United States Power Squadrons

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United States Power Squadrons. Chapter 5 Rules of the Road. Learning Objectives. This chapter based on: The one Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie Wing - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of United States Power Squadrons

  • *United States Power SquadronsChapter 5 Rules of the Road

  • *Learning ObjectivesThis chapter based on:The one Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road by Charlie WingIt is intended to serve as a reference and acquaint you with boating rules and as the primer for the more extensive study of Navigation Rules.

  • *Wings BookPart 1 What every boater needs to knowPart 2 rules for reference

  • *Preview of Rules of the RoadThree topics:

    Navigation Rules

    Navigation Lights

    Sound Signals

  • *The Rules Make Sense

    Rules intended to prevent collisions at sea

    Proscribe responsibilities for each vessel

    Generally, place the burden on the more maneuverable vessel

  • *Two Sets of RulesInternational Regulations for Preventing Collision at Sea (COLREGS)

    Inland Rules to Navigation (U.S.)

    Very little difference between the twoCOLREGS apply outside Demarcation LineBoth are included in Wings bookAdded Inland Rule language is italicized

  • *ApplicationInternational rules (COLREGS) apply:to all vessels upon the high seas and all waters connected to the high seas and navigable by seagoing vessels.

    US Inland rules apply:on the Great lakes, Western Rivers, waterways, and waters inside the Demarcation Line

  • *ResponsibilityEveryone having to do with the vessel operations is responsible for: rule compliance using caution good sense good seamanship immediate danger avoidance

  • *DefinitionsPower Driven Vessel: any watercraft usable to transport on water including seaplanePower-driven Vessel: propelled in whole or in part by machinery.Sailing Vessel: propelled by sail alone.Seaplane: aircraft which can maneuver on water.Vessel not under command (NUC): Vessel unable to maneuver due to some exceptional circumstances

  • *Definitions cont.Vessel Engaged in Fishing: vessel fishing with equipment that restricts maneuverability (nets, trawls, etc.)Vessel Constrained by Draft: a power driven vessel which, because of her draft in relations to the depth and width of navigable water, is severely restricted in ability to deviate from the course she is following (COLREGS only).Vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver: vessel which, due to her nature of her work, cannot maneuver easily.

  • *Definitions cont.Underway: vessel not anchored, grounded, or otherwise attached to shore. Includes vessels dead in water and not making way.In sight: seen with the eyes.Restricted Visibility: any atmospheric condition reducing visibility.Stand-on vessel: vessel obligated to maintain course & speed.Give-way vessel: vessel obligated to keep out of way of other.

  • *Pecking Order

  • *Look-OutEvery vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight, hearing and installed electronic equipment.

    Skipper appoints a separate look-out if there is more than one person aboard.

  • *Safe SpeedRequires every vessel proceed at a safe speed to avoid collisions under existing conditions and circumstancesVisibility and weatherBackground lightsTrafficManeuverabilityCurrentNavigation hazardsLimitations

  • *Risk of Collision (p16 Wing)converging on a constant relative bearingresults in a collisionremember skippers must avoid collision

  • *Avoiding CollisionRules designed to avoid collisionsDefine actions of 2 boats encountering each otherDepends upon Their relative positionsThe type of boats

  • *Relative PositionOvertakingMeetingCrossing

  • *Overtaking (p 24 Wing)Overtaking vesselComes from within 135 arc of sternYou Stand-onThey Give-Way

    Both boats use sound or VHF signals agree to passageThe overtaking boat is burdened to safely steer clear

  • *Meeting Head-on (Power)Power-driven vessels meeting head-on Both are Give-Way vesselsBoth should alter course to starboard and pass port-to-portSound or VHF to signal agreement on which sideException: Great Lakes and Western RiversDownbound have right-of-way over upbound boats

  • *Power Vessels CrossingBoat from starboard You Give-Way

    Boat from portYou Stand-on

    Exception: Great Lakes, Western RiversCrossing vessels must Give-Way to both upbound and downbound vessels

