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  #41  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wise4 View Post
Really?? I would think the big white sails would be a pretty good indication the vessel was under sail
The test is whether or not you are "operating mechanical propulsion". Engine on, you're a power-driven vessel. Doesn't matter what you have hanging from your sticks, or whether or not your transmission is engaged.

And I suspect that shutting off the engine just before the collision would probably NOT make you a sailing vessel in the eyes of the admiralty court.
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  #42  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
The test is whether or not you are "operating mechanical propulsion". Engine on, you're a power-driven vessel. Doesn't matter what you have hanging from your sticks, or whether or not your transmission is engaged.
Sorry "Captain"; that is incorrect. If the transmission is not engaged, you are a sailing vessel.

Two from the Nautical Institute.

Quote:
Jack

Our understanding is that if the engine is disengaged from and not turning the propeller or other propulsion machinery, then the propelling machinery is not being used. The engine is only acting as a generator to charge the batteries.

Brgds

Harry

Captain Harry Gale BSc (Hons) FNI
Technical Manager
The Nautical Institute, 202 Lambeth Road, London, SE1 7LQ
Quote:
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 sailing.

Best regards

Philip Wake
Chief Executive

The Nautical Institute
202 Lambeth Road
London, SE1 7LQ
UK
From a maritime lawyer

Quote:
Jack,

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.

I also called the USCG. They were in agreement with those above.
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  #43  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

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Originally Posted by jack dale View Post
Sorry "Captain"; that is incorrect. If the transmission is not engaged, you are a sailing vessel.
I also called the USCG. They were in agreement with those above.
Interesting.
In court, I would think the issues would be:
1. Was your engine running (In neutral, forward or reverse)?
2. Was it capable of propelling the vessel (functioning properly)?
3. If no to #1. - Should it have been running to avoid the collision? I.E., in the OP, both vessels were in close proximity to many vessels, both without anchors or sails. IMO, not having the motor running and ready would have been negligent, and certainly would have resulted in a collision.
4. If yes to #1 and #2 - Why wasn't it used (put in gear) to avoid the collision?
Using the "must be in gear" theory; What if a collision had occurred in the OP, and both skippers admitted their engines were running, but were in neutral....then what? It's very likely the witness's on both boats could testify that the motors were running, but few, if any, other than the skipper would know if it was in gear.
In fact, my transmission was in neutral, and I put it into reverse with full throttle to avoid the collision. Did I make myself more liable by taking that evasive action, thereby becoming a power boat? On my boat, witness's couldn't possibly see me put the boat in gear (an odd set up that I'm not crazy about!). Could I have simply claimed the transmission stuck and I never got it into reverse?
Forward, reverse, neutral.....Seems like a silly distinction to me.
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  #44  
Old 11-01-2012
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
Interesting.
In court, I would think the issues would be:
1. Was your engine running (In neutral, forward or reverse)?
2. Was it capable of propelling the vessel (functioning properly)?
3. If no to #1. - Should it have been running to avoid the collision. I.E., in the OP, both vessels were in close proximity to many vessels, both without anchors or sails. IMO, not having the motor running and ready would have been negligent, and certainly would have resulted in a collision.
4. If yes to #1 and #2 - Why wasn't it used (put in gear) to avoid the collision?
Using the "must be in gear" theory, what if both skippers in the OP admit their engines were running, but were in nueturl....then what? It's very likely the witness's on both boats could testify that the motors were running, but few, if any, other than the skipper would know if it was in gear.
In fact, my transmission was in neutral, and I put it into reverse with full throttle to avoid the collision. Did I make myself more liable by taking that evasive action, thereby becoming a power boat?
Seems like a silly distinction to me.
Rule 2 and 17(b) are still in effect.
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  #45  
Old 11-05-2012
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

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Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Rule 2 and 17(b) are still in effect.
Assuming these are the rules you are referring to:
Rule 2 - Responsibility
(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.


It appears that (a) is simply a disclaimer, while (b) seems to imply "If you have a motor, you need to use it (put it in gear) to avoid a collision". Thereby making the in/out of gear issue moot.

