The Sunnyside - 91 U.S. 208 (1875)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Sunnyside, 91 U.S. 208 (1875)
91 U.S. 208
1. If a sailing vessel, when approaching a steamer, fails to adopt all reasonable precautions to prevent a collision, she will not be excused, even though she displays her proper signal lights, and is entitled, in the absence of exceptional circumstances or special danger, to keep her course.
2. A collision occurred on Lake Huron, about three miles from the shore, near the head of St. Clair River, between a steam tug and a sailing vessel. The former, heading east by north half north, waiting for a tow in conformity with a well known usage in those waters, with her machinery stopped, but with her signal lights burning as the law requires of a steamer under way, was drifting at the rate of a mile and a half per hour. The sailing vessel, with all her sails set and displaying her proper signal lights, was heading north half west at a speed of nine miles per hour. Held that it was the duty of the sailing vessel, in view of the special circumstances, to put up her helm and go to the right, or to put it down and suffer the steam tub to drift past in safety, and, both vessels being at fault, the damages were equally apportioned between them.
3. The doctrine announced in The Continental, 14 Wall. 345, reaffirmed.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.