  • *Avoid Collision (p 19 Wing)521

  • *SailboatsNot under Power

    Opposite TacksPort Tack: Give-WaySame TackWindward: Give-WayDownwindPort Tack: Give-Way

    If uncertainGive-Way

  • *Pecking Order - revisitedDifferent vessel typesThe pecking order determines which vessel is give-wayAny vessel down the list is the give-way vesselThe pecking order is determined by the relative maneuverability of the two vesselsThe give-way vessel must keep out of the way of the other vessel

  • *Meeting Head on

  • *Vessels CrossingTwo power vessels approach, the one on the port sideof the other is the GIVE-WAY vessel.Power vessel GIVES WAY to sailing vessel

  • *Fog SituationIn or near restricted visibilitySlow to safe speedPost a lookoutSound fog signals

  • *Narrow ChannelLimited room to maneuverStay out of narrow channels and fairways vessel less than 20m shall not impede passage of vessel which can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway. In narrow channel:Stay on the starboard sideDo not cross if interfering with a confined vesselDo not anchor in a channelSound a prolonged blast approaching a bend or obstruction

  • *Traffic SeparationTraffic separation schemes (TSS)Inbound and outbound separated traffic lanesone-way lanes for large shipsMagenta color on chartsInland Rules: Vessel traffic services

  • *Communications SoundsWhen maneuvering action is required to avoid collision vessels must use sound signals to communicate their intentionsUse VHF Marine channel 13Restricted visibility signals

  • *Maneuvering: In Sight -Signals

    COLREGs INLANDSignal Intended actionProposed actionAnswer Meeting / CrossingNone requiredRespond: Same signal (

  • *Maneuvering: In Sight-Signals

    * COLREGS/INLAND

    Meeting/Crossing I am/proposing* going to:StarboardPortAstern Warning (disagree) Approaching Bend or departing dock (inland)

  • *OvertakingNarrow ChannelAgreement required before action I intend/propose* overtaking you on your:

    * COLREGS/INLAND

    COLREGSINLANDStarboardPortI agree to be overtakenRespond same signal

  • *Restricted Visibility - SoundsEVERY TWO MINUTES

    Power Making way StoppedManned towNUC, Restricted Maneuverincluding: Sail, fishing, restricted draftAnchoredAground (

  • *Vessels Overtaking2 BlastsLeave the stand-on vessel on your starboard2 BlastsLeave the stand-on vessel on your starboard1 BlastLeave the stand-on vessel on your port side1 BlastLeave the stand-on vessel on your port side

  • *Lights - Geometry

  • *Light PatternsPowerSailOption
  • *Light Visibility

  • *Power Driven Vessels Under Way

  • *Vessels Towing and Pushing

  • *Sailing Vessels Underway and Vessels Under Oars

  • *Fishing Vessels

  • *Vessels Not Under Command or Restricted in Their Ability to Maneuver

  • *Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground

  • *VHF Radio Radiotelephone ActQuestions regarding vessel intentions call on CH13; no reply use CH16Security Broadcast Systems monitor CH13Intl Rules do not allow use of VHF radio in lieu of sound signals

  • *Signals to Attract AttentionAny vessel may make light or sound signals that can not be mistaken to attract attention of another vesselNote: Inland Rules allow use of strobes

  • *Distress SignalsGun or explosive signalContinuous sound deviceRed star rockets or shellsMorse Code: SOSRadio: MAYDAYSignal Flagonboard flamesOrange smokeEPIRB or transponderHigh intensity white flashing light (Inland Rules)

  • *

    Chapter 5

  • *Supplemental slides for your use

  • *Federal Navigation RegulationsCOLREGS (International Navigation Rules) 33 CFR 80 - COLREGS Demarcation Lines 33 CFR 81 - 72 COLREGS: Implementing Rules 33 CFR 82 - 72 COLREGS: Interpretive Rules

    Inland Navigation Rules 33 CFR 84 - Annex I: Positioning and technical details of lights and shapes 33 CFR 85 - Annex II: Additional signals for fishing vessels fishing in close proximity 33 CFR 86 - Annex III: Technical details of sound signal appliances 33 CFR 87 - Annex IV: Distress Signals 33 CFR 88 - Annex V: Pilot Rules 33 CFR 90 - Inland Navigation Rules: Interpretive Rules

    Regattas and Marine Parades 33 CFR 100 - Safety of Life on Navigable Waters. Provides effective control over regattas and marine parades conducted on the navigable waters of the United States so as to insure safety of life in the regatta or marine parade area.

