Friday, July 2, 2021

Human Powered--What Does COLREGS Say?

 Nothing too specific. But in Coast Guard Nav Rules FAQ post the following is offered:

13. Where do Kayaks and Canoes fit into the Navigation Rules? Kayaks and Canoes are a vessel under oars and are addressed specifically in Rule 25 (lights)
Although a vessel under oars may be lit as a sailing vessel, one should not infer that they are considered to be a sailing vessel for other Rules (i.e. Rule 9, 10, 12, 18 or 35). Ultimately, the issue of whether a vessel under oars is the give way or stand-on vessel would fall to what would be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case (Rule 2), and, the notion that they are less able than most other vessels.
Per Rule 25(d) they must be lit with 1 of 3 options between sunset and sunrise:

  1. display the lights of a sailing vessel (per Rule 25 and Annex I); or
  2. display an all-round white light (visible for at least 2 miles [per Rule 22] and meet the technical characteristics [i.e. color, intensity] per Annex I); or
  3. have at hand either an electric torch (flashlight) or lighted lantern (oil or gas) which need not comply with Rule 22 or Annex I.
    • Preferably, option #3 provides similar lighting, intensity and characteristics of an all-around white light (versus a single beam of light);
    • may be mounted, worn, stowed, etc so long as it is ready at hand to warn other mariners; and,
    • should be used in ample time so as to warn others of danger and in manner consistent with Rule 36, so that it not embarrass any vessel (i.e. so as not to blind or otherwise negatively impact their navigation).  See FAQ#14 (below) for a discussion regarding high intensity and flashing lights.

I'm rather puzzled at why the original means of power did not rate definition and specific discussion. Yes, some of this is obvious, but still. Why not spell it out? Sure it varies a lot. Perhaps it is because the maneuverability of a kayak compared to a cruising boat with a sculling oar are very different, bu the same could be said of a Sunfish vs. a tall ship.

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