The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 272: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States and the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, June-August, 1921. Page: 70
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272 FEDERAL REPORTER
 Pilot rules, made under section 4412 of the Revised Statutes
(Comp. St. 8166), provide as follows:
"Rule 1. When steamers are approaching each other from opposite direc-
tions, the signal for passing shall be one short and distinct blast of the
wsbetle to alter course to starboard so as to pass on the port side of the
other, and two short and distinct blasts of the whistle to alter course to
port so as to pass on the starboard side of the other.
"When two vessels are meeting end on, or nearly end on, so as to involve
risk of collision, the helms of both shall be put to port, so that each may pass
on the port side of the other.
"When an ascending steamer is approaching a descending steamer, the
pilot of the ascending steamer shall give the first signal for passing, which
shall be promptly answered by the same signal by the pilot of the descend-
ing steamer, if safe to do so, and both shall be governed accordingly; but if
the pilot of the descending steamer deem it dangerous to take the side in-
dicated by the ascending steamer, he shall immediately signify the fact by
sounding the alarm or danger signal of four or more short and rapid blasts
of the whistle, and it shall be the duty of the pilot of the ascending steamer
to answer by a signal of four or more short and rapid blasts of the whistle,
and the engines of both steamers shall be immediately stopped, and backed if
necessary, until the signals for passing are given and answered. After sound-
ing the alarm signal by both steamers, the pilot of the descending steamer
shall indicate by his whistle the side on which he desires to pass, and the
pilot of the ascending steamer shall govern himself accordingly, the descend-
ing steamer being entitled to the right of way.
"Where possible the signals for passing must be made, answered and un-
derstood before the steamers have arrived at a distance of half a mile of
These pilot rules are in no way inconsistent with the statutory rules,
but are merely more detailed regulations for the avoidance of collisions,
and are binding upon navigators. Belden v. Chase, 150 U. S. 674, 14
Sup. Ct. 264, 37 L. Ed. 1218.
 The customs of the river are, of course, subordinate to the
statutory rules and to the pilot rules; but, when not inconsistent with
those rules, they should be observed for promoting both dispatch and
safety, and the violation of an established custom of this sort is attrib-
uted to a vessel as a fault. On the Mississippi river the recognized
applicable customs, established, we think, by the weight of the evidence
in this case, and recognized in all the cases we have been able to find
on the subject, are these: Where the navigation is not materially af-
fected by bends or other special conditions, the descending vessel
should keep in the middle of the stream, and the ascending vessel
should keep to her right side of the river But, where there are bends,
the ascending vessel has a right to run the points, and the descending
vessel to run the bends; that is, the ascending vessel should take the
course from the point on one side of the river to the nearest point on
the other, to avoid the resistance of the current by keeping in the eddy
water near the bank, while the descending vessel should keep the main
channel current, following the bends, thus using the force of the
current Snow v. Hill, 20 How. 543, 53 L. Ed. 1017; Goslee v. Shute,
18 How. 463, 15 L. Ed 462: The Magenta, 16 Fed. Cas. 391, No.
8,946; Bates v The Natchez, 2 Fed. Cas. 1023, No. 1,102; Shirley v.
The Richmond, 21 Fed. Cas. 1325, No. 12,795; Sinnott v. The Dres-
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The Federal Reporter with Key-Number Annotations, Volume 272: Cases Argued and Determined in the Circuit Courts of Appeals and District Courts of the United States and the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, June-August, 1921., legislative document, 1921; Saint Paul, Minnesota. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38843/m1/92/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.