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  Topic Review (Newest First)
03-31-2007 12:27 AM
Originally Posted by sailaway21
I have a pet peeve with the cruise ships in this area, as they are usually lit up like a Phillipino water taxi, and you cannot make out their sidelights. Fortunately, they are never going anywhere quickly and bearing drift is enough to determine their relavence.

'Uniform' is the correct and probably best understood signal.
Toronto harbour has a small fleet of booze cruisers-for-hire that ply the waters from noon until midnight between mid-May until October on the business plan that nothing says "thank you, employees!" like seasickness, shrimp and an open bar.

We of the sailboat ilk tend to call them "disco boats" due to the ear-splitting sound systems they employ and the sort of flashing lights that would induce epilepsy on land.

In the matter of signalling, I suspect only a flare aimed directly at the wheelhouse would have a chance of being noticed.
03-31-2007 12:07 AM
sailaway21 tjk,
'Mike' means "my vessel is stopped and making no way through the water" which would not be correct as you are at anchor. It implicitly implies that you are underway.
'Lima' means, "you should stop your vessel instantly"
'X-Ray' means, "stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals"

I cannot approach this conversation from a point other than as a professional mariner, so what I recommend would be what I feel most professionals would respond to. What sailors, or even harbor craft professionals, would respond to, I cannot say. Hopefully, others will respond to that.

I think 'Uniform', 'you are running into danger' is a single letter signal, along with 'Charlie', 'November', and 'Sierra', that would be recognized by the average mate on watch. I know I've never forgotten it's meaning, something I cannot say for all the rest of the single letter signals. Fortunately, I did not have to use 'Juliet'.

If 'Uniform' didn't do the trick, I suppose I would still fall back on the five short blasts of the danger signal. If I'm going to die, I figure to go down blowing, and that would probably be the last signal heard from me. The Coast Guard, in court, said it was inappropriate and for use only by vessels underway. This was convenient for the master of the other vessel, because he contended that he thought my ship was underway, even though our anchor and deck lights were on. I have a pet peeve with the cruise ships in this area, as they are usually lit up like a Phillipino water taxi, and you cannot make out their sidelights. Fortunately, they are never going anywhere quickly and bearing drift is enough to determine their relavence.

'Uniform' is the correct and probably best understood signal.
03-30-2007 10:30 PM
sailortjk1 OK its been awhile since this was first brought up. I since have printed a copy of International Code of Signaling provided in the above link and have been doing some brushing up. Thank you all for the information.

I want to make sure I have this right, while I am anchored and I see another vessel approaching which I believe is coming too close to my anchored vessel and is possibly putting us both in a dangerous situation, I should signal either by flashlight or horn "U", dot,dot,dash, "you are running into danger", correct?

M or L are also options, correct?
I get this all from the original post and just want to make sure I have it correct. Thanks everybody.
03-22-2007 08:10 PM
btrayfors Sailaway21,

Yes, that was my first reading, too! However, it doesn't SAY that both vessels have to be underway, only that they have to be approaching. Still, my study guide says, specifically, that an anchored vessel may sound the danger signal. I'll try to get some further clarification on that from the instructor (a retired Coastie) and will post his response.

You're right about the wording of the Rules. Sometimes I think they were done either by a committee of non-English speakers or by someone schooled in the art of obfuscation. There are many examples where they are not immediately clear, even with some study. And I've spent a lifetime on the water, and been a licensed master for over 25 years (though not unlimited like you!). I OUGHT to be able to understand this stuff straightaway :-))

Oh, well.

03-22-2007 12:12 AM
sailaway21 sailortjk,
In most US waters the commercial traffic uses just what you have described and they refer directly to the sound signals proscribed in the COLREGs. They are still required to sound the signal on the whistle, although not all do.

My current copy of the COLREGs is dated, but I think a careful reading of Rule 34 will show that it is only for vessel's underway. As you stated, 'Romeo' would be applicable in fog. 'Uniform', you are standing in to danger, or possibly 'Lima', you should stop your vessel instantly, or 'X-Ray', stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals might all have been applicable in my 'allision'.
When this incident occurred, I held my first renewal of my unlimited Master's license, which meant I'd gone through five licensing exams, and I was fully under the impression that the danger signal was appropriate. Please PM me if your newer copy reads differently, specifically in (a) of 34. Maritime law is chock full of cases dealing with just these issues-hard to believe in what, initially appears to be a very straight-forward book! Unfortunately, I had to waste a day in admiralty court to be educated on this finer point. If I had to do it over, I would probably sound Uniform, and, failing to see any response sound the danger signal. YMMV

A little understood point, except by professionals, in the differences between International and Inland rules is that sound signals made in International waters are signals of action, while the same signal made in Inland waters is a signal of intent. A subtle difference, not without distinction.

The reason I mentioned ho 102 is that it contains all of the single letter signal meanings, as well as multiple letter/number signalling. There are a good number of signals, usually two letters followed by a numeral, to indicate a variety of situations, and they are part of 'Interco' which allows one to communicate via flag, flashing light, or sound signals. These are signals outside of the COLREGs.

Good luck on your renewal. I hope the "pony" hits!
03-21-2007 10:15 AM
btrayfors Thanks for that reference, Stan.

Interesting, that on p22 of the ICOS (Rev 2003) under the single letter code signals the letter "U" stands for "You are running into danger".

03-21-2007 09:58 AM
Idiens Thanks SIDIAG
03-21-2007 09:06 AM
sailortjk1 Great post and a good read, lots of valuable information (We get that sometimes around here).

Thanks for the link sidiag.

I plan on printing it.

Kind of a funny story to signaling.
In my area (Chicago) we have a lot of tour boats and water taxis.
These captains use the VHF for their signals. Monitoring the radio you will hear, "Passing on one." or " Pssing on two." or else you will hear, "Captain do you want One or Two.?"

I asked one of them one day what they were always talking about and she explained it was their horn signals.
03-21-2007 08:58 AM
sidiag For those who might be interested,

International Code of Signals - HO 102 is

available here ->

as a free download.

You might also try
Flags is a freeware program written to teach the International Code of Signals flags.

Good Day!
03-21-2007 08:20 AM
btrayfors Sailaway21,

Nice post. Good story, too :-)

The Colregs may have changed since your incident.

I believe under the current Rules an anchored vessel may, indeed, give the danger/doubt signal (5 or more short blasts), under Rule 34. The course guide I am presently using to renew my license specifically says that an anchored vessel may sound the danger/doubt signal, as well as vessels underway in meeting, crossing or overtaking situations.

In restricted visibility conditions an anchored vessel sounds the normal 5-sec rapid ringing of the bell every minute and, if over 100 meters long, in addition sounds a gong rapidly for 5 seconds after ringing the bell. Optionally, all anchored vessels may also sound a whistle signal, Morse "R", one short, one prolonged, one warn other vessels.

Not sure about the "U" signal. Can't find it in the current regs.

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