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Wood, Paint, Bronze

Do You Know Your Lights?

I finally read the Navigation Rules ("Rules of the Road") today.  The Rules don't really apply to small human-powered boats like kayaks, except for Rule 13:


(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of part B, Sections I and II any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.

and Rule 25 (d)(ii) referring to lights at night:

A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this Rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.

So that's it. If you are in a kayak just stay out of everyone's way!  You are never the stand-on vessel, except when someone is overtaking you.  And seaplanes and WIGs have to stay clear of you.  That's my take on it.  If you've found something else in the Rules worth mentioning regarding human-powered craft please let me know.

Also be sure to memorize Rule 37 (Distress Signals).

When talking about the Rules I think it is important to quote them verbatim.  They can easily get misinterpreted when paraphrased or condensed.  If you really want to learn them correctly I say go to the original source.  The Navigation Rules are available online, but I recommend paying a little for the book.  That way you can carry it with you everywhere and read it in the bathroom or whatever.  When you go through them you'll want to thumb back and forth to cross reference rules and diagrams.  It's the only way to learn them. 

Now for a little quiz.  Can you identify these vessels by their running lights?  (Answers below)


The diagram comes from a USCG Masters License Examination review I found online.


Diagram 48 (upper left):  Power Driven Vessel towing Astern, viewed from behind with stern light of tow visible.

Diagram 49: (upper right) Vessel Not Under Command and Underway, viewed from the starboard side.

Diagram 50: (lower left)  Power-driven Vessel Underway, with masthead light forward and aft, viewed from the port side.

Diagram 51: (lower right) Power-driven Vessel Underway, masthead light forward and aft, viewed from the starboard side.


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