Rules/Road Tugboat vs. Sailboat Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Electric Marine Discussions » Saddleback College MST Seamanship Classes » Rules/Road Tugboat vs. Sailboat « Previous Next »

  Thread Last Poster Posts Pages Last Post
  Start New Thread        

Author Message
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 507
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 05:18 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

In keeping with the discussion, the sailboat would have right of way, however you would need to be predictable; maintaining course until necessary to tack due to the confines of the basin.

Often areas such as you describe have their own rules which you are required to know.
 

Brian Skeith
Junior Member
Username: bskeith2010

Post Number: 4
Registered: 02-2010
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2010 - 10:23 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Mark--can you confirm that a power boat towing a waterskier or wakeboard does not have any right of way rights over sailboats? I recently encountered this issue in Mission Bay Sailing basin--which allows wakeboard towing in a counter clockwise pattern----and frequently I woud be tacking across their path...
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 506
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 08:54 am:   Edit Post Print Post

RULE 18
Responsibilities Between Vessels
Except where Rules 9, 10 and 18 otherwise require:
(a) A power-driven vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(it) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver;
(ii) a vessel engaged in fishing;
(iv) a sailing vessel.
(b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii)a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver; [Tugboat won't qualify unless using 27(b) light configuration]
(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.
(c) A vessel engaged in fishing when underway shall, so far as possible, keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command;
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver.
(d) (i) Any vessel other than a vessel not under command or a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid impeding the safe passage of a vessel constrained by her draft, exhibiting the signals in Rule 28.
(ii) A vessel constrained by her draft shall navigate with particular caution having full regard to her special condition.
(e) A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels and avoid impeding their navigation. In circumstances, however, where risk of collision exists, she shall comply with the Rules of this Part.

RULE 24
Towing and Pushing
(a) A power-driven vessel when towing shall exhibit:
(i) Instead of the light prescribed in Rule 28(a)(i), two masthead lights forward in a vertical line. When the length of the tow, measuring from the stern of the towing vessel to the after end of the tow exceeds 200 meters, three such lights in a vertical line;
(ii) sidelights;
(iii) a sternlight;
(iv) a towing light in a vertical line above the sternlight; [yellow]
(v) when the length of the tow exceeds 200 meters, a diamond shape where it can best be seen.
(b) When a pushing vessel and a vessel being pushed ahead are rigidly connected in a composite unit they shall be regarded as a power-driven vessel and exhibit the lights prescribed in Rule 28. [as if they are a single vessel]
(c) A power-driven vessel when pushing ahead or towing alongside, except in the case of a composite unit, shall exhibit:
(i) instead of the light prescribed in Rule 28(a)(i), two masthead lights forward in a vertical line;
(ii) sidelights;
(iii) a sternlight.
(d) A power-driven vessel to which paragraphs (a) and (c) of this Rule apply shall also comply with Rule 23(a)(ii).
(e) A vessel or object being towed shall exhibit:
(i) sidelights;
(ii) a sternlight;
(iii) when the length of the tow exceeds 200 meters, a diamond shape where it can best be seen.

RULE 27
Vessels Not Under Command or Restricted in their Ability to Maneuver
(a) A vessel not under command shall exhibit:
(i) two all-round red lights in a vertical line where they can best be seen;
(ii) two balls or similar shapes in a vertical line where they can best be seen;
(iii) when making way through the water, In addition to the lights prescribed in this paragraph, sidelights and a sternlight.
(b) A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver, except a vessel engaged in minesweeping operations, shall exhibit :,
(i) three all-round lights In a vertical line where they can best be seen. The highest and lowest of these lights shall he red and the middle light shall be white;
(ii) three shapes in a vertical line where they can best be seen. The highest and lowest of these shapes shall be balls and the middle one a diamond;
(iii) when making way through the water, masthead lights, sidelights and a sternlight, in addition to the lights prescribed in subparagraph (i);
(iv) when at anchor, in addition to the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (i) and (ii), the light, lights or shape prescribed in Rule 30.
(c) A vessel engaged in a towing operation such as renders her unable to deviate from her course shall, in addition to the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraph (b) (i) and (ii) of this Rule, exhibit the lights or shape prescribed In Rule 24 (a).
 

Mark Howe
Moderator
Username: unclemark

Post Number: 505
Registered: 08-2003
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2010 - 08:51 am:   Edit Post Print Post

The discussion is regarding whether a sail boat does or does not have the right-of-way over a tugboat towing.
 
