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Old 09-29-2013
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Sextant only illegal!

Hi Folks,

Ran across an interesting line when researching another answer...

It is illegal now to go to sea without GPS functioning. In other words its now illegal to go to sea with only a Sextant.

2.1 All ships irrespective of size shall have:
.6 a receiver for a global navigation satellite system or a terrestrial radionavigation system, or other means, suitable for use at all times throughout the intended voyage to establish and update the shipís position by automatic means;
SOLAS Chapter V, Regulation 19.2

This is a SOLAS requirement and similar to ColRegs covers the operations of commercial shipping, but more, I believe it covers all vessels at sea. Vis a vie us!

Does this mean that all small sail boats like us need to comply when we are within 3nms of our home country (USA etc)? Or just outside the 12 mile limit?

Can the USCG board a USA flagged boat anywhere in the world and fine you (etc) if you are without a GPS and relying on a sextant?

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Old 09-29-2013
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Re: Sextant only illegal!

Good questions. I wonder what the date of these rules is. Was it true during the period of time that LORAN or even RDF was available? I wonder if they just added the "satellite" part when GPS became available.
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Last edited by smurphny; 09-29-2013 at 02:15 PM. Reason: gr
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Old 09-29-2013
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Re: Sextant only illegal!

From the SOLAS website:
"The SOLAS Convention in its successive forms is generally regarded as the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships."
"Flag States are responsible for ensuring that ships under their flag comply with its requirements, and a number of certificates are prescribed in the Convention as proof that this has been done."
I think this says that it applies to Merchant Ships (only?) and that the enforceable regulation would need to be in USCG for it to apply to us U.S. flagged boats.
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Old 09-29-2013
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Re: Sextant only illegal!

I am sure you are not in compliance with many SOLAS vessel requirements, so I'd not worry overly much about this one.
SOLAS is a convention covering merchant vessels, not pleasure craft, so no one's going to insist you follow any of the agreement, though you could, if you wished, I suppose;
Several times a month you and your crew could do fire drills, lifeboat drills and man overboard drills. It might be fun to "division of the ship into main and vertical zones by thermal and structural boundaries; separation of accommodation spaces from the remainder of the ship by thermal and structural boundaries". A good rainy day project.
I do believe that it isn't too far in the future that the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) will be required for all pleasure craft crew who travel internationally.
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Old 09-29-2013
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Re: Sextant only illegal!

Note that the file name is in a subcategory within the AIS section. Since AIS transceivers need instantaneous Lat/Lon data, that is where the GPS requirement originates. If you aren't required to have an AIS transceiver under (and recreational vessels usually are not) then it shouldn't apply.
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Old 09-29-2013
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Re: Sextant only illegal!

With my commercial (SOLAS in this case) hat on this has been a requirement for many years now....

With my recreational hat on, if you are a vessel that is not required to abide by SOLAS conventions, in this case the average recreational yottie, it does not apply....

Obviously private recreational vessels such as the Maltese Falcon are not your average recreational yottie's vessel (1100gt) and as such, it does apply....


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Old 09-29-2013
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Re: Sextant only illegal!

Ships, mate. Merchant ships at that.

If you're a yacht, and your yacht is a boat, you're twice exempt from SOLAS requirements.

So first you try to remember if you're charging anyone money, or getting paid by anyone. Then you get a tape measure out, and measure from one end to the other.

(If you get lost along the way, you're probably on a ship and might stop measuring.)
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