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Old 29-09-2013, 00:14   #136
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
Just so I can sort things out in this thread in my own mind, who here gets paid to go to sea, and in what rating?

Who stands watches as an officer?

Who is a deckhand?

Who read about it once in a newspaper in a foreign language in an airport between flights?
Deck officer, unlimited license, have worked both ships and tugs, mostly on the west coast of the U.S - Puget Sound in particular.

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
AIS has become the useful tool in shipping lanes around Or and Wa, I could not imagine going back to the old days of not having one. Ouestion for the big boys: do your instruments pick us up when we paint you with our radar? Does anything show that there is a small boat out there because he has his radar on?
I've never seen any sort of radar detection equipment aboard a commercial ship.

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Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
Thanks to those who have brought me up to speed on the transponder function in AIS.

I am a bit surprised that sophisticated ECDIS systems cannot display position reports from DSC radios. This is a basic function on almost all modern chartplotters available on small boats. I have friends with both Raymarine and two types of Garmin chart plotters who have recieved position reports from my boat and report that they appear on their chart plotter displays. It would seem to be the same functionality that displays DSC based distress calls on the plotter. Are you guys telling me that large ship ECDIS systems do not display the position of a DSC distress call on the display?
You got it.

Basically, the IMO standards are geared to be simple, standardized and easy to use by even the most third-world of deck officers. For example, we run our Furuno FAR2137 radars in functionality mode B, as opposed to IMO mode. That mode restricts a lot of the features available to the radar (less ranges, no chart overlays, etc). Technically, I suppose we're out of compliance with the IMO standards (which do apply to my vessel), but then again, those standards aren't necessarily the best. Washington State Ferries are a big enough Furuno customer that the 21x7 series radars have a "WSF" mode built into them that is basically a custom presentation. All of those units, regardless of who they're sent to, have that mode available.

With the possible exception of northern Europe (from what I hear), DSC for routine hailing is not very widely-used in the commercial world. The Canadian Coast Guard out of Victoria BC has started broadcasting alerts/BNM's via VHF DSC and to most of us, frankly, it's actually a little annoying and was more of a technology that was shoved in our faces than actually wanted. Of course, the radios (all four of them in my wheelhouse) will all start beeping right when you're using them for docking or other evolutions. In distress situations, it would be great but I see little benefit to it for routine operations - at least where I work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post

I will point out, though, that here in Puget Sound, off Shilshole, the container ships, the tankers, the car carriers, all the huge monsters that wouldn't even know they hit me seem to stay in the TSS lanes. Or at least close to the TSS lanes. (I called them "VTS" lanes earlier, I have no idea where I got that)

But cruise ships, tugs, the ARGOSY boats, fishing boats and, of course, other sail boats seem to simply ignore the TSS lanes.
I personally have no problem with recreational vessels in/near the TSS, as long as they're paying attention and expediting their crossing, if that's their goal. In many places, the lanes are right up close to shore so the reality is that you can't always avoid them. Also, all I ask is that recreational boaters take note of and understand Rule 10.


The low-down on the TSS in Puget Sound...

The unwritten rule regarding the TSS in Puget Sound among commercial mariners is that generally, smaller and slower vessels (such as tugs with tows) will stay to the starboard side of the lane. Most pilots (not all of them) like to keep ships close to the separation zone for a few reasons - one, less likely to mingle with small boat traffic near the edges of the lanes and two, keeps them further from the shoreline to mitigate wake damages (which property owners call the pilot office to complain about more than you'd think). Wake Advisories kick in for certain Puget Sound beaches (Spring and Seola) when predicted tides at Seattle exceed 11 feet. Other than that, speed is entirely dependent on navigation considerations made by the pilot and master. The container ships have backed off a bit the past few years and are now only generally doing 17-21 knots through the water. Tankers, cruise ships, bulkers and the smaller container ships are usually in the 12-17 knot range when in the sound. Anyways, for these reasons you will often see tugs riding the edge of the lane and in many places (West Point, Point No Point, Point Robinson) the lanes almost reach the shore. Probably the most consistent of vessels to not use the lanes are the log tows, who are just trying to make best speed and not break up their tows. They can be almost anywhere (but at least they don't move too fast).

