Test Your Knowledge Part 2
In the January, 2018, issue of the Bay & Delta Yachtsman I ran a ten question quiz on USCG Navigation Rules. This issue is available online at http://yachtsmanmagazine.com/articles/lesson_jan2018.html. All the previous quiz questions were selected based on the Inland Navigation Rules most yachtsmen will use virtually every day on the water and should be familiar. As promised, I have selected some of the less frequently encountered rules that may take us a few minutes to remember and follow the required or appropriate action. These are usually, for me anyway, some of the lights, shapes and sound signals that, although are seen less often, you need knowledge of them when that ship is dead ahead and has a fixed bearing. As with Part 1, these questions include only the Inland Navigation Rules and not those that are International Rules only. I will save the quiz for the International Rules for another time.
Time for Part II of the rules of the road questions. Enjoy!
1. You are on watch in fog. Your vessel is proceeding at a safe speed when you hear a fog signal ahead of you. The rules require you to navigate with caution and take which action if danger of collision exists?
a. Reduce to bare steerageway.
b. Stop your engines.
c. Slow to less than 2 knots.
d. Begin a radar plot.
2. In reduced visibility, you hear two prolonged blasts of a ship’s whistle. This signal is sounded by which vessel?
a. A vessel not under command and making way.
b. A power-driven vessel dead in the water.
c. A vessel fishing with nets while at anchor.
d. A sailing vessel on the port tack.
3. You are the stand-on vessel in an overtaking situation. The other vessel is showing an alternately flashing red-and-yellow light. What action should you take?
b. Alter course to assist.
c. Heave to.
4. What lights will a single vessel being towed alongside display?
a. Sidelights and a stern light.
b. A special flashing light, sidelights, and a stern light.
c. Only the outboard sidelight and a stern light.
d. One all-round white light.
5. Which statement is TRUE concerning seaplanes on the water?
a. A seaplane should show the lights for a vessel constrained by her draft.
b. A seaplane must exhibit appropriate lights but need not exhibit shapes.
c. In situations where a risk of collision exists, a seaplane should always give way.
d. A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels.
6. What must a partially submerged object towed by a vessel show during the day?
a. Diamond shape only when the length of the tow exceeds 200 meters in length.
b. Black ball only when the length of the tow exceeds 200 meters in length.
c. Black ball.
d. Diamond shape regardless of length of the tow.
7. Which light configuration may a sailing vessel exhibit while underway?
a. A special flashing light at the bow.
b. A green light over a red light at the masthead
c. A red light over a green light at the masthead
d. Two white lights in a vertical line at the stern
8. A vessel may exhibit lights other than those prescribed by the Rules as long as the additional lights comply with which requirement(s)?
a. Are not the color of either sidelight.
b. Have a lesser range than the prescribed lights.
c. Do not interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out.
d. All of the above.
9. A vessel leaving a dock or berth must sound a prolonged blast of the whistle only if?
a. She is a power-driven vessel.
b. Her engines are going astern.
c. Visibility is restricted.
d. Other vessels can be seen approaching.
10. While underway in fog, you hear a signal of one prolonged blast followed by three short blasts. Which vessel shall sound this fog signal?
a. A vessel at anchor.
b. An unmanned vessel being towed.
c. A manned vessel being towed.
d. A towing vessel.
11. Which statement is TRUE concerning a vessel equipped with operational RADAR?
a. She must use this equipment to obtain early warning of risk of collision.
b. The use of radar excuses a vessel from the need of a look-out.
c. The radar equipment is only required to be used in restricted visibility.
d. The safe speed of such a vessel will likely be greater than that of vessels without radar.
While it may be prudent to slow to 2 knots, or stop your engines, and start a RADAR plot, the correct answer is (a.) Reduce to bare steerageway. Take a look at Rule 19, Conduct of Vessels in Restricted Visibility, part (e) reads, “Except where it has been determined that a risk of collision does not exist, every vessel which hears apparently forward of her beam the fog signal of another vessel, or which cannot avoid a close quarters situation with another vessel forward of her beam, shall reduce her speed to the minimum at which she can be kept on course.”
The correct answer is (b.) A power-driven vessel dead in the water. Sound Signals in Restricted Visibility, Rule 35, part (b) reads “A power driven vessel underway but stopped and making no way through the water shall sound, at intervals of not more than two minutes, two prolonged blasts in succession, with an interval of about 2 seconds between them.” Hold off on the letters! Coast Guard speak sometimes mixes terms. In this case dead in the water really means underway and not making way. Want to confirm that? Check Rule 3(i).