Tony de Witte says:
A power boat towing does not have the right of way over a sail boat.  There is nowhere in the “Rules” that says this.  And I’ll bet you on that.  I remember bringing this up way back when I was a student in your class some many eons ago.
            There is, though, a special case where the answer would be true.  That is if the tow boat were “severly restricted in its ability to maintain its course.”  In that case the tow boat qualifies as “a vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver.”   As such, it is then required to display the appropriate “lights” and “shapes” for a “restricted vessel” besides the “lights” and “shapes” for towing.  Just by its virtue of towing alone, does not qualify it for any special privileges over a sail boat.  Nowhere in the Rules does it say a sail boat must give way to a power driven tow boat.  Actually, it only says that it must give way to a restricted vessel.  I re-read the Rules and verified that this is the case.  I’ve also read the pertinent sections in several “Rules” exposition books, books that explain the rules, and they all come to the same conclusion.

Mark says:
OK, then how about a vessel fishing?  Wouldn't that be the same exception; restricted in its ability to maneuver.?
By definition towing and fishing vessels are restricted in their ability to maneuver.  A boat towing a dinghy would not be considered towing; dragging a fishing line in the water would not be considered fishing.  [Nothing that says it has to be a commercial fishing vessel]
I always add, in the exercise of these rules the restricted vessel must make it clear to the other vessel that it is restricted.  Normally, you are correct, it would be done by the proper lights.  Imagine you go out in the Whaler to pull a disabled boat in off the rocks and you are confronted by a sail boat sailing.  If you dodge the sailboat while towing, you hazard both yourself and the boat you are towing.  So I will bet you are wrong.  But it would be difficult making it clear to the sailboat that you are restricted in your ability to maneuver.  But it could be done.

Do you really find a place where it says towing must be a special case where there is severely restricted ability to maintain course?  That would mean that one of our sailboats crossing to Catalina confronts a tugboat with barges and exercises privilege unless the tug has an additional 'red -- white -- red' lights indicating severe restriction.  I have not heard of this.

C/Ron says:
They are both right!

Mark:
So is the 'unable to maneuver' signal required? does the sailboat normally stand on? Tugboat with 3 barges gives way to the sailboat?
C/Ron:
Yes...No...Yes, but No if pushing ahead mechanically linked together
Mark:
Then it should be yes, yes, yes. If the extra signal is required, then normally the sailboat would stand on.

Sandy Gilman:
Regardless of whether a boat towing has right-of-way or not, why wouldn't one just stay the heck out of the way?

From Annette Cook:
...you stated that by "definition" a towing vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver. I would have to agree with Tony on that one, and it is not restricted--granted, it would be hard to make a U turn, but it is able to maneuver. If you have that definition, I would like to see it. A towing vessel falls into the "power" category, and therefore gives a sailing vessel "stand-on" privilege.
If you decide it is easier for you to change course and not require the "give-way" vessel to comply, you are not following the rules, and therefore become liable for any accident that should occur, not withstanding, any other collisions that might take place with other vessels causing or incurring damage. The towing vessel more than likely has radar, and already altered his course to miss you long before you became aware of the situation. By not complying with your responsibility of maintaining course and speed, you have upset the apple cart, and may now require the tow boat to alter course again, etc. It isn't up to a "sailboat" to rewrite the "rules". Your only out is the sentence "until it becomes apparent that the give-way vessel is not taking appropriate action to keep clear.
I once gave way to a towing vessel with a barge, in route to Catalina. When I called on VHF, to tell him I would alter course, he reminded me that I was the "stand-on" vessel and should not have altered my course.

Tony de Witte:
On the contrary, Mark, by definition a tow boat is not considered a “restricted vessel” and neither is a fishing boat.  The latter falls in its own category, while only a vessel towing , by definition, “that is severely restricted in its ability to maintain course” is considered a “vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver.”  And again, “restricted vessels” must display the appropriate lights or shapes.
In your example of being on the whaler and trying to pull a boat from the rocks with a sailboat headed my way, I’d be shaking my fist, screaming expletives, while repeatedly sounding five blasts with a horn.  I’m sure my intentions for them to stay clear would be understood.  In a real life example, the same one I mentioned in your class way back when, I was sailing back to Dana Point from the Channel Islands somewhere in the middle of the Santa Monica Basin out of sight of land.  We were headed south sailing wing on wing.  From our port side on a converging path was a tug boat heading west with a long tow, an old retired naval vessel that was apparently being taken out to sea to be scuttled.  You could tell because it was pretty much stripped  of everything on its topsides.  I hailed the tug boat on the radio, telling him that I intended to alter course to allow him to cross in front of us.  He came back telling me that I was the stand on vessel and that there was plenty of sea room for him to maneuver around us.  I was surprised and curious that he said this thinking that he was the privileged vessel.  Later, after we got back, I researched the rules and discovered he was indeed correct.  You know, Mark, if you ask 20 licensed skippers if a tow boat has rights over a sail boat, I’ll bet you 20 will answer that it does.  That is how widely misconstrued this rule is.
Here’s the text of the Rules with some commentary: 

 Rule 3:  Definitions:
The term "vessels restricted in their ability to maneuver" shall include but not be limited to:
  (i)  a vessel engaged in laying, servicing or picking up a navigation mark, submarine cable or pipeline;
 (ii)  a vessel engaged in dredging, surveying or underwater operations;
(iii)  a vessel engaged in replenishment or transferring persons, provisions or cargo while underway;
(iv)  a vessel engaged in the launching or recovery of aircraft;
 (v)  a vessel engaged in mineclearance operations;
 (vi) a vessel engaged in a towing operation such as severely restricts the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course.
See, no mention of fishing boats here.

