After twenty years of sailing, I've finally distilled the behavior of fishers into a set of regulations
that I think we can all agree on.
1: Fishermen, whether engaged in fishing
or otherwise, whether commercial
or pleasure, are the stand-on vessel. This eliminates the need for them to learn to read these rules.
2: Are you fishing
? That makes you a fisherman. Have you ever fished? That makes you a fisherman. Does your boat
look like you could fish
from it? That makes you a fisherman. See Rule 1.
Rule 3: When two fishing vessels are on a collision
course, both captains shall take to the VHF
16 and start swearing at one another incomprehensibly. It’s assumed that they know each other, and therefore needn’t use hailing protocol. The captain
who successfully cows the other captain
with the veracity of his turpitude shall be the stand-on vessel.
Rule 4: If Rule 3 doesn’t work
, the “Rule of Tonnage” applies: The bigger vessel may stand on in any circumstance, and the smaller vessel may suck it.
Rule 5: If you are drunk, asleep, or on autopilot
, you are the stand-on vessel. Should two vessels subject to Rule 5 be on a collision
course, Rule 5 applies.
Rule 6: Anyone using the water
for any purpose other than fishing or being fishermen, is automatically the give way vessel, to include human powered craft, sailing vessels, freighters, and container ships. Those vessels may refer to USCG publication COMDTINST M16672.2D “Navigation Rules” for additional subordinate rules to sort out collisions amongst themselves.
Rule 7: Position your fishing vessel for maximum effect. Center channel in shipping
lanes, harbor and marina entrances, or right between the fingers in a Marina. Be sure to yell loudly at anyone who doesn’t understand the Fishing Col Regs as they go by with their perplexed look. Also, be sure to mine the entire area with crab pots.
Rule 8: Steer clear of Coast Guard, Navy
, and Law Enforcement vessels at all costs. They seem to not understand the Fishing Col Regs at all. Also, DO NOT go into Mexican waters, they hate gringo fishermen and will seize your vessel just for practicing the god given right to fish
wherever the hell you see fit.