RULES OF THE ROAD
VESSELS’ LIGHTS AND THE RULE OF THE ROAD.
THE following articles from the “Revised International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea,” are adopted for the naval service of the United States, in so far as the navigation of naval vessels outside of United States territorial waters is concerned:
ARTICLE I. Preliminary.-In the following rules every steamship which is under sail and not under steam is to be considered a sailing ship; and every steamship which is under steam, whether under sail or not, is to be considered a ship under steam.
ARTICLE II. Rules concerning Lights.-Lights mentioned in the following articles numbered 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, and no others, shall be carried in all weathers from sunset to sunrise.
ARTICLE III. A sea-going steamship when under-way shall carry:
(a.) On or in front of the foremast, at a height above the hull of not less than 20 feet, and if the breadth of the ship exceeds 20 feet, then at a height above the hull not less than such breadth, a bright white light, so constructed as to show an uniform and unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of twenty points of the compass, so fixed as to throw the light ten points on each side of the ship, viz., from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on either side, and of such a character as to be visible on a dark night, with a clear atmosphere, at a distance of at least five miles.
(b.) On the starboard side, a green light so constructed as to show an uniform and unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of ten points of the compass, so fixed as to throw the light from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on the starboard side, and of such a character as to be visible on a dark night, with a clear atmosphere, at a distance of at least two miles.
(c.) On the port side, a red light so constructed as to show an uniform and unbroken light over an arc of the horizon of ten points of the compass, so fixed as to throw the light from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on the port side, and of such a character as to be visible on
|a dark night, with a clear atmosphere, at a distance of at least two miles.*(d.) The said green and red side lights shall be fitted with inboard screens projecting at least three feet forward from the light, so as to prevent these lights from being seen across the bow.|
ARTICLE IV. A steamship, when towing another ship, shall, in addition to her side lights, carry two bright white lights in a vertical line one over the other, not less than three feet apart, so as to distinguish her from other steamships. Each of these lights shall be of the same construction and character, and shall be carried in the same position as the white light which other steamships are required to carry.
ARTICLE V. A ship, whether a steamship or sailing ship, when employed either in laying or picking up a telegraph cable, or which, from any accident, is not under command, shall at night carry, in the same position as the white light which steamships are required to carry; and if a steamship, in place of that light, three red lights in globular lanterns, each not less than ten inches in diameter, in a vertical line one over the other, not less than three feet apart; and shall by day carry in a vertical line one over the other, not less than three feet apart, in front of but not lower than her foremast-head, three black balls or shapes, each two feet in diameter.
These shapes and lights are to be taken by approaching ships as signals that the ship using them is not under command, and cannot therefore get out of the way.
The above ships, when not making any way through the water, shall not carry the side lights, but when making way shall carry them.
ARTICLE VI. A sailing ship under way, or being towed, shall carry the same lights as are provided by Article 3 for a steamship under way, with the exception of the white light, which she shall never carry.
ARTICLE VII. Whenever, as in the case of small vessels during bad weather, the green and red side lights cannot be fixed, these lights shall be kept on deck, on their respective sides of the vessel, ready for use, and shall, on the approach of or to other vessels, be exhibited on their respective sides in sufficient time to prevent collision, in such manner as to make them most visible, and so that the green light shall not be seen on the port side nor the red light on the starboard side.
To make the use of these portable lights more certain and easy, the lanterns containing them shall each be painted outside with the color of the light they respectively contain, and shall. be provided with proper screens.
*Knowing that port wine is red, the side lights may be easily remembered.
|ARTICLE VIII. A ship, whether a steamship or a sailing ship, when at anchor, shall carry, where it can best be seen, but at a height not exceeding twenty feet above the hull, a white light in a globular lantern of not less than eight inches in diameter, and so constructed as to show clear, uniform, and unbroken light, visible all round the horizon at a distance of at least one mile.ARTICLE IX. A pilot vessel, when engaged on her station on pilotage duty, shall not carry the lights required for other vessels, but shall carry a while light at the mast-head, visible all round the horizon, and shall also exhibit a flare-up light, or flare-up lights, at short intervals, which shall never exceed fifteen minutes.|
A pilot vessel, when not engaged on her station on pilotage duty, shall carry lights similar to those of other ships.
