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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 12-08-2006
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Anochoring

Just curious:

I know we all do a lot of anchoring, but an interesting discussion came up between me and the wife the other day.

When we anchor at night, we (like everyone here, I am sure), turn on our anchor light. During the day, nothing. But, during the day, if I am not mistaken, you are "Supposed" to fly a black ball or diamond... I cannot even remember which. It shows that you are anchored. (PS - I don;t think I have ever seen someone fly one of these, for what it is worth.)

My phylosophy has always been: If they are too stupid to see the anchor line coming out of the water, they should not be on the water anyway... duh (Sea Rays excluded, of course). However, if your friendly Sea Ray driver were to hit you during the day, and you were not flying that black diamond/ball, couldn't you in theory be found at fault?? Kind of like that guy that had his tender struck at night that was tied to the back of his boat??

My guess is that with a good lawyer, you would be found at fault. You did not follow the "rules".

Thoughts?
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Old 12-08-2006
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I believe that it is only necessary if your boat is over 12 metres and you are not in an anchorage.
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Old 12-08-2006
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I wondered about this also. A friend of mine is a tort lawyer and his opinion was if this was an internationally recognized rule of the sea then you could be held legally at fault in the event of an accident regardless of the stupidity of the other party. The rule is: if you have a duty and fail to exercise that duty and because of your negligence another party is injured then you loose.
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Old 12-08-2006
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You are also not required to fly an anchor ball in a designated anchorage. Prudent seamanship might dictate that you fly an anchor ball, even if less than 12 meters, if anchoring in a place that might be unusual to other vessels. The same vessel can go off-shore with just sidelights and a sternlight. The prudent mariner might want to upgrade to a tricolor or other approved navigational lighting that can be spotted in heavier seas. But then it's each individuals choice on how "safe" they wish to be. I subscribe to the theory of: See and be seen.
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Old 12-08-2006
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The "fault" still has to relate to the casualty. Did Sea Ray driver know what an anchor ball would have meant? If not, to him you're just a vessel "underway" but not making way. He sees you, and still hits you? Technical fault, and there's an interesting admiralty doctrine (the "Pennsylvania" rule) whereby violation of a regulation meant to prevent collisions puts the burden on you to prove not only that it wasn't a cause in fact, but that it couldn't have been, but still hard to see how a day shape would have changed the outcome.

that said, I suppose nothing's impossible in a lawsuit. Could it cost you some percentage of fault? Theoretically, so okay, fly the day shape and be the only one on the block to do so. Better safe than to give an idiot a theroretical defense to running you down in clear weather.

This is not legal advice, yada yada....

Lights at night may be different, being dark and all. Maybe this is why you never see day shapes.
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Old 12-08-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXS-ALAMO
I wondered about this also. A friend of mine is a tort lawyer and his opinion was if this was an internationally recognized rule of the sea then you could be held legally at fault in the event of an accident regardless of the stupidity of the other party. The rule is: if you have a duty and fail to exercise that duty and because of your negligence another party is injured then you loose.
"Lose" may be a relative term. Moving vessel may bear the lion's share of fault on a percentage basis, or even all of it if the technical violation wasn't an actual cause for the collision.
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Old 12-08-2006
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This subject has been discussed recently on another board.

It's intriguing, because it relates to the current state of affairs in which common sense is often eclipsed by letter-of-the-law considerations, especially here in the U.S. We have, indeed, become a litiginous society where seemingly frivolous and unjust lawsuits are actually won.

Although one is tempted....as I am....to simply ignore this almost never-observed, much less enforced rule (black ball during daytime at anchor), there may be a real risk in doing so.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard's 2004 annual report on boating statistics, there were a total of 12.7 million registered recreational vessels in the U.S. These 12.7 million vessels were involved in a total of 4,904 reported accidents.

That's not so many. However, the number one type of accident was collision with another vessel (representing 1,479 incidents and 68 fatalities). Further, even though the number one contributing factor was careless/reckless operation, the number 10 reason was an infraction of the Rules of the Road (188 accidents and 13 fatalities).

From these data I infer that the risk of being hit by some idiot while at anchor in daylight, therefore, is very small but nonetheless real. And, the more you're out at anchor, presumably, the greater the risk.

And, even if you ARE hit and you don't have the black ball in your rigging, there's still the good chance (likelihood?) that no one's gonna notice or bring up the subject, particularly when the offending vessel's captain is charged with operating a vessel at high speed while intoxicated :-))

Hmmm....what to do?

Bill
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Old 12-08-2006
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Again the Portuguese KISS laws...

Our law says:

You are anchored, here, there, more to the right more to the left, yur vessel is 1 foot, or 3000 feet, sailboat or kayak, BLACK BALL flying. Period.

At night, "lighty thing" well visible on top of mast, or "flashy thing" on deck.

You hit it, you pay!!!! even if you are a fish!!

Qualified immigrants can apply. Doors are open for while!!!

Isn't that simple??
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