Turcotte v. Dufour

In Collisions and Ships on (Updated )

Précis: Where two vessels were proceeding on parallel courses at speed and one vessel suddenly veers sharply putting itself in front of the other, the turning vessel is 100% liable for the resulting collision.

Facts:On 23 August 2008, a vessel operated by the appellant was involved in a collision with another pleasure craft. The two vessels were traveling at about 40 miles per hour in the same direction in a channel having a width of 150 to 200 metres with little traffic. The trial Judge found that the appellant swerved in front of the second vessel spraying the operator of the other vessel with water and then stopped. The second vessel was not able to stop in time to avoid a collision. The trial Judge found that the appellant was 100% at fault for the collision. The appellant appealed.

Decision:Appeal dismissed.

Held:The evidence was sufficient to enable the trial Judge to find that the sole cause of the collision was the sudden and unpredictable manoeuvre of the appellant.