Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
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Power driven / sailing vessel
After the discussion over the past few days, I needed some form of resolution.
Last night I phoned the USCG Online Navrules Section (PHONE (703) 313-5900) (NIS). I asked about rules 3 b &c. The individual to whom I spoke told me that a sailboat without the transmission engaged is still a sailing vessel. If the engine is not for propulsion, it is still a sailing vessel.
I was given the number for Coast Guard Legal 202-372-1563. I have not contacted them; maybe someone else could and report back.
I also contacted the Nautical Institute (UK), a Canadian admirality law lawyer and a law professor at McGill. I have received replies from the first two. They are below:
Dear Mr Dale,
I am not a maritime lawyer, but my interpretation of the Col Regs as a
Master Mariner is that for a sailing vessel to become a power driven
vessel the propeller must been engaged. Charging the batteries without
engaging the transmission would therefore not change the status of
The Nautical Institute
202 Lambeth Road
London, SE1 7LQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7928 1351
Fax: +44 (0)20 7401 2817
Web: The Nautical Institute Home Page
I am not aware of any case that has considered this issue. My own view
is that the sailboat would not be a power driven vessel for the purpose
of the collision regulations as the propulsion power is the sails and
not the engine. The definition of "sailing vessel" actually contemplates
this scenario. That definition is " ...any vessel under sail provided
that propelling machinery, if fitted, is not being used". In your
scenario the vessel is under sail and the propelling machinery is not
being utilized (only the engine is used but, importantly, not the
propellers). The sailboat would therefore be a sailing vessel within the
meaning of the collision regulations. The sailboat in this scenario is
really just running a generator.
I am glad that you have found my site to be of use.
Giaschi & Margolis
401-815 Hornby Street
If I get anything else, I will post.
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