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post #1 of 25 Old 03-03-2003 Thread Starter
Capt Rich
 
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Anchor Question Result

Coast Guard Attorney has decided that there is no difference between a vessel at anchor and its tender. A tender tied to or anchored is a seperate vessel and must show proper anchor lights. Other boat was given BUI but I was told by DNR and CG that I was at fault.
Again anchored with dingy astern, showing proper lights. This was also during a regatta weekend, I was anchored with 50+ other boats and boat that hit us was going thru anchorage at 45+ kts at night...ps he was not showing any lights. I guess I''ll keep lights on my dingy...in inland waters. Damage about 10k...
On bright side my attorney finally convinced his to pay damage (only because DNR could not charge him with felony, leaving scene with injury, without me).

Sometimes your just gonna be wrong no matter how right you are
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post #2 of 25 Old 03-03-2003
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I''m not sure of the outcome. Are you saying they found YOU at fault , but you were able to get him to pay for your damages? I don''t get it. What there a perecntage of culpability that you had?

And who is the DNR? Did the jerk that hit you get a ticket for BUI? Dis he get any tickets? Is it tied to his driving record ?(around here it is...lose it on water, lose it in car)

What about my question if the dinghy is on a davits? What about partially lifted onto the stern of your boat? (Does it become an appendage now?)

This whole thing is ridiculous and makes me sick! The CG attorney & laws need to look at bigger picture. i.e. Drunk boater going 45knots at night should always lose !
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post #3 of 25 Old 03-03-2003
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Anchor Question Result

Now, clear this up for me. I gathered that you were in a designated anchorage or mooring area with 50+ other boats? If this is the case, then I don’t think that you were required to show an anchor light aboard your vessel.

“Anchor lights are not required on vessels less than 20 meters, anchored in special anchorages in Inland Waters designated by the Secretary of Transportation”.
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post #4 of 25 Old 03-03-2003
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I think he said that it wasn''t an "official" designated anchorage, but was outside a channel where there were lots of others anchored. If it was an "official" designated anchorage, it would be marked on the chart and I think he''d be in the clear...
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post #5 of 25 Old 03-04-2003
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So let''s see - somehow when the drunk guy, with no lights, was speeding through the 50+ anchored boats, at night, and ran over your dink, they couldn''t find him at fault for anything other than BUI? I''d like to see the rule you were breaking by having your dinghy tied close to your boat, while showing what probably 100% of us deem proper lighting while at anchor outside a channel, and not in a designated anchorage. If there is a rule you were breaking according to the BOOK, not some CG attorney''s whim, fine. But the ridiculous part is how negligent the other guy was, and yet you were still found at fault to some extent. did the attorney cite a specific rule? If so, let us all know - I can''t imagine this is as rare a situation as we may wish to think.

Sometimes it''s just a case of common sense. Unfortunately, common sense isn''t always so common under our legal system. incredible story.

I wonder if I was at fault for not having my porchlight on when a drunk driver slammed through my bedroom wall at 90mph while I was sleeping in there at 2.a.m. (yes, that really happened) Surprised I didn''t get sued, eh? These days...whew!
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post #6 of 25 Old 03-04-2003
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"First we kill all the attorneys"
With apologies to William Shakespeare.
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post #7 of 25 Old 03-04-2003
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I suppose this opens a business opportunity for marine lighting companies...Now any of us who tie our dingy alongside must buy dingy lights.
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post #8 of 25 Old 03-04-2003 Thread Starter
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Anchor Question Result

Yes Coasties said I was partly at fault, and dink in davits are ok if clear of water. The only saving grace was that he left the scene of an accident with injury, a criminal not civil matter. If we went to court he could not have gotten out of that charge.

I finally got my damages, and he had all charges dropped.

And just to show how smart SC DNR is, they told me that I and several others anchored in a dangerous spot, please note that I was anchored between a 45'' DNR boat and a CG Aux boat...

Was I at fault...NO NO NO
Did I suffer....YES YES YES
Time to go back to the islands
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post #9 of 25 Old 03-04-2003
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It is a fundamental legal principle in every state in the union that all penal laws (laws that create crimes and misdemeanors) must be strictly interpreted. If a penal law requires that "anchored" vessels must display an anchor light, then the law doesn''t apply to a dinghy that is tied to an anchored yacht. Only a “vessel at anchor” is required to display an all around white light. Strictly speaking, the dinghy is not "anchored." It is tied to a yacht that is anchored.

Also, if a penal law is capable of two interpretations, then the interpretation must be applied that is most favorable to the citizen, and that is least favorable to the government. In this case, the law is susceptible of being interpreted to apply to a vessel that is anchored to the ground, or to a vessel that is anchored to another vessel. The scope of the law is limited to the former interpretation.

Nevertheless, the hard reality is that, if an inexperienced young assistant government attorney, or a hard-headed old government attorney, interprets the law otherwise, you might have to engage the US government in an expensive legal battle to win your point.

The scope of a penal law can''t be broadened by interpretation. Its meaning is limited to the literal meaning of the words.
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post #10 of 25 Old 03-04-2003
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Anchor Question Result

Presumably then, boats rafted up at anchor must each show an anchor light?

Seems to me the regs need to be amended to allow a dinghy under a particular length, secured to not extend over a particular distance from the vessel, not be lit. Perhaps there''s a yachtsman attorney out there who would like to write up something like that and submit it to the USCG and BoatUS. Any takers?

Cheers, Frank
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