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post #1 of 66 Old 05-16-2008 Thread Starter
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Cool Solo Sailing & Lights displayed

Would it be legal while you are single handing a sailboat across the sea, and you need your sleep, to display the Red over Red all around lights for 'Not Under Command' while you are sleeping?
Also while you are sleeping you are violating Rule 5 (lookout), so would displaying the "Not Under Command Lights" cover you here also?
This may have to be answered in an Admiralty Court of Law. But what is the consensus here on these little tidbits of law?

Red over Green > Sailing Machine

He's also showing Red over Red > Not Under Command??

This has never come up in any discussions on Maritime law that I know of. So it is a good point to ponder about.

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Last edited by Boasun; 05-16-2008 at 10:46 AM.
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post #2 of 66 Old 05-16-2008
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That's a good question... I don't think it has been answered yet though.

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post #3 of 66 Old 05-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
Would it be legal while you are single handing a sailboat across the sea, and you need your sleep, to display the Red over Red all around lights for 'Not Under Command' while you are sleeping?
Another variant is to put up an anchor light and ball. Does a sea-anchor count as an anchor?

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post #4 of 66 Old 05-16-2008
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I don't think you can use an anchor light, because the definition of a boat at anchor is one made fast to the bottom... which is not the case, even with a sea anchor.

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post #5 of 66 Old 05-16-2008
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Quote:
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I don't think you can use an anchor light, because the definition of a boat at anchor is one made fast to the bottom... which is not the case, even with a sea anchor.
I thought "not underway". However, two questions then. What lights should be displayed when a sea-anchor is being used? (Limited manoeuvrability?) What lights should be displayed when an anchor is dragging?

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Quoting Farwell's Rules of the Nautical Road's summary on lookout's:

A lookout has been defined by the federal courts as a person who is specifically charged with the duty of observing the lights, sounds, echoes, or any obstruction to navigation with that thoroughness which the circumstances permit. The statement in Rule 29 and Article 29 (now Rule 2) that nothing in the rules shall exonerate any vessel from the consequence of any neglect to keep a proper lookout has caused the courts to hold a vessel in collision without a proper lookout at fault unless it can be proved that the other vessel was discovered as soon as a proper lookout would have discovered her.
Numerous court decisions have built up a considerable doctrine with reference to what constitutes a proper lookout. Such a lookout must have no other duties, such as conning or steering the vessel; he must be constantly alert and vigilant, he must have had a reasonable amount of experience as a seaman; he must report what he sees or hears to the officer of the watch; and he must ordianarily be stationed as low down and as far forward on the vessel as circumstances permit. In conditions of crowded traffic and in thick weather enough lookouts must be posted to detect the approach of another vessel from any direction.



It's worth noting that the gimmick of single-handing ocean crossings is a relatively new, as well as a former rare practise, and it's highly doubtful that it will receive a kind ear in a court of Admiralty. You'll likely be convicted on the prima facie evidence alone; if you're single-handing, you cannot maintain a proper lookout. You'll note that steamship companies, whose manning level on each class of ship is approved by the USCG, are still liable should that manning level prove unsufficient in the event of an accident. And that was the real lesson from the Exxon Valdez incident; inadequate manning resulting in fatigue of the officers.

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post #7 of 66 Old 05-16-2008
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IIRC, the technical definition of anchored, at least in maritime usage, is:

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To temporarily secure a ship to the seabed by lowering a hook or weight which takes hold of the bottom.

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When dragging anchor you display not under command lights and side lights and stern light as you're making way. You're no longer anchored once you start dragging. You'd show the same under sea anchor unless you are not making way in which case you'd not show sides nor stern lights.

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Last edited by sailaway21; 05-16-2008 at 12:06 PM.
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post #9 of 66 Old 05-16-2008
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My little rule book says: Rule 27 (vessels not under command, or restricted in their ability to manoeuvre) does not apply to vessels <12m LOA, except for flying flag "A" when engaged in diving operations.

Does that mean I need not, or shall not, show "vessel not under command" lights and shapes?

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It means you are not required to show the lights or shapes.

Which leaves open the question as to what other vessels are to assume about your status. The lack of display casts doubt on your status. The size of the vessel may refute that doubt as no one expects to see those signals displayed on a sailboat so small.

There are still only two relevant questions though. Are you truly "not under command" as defined by the rules (I think not since it is your decision to not set sail or motor event though capable of doing so.) and are you keeping a proper lookout in any event? "Not under command" is not the mate on watch'es coffee break signal signifying he's laid below for a cuppa and don't expect this boat to be changing course or anything. It's for "exceptional" circumstances.

Judging by the Rules and their court interpretations, there's a real question (actually not much of one) as to whether you are in complaince with the Rules even when you are awake and at the helm while soloing. The idea that you somehow can be made to be in compliance by some pattern of lights or signals is probably absurd and merely the result of wishful thinking.

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