  • *Maneuvering & Warning SignalsSignal Meaning Number of Blasts

    I intend to alter course to starboard 1 Short Blast And pass you on my Port Side (1-2 Seconds)

    I intend to turn to Port and pass youon my Starboard Side2 Short BlastsMy engines are running astern3 Short BlastsI am in reverse and backing

    There is danger in what youIntend to do. I do not agree with your intentions. 5 or more Short BlastsIm sounding the danger Signal.

    I am departing my berth or mooring1 Prolonged Blast I am approaching a channel bend (4-6 Seconds)or intervening obstruction

  • *Recognizing Vessels In Special CircumstancesVessels Engaged In Diving are restricted in ability to maneuver. If divers are free swimming, the vessel is not restricted.

    >>

  • *Meeting Head onNeither vessel has right of way. Both vessels must sound one blast and turn to starboard passing port to port

    *This chapter contains essential information that you must understand. These rules are designed to avoid collisions at sea. They depend upon both parties understanding and following these rules; otherwise they may turn toward a collision rather than away from one.*This chapter is based around the supplemental text provided to you with this course. It is an excellent book which explains the rules in plain language. Understanding the principles behind the rules is important because that is what you will remember rather than the exact text of the rules at the very time that you need them the most.*We will concentrate on Part I of Wings book entitled What Every Boater Needs to Know. This is the first 42 pages in the book. You should thoroughly understand this part. There are color plates on pages 34-40 with lots of details on various light patterns for different types of boats. We will highlight the principle patterns in the classroom presentation and indicate those patterns that you most need to know. Should you have interest in sitting for a Coast Guard Licensing exam, you will need to understand all of the rules in detail. Their numbers are not important, but their content is, and you will need to understand all of the light patterns in the color plates because you will be asked to interpret light patterns on that test. For our course, that level of detail is not required. Part 2 of the book provides the text of each rule under what is says and explains it under what it means. This part is for your reference Part 1 explains the highlights and the principles behind the rules which is all we are asking in this course.*We will cover three fundamental topics: rules, lights, and sounds.*As earlier indicated, the whole purpose of the rules is to avoid collisions at sea. They proscribe responsibilities for each vessel. For simplicity, the rules address only two vessels and the potential for collision between those two vessels. Generally, the rules place the burden on the more maneuverable of the two vessels. The subject of maneuverability is situational. For example a powerboat with a broken engine is less maneuverable than a sailboat even though it would be the burdened vessel if the engine were operating properly.*Officially, there are two sets of rules. The good news is they are almost identical. We will highlight those few instances where there is a difference. At issue is the regulatory authority which depends upon where you are located. The international rules (called COLREGS) apply at sea, while U.S. inland rules apply within the boundary described by the Demarcation Line which appears on NOAA charts typically at the mouth of inlets or harbors. In Wings book, Part 2 the exact language is provided for both with the added inland requirements italicized.*Rule 1 here is an example of the COLREGS Demarcation LINE as shown on a chart. The line is equi-spaced magenta dashes and open spaces and is indicated by a legend as shown. The COLREGs apply outside of this line.*Rule 2 We start with the fundamental rule of responsibility. It requires everyone on board who has anything to do with the operation of the vessel (not just the skipper) to follow the rules. However, and this is very important the rules state that you must exercise caution, good sense, and good seamanship. This means that you must do everything to avoid a collision including departing from the rules if that becomes necessary.*Rule 3 here are some key definitions the first two slides describe different types of vessels or vessel conditions as will be categorized shortly in the Pecking Order. The third slide defines operating conditions.*Any boat is underway if it is not attached to shore or the bottom, or if it is dead in the water. Restricted visibility is any atmospheric impairment of visibility and kicks in some additional rules.There is not the absolute Right of Way on the water that you have on land. Instead, the principle of Stand-on and Give-Way is used.This is an essential concept which you MUST understand and follow. Never assume you have a right of way!If you are the Stand-on vessel you are obligated to maintain your present course and speed for the duration of the encounter with another vessel unless you need to exercise good judgment to avoid a collision.If you are the Give-Way vessel, you must keep out of the way of the other vessel. once you are defined as the Give-Way vessel by any situation, you retain that role until the encounter with the other vessel is over.*Rule 18 Pecking Order is an important concept. It says that you must Give-Way to any vessel that is higher on the list than you you will give way under any condition of encounter with that vessel. For example, a sailboat must give way to a boat engaged in fishing, or a vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver, but it is the Stand-on vessel when encountering a power-driven boat that does not fit into the higher pecking order categories. This means a sailboat will give way to a large tanker operating in a narrow channel. It also means that a sailboat operating under power is a power-driven vessel.