Depending on the vigilance of the VTS operator on duty, departing the lanes without advising VTS beforehand, will usually get you a hail and inquiry to what's going on. Furthermore, at any place in the TSS, any vessel may make a deviation for traffic or navigational concerns. Unless it's done in extremis, these intentions will be advised to VTS beforehand. VTS Puget Sound is fairly on top of things and compliance with their system is generally very well followed among commercial mariners.

Lots of times and places, vessels deviate from their lanes at turns. Many ships, and the cruise ships in particular, will cut the SE buoy at Point No Point when northbound to reduce the rate of turn necessary to make it. The cruise ships are quite tender and this is usually around dinner time (no spilled soup allowed). The pilot will (almost) always advise VTS before doing this.

Almost nobody actually passes west of the SA buoy off of Partridge Point when coming down from Rosario and tugs in particular will hug the Whidbey Island shoreline to save distance and avoid the rip at Point Wilson before rejoining the southbound lane.

Another TSS buoy that's popular to cut is the TB buoy at Point Robinson when northbound, usually by slower ships. Again, maintaining a listening watch on the VTS channel will give you a heads-up on all of these.

It is also customary to call traffic when approaching the SG buoy before entering Elliott Bay and before the TC buoy when entering Commencement Bay.

The ferries pretty much do their own thing but are at least quite predictable. Argosy boats on tours generally run slow and take the scenic route. Light tugs (not towing) also will just take the most direct route and not necessarily follow the lanes. They also do NOT necessarily participate with VTS when light (except for the big >40M LOA guys like the Garth and Lindsey Foss), although they'll still maintain a listening watch.

Also, COLREGS aside, there is NO specific legal requirement in Puget Sound for any vessel to actually use the lanes (including the ships). But, if something were to happen, you'd better have a damn good reason for being where you were when a perfectly empty TSS was a little ways over.


What else?... Oh yeah, the gillnetters fish in many places I hope to never actually eat fish from.
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Old 29-09-2013, 01:38   #137
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

great to hear the experience and advise from all the professional and experienced sailors in this thread. Yesterday we crossed the TSS crossing from Croatia to Italy and had 5 ships to consider within the 20 or so minutes it took us to cross, 2 with CPA less than 1 mile passed ahead and the other 2 just over 1 mile passed astern of us. Conditions and visibility were perfect so all went smoothly but I just wanted to mention how much AIS helps in this situation, especially when connected to opencpn. On my raymarine plotter the targets simply show as an arrow and you can see the details, speed, course, ship details, CPA and time to CPA, but it doesn't show if the ship will pass ahead or behind, so it can be difficult to know. But on Opencpn (I have the miniusb from the raymarine 650 plugged into the laptop) it shows the vectors and intersections very clearly as seen below. Really really useful ! I also usually take bearings and follow the usual passing procedures to confirm the elecrtonics but I just wanted to share this if anyone has opencpn and can easily connect it to their AIS it really is worthwhile. I also used it often in Croatia where the routes between islands are shared by ferries and yachts and anyone else going from A to B in a direct line. Often all signs are that we are on a reciprocal course, but the AIS will confirm that the ferry will pass .5 miles to port or starboard from 5 miles out.

NB the screen shot is from the opencpn page, not from our screen ( I wasn't travelling along the TSS !)
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Old 29-09-2013, 01:50   #138
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

Nice post Waterman, goes a long way to explain the situation where you are.

Agree on the radar detection as asked by Newt, I have not seen any equipment on a non military ship which detects the radar transmission of another ship.

As for DSC, a vessel making a DSC call does not show up on ECDIS, my guess is that it avoids cluttering the display, and besides, was have 4 DSC VHF radio's which will indicate the ID and position of the station making the call.
Here in NW Europe, DSC is used a lot by coast stations to announce safety calls, and it is annoying. We made a special point to set up our radio's so they do not automatically switch to the working channel included in the DSC call.
DSC calls can be a big distraction, especially those received on MF/HF, where we can receive the call from half way around the world. A lot of watchkeepers are still unaware of the correct procedure for dealing with MF/HF distress calls, and we find that if DSC distress call is made on MF/HF, a large number of ships will acknowledge the call (which is not the way the system is meant to work)

We also operate the Furuno FAR and FCR radars. Initially, it was a Class requirement to have a chart overlay on the radar (in additon to the two independent ECDIS units), however, after many complaints to DNV (our Class Society), this requirement was dropped.
I also removed the radars facility to use non IMO ranges (like 2 and 4 miles) A few ships had reported that the VRM gave incorrect ranges when used on these non IMO scale settings. Removing that option was fairly easy once Furuno gave up the secret on how to do this.

