Rules for boats???

General banter about diving and why we love it.
Post Reply
User avatar
Pinkpadigal
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1060
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:19 pm

Rules for boats???

Post by Pinkpadigal » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:43 am

I was wondering if someone could help me get some information.

Yesterday, during our open water class, we witnessed a boat come inside the buoys and drop anchor about 100 yards from shore, and 25-30 yards from my dive float at Les Davis. He was a diver and him and his passengers suited up and dropped in to dive. He moved slowly in the zone but with the wind and rain yesterday, it was hard to see bubbles in the water. With new divers in the water, I was worried he was going to drive over the top of us. We waved at him to move his boat out of the area but he refused.

I found it quite strange. All the cool spots to dive from a boat in Puget Sound and he brings his boat to dive at Les Davis and anchors in 25 feet of water. :smt119

I was under the assumption that large, motorized boats could not come inside and anchor in the no wake zone the city had set up. I am trying to find information about boating rules for Puget Sound but I am coming up empty. Does anyone know where I can find specific information, including rules about divers in the water, the distance boats must keep, and any other general rules that would be good to know?
Amy Rhodes
PADI Master Instructor #183890
A-2-Z Scuba Instruction
http://www.a2zscuba.com
*******************

Dmitchell
Perma Narc'd
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:53 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by Dmitchell » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:53 am

Generally, boats are supposed to stay 100' from your flag and you are supposed to stay within 100' of your flag. Sounds like he did that if he was 30ish yards away.

As far as where he can anchor, you'd need to look at the nav chart for the area to determine those rules.

Here's a link to the online chart viewer. You can look at the nav chart if you'd like.
http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/OnLineViewe ... rTable.htm

That's the rule but good luck. I've more than once come up the anchor line to find hooks in it.


Dave
Dave Mitchell
_______________________________
It's OK to hijack my threads!
Great Sites - Flickr and NSOP

User avatar
jackieg
Amphibian
Posts: 819
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:25 am

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by jackieg » Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:57 am

Amy -

I don't know if it was the same boat, but I have been at Les Davis before, with a class and flag, when a boat with divers has come into the "dive area" and been way too close for my comfort. We also tried to wave this person off, which he ignored.

You might try a call to the USCG Seattle, they used to have an information officer available.

Jackie

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7769
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:05 am

Boats are not obligated to stay away any particluar distance away from dive flags. They must not collide into other boats flying the "restricted in ability to manuver flag" (alpha) but the rules are silent on the actions of boats in the vicinity of dive flags placed by swimmers. Boats are required to remain outside demarked swimming areas. There are no anchorage restrictions along the Tacoma waterfront. In fact there are mooring bouys.

You can find the "rules of the road" here:
http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/mwv/navrules/rotr_online.htm

All of Puget Sound and are outside the COLREGs line and thus use the international rules. This has been discussed here many times, but once again a dive flag gives you no rights vs. vessels whatsoever when you are on or in the water. You are much more likely to prevail in court if someone is struck by a boat while flying a dive flag. But there is no minimum distance vessels must keep away. In fact very very rarely are passing, overtaking, or other distances specified in the rules either. To quote the USCG's FAQ:

Finally, all this said, the ordinary practice of seamen requires precaution under all conditions and circumstances and not strict adherence to the rules or any other practice. Although strict adherence may not always be prudent, the Rules are very precise in stating that nothing shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect (Rule 2). Neglect, among other things, could be not maintaining a proper look-out (Rule 5), use of improper speed (Rule 6), not taking the appropriate actions to determine and avoid collision (Rules 7 & Rule 8) or completely ignoring your responsibilities under the Rules.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

User avatar
Grateful Diver
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5321
Joined: Mon May 15, 2006 7:52 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by Grateful Diver » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:29 am

That's pretty consistent with what I was told the day a large (40+ foot) powerboat literally ran over a dive flag at Alki Junkyard. We ID'd the boat ... even got him running over the dive flag on video ... and it with an OW class ongoing underneath the flag.

When I contacted the Seattle Harbor Patrol they told us that unless he hits and injures a diver, there's nothing they can do ... no laws were broken.

Odd that Seattle ordinance requires the use of a dive flag ... but do not require boaters to respect it. Small wonder that almost everyone who shore dives ignores the ordinance.

... Bob (Grateful Diver)
Threats and ultimatums are never the best answer. Public humiliation via Photoshop is always better - airsix

Come visit me at http://www.nwgratefuldiver.com/

User avatar
boydski
Submariner
Posts: 587
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:28 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by boydski » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:06 pm

Interesting that Pierce County has the following listed under "water related laws".

SCUBA Divers:

Vessels must stay at least 300 feet away from any diver's flag raised from a vessel float.



