Check out the video below from Dhhunki Productions in India. It demonstrates some of the pitfalls of using the VHF radio to make passing arrangements as opposed to simply following COLREGS. In particular, it highlights the hazard of using the VHF to arrange passing in violation of the Rules of the Road.
Sometimes these seemingly innocuous violations are for convenience sake. In the video, it’s due to the terminal being located in a particular spot. In the open ocean, perhaps you already have a small CPA, but it is too close for personnel or master’s comfort.
But, what the video REALLY gets across is that one important item was missed with regards to COLREGS. At some point prior to collision, with the other vessel not maneuvering as expected, doubt entered the mind of the master and mate on the bridge. And COLREGS addresses this specifically. And there’s a communication tool – the ship’s whistle and a specific signal that may have alerted the other vessel.
Capt. Gerard Hasselbach from MITAGS (Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies) in Baltimore, Maryland recently wrote a paper explaining the process through which we pass through the “door of doubt” with regard to COLREGS – read about it here : Doubt Signal