ARTICLE X. (a.) Open fishing boats and other open boats, when under way, shall not be obliged to carry the side lights required for other vessels, but every such boat shall, in lieu thereof, have ready at hand a lantern with a green glass on the one side and a red glass on the other side, and on the approach of or to other vessels such lantern shall be exhibited, in sufficient time to prevent collision, so that the green light shall not be seen on the port side nor the red light on the starboard side.
(b.) A fishing vessel and an open boat, when at anchor, shall exhibit a bright white light.
(c.) A fishing vessel, when employed in drift-net fishing, shall carry on one of her masts two red lights in a vertical line one over the other, not less than three feet apart.
(d.) A trawler at work shall carry on one of her masts two lights in a vertical line one over the other, not less than three feet apart, the upper light red and the lower green, and shall also either carry the side lights required for other vessels, or, if the side lights cannot be carried, have ready at hand the colored lights, as provided in Article 7, or a lantern with a red and a green glass, as described in paragraph (a) of this article.
(e.) Fishing vessels and open boats shall not be prevented from using a flare-up in addition, if they desire to do so.
(g.) All lights required by this article, except side lights, shall be in globular lanterns so constructed as to show all round the horizon.
ARTICLE XI. A ship which is being overtaken by another shall show from her stern to such last-mentioned ship a white light or a flare-up light.
ARTICLE XII. Sound signals for a fog, &c.-A steamship shall be provided with a steam-whistle or other efficient steam-sound signal, so placed that the sound may not be intercepted by any obstructions, and with an efficient foghorn to be sounded by a bellows or other mechanical means,
|and also with an efficient bell. A sailing ship shall be provided with a similar fog-horn and bell.In fog, mist, or falling snow, whether by day or night, the signals described in this article shall be used as follows, that is to say:|
(a.) A steamship under way shall make with her steam-whistle, or other steam-sound signal, at intervals of not more than two minutes, a prolonged blast.
(b.) A sailing ship under way shall make with her foghorn, at intervals of not more than two minutes, when on the starboard tack one blast, when on the port tack two blasts in succession, and when with the wind abaft the beam three blasts in succession.
(c.) A steamship and sailing ship, when not under way, shall, at intervals of not more than two minutes, ring the bell.
ARTICLE XIII. Speed of ships in a fog.-Every ship, whether sailing ship or steamship, shall, in a fog, mist, or falling snow, go at a moderate speed.
ARTICLE XIV. Steering and sailing rules.-When two sailing ships are approaching one another so as to involve risk of collision, one of them shall keep out of the way of the other, as follows, viz.:
(a.) A ship which is running free shall keep out of the way of a ship which is close-hauled.
(b.) A ship which is close-hauled on the port tack shall keep out of the way of a ship which is close-hauled on the starboard tack.
(c.) When both are running free with the wind on different sides, the ship which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other.
(d.) When both are running free with the wind on the same side, the ship which is to windward shall keep out of the way of the ship which is to leeward.
(e.) A ship which has the wind aft shall keep out of the way of the other ship.
ARTICLE XV. If two ships under steam are meeting end on, or nearly end on, so as to involve risk of collision, each. shall alter her course to starboard, so that each may pass on the port side of the other.
This article only applies to cases where ships are meeting end on, or nearly end on, in such a manner as to involve risk of collision, and does not apply to two ships which must, if both keep on their respective courses, pass clear of each other.
The only cases to which it does apply are, when each of the two ships is end on, or nearly end on, to the other; other words, to cases in which, by day, each ship sees the masts of the other in a line, or nearly in a line, with her own; and, by night, to cases in which each ship is in such a position as to see both the side lights of the other.
|It does not apply, by day, to cases in which a ship sees another ahead crossing her own course, or, by night, to cases where the red light of one ship is opposed to the red light of the other, or where the green light of one ship is opposed to the green light of the other, or where a red light without a green light, or a green light without a red light, is seen ahead, or where both green and red lights are seen any where but ahead.ARTICLE XVI. If two ships under steam are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the ship which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way of the other.|
ARTICLE XVII. If two ships, one of which is a sailing ship and the other a steamship, are proceeding in such directions as to involve risk of collision, the steamship shall keep out of the way of the sailing ship.