Of course I'm not sure Amy's float would qualify as a "vessel float", whatever that happens to be, and I'm not sure if this particular law would apply to Puget Sound, which is (as Richard stated) are classed as international Colregs rules.

Also, the Coast Guard and international rules do not recognize our classic "divers down" flag, but require vessels to fly an "Alpha" (blue/white) flag to indicate restricted manuverability due to divers.

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7769
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:26 pm

boydski wrote:Interesting that Pierce County has the following listed under "water related laws".

SCUBA Divers:

Vessels must stay at least 300 feet away from any diver's flag raised from a vessel float.



Of course I'm not sure Amy's float would qualify as a "vessel float", whatever that happens to be, and I'm not sure if this particular law would apply to Puget Sound, which is (as Richard stated) are classed as international Colregs rules.

Also, the Coast Guard and international rules do not recognize our classic "divers down" flag, but require vessels to fly an "Alpha" (blue/white) flag to indicate restricted manuverability due to divers.


Yeah alot of municipalities have various rules on the books about dive flags. Most require the divers to use them and zilch on the part of the boaters nearby. A couple go both ways. If I were within 300ft of a flag in Pierce County, and yes I might do that, I would contest any ticket from the Tacoma police or County Sheriff. Their statute is pre-empted by federal rules and international treaty - at least for salt waters. I'd be very surprised if it held up in court.

I have had other vessels pull up quite close to mine at dive sites while flying a dive flag and a (leaglly undersized) alpha flag. While I'm UW. I expect them to enter at idle speed, avoid any SMBs from my group and anchor slowly with due regard to any bubbles. Other than those aspects of "prudent seasmanship" I don't have any other expectations.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

User avatar
boydski
Submariner
Posts: 587
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:28 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by boydski » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:41 pm

CaptnJack wrote:I have had other vessels pull up quite close to mine at dive sites while flying a dive flag and a (leaglly undersized) alpha flag. While I'm UW.


I had a very difficult time finding a "legal sized" alpha flag ( 1 meter I believe), but I eventually did. Unfortunately, it really doesn't make any difference. I had a guy come flying by in a 28' boat so close that I was able to bounce the rest of my hot dog off of his flying bridge wind screen... :evil4: Sadly, I'm sure he had no idea why there was mustard on his boat. :dontknow:

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7769
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:51 pm

Haha that's good! Wish I had a BBQ....
The alpha flag is supposed to be a "rigid replica" and "viewable all around" too. There's no way I can put a 1m high rigid piece of plywood on my boat. Nor do I have the space to put the primary "restricted in ability to manuver" dayshapes up. Ball over a diamond over a ball.
.
nr_Rule27b2.gif
nr_Rule27b2.gif (5.57 KiB) Viewed 1211 times


So I'm sticking with my little 14" high version of the alpha flag and attempting to demonstrate "good faith". The good thing is I have yet to hear of a prop strike/accident from a random boater in Puget Sound.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

User avatar
BUZO71
Aquaphile
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:41 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by BUZO71 » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:01 pm

Oregon has a law called reckless endangering:

"163.195 Recklessly endangering another person.
(1) A person commits the crime of recklessly endangering another person if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.
(2) Recklessly endangering another person is a Class A misdemeanor. [1971 c.743 §96]"

I would be surprised if Washington didn't have a similar law. That would fit this situation if someone were under the flag or was close enough to have created the substantial risk of serious physical injury by the boat.... so the specifics of the incident would determine the criminal case.
Fortes fortuna iuvat

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7769
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by CaptnJack » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:01 pm

Unless the action is particularly aggregious, no prosecutor is going to take it on. Getting within even 50ft of a dive flag is not gonna rise to that level. I could see speeding by one while drunk meriting additional "reckless operation" charges. Idling past a dive flag (at virtually any distance) is not gonna even merit a warning. I would do that if the flag were deployed on a site I am attempting to dive and there were no bubbles or SMBs in the immediate area. Others, including commercial operators (Bandito), have come within 75ft of my deployed divers+Alpha flags. I didn't surface and attempt to chew them out. They have as much right to be there as me.

I have given the Aluminator's captain a little grief when he attempted to anchor within swinging distance of my boat on the Alki reef. Conventional practices dictate that at anchorages its first come, first served and boats arriving later have an obligation not to swing into boats already anchored. And the Alki reef is a big site with lots of rock piles. Unfortunately the Aluminator's skipper is not very experienced and doesn't really know diving. So a) he didn't stand off a distance commensurate with our respective swinging circles and b) he did know that the reef extended hundreds of feet to the south of my hook. Eventually the left and took his divers elsewhere because nobody knew the site outside of what the Bliss book provides.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

Dmitchell
Perma Narc'd
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:53 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by Dmitchell » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:41 am

CaptnJack wrote:Unless the action is particularly aggregious, no prosecutor is going to take it on. Getting within even 50ft of a dive flag is not gonna rise to that level. I could see speeding by one while drunk meriting additional "reckless operation" charges. Idling past a dive flag (at virtually any distance) is not gonna even merit a warning. I would do that if the flag were deployed on a site I am attempting to dive and there were no bubbles or SMBs in the immediate area. Others, including commercial operators (Bandito), have come within 75ft of my deployed divers+Alpha flags. I didn't surface and attempt to chew them out. They have as much right to be there as me.

