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Old 31-03-2014, 07:46   #1
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Red over white....

My wife and I have been studying for our license, and I came across something I don't understand. We are cruisers, not commercial fishermen.

Lights of red over white indicate fishing, and green over white indicate trawling. My question is, why do they make a distinction between the two? All the other special lights indicate something that gives me information I need to safely navigate around or near the other vessel (towing, dredging, etc.), but I think I would would treat a fishing vessel or a trawling vessel exactly the same - don't get within a mile of them. Whether it's nets or lines in the water makes no difference to me. I don't want either of them in my prop or wrapped around my rudder.

So why is there a difference in the lights they are required to show?

Thanks!
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Old 31-03-2014, 08:33   #2
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Re: Red over white....

Trawlers are, in effect, dragging an anchor, moving generally in a straight line, slowly. Fishing boats can be fixed (pulling nets or lobster traps), shooting or retrieving a seine net by going in circles, or other complex operations. Trolling is not fishing, as I was taught thirty years ago (sorry, anglers).
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Old 31-03-2014, 08:47   #3
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Re: Red over white....

Exactly, while trolling they still have some maneuverability and therefore do not get any special rights. The way to remember the difference is to think of the red over white as a red light like you would see on the road and the green light meaning you can go (no special rights, just a warning that they are trolling possibly meaning you do not want to cut close to their stern.

Ways to remember lights....(and day shapes) Note that the day shape for trolling and for fishing is the same.
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Old 31-03-2014, 08:48   #4
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Re: Red over white....

Hey Steve,

I would say as a prudent mariner, you are wise to give a fishing vessel working room. I certainly wouldn't want to be near a Sword fishing vessel pulling in a long line. Most likely a green over white situation. However, a smaller craft using rod and reel would not need such a wide birth, and would likely display red over white. I am guessing you have quite a few shrip trawlers down your way. My guess would be they would be displaying green over white when working with their nets.

In short, green over white would mean that they are towing something that you would not want to run over.
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:00   #5
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Re: Red over white....

[QUOTE=Roy M;1506108
---- Trolling is not fishing, as I was taught thirty years ago ----[/QUOTE]

True. Interestingly though, I was told that there are some indicators (don't ask me what) that a trolling vessel might be considered a fishing vessel when it had a fish on.
Some legal sushi for the sea lawyers to chew on lol.
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:08   #6
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Re: Red over white....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post

Trawlers are, in effect, dragging an anchor, moving generally in a straight line, slowly. Fishing boats can be fixed (pulling nets or lobster traps), shooting or retrieving a seine net by going in circles, or other complex operations. Trolling is not fishing, as I was taught thirty years ago (sorry, anglers).

Correct.

On behalf of recreation anglers, though, I'll beg for a little mercy from sailors (and, of course, other boaters too) who sometimes aren't familiar with what we're doing when we're trolling, at least in this neck of the woods.

We usually troll 16 lines from our boat, using things called "planer boards" to spread the lines out to an artificial beam of about 120' -- and the long lines are usually about 200-250' aft (and no far beneath the surface).

We're usually pulling a few hundred dollars worth of lines and lures and so forth... trolling at 2.5-3.0 kts... and we can't easily maneuver (no matter what the rules are) because we risk tangling the lines/lures and we have little steerage capability at those speeds anyway. (Tiny rudders, don't ya know.) And if we stop or even slow too much, the lures drop to the bottom, we risk losing them completely. AND in our boat we use things called trolling valves, so we can't even vary RPMs or shift in and out of gear quickly. It's even more difficult when we have fish on, since those pesky little buggers are often intent on tangling the lines too.... so sometimes our reactive steering (so to speak) is about mitigating that.

Yes, there are some recreational anglers, and some commercial charters, who think they own the seas if they've got a line out... but that's certainly not universal... and in our own case, we're completely focused on safe crossings... I drive, The Mate and his crew do the fishing.

But it's not easy sometimes, no matter how it looks.

Crossing well ahead or well astern is always appreciated. And in most cases, radio discussion makes it much easier for alcon when you're trying to thread your way around one of us recreational trollers (even though we're not fishing or trawling according the Rules).

Cheers, -Chris
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:09   #7
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Re: Red over white....

Thanks, everyone. One of my sources of confusion is the difference between trawling and fishing. So, as I now understand it, trawling is dragging nets.