ARTICLE XVIII. Every steamship, when approaching another ship so as to involve risk of collision, shall slacken her speed or stop and reverse if necessary.
ARTICLE XIX. In taking any course authorized or required by these regulations, a steamship under way may indicate that course to any other ship which she has in. sight by the following signals on her steam-whistle, viz.:
One short blast to mean “I am directing my course to starboard.” Two short blasts to mean “I am directing my course to port.” Three short blasts to mean “I am going full speed astern.”
The use of these signals is optional; but if they are used the course of the ship must be in accordance with the signal made.
ARTICLE XX. Notwithstanding anything contained in any preceding article, every ship, whether a sailing ship or a steamship, overtaking another, shall keep out of the way of the overtaken ship.
ARTICLE XXI. In narrow channels every steamship shall, when it is safe and practicable, keep to that side of the fair-way or midchannel which lies on the starboard side of such ship.
ARTICLE XXII. Where, by the above rules, one of two ships is to. keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course.
ARTICLE XXIII. In obeying and construing these rules, due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation, and to any special circumstances which may render a departure from the above rules necessary in order to avoid immediate danger.
ARTICLE XXIV. No ship to neglect proper precautions. -Nothing in these rules shall exonerate any ship, or the owner, or master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to carry lights or signals; or of any neglect to keep a proper lookout, 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.ARTICLE XXV. Rules for Harbors and Inland Waters. -Nothing in these rules shall interfere with the operation of a special rule, duly made by local authority, relative to the navigation of any harbor, river, or inland navigation.|
ARTICLE XXVI. Signal Lights for Squadrons and Convoys.-Nothing in these rules shall interfere with the operation of any special rules made by the government of any nation with respect to additional station and signal lights for two or more ships of war, or for ships sailing under convoy.
Diagrams Illustrating, the Rule of the Road at Sea. Plate 108, Figures 1 to 7, are suggestions for the handling of steamers, Figure 8 for vessels close-hauled under canvas alone.
In addition to the side-lights mentioned herein, an approaching steamer shows her white mast-head light, the mast-head light having a compass range equal to that of both side lights, and being visible at more than twice the distance.
In Figure 1, A and B are in such positions that each sees both side lights of the other, dead ahead, or nearly so. This is the case provided for in Article XV. Both A and B put their helms to port without hesitation.
In Figure 2, A sees on her starboard side the green light of B, and B sees on her starboard side the green light of A; they are therefore passing to starboard. The precaution of giving a good berth in passing should be taken by putting the helms of both vessels to starboard, if necessary, till out of danger of collision.
In Figure 3, A sees on her port side the red light of B, and B sees on her port side the red light of A; they are therefore passing to port. If in any doubt as to the distance at which they would pass by continuing on their course, both vessels should put their helms to port until out of danger of collision.
In Figure 4, A sees, a point or more on her starboard bow, the red light of B, and B sees on her port bow the green light of A. The vessels are converging, and A has the other vessel evidently on her own starboard side. It is A’s duty to keep clear, which may be done by slowing, putting helm a-port, and stopping, if necessary, to pass astern of B. B stands on, minding her port helm in this case.
In Figure 5, A sees, a point or more on her port bow, the green light of B, and B sees on her starboard bow the red light of A. The vessels are converging, and A has the other vessel clearly on her own port side. A stands on; it is B’s duty to keep clear, which may be done by slowing, porting and stopping, if necessary, to pass astern of A; in which case A minds her port helm.
|In Figure 6, A sees ahead, or very nearly ahead, the red light of B, and B, whether he sees only A’s green light, as at B, or both of A’s lights, as at B2 B3, has A obviously on his port side. B is crossing the bows of A in some direction to port. A probably ports to pass astern of B, in which case B ports if necessary, to avoid collision.In Figure 7, A sees ahead, or very nearly ahead, the green light of B, and B, whether he sees only A’s green light, as at B, or both of A’s lights, as at B2 B3, has A evidently on his starboard side. B is crossing the bows of A in some direction to starboard. B probably starboards to avoid collision, in which case A starboards if necessary.|
Figure 8 represents a sail B1 B2 B3 close-hauled on the port tack, giving way to A1 A2 A3 close-hauled on the starboard tack by porting, A holding her own on her course close-hauled.