Handbook of the Navigation Rules of the Road.  2nd edition by Christopher B. Llana and George P. Wisneskey, Naval Institute Press.

"A towing vessel with tow is under some circumstances less able to maneuver than a power-driven vessel alone.  However, the master of a vessel engaged in a routine towing operation is not normally justified in claiming restricted-in-ability-to-maneuver status.  This is emphasized in the definition by the words "severely restricts." The master must make the determination, and the towing vessel and the tow are considered as a unit --"restricted in their ability to deviate from their course."

One Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road.  by Charlie Wing.  McGraw-Hill  (Author of a Captain's License Course)

"To claim special status, a boat must display the appropriate lights or shapes.  Therefore, a fishing boat not displaying fishing or trawling lights or shapes and a tug not displaying the lights or shapes for a vessel restricted in ability to maneuver are to be considered simply power-driven vessels."

Rule 18:  Responsibilities Between Vessels:

b) A sailing vessel underway shall keep out of the way of:
  (i) a vessel not under command;
 (ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver;
(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing.
No mention of a tow boat here and there’s a distinction between a fishing vessel and a restricted one.

Rule 27:  Vessels Not Under Command or Restricted in Their Ability to Maneuver:

b) A vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver, except a vessel engaged in mineclearance operations, shall exhibit:
  (i) three all-round lights . . .[red, white, red] .
 (ii) three shapes . . [ball, diamond, ball]. .
Need I say more?

Marc Hughston:
What a pleasure to weigh in on this discussion. Please forgive me in advance for going on at length below. For my money, the tug and tow give way to the sailing vessel, unless operating under Rule 9 Narrow Channels.
Back in 2007, in advance of my Rules Of The Road presentation to WORSA, I called Captain Scott Culver who drives a 100+ foot tug for FOSS in Long Beach. I asked him about this very question, and wanted to know what goes through the mind of a tugboat captain crossing a sailing vessel in open water. He said, to paraphrase, "We know we have to give way to you." Simple as that. I should add that Capt. Culver is a very accomplished sailor too - an around the world type of sailor.
Here's where the discussion got interesting. Scott said that if a sailing vessel gets within 3 miles and risk of collision exits, that is when he starts taking action. Maybe not every tugboat captain does what Scott does, but keep that fact in mind. He's probably already taking action to avoid you before you realize he is there. That is why you must stand on to avoid getting in to close quarters with the tug. The rules require you do this until you recognize, given all the circumstances, that the give-way vessel has not taken appropriate action to avoid collision.
Now, if you are motorsailing and the tug is on your right, you must give way. This is the classic crossing between two vessels under power – power on the right stands on. If you are motorsailing and the tug is on your left, you stand on. That's what two power driven vessels that are crossing must do.

So here's the background.
First, The Navigation Rules say in essence, THERE WILL BE NO COLLISIONS. All the regulations are designed to avoid collisions. You have no right of way. You either give way or stand on, but you will not hit another vessel, no matter what. Get a copy of the Navigation Rules at West Marine and spend some time to ponder what they say.

Second, Rule 2 Responsibility, says in essence, you will comply with the rules but also avoid collisions.

Third, Rule 3 General Definitions, defines a vessel with restricted maneuverability as follows, from page 6: "(g) The term "Vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver" means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel." So, is that tug unable to deviate from her course due to the nature of her work? Not likely. If she is, she should be displaying day shapes of ball, diamond, ball, or at night white, red, and white [sic, but backwards] lights in a descending line.

Fourth, check out Rule 16 Action by Give-Way Vessel that says you should take early and substantial action, and Rule 17 Action by Stand-On Vessel that says in part (b), that you essentially will do what you must to avoid collision when the give-way vessel is not doing her part.

There is a hierarchy, also known as the Pecking Order that is clear after study of the rules defining who gives-way and who stands-on, and there is an easy way to remember it.

The mnemonic to remember this is, "Our Navy Requires Canned Fish Served Promptly at Seven,"
A vessel lower in the pecking order gives way to one higher in the pecking order

Our O Overtaken

Navy N Not under command

Requires R Restricted Maneuverability

Canned C Constrained by draft

Fish F Fishing (engaged in, as defined by rules)

Served S Sail

Promptly P Power
at
Seven S Seaplanes

Source: Mereld Keyes at OCC

There is still more to say with shipping lanes and narrow channels in Dana Point and Newport (Rule 9). Hope that adds something useful. OK, who's got more? Let's hear it!

Add Your Message Here
Post:
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Password:
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message
Action:

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration