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Bow-Wave Liability

Is a ship operator liable for his/her wake?
The short answer to this question is yes.
In Canada, there is no legislation that expressly provides that a vessel is responsible for its wake, however, provisions in the Collision Regulations requiring safe speed and lookout have been used to establish liability for ships whose wake was unreasonably large/dangerous. This makes good sense since there is a direct correlation between a ship’s speed and its wake size.
The relevant sections of the Collision Regulations are Rules  5 and 6 which provide that:
Rule 5 – Lookout
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.
Rule 6 - Safe Speed — International
Every vessel shall at all times proceed at a safe speed so that she can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped w…

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