NOTES ON THE RULES OF THE ROAD.
The general rule of the road for steamers is the same as the general rule of the pavement for foot passengers, that in all ordinary cases two steamships meeting face to face, or “end on or nearly end on,” so as to involve risk of collision, shall port; that is to say, shall keep to the right. Nothing could be more simple than this.
But a man who crosses from the extreme left of a pavement to its right side because he sees another man approaching to his right, cannot justify his proceeding by this rule. He was obviously not “end on or nearly end on,” and by his action he places himself in the way of the other.
The particular rule of the road for steamers is that if they are crossing, that steamer which has the other on her own right hand side shall keep out of the way.
There are eight cases in which it is your duty to alter course to avoid the risk of collision:
1. In a steamer meeting a steamer end on, or nearly end on.
2. In a steamer nearing a sailing vessel.
3. In a steamer approaching another on your own starboard side.
4. If under sail on the port tack, nearing a vessel under sail on the starboard tack.
5. If under sail going free, meeting a vessel under sail close-hauled.
6. If under sail going free, nearing another vessel under sail to leeward, also going free with the wind on the same side.
7. If under sail going free with the wind on the port side, meeting another vessel under sail going free with wind on the starboard side.
|8. In a steamer or sailing vessel approaching another vessel whose lights show that she is at anchor, or not under control, and therefore unable to get out of your way.In only one of these cases is it right to port the helm without further consideration, viz., in the first case.|
In all other cases the course should not be altered until by bearings taken at an interval, or by bringing the ship on with some part of the rigging, and watching whether she draws aft or forward, it is ascertained that the vessels are converging, and which is the best way to alter the course to avoid collision.
A fruitful cause of collision is that the ship which has by the rules to alter her course does not do so promptly and sufficiently to show to the other ship that she knows her duty and is performing it. When this is not done the other ship is often led to adopt some wrong course to avoid collision, and thus bring it to pass. Decide upon your action and then act promptly. If under steam, a slight yaw will show the direction you intend to take; if under sail and about to tack, let fly the jib sheet; if about to bear up, shiver the mizzen topsail or brail up the spanker.
AIDS TO MEMORY.
1. Two Steamships Meeting:
When both side lights you see ahead,
2. Two Vessels Passing:
GREEN to GREEN or RED to RED,
3. Two Steamships Crossing:
(NOTE-This is the position of greatest danger, requiring caution and judgment.)
If to your starboard RED appear,
But, when upon your port is seen
4. All Ships must keep a good Lookout, and Steam-vessels stop, &c.
Both in safety and in doubt,
|And the following may be added as a|
General Rule for Sailing Vessels:
UNITED STATES PILOT RULES FOR LAKE AND SEABOARD.
Rules and Regulations for the government of pilots navigating seas, gulfs, lakes, bays, sounds, or rivers, except rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, and their tributaries. Revised and adopted by the Board of Supervising Inspectors, June 10, 1871. (Amended to February 28, 1882.)
RULE I.-When steamers are approaching each other “head and head,” or nearly so, it shall be the duty of each steamer to pass to the right, or port side of the other; and the pilot of either steamer may be first in determining to pursue this course, and thereupon shall give, as a signal of his intention, one short and distinct blast of his steam-whistle, which the pilot of the other steamer shall answer promptly by a similar blast of his steam-whistle, and thereupon such steamers shall pass to the right, or port side of each other. But if the course of such steamers is so far on the starboard of each other as not to be considered by pilots as meeting “head and head,” or nearly so, the pilot so first deciding shall immediately give two short and distinct blasts of his steam-whistle, which the pilot of the other steamer shall answer promptly by two similar blasts of his steam-whistle, and they shall pass to the left, or on the starboard side, of each other.
NOTE.-In the night, steamers will be considered as meeting “head and head” so long as both the colored lights of each are in view of the other.
