When do coast guard regulations not apply? - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 37 Old 04-20-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

I will have to add that on the Hudson River there was a case where a boat was ticketed for, as I recall "speeding," "unsafe speed" or some such thing while in a race when a police boat drifted into the middle of the scheduled event. Kind of ridiculous to think 6 knots is dangerous but those jet skies screaming around at 60 is OK. But this sounded more like local yokel than a coastie. The Coast Guard seems to be held with quite a bit of respect here, but the local government officials on the water not so much so. On the Hudson post 9/11 there are a lot of agencies who got grant money and bought boats and don't seem to know or understand maritime law. Not uncommon for a power boat with pretty girls on the bow to get boarded two or three times a day, though they leave us old guys on the puffer boats alone for the most part. I think this is local issue and not likely to carry to North Carolina.

And I will say I have never heard of the Coast Guard giving out fines/jail time unless there was an accident, a formal complaint filed or a near miss and obvious violation witnessed. Safety violations during inspections sure but that makes perfect sense and if you don't have the proper gear you should not be out on the water. And even then it has mostly been after warnings, or a belligerent captain trying to claim rights of freedom that don't exist on the water. If you are afraid of your rights against the Coast Guard you are likely better off not going out on the water at any time as you basically have no rights when you are out there. The Coast Guard was given unlimited search and seizure rights back in the Revenue Service Act of 1790.

Last edited by miatapaul; 04-20-2014 at 01:12 PM.
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post #22 of 37 Old 04-20-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

Monc,

You are letting your paranoia get the best of you.

Sports by their nature involve activities that would not be acceptable during the rest of your day. If I am just walking down the street and hit someone in the face I will go to jail, if I do so while in a boxing match it's fine. But there is no law on the books that says so. If I am jogging in the park and slide tackle someone again I go to jail, if I do it while playing soccer it's fine. The same is true for sailing.

You won't find a law allowing it, because it just isn't the type of thing the law is written for. But so long as individuals agree to the rules of the game they are bound by those rules while on the playing field.


If your yacht club hasn't filed for permits that's actually an issue between them and the USCG, it doesn't effect you at all.

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post #23 of 37 Old 04-20-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

Yea, But what about drag racing down Canal Street.

OK, I see your point and I think I have at least a basic understanding. It is a private contract between multiple parties, with reasonable checks and balances in place to assure no one outside the contract is harmed, and that resolutions between parties agreeing to the contract can be made.

If I ever have a chance to discuss it with someone of authority in the Coast Guard, I will take the opportunity to do that. In the meantime, don't expect me to be at the front of the pack during a race start. It is not that important to me.
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post #24 of 37 Old 04-20-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

The last time I mentioned the Local Notice to Mariners on SailNet I received a sarcastic response for reading it, but, well, I do. It comes out each Tuesday or Wednesday and I look to see what might be going on in the direction that I'll be sailing. Events that filed for a CG permit are listed. That includes sail races. I can then avoid them or at least know that they are going on before I approach the area. In my opinion, that's just doing my part to help fulfill the "avoid a collision" thing.

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post #25 of 37 Old 04-20-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

"Something the racing boats that have setup their race across the channel seem to forget sometimes."
That was explored in District 3 some years ago. A fuel tow complained there were races "in the channel" and the USCG local station responded and under threat of arresting the RC, forced cancellation of the afternoon race in a major series. About 100 participants protested to the District Commander, noting that there was no such channel designated on the charts.
The Coastie who threatened the RC was re-assigned to someplace like Mongolia and the RC was given a formal apology.

These are the kind of little differences and specifics that everything depends on. "Channel" means nothing. "Designated Channel" as in designated on a chart, is something else entirely. And in the long run, what matters is which side of the bed multiple judges got up on, as it goes through the courts.
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post #26 of 37 Old 04-21-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

So I just wanted to check... the next time someone racing nearly rams me, while being the "give way" boat according to the COLREGS, while yelling "we're racing", what is the correct course of action? Because I am inclined to tell them exactly where to go.

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post #27 of 37 Old 04-21-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

If you are racing depends on what the RRS say. If you are not racing then follow local rules for reporting boating accidents to the authorities.

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post #28 of 37 Old 04-21-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

Unfortunately, "nearly rams me" is probably not reportable unless you can prove reckless endangerment along with some video. As a friend of mine says when someone is being rude on the water, "let's all give them the stink eye." Some more elaborate body appendages could be used instead....
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post #29 of 37 Old 04-21-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

"the next time someone racing nearly rams me, "
I don't think anyone disagrees on this: If you're not racing, COLREGS and your state regulations are all that apply.

As to "nearly" ramming you...well, if a skipper is really in control of things? Adequate room between two vessels might be enough to drop a matchbook into. But if they think the racing rules govern the entire universe...by all means, let the USCG explain that to them. Unless you're feeling really really generous, in which case you can ask their RC to teach them about the birds and bees.
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post #30 of 37 Old 04-21-2014
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Re: When do coast guard regulations not apply?

As a matter of safety, in some very special cases, the Coast Guard or other authorities will give certain special rights to permitted marine events such as regattas. For example, it would have been dangerous to have had slow-moving boats randomly blundering into the path of the high-speed AC 72 catamarans in San Francisco Bay during the America's Cup, so their courses were protected while still allowing for the flow of commercial traffic. These exclusion zones can have the force of law.

More commonly, authorities expect people to use some common sense and take a dim view of individuals interfering with other traffic on the water. In some jurisdictions there are rules governing how close someone can get to someone taking part in a different water activity. In the inland waters of my state, for example, it would be illegal for say, a jet skier, to come within fifty yards of anglers or sailors on open water. Additionally, boat operators do have responsibility for damages caused by wakes or other reckless operation.
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