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Old 12-09-2020, 18:03   #1
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COLREG 35

Sure this must have been discussed here but can't find anything. As I read COLREGS 35, all vessels in or near an area of restricted visibility MUST make a loud, annoying noise at least every two minutes. This includes vessels at anchor and not under command. In our cruising sailboat, we are often at anchor in fog (usually having gone to sleep under a clear sky.) We also get stuck navigating in fog a few times a year.

If I followed the rule as I read it in a peaceful anchorage at 4:00 a.m. (having interrupted my sleep on a regular basis just to be sure I knew if fog rolled in) I would expect to be lynched. If I anchor and go onshore, I am not sure how it would be possible to comply. Whilst enroute, we use radar and a constant visual watch but generally do not use sound except in response to a signal from another boat (which has happened to us exactly once.) In my experience, vessels underway occasionally but not commonly use Rule 35 sound signals but the overwhelming majority (including, for example, Washington State Ferries) do not.

So, seriously folks: I hate to disregard a rule but they can't be serious. What does everyone else do about it?
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Old 12-09-2020, 18:23   #2
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Re: COLREG 35

Underway, horn blast every 2 minutes, no excuses. I've got a fogmate controller, so it's automated when needed. At anchor, I wouldn't worry about it other than being ready to produce a signal if another boat signals nearby.
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Old 12-09-2020, 18:30   #3
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Re: COLREG 35

Makes sense given the rule but it is definitely not the common practice in the Pacific Northwest. A month or so ago, we went through Thatcher Pass eastbound in the fog with a ferry going westbound. In addition to us and the ferry, there were at least two other boats within half a mile of us. Thatcher is a few hundred yards wide and the ferry generally takes its half out of the middle. The ferry was the least of my concerns as both it and we have AIS. In any case, not a single horn blast was heard and that is typical in my experience. Was the ferry captain putting his ticket at risk?
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Old 12-09-2020, 18:36   #4
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Re: COLREG 35

How low was the visibility?
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Old 12-09-2020, 18:38   #5
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Re: COLREG 35

Varied from maybe 200 yards to 1/2 mile. We were doing 6kts and the other boats were maybe 8 but the ferry was in the mid teens. Not a problem because we had her boresighted a mile away on AIS. We did actually see her as we passed abeam.
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:03   #6
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Re: COLREG 35

I always use my foghorn when running in the fog. The Kahlenberg control doesn’t it automatically, but I have never used the horn when I was asleep.
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:15   #7
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Re: COLREG 35

Logically, a vessel should sound its horn when visibility is limited within its horn's range. Otherwise, why are minimum ranges of vessels' horn specified?
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:41   #8
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Re: COLREG 35

Did you ever hear about the value of Newfoundland dogs? The sea around Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is just about the foggiest in the world. In the old days all the fishing schooners would carry a Newfoundland dog, who would tend to laze around and sleep. In pea soup fog, when two fishing schooners got close to each other, without either one seeing the other, The Dog would come alive. He KNEW there was another Dog, over there, and he would start barking like crazy! And the other Dog would come alive and reply, barking like crazy! And that's how they'd know about other boats nearby, in the thick fogs in Newfoundland....
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:44   #9
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Re: COLREG 35

There is a federal regulation that removes the COLREG sounds and light requirements for vessels under -I think- 65 feet in special anchorages.
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:48   #10
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Re: COLREG 35

Special anchorages are very rare.
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:48   #11
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Re: COLREG 35

One possible explanation for the practice in the PNW may be that the fog is usually local and is rarely all that dense. Visibility varies minute by minute but it is rare not to be able to see the water within 100 ft. of your boat. My big worry in the fog navigation we have done is some moron in a small boat with a small radar profile zipping along at 25+ through the soup. I am pretty sure I can avoid anything else if I just keep a good lookout. The big stuff shows up on radar and, usually, AIS. If I found myself really in the soup, I think I would be looking for a place to stop if possible.

Don't think our dog would be much use. Must have the wrong dog.
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Old 12-09-2020, 20:53   #12
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Re: COLREG 35

In an anchorage, you are at your own discretion. If the anchorage is well exposed you might be wary. It was pins and needles along Nova Scotia and Maine for us but fog is extremely rare in the Caribbean.
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Old 12-09-2020, 21:00   #13
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Re: COLREG 35

Quote:
Originally Posted by hallejj View Post
One possible explanation for the practice in the PNW may be that the fog is usually local and is rarely all that dense. Visibility varies minute by minute but it is rare not to be able to see the water within 100 ft. of your boat. My big worry in the fog navigation we have done is some moron in a small boat with a small radar profile zipping along at 25+ through the soup. I am pretty sure I can avoid anything else if I just keep a good lookout. The big stuff shows up on radar and, usually, AIS. If I found myself really in the soup, I think I would be looking for a place to stop if possible.

Don't think our dog would be much use. Must have the wrong dog.
I don't think you have spent much time in the Pacific North West. Fog is often widespread and consistent and frequently dense enough to prevent one from seeing another boat a single length away.
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Old 12-09-2020, 21:04   #14
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Re: COLREG 35

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Special anchorages are very rare.
Here is the list: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/33/part-110/subpart-A#google_vignette
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Old 12-09-2020, 21:27   #15
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Re: COLREG 35

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Special anchorages are a tiny part of the indicated locations. For instance, San Francisco only includes shallow, derelict-filled Richardson Bay, the only special anchorage in central California compared to many designated general anchorages.
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