RULE II.-When steamers are approaching each other in an oblique direction (as shown in diagram of the fourth situation) they shall pass to the right of each other, as if meeting “head and head,” or nearly so, and the signals by whistle shall be given and answered promptly, as in that case specified.
RULE III.-If, when steamers are approaching each other, the pilot of either vessel fails to understand the
|course or intention of the other, whether from signals being given or answered erroneously, or from other causes, the pilot so in doubt shall immediately signify the same by giving several short and rapid blasts of the steam-whistle; and if the vessels shall have approached within half a mile of each other, both shall be immediately slowed to a speed barely sufficient for steerage-way until the proper signals are given, answered, and understood, or until the vessels shall have passed each other.RULE IV.-When steamers are running in a fog or thick weather, it shall be the duty of the pilot to cause a long blast of the steam-whistle to be sounded at intervals not exceeding one minute.|
Steamers, when DRIFTING or at ANCHOR in the fair-way of other vessels in a fog or thick weather, shall ring their bells at intervals of not more than two minutes.
RULE V.-Whenever a steamer is nearing a short bend or curve in the channel, where from the height of the banks or other cause, a steamer approaching from the opposite direction cannot be seen for a distance of half a mile, the pilot of such steamer, when he shall have arrived within half a mile of such curve or bend, shall give a signal by one long blast of the steam-whistle, which signal shall be answered by a similar blast, given by the pilot of any approaching steamer that may be within hearing. Should such signal be so answered by a steamer upon the farther side of such bend, then the usual signals for meeting and passing shall immediately be given and answered; but if the first alarm-signal of such pilot be not answered, he is to consider the channel clear and govern himself accordingly.
RULE VI.-The signals, by the blowing of the steam-whistle, shall be given and answered by pilots, in compliance with these rules, not only when meeting “head and head,” or nearly so, but at all times when passing or meeting at a distance within half a mile of each other, and whether passing to the starboard or port.
RULE VII.-When two steamers are approaching the narrows known as “Hell Gate,” on the East River, at New York, side by side, or nearly so, running in the same direction, the steamer on the right or starboard hand of the other (when approaching from the west), when they shall have arrived abreast of the north end of Blackwell’s Island, shall have the right of way, and the steamer on the left or port side shall check her way and drop astern. In like case when two steamers are approaching from the east, and are abreast at Negro Point, the steamer on the right or starboard hand of the other shall have the right of way, and shall proceed on her course without interference, and the steamer on the port side of the other shall keep at a safe distance astern (not less than three lengths) until both steamers have passed through the difficult channel.
|RULE VIII.-When steamers are running in the same direction, and the pilot of the steamer which is astern shall desire to pass on the right or starboard hand of the steamer ahead, he shall give one short blast of the steam-whistle as a signal of such desire and intention, and shall put his helm to port; and the pilot of the steamer ahead shall answer by the same signal, or, if he prefer to keep on his course, he shall give two short and distinct blasts of the steam-whistle, and the boat wishing to pass must govern herself accordingly, but the boat ahead shall in no case attempt to cross her bow or crowd upon her course.N. B.-The foregoing rules are to be complied with in all cases except when steamers are navigating in a crowded channel, or in the vicinity of wharves; under such circumstances. steamers must be run and managed with great caution, sounding the whistle, as may be necessary, to guard against collision or other accidents.|
SECTION 4,233, REVISED STATUTES.-Rule 24. In construing and obeying these rules, due regard must be had to all dangers of navigation, and to any special circumstances which may exist in any particular case rendering a departure from them necessary in order to avoid immediate danger.
RULE IX.-All double-ended ferry-boats on lakes and seaboard shall carry a central range of clear, bright, white lights, showing all around the horizon, placed at equal altitudes forward and aft, also such side-lights as specified in section 4,233, Revised Statutes, Rule 3, paragraphs B and C.*
Local inspectors in districts having ferry-boats, shall, whenever the safety of navigation may require, designate for each line of such boats a certain light, white or colored, which shall show all around the horizon, to designate and distinguish such lines from each other, which light shall be carried on a flag-staff amidship, fifteen feet above the white range-lights.
The line dividing jurisdiction between Pilot-Rules on Western Rivers, and Lakes and Seaboard, at New Orleans, shall be the lower limits of the city.
