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Old 25-11-2008, 19:43   #1
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Rules of The Road Too Confusing?

Does anyone else think the rules of the road are way too confusing particularly the lights and day shapes portion? I mean really people. What would be so bad about using the pecking order established in rule 18 and assigning a different colored masthead light to each class of vessel -

ie. seaplanes (pink)
power boats (red)
sailboats (purple)
fishing (green)
vessel constrained by draft (magenta)
vessel restricted in it's ability to maneuver (chartreuse)
vessel not under command (insert obscure color here)
- giving them all sidelights and a stern light and calling it a day?

It seems strange the Coast Guard are thinking of making a boating license mandatory rather than making the rules simple enough for everyone to understand.

Imagine if our highway system had the sort of cryptic symbolism the rules of the road have (does it and we are just so used to seeing them that we take it for granted?).

I find it especially perturbing that the lighting and day shape schemes are so cryptic when they are indeed so important to safe boating. The last thing I want to be doing when I see a strange light looming up out of the fog is thumbing through my Chapman's. I want to make a decision quickly and safely, furthermore I want the guy with way less experience than me to be doing the same. Does this make sense to anyone or am I ranting? (don't answer that part out loud just nod to yourself in quiet agreement)
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Old 25-11-2008, 19:54   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
ie. seaplanes (pink)
power boats (red)
sailboats (purple)
fishing (green)
vessel constrained by draft (magenta)
vessel restricted in it's ability to maneuver (chartreuse)
vessel not under command (insert obscure color here)
- giving them all sidelights and a stern light and calling it a day?
LOL, for a moment I thought you were listing all the colours and combinations you can find on Thai Longtails.
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Old 25-11-2008, 19:57   #3
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Maybe...

Maybe they should dumb down pilots licenses too? That's hard stuff.

I'd like to be a doctor but 4 years of medical school and hard tests followed up by a residency, with no sleep, and then a fellow ship in your specialty is just too damn hard. Perhaps the medical schools could just split the brain into two areas, right and left, instead of all this gobble-de-gook about hippocampus, hypothalamus, the limbic system, amygdala, prefrontal cortex etc. etc. cause that stuff is just too damn hard...

No one said boating was easy! I personally don't think the rules are that tough what's tough is avoiding others who don't read...

Hell learning all the systems on your vessel, to be self sufficient, is harder than the COLREGS.

Learning the COLREGS is not tough but it requires some self discipline.

P.S. I'm guessing those colors you mentioned might preclude anyone who is color blind from getting a captains license...
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Old 25-11-2008, 20:43   #4
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How about using Morse code. Each vessel has lights that flash port, starboard, aft, and bow. And, a masthead light that signals type of vessel and status.

Oh, wait a minute! There might be a problem with that. Some years ago I was the radio officer on a cargo ship that wanted to enter Durban harbor, The procedure was that the lighthouse used flashing light to give inbound ships entry instructions. The problem was that the seas outside the harbor entrance where so rough that day that I could not keep the light in sight. Numbers where especially difficult due to their length. The light house operator ended up having to spell out each number. So, I guess using Morse code light signals for navigation signals on ships could be a problem in bad weather. Oh well, it looks like we are stuck with those silly old day shapes and the red, green, and white light stuff.

LOL,

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Old 25-11-2008, 20:49   #5
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The Coast Guard did not write the 72 COLREGS. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) wrote the COLREGS and makes modifications to such. The US in the Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR) has adopted the COLREGS to be what we abide by. So although the rules themselves are not law, the CFR's make them the law in this country. All of the other major maritime nations have also adapted them as law as well. Individual nations of course have the option of making their own navigation laws which supplement the COLREGS. The COLREGS keep all the worlds ships and smaller vessels on the same page which is very important. Imagine the chaos if different nations had their own light standards.

The lights really do make sense if you study them further. They describe the aspect of your vessel and the aspect of other vessel, which helps you to determine which rules are applicable to the situation.

The lights also describe the status of your vessel and of other vessel status, which again determines which rules are applicable to the situation.

You really can pick up the basics of the COLREG light configurations in an evenings worth of studying. Once you understand them, they actually are very logical. Much thought has gone into determining the lights.

The light configurations really do give you a much better idea of the other vessels aspect and status than if we started putting a rainbow of colors on them.
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Old 25-11-2008, 20:55   #6
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At least you are trying and asking questions. So many dont know and could cale less.
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Old 25-11-2008, 21:53   #7
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I think this is a spectacular and long overdue idea. Easier is better. I would especially appreciate some differentiation between anchor, masthead, and stern lights. Is that a stern light or is that boat hull down? Oh, they're anchored. Add a couple of colors. Obviously this would have to be done with great care.

Brett
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Old 25-11-2008, 22:02   #8
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Don't forget to add turn signals and breaking lights. Oh and add line markers in the channels. Might as well put wheels on the boats so I can drive it to town and stop at the free anchorage of the walmart parking lot. LOL you guys are too funny!!
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Old 25-11-2008, 22:14   #9
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LOL! Unbusted..is some of that funny smoke drifting down your way from Hollywood?