I have given the Aluminator's captain a little grief when he attempted to anchor within swinging distance of my boat on the Alki reef. Conventional practices dictate that at anchorages its first come, first served and boats arriving later have an obligation not to swing into boats already anchored. And the Alki reef is a big site with lots of rock piles. Unfortunately the Aluminator's skipper is not very experienced and doesn't really know diving. So a) he didn't stand off a distance commensurate with our respective swinging circles and b) he did know that the reef extended hundreds of feet to the south of my hook. Eventually the left and took his divers elsewhere because nobody knew the site outside of what the Bliss book provides.



The COLREGS only really come in to play when there is an accident. They are the rules and you will see all of the real boats and ships using them but most recreational boaters don't even know that they exist. Now get your Masters license and you'll have to know them inside out and backwards. It's probably the hardest test I ever had to take.

When was the last time you heard someone blow the horn before backing out of a slip in the local marina?

As far as the Aluminator - sometimes the rule of gross tonnage applies \:D/ .

DM
Dave Mitchell
_______________________________
It's OK to hijack my threads!
Great Sites - Flickr and NSOP

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7769
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by CaptnJack » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:31 am

Dmitchell wrote:The COLREGS only really come in to play when there is an accident. They are the rules and you will see all of the real boats and ships using them but most recreational boaters don't even know that they exist. Now get your Masters license and you'll have to know them inside out and backwards.


I do have a Master's license, 50-ton with towing endorsement.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

User avatar
Pinkpadigal
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1060
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:19 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by Pinkpadigal » Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:34 pm

So, at REDONDO today, we had just finished our second dive. There were 4 buoys in the water, in about 20-25 feet. Watched a 30' power boat drive within a few feet of all of them. There must of been 20 divers in the water and bubbles everywhere.

Unbelievable. ](*,)
Amy Rhodes
PADI Master Instructor #183890
A-2-Z Scuba Instruction
http://www.a2zscuba.com
*******************

User avatar
Sounder
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7231
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 2:39 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by Sounder » Sun Apr 13, 2008 8:52 pm

Pinkpadigal wrote:Unbelievable. ](*,)



Yup, and in totally poor form... but completely legal. :dontknow:
GUE Seattle - The official GUE Affiliate in the Northwest!

User avatar
BASSMAN
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5800
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:55 am

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by BASSMAN » Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:56 pm

Once I heard that when divers were in the water a group of fishermen in a boat saw the bubbles and started casting in to the bubbles thinking there must be something to catch there.
shore support yelled and waved them off, I think.
Can you imagine what that would be like for either individual involved?

Fisherman: Hey Joe! Hold my beer, I got a huge one here! :partyman: :smt065

Diver: Oh look at that Vermillion rock fish, I think I'll take a pictu...What the?!!!!! :smt119 :dontknow: :angryfire:
:toimonster: :violent1:
Hi, my name is Keith, and I'm a Dive Addict! :supz:

User avatar
rcontrera
Aquaphile
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:14 pm

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by rcontrera » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:06 pm

While many out there are just plain butt heads, I am sure that half of the problems with boaters is just plain ignorance of what divers do.

Way back when wife had her dive shop in Port Orchard, she would give presentations to the local boating groups letting them know what the dive flag looked like and what it meant. Plus, she would shop pretty pictures of what was beneath their boats at the marina ... trash bags, fishing line, beer cans, bottles, etc. Of course, it was meant to promote diving and get new students, but during the time the store was open, boating problems DRASTICALLY decreased and the harbor master said that trash in the marina decreased as well.

Maybe similar presentations can be done again? In fact, I think it would good idea for the diving community to get together and have a booth at any boat show and do some educating.

Just a thought ( an old one ... but that is all I have anymore)

User avatar
BASSMAN
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5800
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:55 am

Re: Rules for boats???

Post by BASSMAN » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:32 pm

rcontrera wrote:While many out there are just plain butt heads, I am sure that half of the problems with boaters is just plain ignorance of what divers do.
I think it would good idea for the diving community to get together and have a booth at any boat show and do some educating.

=D> =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>
Hi, my name is Keith, and I'm a Dive Addict! :supz:

Post Reply