I think the main problem with the TSS and colregs is the use of the words "impede safe navigation". It is very difficult for most yachts using a scheme or crossing one, to work out if they are impeding. If a yacht using an engine to cross a lane has a 40meter motor boat on her port bow on a steady bearing, is she impeding. Not likely in my opinion.
Certain area's seem to have their own recommendations as to how small vessels should use a TSS, so it is always a good idea to do a bit of research if you plan to use a TSS
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Old 29-09-2013, 02:15   #139
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

HF DSC was shocking thing when first introduced, probably still is... down as much to the equipment as the operator..... about the only obvious way to shut the thing up was to hit the 'relay' button which especially in pilotage waters was what tended to happen. I think we had SKANTI gear. I recall seeing a log once of what had occurred in the Pacific after someone in Las Palmas stuffed up a DSC test... it rattled around the Pacific for quite a few hours and was even relayed by the same Royal NZ Navy ship three or four times........ I would hope the kit is better these days.

Moving right along, in 1997 I did a trip from Harwich to the Hook on the bridge of one of the Stena HSS jobbies, one of the perks of my job in a company which bareboat chartered their ships from Stena. I asked the master how they handled traffic.... he said they simply treated everything else as if it was standing still.....

It was a lovely sunny day..... not for me in the winter in the dark and rubbish vis thats for sure... the second piccy shows her approaching North Hinder at 45 knots.... all the controls they needed were in the arms of their 'seats of command'.
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Old 29-09-2013, 06:44   #140
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by Watermann View Post
Also, COLREGS aside, there is NO specific legal requirement in Puget Sound for any vessel to actually use the lanes (including the ships).
I think Colregs is the specific legal requirement directing which vessels shall use the lanes:

Quote:
10.(d) (i) A vessel shall not use an inshore traffic zone when she can safely use the appropriate traffic lane within the adjacent traffic separation scheme. However, vessels of less than 20 meters in length, sailing vessels and vessels engaged in fishing may use the inshore traffic zone.
(ii) Notwithstanding subparagraph (d)(i), a vessel may use an inshore traffic zone when en route to or from a port, offshore installation or structure, pilot station or any other place situated within the inshore traffic zone, or to avoid immediate danger.
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Old 29-09-2013, 06:58   #141
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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I don't know about your area, but certainly in and around the Helsingør/Helsingborg strait, there is a "No Yachts" rule. You can cross there, but you are not allowed to sail i the same direction as the big ships in the TSS.

The charts are clearly marked with a "Yachts" area, and this area has its own set of buoy age

I was merely remarking on the TSS rules in the COLREGS, many TSS;s have local rules as do roundabouts and fairways. IN most cases the INZ is the appropriate place for yachts to be

dave
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Old 29-09-2013, 07:43   #142
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

The open water techniques discussed in this thread are a bit of a revelation...AIS and a good plotter overlay seem to really help. My experience has been with aviation TCAS. Sometimes with a good look down transponder one has more sympathy for the controllers and can even anticipate their next move. Not so much on the water in Puget Sound. In order to actually reach a destination under sail it is often necessary to either transit the traffic lanes or work gaps in the traffic to take advantage of currents and back eddies. These things are not apparent or useful to large commercial traffic. No doubt this is maddening to the Coasties in traffic control. They have no idea that maneuvers are being planned to avoid impeding traffic and many folks ( myself included ) are watching traffic via cellphone apps or AIS. The Navy however is a different matter. My home port is at the mouth of Hood Canal, frequent high security Naval ops abound. These days all you can do is stay close to the rocks and out of the way... Or just stop and wait far away.
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Old 29-09-2013, 08:10   #143
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

Watermann stated: "Almost nobody actually passes west of the SA buoy off of Partridge Point when coming down from Rosario and tugs in particular will hug the Whidbey Island shoreline to save distance and avoid the rip at Point Wilson before rejoining the southbound lane. "

