This thread has certainly taken a little drift, but I really appreciate the discussion. The “Special Anchorage” is an interesting provision. As I understand Jackdale’s explanation. If you are under 65’ (12m) and anchored in such an area you do not have to display an anchor light at night or a black ball during the day. YOU NEED TO DISPLAY BOTH IF YOU ARE NOT IN SUCH AN AREA
. Unfortunately, there is no definition of the phrase “Special Anchorage” other than it is determined by the Secretary of Transportation. Knowing Richardson Bay for what it is (a more or less permanent anchorage for derelict or soon to be derelict boats), and seeing that the “Special Anchorages” correspond to the permanent mooring fields in Newport Harbor. Can I assume that that is the intent of the phrase? Is there a similar provision in Canada to allow boats to anchor without displaying day shapes or anchor lights?
My contention is the purpose of lights, day shapes, and audible signals is for communication between vessels to ensure that collisions don’t happen. These things communicate the intent, and not define that intent. If you have your anchor down (outside of a special anchorage) and not flying your black ball, are you not anchored under the law or merely guilty of not communicating the fact with a proper day shape? Like the Dabnis example, a vessel, with his gear deployed and restricted in his ability to maneuver, is in fact fishing, regardless if he is displaying the proper day shape. That he is not properly communicating that fact may be a mitigating circumstance in a subsequent lawsuit as my esteemed collogue from the law firm Jackdale and Associates has correctly pointed out.
I agree with Jack that by not properly displaying the day shape is miscommunication and displaying day shapes (including anchor balls) is proper seamanship.