Friday, May 21, 2010

New Faculty Publication: Craig Allen on Narrow Channel Collision Prevention

Craig H. Allen, Taking Narrow Channel Collision Prevention Seriously to More Effectively Manage Marine Transportation System Risk, 41 J. Mar. L. & Com. 1-56 (2010).

What is the definition of a "narrow channel?" Mariners are obligated to follow unique collision-avoidance "rules of the road" when navigating increasingly-crowded narrow channels in U.S. waters. But when mariners don't have enough guidance on what the rules mean, the operators of different vessels may assess a potential collision differently or make "collision avoidance maneuvers" a bit too late.

Professor Allen provides possible approaches to making the rules more clear for mariners. One approach has the Coast Guard making designations through formal (and time-consuming) administrative rulemaking procedures; the quicker approach may be to look at prior narrow channel designations and propose a way to identify unlisted waterways as narrow channels.

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