Presently in colregs we have 4 colors White/Red/Green/Yellow

You want to add a whole bunch more (what the hell is chartreuse?) to make my life easier?

But I am open minded.

Can you draw me a fishing vessel over 50m in length, under sail towing a barge exceeding 200m in length both constrained by draft and restricted in maneuverability. Aspect 15 degrees port side.

I need to get my color chart sychronised!....


For sound signals in the fog...maybe we should just choose a few tunes! lol!
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Old 25-11-2008, 23:00   #10
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Wow, there are a bunch of jokers on this sight. But seriously in every aspect of life the things that are simpler tend to be the one's that a) have the profoundest affect and b) stick around the longest. I honestly feel that the light symbols for both COLREGS and Inland are dated and way too cryptic for, ahem (excuse me and don't castrate me on this forum), Joe six pack. Whether you like it or not that is who is buzzing around your cruise ship, your freighter, your sailboat, and your
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fishing vessel over 50m in length, under sail towing a barge exceeding 200m in length both constrained by draft and restricted in maneuverability
on a speed boat or even a crappy jet ski. Those are the people who need access to this information not
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a doctor with 4 years of medical school
nor the pilot of an aircraft.
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Old 25-11-2008, 23:09   #11
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PS this is Chartreuse

Chartreuse (color) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It isn't pretty but it would let you know that that dude ain't moving for nobody (except for a vessel not under command).
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Old 25-11-2008, 23:09   #12
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They have access, but are not required to do anything before putting a boat in the water. But on the other hand we require drivers licenses for cars and Joe 6 pack is not much better there.
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Old 25-11-2008, 23:29   #13
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Sorry Unbusted…didn’t actually think you were serious. Thought you were just having a bit of a recreational complaint.

The evolution of International light signals were discussed and agreed to by the “elder brethren” (retired Masters who spent a lifetime at sea in many conditions) and every sea cadet or deck officer is examined heavily on their knowledge of light recognition.

The visibility characteristics, position and colors are a very cleverly designed mosaic of light signals that were carefully developed for the professional mariner to understand the type, specific actions and movement of another large vessel, regardless of language barriers.

What is amazing is that with all the varying types of vessels, activities, restrictions, and aspects (how you would see them relative from your own bridge) there is only ONE light configuration that could be interpreted wrongly with regards to type and possible aspect.

Perhaps Joe Six pack should just study a bit harder or at least keep one of those plastic Nav-Light self examiners handy as a quick reference.

The more colors you added the more difficult it would be to distinguish them apart on a poor visibility night which is why Red/Green/White and Yellow are key colors and easily identified 3 to 4 miles away
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Old 25-11-2008, 23:41   #14
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I'm all for making things easier, but are you proposing doing away with all the existing categories of lights and reducing it to the few you mentioned? I don't think it will happen as I'm sure there will always be someone somewhere making good use of all the existing categories to help prevent collisions. So at that point how many more configurations than the ones you have presented will be absolutely needed? By the time everyone has their say, we'll be back up to the same number of configurations to be learned, it will just be a different system.

I also think trying to discern the differences in some of the colors will be difficult in poor visibility.

As far as Joe 6 pack not knowing the lights, I believe that the rules were primarily made in mind of commercial traffic where millions of dollars and/or hundreds of lives could be at stake. I don't think they're going to turn the entire world upside down because some recreational boaters are too lazy to learn the rules.


Reminds of a funny (to me) program I heard on NPR years ago. A prof was suggesting we make everything fair and easier by doing away with writing and use Universal icons instead. Great I thought, now I'm going to have to learn 1000's of symbols instead of 26, that's a big step forward.

John
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Old 26-11-2008, 01:44   #15
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PS this is Chartreuse

Chartreuse (color) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It isn't pretty but it would let you know that that dude ain't moving for nobody (except for a vessel not under command).
Unbusted67,
When I first read your post, I assumed you were just pulling my leg, then it seemed that it was serious question. BTW, either is OK in my book - I like a good joke and I enjoy serious questions.

Then I read the Wikepedia reference and I am starting to think you really are pulling my leg.

Which particular Chartreuse did you have in mind, the one that is almost green or the one that is almost yellow. Either of them could be confused with real green and real yellow when viewed through a salty sea haze!

Remember that these regs are going to be used by every nationality and cultures of the world. Seaman of every country has to be able to be taught and then understand the colours. I suspect a Breton fisherman would have a different concept of Chartreuse compared to say a Madagassian ferryman compared to Wall Street recreational day sailer.

As Pelagic refers to, these are signals developed by those with a lifetime of sea experience to be the best available given the real world circumstances.

By all means question everything but don't fix what isn't broken.

Welcome aboard by the way and nice post.

PS, My partner thinks mauve is a colour.
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