I don't completely follow the logic of sword fishing with long lines being classified as trawling, though. Wouldn't that be fishing instead of trawling?
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:09   #8
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Re: Red over white....

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
True. Interestingly though, I was told that there are some indicators (don't ask me what) that a trolling vessel might be considered a fishing vessel when it had a fish on.
Some legal sushi for the sea lawyers to chew on lol.
You have to go on what day shapes or lights they are showing. It is not your responsibility to know whether or not they are pulling up a fish.

If a sport fishing boat is not showing shapes or lights then legally it is not fishing or trolling and would found be found at least partially and probably mostly at fault if there were a collision.

I fly a day shape or show the correct lights at night when towing oceanographic equipment in order to cover my rear end. Most yachties do not know what they mean and sometimes I have to give them 5 short blasts, which most of them don't know what that means either. I'm so glad when someone like yourself is interested in learning the COLREG's.
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:14   #9
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Re: Red over white....

These rules were written when trawling was done under sail , so that may make a difference .
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:16   #10
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Red over white....

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Originally Posted by pistarckle View Post
These rules were written when trawling was done under sail , so that may make a difference .

Given they were formalised in 1972. I wonder is that true. I'm not near my copy of farwell at the moment.

Most people don't realise how recent the COLREGS are

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Old 31-03-2014, 09:22   #11
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Re: Red over white....

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
Most yachties do not know what they mean and sometimes I have to give them 5 short blasts, which most of them don't know what that means either.
Five short blasts means "Wake up, come up to the helm, and take your boat off autopilot so you don't hit me."

Well, we're trying to learn the COLREGs. It's not that hard to memorize the rules, but I want to know how to apply them, as well. Thanks for the responses!
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Old 31-03-2014, 09:49   #12
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Re: Red over white....

Up in this neck of the woods there are primarily 4 types of commercial fishermen. The Trawlers or draggers pull a net that acts like a scoop and can be adjusted for dept according to the fish they are targeting. they will work day and night. The Seiner (primarily for salmon and herring) corral the fish with a net that is small enough mesh to keep them contained without getting entangled in the net. They primarily work in daylight hours. The Gilnetter stretches a net across a narrow stretch of water getting the salmon to run into the net and get caught by the net. They can work day or night since they require the fish to be swimming not too far below the surface to be effective. Then there is the commercial Troller which drags 6 steel lines outrigged from poles and spaced out by floats called pigs. They work only during daylight hours. they can have anything from several pieces of gear to 80 or so pieces hanging on each line. They are not very manuverable. All boats involved in commercial fishing have the right of way even over boats under sail so give them a wide birth.
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Old 31-03-2014, 10:44   #13
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Re: Red over white....

It would be a lot easier to give them a wide berth if they didn't keep changing course so erratically and unpredictably.
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Old 31-03-2014, 10:55   #14
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Re: Red over white....

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Originally Posted by Lancerbye View Post
Up in this neck of the woods there are primarily 4 types of commercial fishermen. The Trawlers or draggers pull a net that acts like a scoop and can be adjusted for dept according to the fish they are targeting. they will work day and night. The Seiner (primarily for salmon and herring) corral the fish with a net that is small enough mesh to keep them contained without getting entangled in the net. They primarily work in daylight hours. The Gilnetter stretches a net across a narrow stretch of water getting the salmon to run into the net and get caught by the net. They can work day or night since they require the fish to be swimming not too far below the surface to be effective. Then there is the commercial Troller which drags 6 steel lines outrigged from poles and spaced out by floats called pigs. They work only during daylight hours. they can have anything from several pieces of gear to 80 or so pieces hanging on each line. They are not very manuverable. All boats involved in commercial fishing have the right of way even over boats under sail so give them a wide birth.
The rules do not distinguish commercial fishing from sport fishing from someone throwing a line off the stern of their sailboat. My point is that it is possible for a commercial fisherman to be trawling but not fishing under the COLREG's.

I agree that it is just common sense and a common courtesy towards others to stay away from all boats that are engaged in catching fish.
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Old 31-03-2014, 11:01   #15
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Re: Red over white....

I thought the rules were applicable to commercial fishing and not to sport fishing.

Mod note: Sorry, I hit the wrong button and unintentionally changed your post. I put it back how it was.
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