The correct answer is (a.) Stand-on. The key here is that you are the stand-on vessel in an overtaking situation and per rule 17(a)(1), you shall keep your course and speed. The vessel overtaking you with the alternately flashing red and yellow lights is a vessel engaged in government sanctioned public safety. Annex V of the navigation rules, specifically 33CFR88.07, reads in part “Vessels engaged in government sanctioned public safety activities, and commercial vessels performing similar functions, may display an alternately flashing red and yellow light signal… Public safety activities include but are not limited to patrolling marine parades, regattas, or special water celebrations; traffic control; salvage; fire fighting; medical assistance; assisting disabled vessels; and search and rescue.”
(b.) a special flashing light, sidelights, and a stern light. Lights and Shapes, Rule 24, part (f)(ii) reads “a vessel being towed alongside shall exhibit a stern light and at the forward end, sidelights and a special flashing light.” For reference a special flashing light per Rule 21(g) means a yellow light flashing at regular intervals at a frequency of 50 to 70 flashes per minute, has a visibility of not less than 2 miles, and shows an unbroken arc between 180 and 225 degrees.
Not a night of boating on the Bay goes by without seeing this light combination.
This is one of the instances that the Inland and the International rules are different. Take a look at both sets of Rule 24(f).
Ok, so not a lights, sounds or shapes question but I just had to include a question about seaplanes. We do see them occasionally on the Bay, and if you happen to travel to the northwest, seaplanes are ubiquitous and are a common source of transportation between islands. The correct answer is (d.) A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels. Responsibilities between vessels, Rule18, part (e) reads “A seaplane on the water shall, in general, keep well clear of all vessels and avoid impeding their navigation.” A seaplane as required by Rule 31 shall exhibit lights and shapes as closely similar in characteristics and position as is possible to a power driven vessel.
Rule 24, Lights and Shapes of Towing and Pushing vessels, part (g) reads “An inconspicuous, partly submerged vessel or object, or combination of such vessel or objects being towed, shall exhibit (iv) a diamond shape at or near the aftermost extremity of the last vessel or object being towed.” The correct answer is (d.) Diamond shape regardless of length of the tow. These objects have different lighting requirements depending on the length of the tow but according the Inland Rule a dracone of any length must have this day shape. Check the International rule for the difference.
Sailing vessels have several different light combinations as described in Lights and Shapes, Rule 25 Sailing vessels underway and vessels under oars. The correct answer is (c.) A red light over a green light at the masthead as allowed by part (c) “a sailing vessel underway may, in addition to the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this rule, exhibit at or near the top of the mast, where they can best be seen, two all around lights in a vertical line, the upper being red and the lower green.”
How many chose answer (d.) All of the above? The correct answer is (c.) Do not interfere with the keeping of a proper look-out. Lights and Shapes, Rule 20 application, part (b) “the rules concerning lights shall be complied with from sunset to sunrise, and during such times no other lights shall be exhibited, except such lights as cannot be mistaken for the lights specified in these rules or do not impair their visibility or distinctive character, or interfere with the keeping of a proper lookout.
The correct answer is (a.) She is a power-driven vessel. Sound and Light Signals, Rule 34 Maneuvering and Warning Signals part (g) reads “when a power driven vessel is leaving a dock of berth, she shall sound one prolonged blast.” Remember all of these questions are based on the Inland Rules. The International Rules for sound signals can be very different. Take a look at International Rule 34 and the differences will be obvious.
This one is a bit tricky, however, look at Sound and Light Signals, Rule 35 Sound signals in Restricted Visibility, part (e) and we see the answer. “A vessel towed or if more than one vessel is towed the last vessel of the tow, if manned, shall at intervals of not more than 2 minutes sound four blasts in succession, namely, one prolonged followed by three short blasts. When practical, this signal shall be made immediately after the signal made by the towing vessel.” The correct answer is (c.) A manned vessel being towed.
This one will, I am sure, surprise many, (a.) She must use this equipment to obtain early warning of risk of collision. Consult Steering and Sailing Rules, Rule 7 Risk of Collision part (b) “proper use shall be made of RADAR equipment if fitted and operational, including long range scanning to obtain early warning of risk of collision and RADAR plotting or equivalent systematic observation of detected objects.” In other words, if you have RADAR and it works, you need to use it to avoid collision.
How did you do on these more difficult Inland Rules questions? Remember that a U.S. Coast Guard Rules of the road exam is 90% to pass. If you missed more than one, you need to do a bit more studying. For an even greater challenge I am planning a short quiz for just the International rules. There are many differences between Inland and International, some very obvious and some very subtle. Combine that with not using them very often, remembering the rules differences when operating in international waters, such as a day trip to Half Moon Bay or a weekend in Monterey or Bodega Bay, can be difficult.
My cigar is nearing the end and my port glass is empty so it must be time to sign off. Keep the letters and stories coming. My email address is email@example.com. H