Navigation

Restricted Visibility

Chris Riley by Chris Riley Updated on August 20, 2019. In nauticalknowhow

Chapter VI – OperationsSection 2c – Restricted Visibility

Restricted Visibility

When operating at night, or other times of restricted visibility, the required navigation lights as set forth in the required equipment section are mandatory to be displayed. The lights themselves will let each vessel know which is the stand-on or give-way vessel and each vessel should react accordingly.

A vessel approaching in your danger zone (approaching from your starboard side) will show its red (stop) port light. That vessel will see your green (go) starboard light. If you do not see a mast light, you know the vessel is not power driven (or not operating under its own power, as in the case of a boat being towed) and has the right of way over power driven vessels.

 

Navigation Lights
Power Driven Vessel

Navigation Lights
Sailing Vessel

 


During nighttime operations vision can be tricky at best, so a proper lookout and safe speed need constant attention.

During times of restricted visibility such as smoke or fog, additional sound signals are required. Both inland and international rules require that any vessel underway in or near a restricted visibility area sound a warning signal every two minutes.

Motorboats must sound one prolonged blast every two minutes. Sailing vessels must sound one prolonged blast plus two short blasts every two minutes. When a power driven vessel is stopped (underway but making no way) she shall sound two prolonged blasts every two minutes. Vessels at anchor shall sound rapid strokes on the bell for 5 seconds at intervals not less than one minute (however, if your vessel is less than 65 feet and you are anchored in a designated “special anchorage” you do not need to sound these signals). Vessels aground shall sound three distinct strokes on the bell (“I Am Aground”), followed by five seconds rapid ringing of the bell, followed by three distinct strokes on the bell (“I Am Aground”).

One Prolonged BlastOne Prolonged Blast Short BlastOne Short Blast
One Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the Bell

 

Power Vessel Underway
Every Two Minutes
One Prolonged Blast
Sailing Vessel Underway
Every Two Minutes
One Prolonged BlastShort BlastShort Blast
Power Vessel Underway
but making no way
One Prolonged BlastOne Prolonged Blast
Vessel at Anchor
Every Minute

One Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the Bell
5 seconds of rapid ringing

Vessel Aground
Every Minute

One Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the Bell
3 strokes
One Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the Bell
5 seconds rapid ringing
One Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the BellOne Stroke on the Bell
3 strokes

 

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