Rule 17- Action by Stand-on Vessel
(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.

Again, this rule says to me: "better put her in gear and avoid the collision!" making the in/out of gear issue moot.
Fortunately, I didn't need to read the rules to know this. Simply seemed prudent at the time!
In the OP, it wasn't apparent to me which boat was "stand on" if either. In addition, neither skipper would know if the other vessel was or wasn't under power, much less, in gear. So I still think it is a silly distinction.
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  #46  
Old 12-30-2012
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

Interesting discussion. No one mentioned the prescribed whistle signals:-) I'm going over all the rules lately and it always seems somewhat pointless because so few people know the rules, signals, lights, etc. Those that do know the rules don't use them BECAUSE so few people would have a clue as to why you might be whistling 5 short blasts when they did something stupid or why you honked twice when overtaking stb. They would just think you were being rude and possibly give you the finger as you went by
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  #47  
Old 01-01-2013
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Interesting discussion. No one mentioned the prescribed whistle signals:-) I'm going over all the rules lately and it always seems somewhat pointless because so few people know the rules, signals, lights, etc. Those that do know the rules don't use them BECAUSE so few people would have a clue as to why you might be whistling 5 short blasts when they did something stupid or why you honked twice when overtaking stb. They would just think you were being rude and possibly give you the finger as you went by
In the case of the OP,there was no time to blow whistles. The other crew started yelling and though I couldn't hear what they were saying, the problem and only remedy (if I was fast and lucky!) was obvious. FULL REVERSE!
In addition, because we were spectators at a race, yelling was probably more effective, as I might have mistook the whistle as race activity. Not that they use whistles at Yacht races, certainly not the AC!
However, on larger vessels, 5 horn blasts are probably the most immediate way to draw attention, as yelling ain't going to work!
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

Sound signals and day shape regulations seem to put an undue regulatory burden upon small boats because everyone knows compliance is required under law yet no one realistically abides by those laws. It's obvious that MOST small boat owners do not know these regulations and will not in any near future. If common sense were in play, there would be a more realistic set of rules for small boats. This situation especially puts a burden on people who have obtained an OUPV or similar license because they are supposedly held to a higher standard and know they will not, in reality, comply with what is written as law. When is the last time you saw a sailboat with an inverted cone? Or a boat making proper fog signals? I've been out in pea soup many times and except for the big guys, have rarely heard a horn signal. When is the last time anyone heard a signal 1/2 mile away to indicate a boat's intention? It's just not going to happen and is downright silly.
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

I have to agree with smurphny, and add the following:

The danger/doubt signal (5 or more short and rapid blasts) could be used a LOT more. You may get a hand signal in response, but at least you've gotten their attention. And it puts you right with the Rules.

Inland Rule 25 (steaming cone) says "... a vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not required to exhibit the dayshape." Obviously that doesn't help outside the demarcation line, but some never venture that far, or only motor when they're back in the harbor.

I cruise the Maine coast a lot, so I'm a big fan of automated fog signaling devices. More advanced radios that have an external loud hailer come with this feature built in, but you can also buy a device that wires into your horn circuit and issues the correct signals. Either way is MUCH better than trying to time it yourself and keep hitting the button. I find that most boats intentionally out in fog use their signals. The ones that got caught in fog unexpectedly, not so much. And of course those are the ones you worry about.

I know most small boats don't use maneuvering signals, but there are times when they are useful. Coming around a bend or out from behind a pier is a great time to give one prolonged blast. In states that require boater education, more and more people know the signals. In some (admittedly rare) cases it really can help two boaters figure out what the other is planning to do. And worst case, you can tell the admiralty court judge that you followed the rules, even if the other vessel didn't.
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Re: Close call! Who had rights?

+1 on the VHF signaling function. I have an ICOM unit with that function and a horn that I can quickly clamp just outside the companionway. It can be used as a loudspeaker as well. Cannot find a good spot to permanently mount a horn where it will not potentially snag lines.
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