Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
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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?