EXTRACTS FROM REVISED STATUTES.
RULE VI. River steamers navigating waters flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, and their tributaries, shall carry the following lights, namely: One red light on the outboard side of the port smoke-pipe, and one green light on the outboard side of the starboard smoke-pipe. Such lights shall show both forward and abeam on their respective sides.
RULE VII. All coasting steam vessels, and steam vessels,
* Same as Article III. (b), International Regulations.
|other than ferry-boats and vessels otherwise expressly provided for, navigating the bays, lakes, rivers, or other inland waters of the United States, except those mentioned in Rule VI., shall carry the red and green lights, as prescribed for ocean-going steamers; and, in addition thereto, a central range of two white lights; the after-light being carried at an elevation of at least fifteen feet above the light at the head of the vessel. The head-light shall be so constructed as to show a good light through twenty points of the compass, namely: from right ahead to two points abaft the beam on either side of the vessel; and the after-light so as to show all around the horizon. The lights for ferryboats shall be regulated by such rules as the Board of Supervising Inspectors of Steam vessels shall prescribe.|
The following diagrams are intended to illustrate the working of the foregoing system of colored lights, and are to be used by pilots in connection with the rules, as sailing directions on meeting or nearing other steamers:
Here the two colored lights, visible to each, will indicate their direct approach (” head and head “) toward each
other. In this situation it is a standing rule that both shall put their helms to port and pass to the right, each having previously given one blast of the steam-whistle.
Here the green light only will be visible to each, the screens preventing the red light from being seen. They
are therefore passing to starboard, which is rulable in this
|situation, each pilot having previously signified his intention by two blasts of the steam-whistle.|
A and B will see each other’s red light only, the screens preventing the green lights from being seen. Both vessels are evidently passing to port, which is rulable in this situation, each pilot having previously signified his intention by one blast of the steam-whistle.
This is a situation requiring great caution; the red light of B in view to A, and the green light of A. in view to B, will inform both that they are approaching each other in an oblique direction. A should put his helm to port, and pass
astern of B, while B should continue on his course, or port his helm, if necessary to avoid collision, each having previously given one blast of the steam-whistle, as required by the rules, when passing to the right.
This is a situation requiring great caution; the red light of A in view to B, and the green light of B in view to A,
|will inform both that they are approaching each other in an oblique direction. B should put his helm to port and pass astern of A, while A should continue on his course, or port his helm, if necessary to avoid collision, each having previously given one blast of the steam-whistle, as required by the rules when passing to the right.|
In this situation the steamer A will only see the red light of the steamer B in whichever of the three positions the latter may happen to be, because the green light will be hid from view; A will be assured that the port side of B is toward him, and that the latter is therefore crossing the bows
of A in some direction to port; A will therefore (if so near as to fear collision) port his helm with confidence, and pass clear. On the other hand, the steamer B, in either of the three positions, will see both the red and green lights of A, by which the former will know that the steamer is approaching directly toward him; B will act accordingly, and keep away if necessary.
In this situation the steamer A will only see the green light of the steamer B, in whichever of the three positions the latter may happen to be, because the red light will be hid from view; A will be assured that the starboard side
of B is toward him, and that the latter is therefore crossing the bows of A in some direction to starboard; A will therefore (if so near as to fear collision) starboard his helm with confidence and pass clear. On the other hand, the steamer B, in either of the three positions, will see both the red and green lights of A, by which the former will know that a steamer is approaching directly toward him; B will act accordingly, and keep away if necessary.
The manner of fixing the colored lights should be particularly attended to. They will require to be fitted each with a screen of wood or canvas, on the inboard side, and close to the light, in order to prevent both being seen at the same moment from any direction but that of right ahead, each light being visible, singly, to two points abaft the beam.
This is important, for without the screens any plan of bow-lights would be ineffectual as a means of indicating the direction of steering. This will be readily understood by a reference to the preceding illustrations, where it will appear evident that in any situation in which two vessels may approach each other in the dark the colored lights will instantly indicate to both the relative course of each; that is, each will know whether the other is approaching directly or crossing the bows either to starboard or port.