This got me into trouble. I had just left the inlet heading toward the San Juans (still out of the TSS near Partridge Pt. and hooked a salmon. Immediately heaved too to bring it in. Three tugs coming southward immediately got very excited and Seattle traffic called me personally to ask my intentions. (They were still off my AIS, coming out of by Rosario)
Lost my salmon, lost my wind. Started motoring to south of Smith Island, then when I was in the TSS everyone was ignoring me. Now it makes sense.
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Old 29-09-2013, 08:53   #144
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
I think Colregs is the specific legal requirement directing which vessels shall use the lanes:
There are no designated Inshore Traffic Zones in Puget Sound and no specific regulated navigation areas that bar commercial traffic.

Like I said, though, not using the lanes when they're sitting empty right next to you would still be a losing proposition if something were to happen. Rule 10(h) does say that if you're not using the TSS, you shall avoid it as much as possible. The practical effect that has on Puget Sound (since the lanes take up much of the central sound) is that you probably couldn't comply with that too easily if transiting outside of the lanes.
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Old 29-09-2013, 09:23   #145
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by Watermann View Post
Deck officer, unlimited license, have worked both ships and tugs, mostly on the west coast of the U.S - Puget Sound in particular.

...

What else?... Oh yeah, the gillnetters fish in many places I hope to never actually eat fish from.
G'Day Waterman,

What an interesting and informative (and very professional) post.

Thank you very much!

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 29-09-2013, 11:05   #146
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by ScuzzMonkey View Post
A lot of the stuff you noted earlier as mystifying (commercial traffic outside the lanes, for instance) will become a lot more clear if you happen to listen in on 14 while you're out there.

You don't have to be a commercial vessel to contact Traffic. Just hail them, give your departing point, destination, and speed; they'll quickly tell you if there is any other participating traffic you should be concerned about.

If there is, you can either contact that vessel directly to arrange your crossing or let Traffic know your intention. None of this obviates your obligations in VTS (eg, not impeding traffic in the TSS lanes) or under COLREGs, but it certainly can ratchet down the tension level, and make the whole busy mess seem a lot more comprehensible at the same time.
Agree, although I justr tend to LISTEN to CH14 and monitor situations.

I am apalled that skippers don't know about this (VTS). We monitor 16 and 14 and sometimes 12 which covers the area outside the Golden Gate.

All one has to do is to read any of these to understand:

1. RTFM that came with your VHF
2. Tide & current books have VHF, traffic, bridge contact info
3. A BOOK (for heavens sakes, they still make books!), like, for us "Sailing The Bay" by Kimball Livingston. It'll even teach you to read the tide & currents book!!! I'm sure that each of you have books like this for your areas.
4. Charts!!!

The lack of situational awareness of many of the skippers I see out there is very scary.
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Old 30-09-2013, 06:46   #147
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dockhead

It's the position of Dover VTS that you cannot sail in the Dover Straits TSS without impeding commercial traffic. You will get an earful from VTS for trying, and will be ordered into the ITZ. I don't know about other places but Dover Straits handles 400 ships a day - a ship every four minutes. Sailing in that TSS is like riding a bicycle on a German autobahn - insane even if it might theoretically be legal. That's why the ITZ is there.
I was intrigued by this statement as it was not my understanding

I received a reply from mr Kaimes Beasley | CNIS Manager | HM Coastguard | Dover MRCC

( CNIS channel navigation information service ) which monitors COLREGS in the Dover straits.

His argument directly rejects yours , and he was " intrigued " to understand where such " advice " originated.

I quote
"
I am somewhat intrigued about your comment that there is a suggestion that a yacht using a traffic lane is considered to be impeding power driven vessels following a lane. I would be interested in knowing the grounds for the suggestion so that I might make my own enquiries."

Further more he goes on to state

"
In simple terms then, a sailing vessel is entitled to use a traffic lane in accordance with the Rules. Impediment is often a matter of interpretation. The role of CNIS is to monitor vessel traffic in the Dover Strait, not to interpret the Rules as they apply to any given situation. Should a vessel make a complaint about the conduct of another vessel, the facts are established (which includes the views of the Officers of the Watch involved). These facts will then be included in a report to the appropriate authority. There should not be any interpretation either stated or implied by CNIS as to who was in the right/wrong, it is for this reason why you have piqued my interest (should you have information to the contrary I would be most interested to receive it)."

