Certain places on the GICWW are pretty tight. The only good water is in the middle or on one side or another.
Unfortunately you have to meet other tows in these areas. Sometimes you can stop and wait on the other guy or get him to wait in a certain place on you but, again, only in certain places.
About a year ago I had a boat come around the bend and he was way over on my side of the canal. I was pushing empties and I ended up sliding into the bank to miss him. I obliterated a wheel on an old underwater Cyprus stump.
I have rode with certain captains of the creole persuasion that will run you over before they give you an inch.
I prefer to “chicken out” first instead of having to do the paperwork for a collision.
But it does amaze me how many guys will run you over and worry about the paperwork later.
I am glad for modern chart plotters with AIS interface. I can plan my meetings well in advance and I don’t have to worry about any “surprise” boats popping up around the bend on me (for the most part). Nothing big enough that I can’t dodge anyway.
I have learned to stop and wait instead of letting other captains talk me into a bad meeting place. I get paid by the day. I can wait all watch on you.
I decided to test a fella one night. I held my ground. Every inch of it. He wasn’t giving me an inch. I steered off him and then back flat alongside him at the last minute. We rubbed tows in the night at about 3 mph.
We went to another channel…
“You got any damage?”
“Me neither. Catch ya on the flip flop!”
and off we went.
Maybe he gave the next “young” voice he heard on the radio a little more room the next time. Maybe not.
Like I said some of these guys just don’t care.