Join Date: May 2005
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Re: Non Racing Sailors
A local colreg rule that many of us follow in Puget Sound. There is also a yearly meeting with the Coast Guard to spec out race rules, permit process etc that is done locally. If you get a 5 horn blast, that goes to USCG along with you getting an auto DQ. At the end of the day, when we have to deal with Tugs, barges, cruise ships, ferries, navy fleet etc, we avoid them, or at least make sure they know where and what we are doing near them.
I've parallel sailed along a ferry for a length or two as they pass, wave to the captain equal, then turned across the stern, probably closer than I should, I have made contact, wave, they wave back etc. Especially like the one I did a week ago, 100+ of us cross a ferry route. These races are made clear to us, avoid the commercial traffic! And also going into some channels, like the one into and out of Lake Washington, go in that channel, auto DQ!
COLREGS RULE 10*
1. A vessel shall, so far as practicable, avoid crossing traffic lanes but, if obliged to do so, shall cross on a heading as nearly as practicable at right angles to the general direction of traffic flow. (Why Do This? Not only will this practice result in a faster crossing of the traffic lanes, but will reduce the amount of time of exposure to large vessels operating in the traffic lanes....Crossing at right angles will also make you much more easily detectable both visually and by radar....)
2. A vessel other than a crossing vessel or a vessel joining or leaving a lane shall not normally enter a separation zone. (Why? Separation Zones provide areas where a vessel can "bail out" in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, fishing vessels, particularly in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, have a tendency to fish in these "medians".)
3. A vessel not using a TSS [Traffic Separating Scheme] shall avoid it by as wide a margin as possible. (Why? Recreational boats are more maneuverable than a large vessel or a tug and tow. These vessels rely on the predictability of the traffic flow....)
4. Vessels, when leaving or joining traffic lanes, shall do so at as small an angle to the general direction of traffic flow as practicable. (Why? This allows vessels to safely "merge" with existing traffic in the lanes and minimizes disruptions to existing traffic flow....)
5. A vessel of less than 20 meters (66 feet), or a sailing vessel, shall not impede safe passage of a power driven vessel following a traffic lane. A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of a vessel following a traffic lane. NOTE: "Shall not impede" means a vessel must not navigate in such a way as to risk the development of a collision with another vessel (i.e. when a vessel following a TSS is forced to make an unusual or dangerous maneuver in order to avoid one of the vessels listed above, then the vessel following the TSS has been impeded.)
6. All vessels are required to keep the center of the precautionary area to port. NOTE: A Precautionary area is usually marked by a yellow-lighted buoy and is clearly marked on all nautical charts. (Why? This is an area where vessels following the TSS are negotiating course changes and where other vessels join or depart the TSS, therefore, all mariners must exercise caution....) NOTE: Failure to comply with these regulations could create an unsafe navigational situation and may result in a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
*Taken from USCG, "A Recreational Boater's Informational Guide to Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Service," January 1995
She drives me boat,
I drives me dinghy!