Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Pica: The Rules and Commercial Boats

Vin Pica discusses the boating rules affecting commerce-related vessels, and what to look out for...

Guest blog by Vincent Pica
Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR)
United States Coast Guard Auxiliary


Fishing boats ahead
Photo © 2012 Nautical Sites Media / Kate Canepari


As we’ve delved deeper into the Rules as they pertain to “Lights and Shapes”, I have laid the ground work for these next set of Rules, which are considerably more “intense” in their application of these so-called “Lights and Shapes.”

Why?

Because they have to do primarily with commerce over the open seas where the life blood of the US and the world economies still flow... Despite our high tech economy and the reliance on the airline industry for transport, the OECD reports that 90% of the world’s goods are still transported by sea. This being the case, we had better understand what we are signaling to each other – with our Lights and Shapes...

What We Are Going to Focus On

In this column and the ones ahead, we will focus on the primary commercial applications of the Rules:

Rule 26: Fishing Vessels (and I don’t mean you and your 26’ Grady…)
Rule 27: Vessels Not Under Command – NUCs – and Those Restricted In Their Ability to Maneuver – RAMs
Rule 28: Vessels Constrained by their Draft (and I don’t mean by buoy 26!)
Rule 29: Pilots – Who brings the leviathans into a crowded harbor?
Rule 30: Anchored and Aground
Rule 31: Seaplanes

What Does Rule 26 Say?
A lot – and a fishing vessel as it pertains to Rule 26 are vessels trawling or fishing by means of dragging through the water nets, dredges, lines or “other apparatus used as a fishing appliance.” They don’t mean us, drifting with the wind and a Penn reel in our hand.

The lights on a commercial fishing vessel are just the same as any vessel as described in Rule 21. If she is underway, she shall exhibit side lights of red and green, white masthead light and white stern light. If at anchor, she shall exhibit lights associated with that condition (no running or side lights!) In addition to all those responsibilities, she is charged with two important additions: “Green over White, We Be Shrimping Tonight” or “Red over White, We Be Fishing Tonight.” What does that mean?

Green over White, We Be Shrimping Tonight - courtesy USCG Rules of Navigation

Red over White, We Be Fishing Tonight - courtesy USCG Rules of Navigation


We Be Shrimping Tonight
If the commercial vessel is pulling a dredge or nets astern, she will exhibit the green and white light configuration. Don’t get in behind her as she may be pulling lines for miles astern. If she is greater than 50 meters, her mast light must be above the green light so she’ll show “white over green over white.” As with all commercial fishing vessels, she must exhibit the “shape consisting of two cones with their apexes together in a vertical line one above the other.”

We Be Fishing Tonight
If the commercial vessel has fishing gear extended abeam, she will exhibit the red and white light configuration. Also, if the gear is extending more than 150 meters horizontally from the vessel, she shall show a white light and “cone apex upwards” in the direction of the gear. Like the “shrimper”, if she is greater than 50 meters, her mast light must be above the red light so she’ll show “white over red over white.” As with all commercial fishing vessels, she must exhibit the “shape consisting of two cones with their apexes together in a vertical line one above the other.”

Lots of lights, complex shapes = stay away, Bunky!

Related Links
www.oecd.org
DailyBoater: Rule 21: Lights and Shapes
www.atlanticmaritimeacademy.com


BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.com or go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you "get in this thing…"

###