    The easiest way to remember the pecking order is to look at from the viewpoint of maneuverability not just the type of boat, but the situation.*Rule 5 You are required to have a lookout at all times when the boat is underway. In the event that you are alone on the boat, you are the lookout as well as skipper, helmsman, etc. Lookout involves all techniques of sensing the environment. You should use as many as you can. Remember what the rules are all about avoiding collision so, you are looking for other boats or objects that could result in a collsion.*Rule 6 You must operate at all times at a safe speed. Safe speed is one that will enable you to avoid a collision under the prevailing conditions such as visibility, traffic, sea conditions, hazards, etc.*Rule 7 Here is a simple rule of thumb. Any object whose relative bearing (relative direction from you) remains the same while you are moving represents a risk of collision. For example, look out at another boat you see on the water and fix its relative direction using an object on your boat such as the windscreen. If that position stays in the same place while you are moving, you will strike each other as shown in the graphic.*The rules are designed to avoid collisions. They define the actions of each of 2 vessels encountering each other. The status of each vessel depends upon their relative positions and the types of boats involved (pecking order).*There are three main categories of encounters as they relate to relative position Overtaking coming from behind the other vessel and seeking to passMeeting as in a head on encounterCrossing as any other situationThere are specific definitions for each which we will describe next*Rule 13 You are considering to be overtaking if you approach the other vessel from anywhere within a 135 degree arc sternward of that vessel. As you will soon see, that is the same arc covered by a white light on that boat which can be seen at night.If you are overtaking another vessel, you are the Give-Way vessel and the other boat is the Stand-on vessel no matter what types of boats are involved.The other vessel is obligated to maintain course and speed while you are obligated to keep out if her way until you are safely past the other boat. As you will learn shortly, there are sound signals that you use to express your intentions and an appropriate response or acknowledgement from the overtaken vessel.*Rule 14 two powerboats meeting head on neither is the stand-on vessel both must give-way. The preferred action is for each to turn to starboard so they pass each other on their port sides. The rules also provide for signals to be exchanged between the two boats to indicate their actions. A sound signal of on short blast indicates that I will turn to starboard. It should be responded with the same signal to accept that action. Alternatively, this can be communicated on VHF radio. Usually, boats are not approaching directly head-on and as long as it is obvious which path each boat is taking, the signals are not generally given. More on signaling will be presented later in this chapter.

    An exception to this rule is for downbound vessels on the Great Lakes and Western Rivers. The downbound boat has less control since it is moving with the current, so it has an actual right of way over the upbound vessel which must stay clear.*Rule 15 Two powerboats crossing have specific rules. Lets assume you are on the boat shown in 3D. If the other boat is crossing from your starboard, it becomes the stand-on vessel while you are required to give way. Turn to starboard and go around behind the other boat and then resume your course.

    If the other boat is crossing from your port, it becomes the give-way vessel and must maneuver around you.