I suggest if you have a reliable source for your comments that " those in control " ( which is CnIS ) automatically view yachts in the lane as impeding , CNIS would be interested in the source

Dave
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Old 30-09-2013, 06:55   #148
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I was intrigued by this statement as it was not my understanding

I received a reply from mr Kaimes Beasley | CNIS Manager | HM Coastguard | Dover MRCC

( CNIS channel navigation information service ) which monitors COLREGS in the Dover straits.

His argument directly rejects yours , and he was " intrigued " to understand where such " advice " originated.

I quote
"
I am somewhat intrigued about your comment that there is a suggestion that a yacht using a traffic lane is considered to be impeding power driven vessels following a lane. I would be interested in knowing the grounds for the suggestion so that I might make my own enquiries."

Further more he goes on to state

"
In simple terms then, a sailing vessel is entitled to use a traffic lane in accordance with the Rules. Impediment is often a matter of interpretation. The role of CNIS is to monitor vessel traffic in the Dover Strait, not to interpret the Rules as they apply to any given situation. Should a vessel make a complaint about the conduct of another vessel, the facts are established (which includes the views of the Officers of the Watch involved). These facts will then be included in a report to the appropriate authority. There should not be any interpretation either stated or implied by CNIS as to who was in the right/wrong, it is for this reason why you have piqued my interest (should you have information to the contrary I would be most interested to receive it)."

I suggest if you have a reliable source for your comments that " those in control " ( which is CnIS ) automatically view yachts in the lane as impeding

Dave
That's very interesting; and thanks for posting more accurate information. It's really great to get information right from the horse's mouth like this; thanks for taking the trouble.


It had always been my understanding that vessels under 20 meters and all sailing vessels are supposed to either cross the TSS expeditiously and at right angles, or are supposed to stick to the ITZ. I've definitely read this in some pilot book or another, and definitely heard it from yachtsmen who were ordered out of the TSS by VTS.

But what you have is from a higher authority, so must be correct.

Perhaps there was some confusion in my sources between highly advisable and must, or maybe I simply misunderstood.
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Old 30-09-2013, 13:04   #149
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by Watermann View Post
There are no designated Inshore Traffic Zones in Puget Sound and no specific regulated navigation areas that bar commercial traffic.
Well I'm sure all the "experts" will pop out to tell me I'm wrong, but imo, if you have a designated TSS, then the navigable water between the shoreside separation line and the shoreline is, by definition, the Inshore Traffic Zone. I'm also reasonably familiar with Coast Pilot 7 and the Puget Sound VTS manual and I don't recall seeing anything in either that would dispute that. Can you provide a reference to back up your assertion that traffic is not required to use the lanes in accordance with rule 10 in Puget Sound? Thanks.
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Old 30-09-2013, 15:08   #150
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Re: Big Ship Little Boat, who Gives way

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Well I'm sure all the "experts" will pop out to tell me I'm wrong, but imo, if you have a designated TSS, then the navigable water between the shoreside separation line and the shoreline is, by definition, the Inshore Traffic Zone. I'm also reasonably familiar with Coast Pilot 7 and the Puget Sound VTS manual and I don't recall seeing anything in either that would dispute that. Can you provide a reference to back up your assertion that traffic is not required to use the lanes in accordance with rule 10 in Puget Sound? Thanks.
ITZ's exist as their own designated entities and will be shown on charts. I'm not aware of any on the U.S. west coast and certainly there aren't any in Puget Sound.

There will be no rule stating that vessels are allowed to not use the TSS. Rather, the absence of a rule that obligates them to do so, means that the requirement doesn't strictly exist. The Navigation Regulations are silent on it and I'm not aware of any case law regarding it either.

However, you're right in that the practical effect is that a) the lanes exist to ensure that large vessels are in predictable areas and are somewhat segregated from smaller vessels and b) the requirements of Rule 10(h) would be difficult to overcome/justify by a vessel, particularly a large ship, that rides outside and parallel to the lanes during a transit. There is no logical reason to do that and in the event of a collision, that would certainly be brought up. Local custom in these waters is that, other navigational considerations aside, large commercial traffic transiting the sound will be utilizing the TSS.
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