Pearce v. Page, 65 U.S. 228 (1860)
U.S. Supreme CourtPearce v. Page, 65 U.S. 24 How. 228 228 (1860)
Pearce v. Page
65 U.S. (24 How.) 228
In a collision which took place in the Ohio River between a steamboat ascending and a flat boat descending, the steamboat was in fault.
When a floating boat follows the course of the current, the steamer must judge of its course so as to avoid it. This may be done by a proper exercise of skill, which the steamer is bound to use.
Any attempt to give a direction to the floating mass on the river would be likely to embarrass the steamer and subject it to greater hazards. A few strokes of an engine will be sufficient to avoid any float upon the river which is moved only by the current, and this is the established rule of navigation.
It was a libel filed in the District Court of Kentucky by Pearce and others against the steamboat Doctor Robertson
for the loss of certain castings which the libellants had shipped on board of a flat boat sunk by collision with the steamboat on the Ohio River.
The district court dismissed the libel as not being sustained by the proofs.
This decree was affirmed by the circuit court, and the libellants appealed to this Court.