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Old 05-09-2017, 04:02   #1
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Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

Are watermen on the Chesepeake considered to be encumbered while they are picking up their crab traps?
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Old 05-09-2017, 11:28   #2
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

I assume they are armed, so it doesn't really matter!
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:18   #3
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

I'm not sure what you mean by "encumbered" but it would be pretty rude to crash into one while he was tending his trap.

For the most part, when crabbers are picking up or placing pots or moving from one to another, that is their concern and you would do best to avoid them.

At best, there will be a lot of paperwork if you hit one. And yes, they are probably armed.
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Old 05-09-2017, 12:56   #4
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

I may be oversimplifying on my head, but you must give way to a vessel actively fishing....to my mind this also means one tending pots.
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Old 05-09-2017, 13:01   #5
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

Not every yahoo trolling is encumbered. A-Holes with planing boards are not entitled to right of way.
That only applies to commercial vessels with nets or long lines.
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Old 05-09-2017, 13:44   #6
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

If the OP wants a reliable answer, I suggest contacting the MD DNR. Anything here is nothing but opinion. Some is not even that.
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Old 05-09-2017, 13:51   #7
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

I don't think a state DNR is going to have an answer that would stand up in court. Where's the demarcation line for the CB?
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Old 05-09-2017, 13:55   #8
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

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I don't think a state DNR is going to have an answer that would stand up in court. Where's the demarcation line for the CB?
Well then, who do you think has the answer?

Part of the Chesapeake Bay is in Virginia so their DNR would be another resource. The OP is in MD, well up the Bay, that's why I suggested the MD DNR.
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Old 05-09-2017, 13:58   #9
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

For a preliminary answer thay could ask the USCG. Alternatively pay the money to query an admiralty lawyer. For a final answer they would need to be in front of an admiralty judge after having come into conflict with a crabber bad enough to require adjudication.
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Old 05-09-2017, 14:42   #10
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

hhh . . . actually the answer is pretty clear . . . no

"engaged in fishing" only grants privilege if the fishing gear (significantly) restricts the vessel's maneuverability . . . and hauling/dropping pots in fact does not, you can see them often doing this at pretty significant speed when they choose to. You can sometimes be accidentally dragging a pot and not know it.

This has actually been tested in court in Maine - and no, sorry I can't cite the case, it was back in the '70's.

(d) The term “vessel engaged in fishing” means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict maneuverability.
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Old 05-09-2017, 15:26   #11
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

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hhh . . . actually the answer is pretty clear . . . no

"engaged in fishing" only grants privilege if the fishing gear (significantly) restricts the vessel's maneuverability . . . and hauling/dropping pots in fact does not, you can see them often doing this at pretty significant speed when they choose to. You can sometimes be accidentally dragging a pot and not know it.

This has actually been tested in court in Maine - and no, sorry I can't cite the case, it was back in the '70's.

(d) The term “vessel engaged in fishing” means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict maneuverability.
OK, the voice of an "Admiralty Lawyer" has been heard. Or is it just some guy's interpretation of the law?

Seriously, call or email the MD DNR. I did that years ago on a different issue and I got my answer.
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Old 05-09-2017, 16:15   #12
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

Law or not....give the professional fisherman a break at change course to stay clear. He's trying to earn a living.
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Old 05-09-2017, 17:34   #13
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

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OK, the voice of an "Admiralty Lawyer" has been heard. Or is it just some guy's interpretation of the law?

Seriously, call or email the MD DNR. I did that years ago on a different issue and I got my answer.
Not the voice of an internet lawyer but actually quoted from ColRegs .... look it up. You do have a copy onboard as you are required right ?
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Old 05-09-2017, 17:49   #14
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

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hhh . . . actually the answer is pretty clear . . . no

(d) The term “vessel engaged in fishing” means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict maneuverability.
Thanks for taking the time to post that. I'm always amazed by the number of boaters who don't know or even recognize ColRegs when they see them.
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Old 05-09-2017, 18:44   #15
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Re: Rules of the road on the Chesepeake Bay

Really, if I am out there playing (essentially) and he is out there working, I would go out of my way to avoid interfering with him.
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