pull up your anchor and move, which in fact some vessels that anchor in some channels do have to do.

As for part 2 of your question, the vessel is indeed carrying out her work or she would not be a "vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver" (often shortened in nav rules discussion to RAM) and the question told us that is what it was. In other words, you cannot be a RAM unless you are indeed working. ie have the anchor out while you are tending a buoy, or dredging or transferring fuel etc.

[A similar apparent conflict in logic is when we see what is obviously a fishing vessel. Well, this is not a "vessel engaged in fishing," which in common discussion of the rules is often referred to as a "fishing vessel" or FV—clearly in this case, not a good abbreviation for discussion or writing on the rules. It is even more complex, considering the rules distinctions betwen trawlers and trollers at work.... and it is still more subtle, because even with a vessel engaged in fishing with real gear over the side that does restrict its maneuverabilty, it does not get special rights unless it shows the proper lights or dayshapes. The same is true, by the way for RAM vessels. Otherwise they are just power driven vessels regardless of what they are doing.]

We must be careful about "logic" when interpreting the rules and not read into a question anything they do not specifically say. This is a common pitfall in learning the Rules and the USCG questions on them.

And this is not to say that the test questions are therefore tricky or academic. They are not. All you need to do to see this is to read through a transcript of an actual collision court case. In all cases, they start right out with the basic definitions and the literal wording of the Rules that apply. The same is true when you attend a protest committee meeting in a yacht race—although the rules they are dealing with are different, the approach is the same.

If you ever start to say, "well that depends on this or that...", then you are usually (at lest in the test room) already off on the wrong track. time to go back and read literally what they have said and not a bit more... or less. With this approach, the rules questions do become a game of logic, but not of practical matters but of our understanding of the actual wording of the rules and definitions.

For completeness, A is wrong becuase that is not what the "rules say."

From: Starpath, Seattle, WA
Dan Cline


 - posted January 09, 2006 01:51 AM      Profile for Dan Cline           Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks!
From: Midland, MI


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