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pirateofcapeann 11-03-2002 06:30 AM

Fishing Vessel?
I was just reading another response to a question and I had a thought. Everyone knows the priority "pecking order" as it was put:

1 Vessel Not Under Command
2 Vessel Restricted in Ability to Maneuver
3 Vessel Engaged in Fishing
4 Vessel Under Sail
5 Vessel Under Power

I just want everyone to ring in on this one:

When do you consider a vessel to be engaged in fishing?

Any commercial fishing vessel under way? Only when they are tending nets or gear? How about "sport fishermen" or "Charter fishing"?

I live and sail from one of the busiest fishing ports on the East Coast and I am friends with many commercial fishermen. I know how I proceed when on a closing course with one of them but I''d like to tell them how you plan to proceed.

Your thoughts?

Jeff_H 11-03-2002 04:29 PM

Fishing Vessel?
First of all, I am not sure where your so-called pecking order comes from or that under COLREGSthat your pecking order actually is right. For example when a sailboat is over taking a powerboat, the sailboat is the burdened vessel. Further I am not sure that "vessel fishing" is a stand on vessel on COLREGS. I believe that commercial vessels that are fishing are covered as commercial vessels with limited manueverability. Private fishing vessels should be afforded the courtesy when possible but are not actually given privileges. Headboats and sportfisherman probably fall in the same category as private yachts that are fishing.


DuaneIsing 11-04-2002 02:40 AM

Fishing Vessel?
The COLREGS, as found on the CG auxiliary site ( define as follows:

[The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict manageability.]

The list of "pecking order" is correct with exceptions (such as Jeff H pointed out) of: narrow channels, traffic separation schemes and overtaking.

To answer your question, I don''t assert my "rights" while under sail to interfere with any other boat that is fishing or crabbing, even when the COLREGS define them as having no special rights. I haven''t encountered a situation (in my admittedly little time on the water) where my detour around a drifting sport fisherman has been a big burden. I consider it a "courtesy thing."


pirateofcapeann 11-10-2002 03:37 AM

Fishing Vessel?
Thanks for your input guys. I’m sure that my fishermen friends will be interested in your answers, as am I.

Professional fishermen are out there to make a living, to put the food on the table and raise their children (who most hope will not become fishermen). They’re also so highly inundated with regulations pertaining to their industry that they have little time to be concern with that sailboat crossing their paths. Quite a few of these guys only speak Italian or Portuguese and their remembrances of boating regulations may come from their home countries!

I’ve witnessed near collisions between fishing boats coming home from a hard day’s work and sailboats beating up the harbor. The sailboater sees a vessel under power that should avoid him and so he stands on while the fisherman sees himself as a vessel engaged in fishing at all times and has the right of way over all pleasure craft.

I’d like to point out that I used the “pecking order” as a generalization to help make my point. We can discuss the “war” between the Party Boats and everyone else later!

paulk 11-10-2002 05:08 PM

Fishing Vessel?
Sounds like some fishermen are powerboaters, and reminds me of John O''Day''s epitaph.

c172guy 12-12-2002 07:11 AM

Fishing Vessel?
Your fishing friends sound like the truckers on the interstate. They are working so the cars had better get out of their way!!!!
With this logic a man driving home from a hard day at work has special rights to run cars filled with people going to dinner off of the road!!! Heaven help someone walking or on a bike!!!!
Actually I have no experience with commercial fishermen. I have met a few powerboaters with an attitude. I do what it takes to avoid a collison even when I''m clearly the stand on vessel. But as I understand the rules you are also liable if you cause an accident by not standing on when you are the burdened vessel.

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