This intimation, with the signals by whistle, as provided, is all that is required to enable vessels to pass each other in the darkest night with almost equal safety as in broad day. If at anchor, all vessels, without distinction, must exhibit a bright white light at least twenty feet above the surface of the water.
ON THE COAST OF THE UNITED STATES.
In approaching the channel, &c., from seaward, red buoys with even numbers will be found on thestarboard side of the channel, and must be left on the starboard hand in passing in.
In approaching the channel, &c., from seaward, black buoys with odd numbers will be found on theport side of the channel, and must be left on the port hand in passing in.
Buoys painted with red and black horizontal stripes will be found on obstructions with channel ways on either side of them, and may be left on either hand in passing in.
Buoys painted with white and black perpendicular stripes will be found in mid-channel, and must be passed close-to to avoid danger.
All other distinguishing marks to buoys will be in addition to the foregoing, and may be employed to mark particular spots.
Buoys to mark abrupt turning points in channels, or obstructions requiring a specific and prominent mark, may be fitted with staves surmounted by balls, cages, triangles, and other distinctive marks. Yellow buoys, without numbers, are used to mark any danger at a quarantine station.
The largest description of buoys (” mammoth” or special buoys) are to mark the approaches to channels over seaward bars and isolated shoals, rocks, or other obstructions to navigation which lie at considerable distances from the coast.
First and second class buoys are to mark the approaches to, the obstructions in, and to point out and mark the limits of channels leading to the principal harbors along the coast, and also to mark the channels and obstructions adjacent to the coast and those in the large bays and sounds.
Second and third class buoys are to mark the approaches to and the channels and obstructions of the lesser harbors, bays, &c.
Nun or can buoys liable to be damaged or swept away by floating ice are removed on the approach of freezing weather, and spar buoys put in their places. In the spring the larger buoys are replaced.
Small spar-buoys are to mark channels and obstructions in shoal-water navigation.
Different channels in the same bay, sound, river, or harbor are marked, as far as practicable, by different descriptions of buoys. Principal channels are marked by nun-buoys, secondary channels by can-buoys, and minor channels by spar-buoys. When there is but one channel,
|nun-buoys, properly colored and numbered, are placed on the starboard side, and can-buoys on the port side of it.Buoys are placed in the best positions to mark obstructions or define channels, and are made to float as high and as nearly upright as possible during the strongest winds and tides. White numbers, as large as the class of the buoy will admit, are painted on four sides of red and black buoys, and the other distinguishing marks made to show as prominently and at as great a distance as possible.|
Vessels approaching or passing light-vessels of the United States, in thick, foggy weather, will be warned of their proximity by the alternate ringing of a bell and sounding of a fog-horn on board of the light-vessel, at intervals not exceeding five minutes. Canada is buoyed on the same system.
The side of the channel to be considered starboard or port with reference to the entrance to any port from seaward.
The entrance of channels or turning points shall be marked by spiral buoys, with or without staff and globe, or triangle, cage, &c.
Single colored can buoys, either black or red, will mark the starboard side, and buoys of the same shape and color, either checkered or vertically striped with white, will mark the port side; further distinction will be given, when required, by the use of spiral buoys, with or without staff and globe or cage, globes being on the starboard hand and cages on the port hand.
Where a middle ground exists in a channel, each end of it will be marked by a buoy of the color in use in that channel, but with horizontal rings of white, and with or without staff and diamond or triangle, as may be desirable. In case of its being of such extent as to require intermediate buoys, they will be colored as if on the sides of a channel. When required, the outer buoy will be marked by a staff and diamond, and the inner one by a staff and triangle.
Wrecks will still continue to be marked by green nun-buoys.
All buoys have their names painted on them in conspicuous letters.
Harbors, rivers, and channels are marked by either black or red buoys on the starboard hand when entering from the sea, and on the port hand by buoys of the same color as those on the starboard hand, with the addition of a white belt; and middle dangers are marked by white buoys surmounted by a black beacon.
Entering port, &c., from seaward, red buoys must be left on the starboard hand in passing in.
Entering port, &c., from seaward, black buoys must be left on the port hand in passing in.
Buoys painted red and black are placed on detached dangers, and may be passed on either hand.
Fairway buoys are plainly marked. Wreck buoys are painted green.
