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Monday, October 25, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Traffic Separation Schemes

(i) A vessel engaged in fishing shall not impede the passage of any vessel following a traffic lane.
(j) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel following a traffic lane.


I know, weird, right?

Yes, it means that fishing boats (and their nets and gear), sail boats of any size and any vessel at all of less than 66' in length must stay out of the way of shipping traffic navigating within the designated traffic lanes. Even if the fish happen to be running in the lanes, even if a sailboat is becalmed in the lanes, even if the middle of the lanes seems like the very most fun place to be.

Because fishing in the lanes, sailing in the lanes, or motoring in the lanes in anything smaller than 20 meters is about as smart as riding a tricycle on I-5.

Fortunately, the boundaries of the traffic lanes are printed right on the navigation charts, so there's no reason to not know where they are and be able to stay well clear of them. Electronic versions of all US navigational charts are available free of charge from NOAA, at the link to the right. The traffic lanes are the big purple stripey part that runs right up the middle.

Navigation is fun!


  1. Discussions on the Rules of the Road are always good. Have added your Blog to 'My Blog List' as it is an interesting addition to the maritime blogs. Every success, and
    Good Watch

  2. Thank you!
    I hope the post didn't come off as quite as snarky as it felt when I was typing it. It was the result of, shall we say, a bad day at the office.