All buoys have their names painted on them.
Liverpool is buoyed on the same system.
On entering a channel from seaward, all buoys and beacons painted red with a white band near the summit must be left to starboard; those painted black must be left to port; buoys that can be left on either side are colored red with black horizontal bands. That part of a beacon below the level of high water and all warping buoys are colored white. The small rocky heads in channels are colored in the same way as the beacons when they have a surface sufficiently conspicuous.
Each buoy has upon it the name of the danger it is meant to distinguish; likewise its number, commencing from seaward. The even numbers are on the red buoys, and the odd numbers on the black buoys. The letters and numbers are white, and from ten to twelve inches in length.
All jetty heads and turrets are colored above half-tide level, and on the former a scale of metres is marked from the same level.
On entering the channel, etc., from seaward, white buoys must be left on the starboard hand, andblack buoys on the port hand.
Same system as Holland.
REPORTS REQUIRED IN THE CASE OF A COLLISION.
In the event of a collision, the commanding officer is to furnish the department with the following information:
1st. His own report, that of the pilot, of the officer of the deck and other officers who witnessed the occurrence. The statements are to be exemplified by a diagram, and must contain the courses steered, the point at which the vessel was first seen, the time when the engine was stopped, if in motion at what speed at the moment of collision.
|In addition are required: the direction of the wind and condition of the weather; what lookouts were placed; what lights were exhibited by both vessels; whether either vessel deviated from the rules, and whether blame attaches to any one.Written statements and estimate of damage from the officers of the other vessel must be procured if possible; also a survey of the injury to both vessels, made by United States officers.|
If the vessel is in charge of a pilot, and the collision was due to his acting in violation of the rules, the fact must be established in the report, and no pilotage paid him.
Changes suggested in Existing Rules. Several of the rules have been regarded as open to discussion, and as some of them may be modified in the near future, attention may be briefly directed to those most frequently questioned.
International Rule IX. seems especially unfortunate. The nature of the duty performed by pilot boats may bring them very close aboard when furnishing pilots, and they have no lights displayed to show the direction in which they are standing, at a time when such lights would be of the greatest use. The recent sinking of the New York pilot boat Columbia, with all hands, by the steamer Alaska, was possibly due in part to the absence of side lights on board the former.
International Rule XII. could be so modified as to replace, in a sea-way, the present meaningless sound of the whistle by a series of blasts, showing, at least approximately, the course of the ship. The whistle would then do for steamers in a fog what their side lights accomplish at night. Evidently if lights were only needed to indicate position, one light might (like the present fog-whistle) suffice for the purpose. As it is, we have three lights, to show approximate course, as well as position. For the same reason, course signals should be made by vessels in a fog. Without going into details, it may be suggested that if a steamer were furnished with two whistles (one with whistle and one with horn sound), a code of four blasts as a maximum would be sufficient to indicate every alternate point of the compass. Such signals could be made automatically.
International Rule XIX. gives certain optional whistle signals for indicating intended course, in clear weather. It is regretted that such signals were not made obligatory, and that the successful experience of years in United States waters was not sufficient to prove the value of this peculiarly American idea.
International Rule XXI. might be modified to secure right of way for large vessels in very narrow channels where there is plenty of fairway on either side for smaller craft. At present, a very large ship of deep draft, while
|moving through a narrow entrance, may be jeopardized by the stupidity or wilfulness of any coasting skipper whose craft might lay her course, and find plenty of water clear of the main channel.A rule observed by pilots in the waters of New York harbor has the sanction of established custom. It consists in giving right of way to ferryboats about to enter their slips. This is probably because of the difficulty that such a craft would have in getting fairly pointed again for her slip, if obliged to reverse to clear a passing vessel, in the prevailing strong tides of the North and East Rivers. We are informed that this same practice is sanctioned by local custom at most United States ports where strong currents prevail.|
Crossing Wheel Ropes. Officers accustomed to the usual action of wheel (and helm) in sea-going men-of-war may be reminded that the pilot laws require steam vessels navigating inland waters of the United States to arrange their steering apparatus so that the wheel goes in the same direction as the helm. This is precisely contrary to the practice in sea-going craft.