    Crossing is defined as any boat coming from any direction up to 112.5 degrees on either side of dead ahead. As you will see later, your running lights are oriented to be a signal to support these crossing rules.*Rule 8 This is a very busy and important slide. Lets go through it in some detail. It illustrates the Rule of Responsibility.First, in Zone 1, you and the other boat are not near each other.In Zone 2, you can see the other boat, it is to your port and thus is the give-way vessel you should be alert to the potential risk, but maintain course and speed as required.In Zone 3, you have some doubt about the actions of the other boat (does he not know the rules?). Sound your horn or radio to alert the other boater. You may choose to take evasive action by departing from the rules. DO NOT turn to port (why? Suppose the other boater wakes up and turns to starboard as he should you will collide). Instead, turn to starboard. As a general rule, you should always turn to starboard.In Zone 4, assuming you continued to maintain course and speed up to here - you are in immediate risk of a collision Take action immediately. The preferred action is to turn to starboard, but you may turn to port if you believe that is the way you can avoid a collision.

    REMEMBER when it doubt, turn to starboard.*Rule 12 two sailboats encountering one-another have different rules.If you meet, but each has the wind on a different side, the one with the wind from port (this is called a port tack) is the give-way vessel. You should turn to starboard, but you can go to port after properly signaling your intention.If you meet and both have the wind on the same side (same tack), the upwind boat is the give-way vessel. This is because the upwind vessel has clean air and is presumed to have better maneuverability.If you both are sailing with wind astern, the one with the sail set to starboard (as in a port tack) is the give-way vessel.If you encounter another sailboat and you cannot ascertain which tack she is on, you should give-way as a precaution.*Rule 18 - lets go back to pecking order. We just talked about two powerboats and two sailboats. What happens if the two boats are different?Now the pecking order takes over. If the other boat is higher on the pecking order, you must give-way. If it is lower, it must give-way.Remember, the give way boat must keep out of the way of the other boat.The pecking order is established by the relative maneuverability of the two boats in the current circumstances. For example, a small sailboat must yield to a larger commercial ship constrained in a channel. A kayak, may need to give way to a small powerboat operating in a narrow channel, but in open water the powerboat may be the more maneuverable boat.When in doubt keep out of the way of the other boat. *Here is an example of power meeting sail. In this case the sailboat is the stand-on vessel and the powerboat must give way.Suppose the sailboat is running its auxiliary engine it is now a powerboat and must observe the powerboat rules even if it is flying a sail.*Heres an example of a powerboat meeting a crossing sailboat coming from its port direction. Unlike the situation if it were a powerboat, in this case the sailboat (not under power) is the stand-on vessel and the powerboat must give-way.*Rule 19 - Rule of thumb: Adjust speed so you can easily stop within distance of visibility. If all boats do that and post a lookout, presumably they will not collide.Fog causes a loss of sense of direction sound direction perception can be distorted use your instruments.*Rule 9 a narrow channel restricts the movement of larger vessels. There is limited room to maneuver. Assuming your boat has less draft, stay out of the deeper channel. If your boat is under 20m (67 feet) you must not impede the passage of a larger craft.Here are the rules: stay to the starboard sideDont cross the channel if that interferes with a confined vesselNEVER anchor in the channelSound a prolonged blast if you are in a blind situation such as rounding a bend.*Rule 10 In commercial channels, often traffic separation schemes are employed. These TSSs are shown on the chart. They define specific traffic lanes including one-way lanes for large ships. They are shown in magenta on charts. Your actions should mirror those you would take in a narrow channel when nearing one of these lanes. If you must cross, do so at right angles as quickly as you can after clearly establishing that the lane is free of traffic.*Rules 32-37 - You are required to carry sound producing equipment. These are especially important in potential collision situations. The most common sound producing device is a compressed gas-powered sound, many boats carry electrically powered horns and this is preferred since the compressed gas cans can run out. The back-up is a whistle, but it does not produce the same amount of sound. A bell is a more traditional sound producing device and is no longer required on boats under 20m.

    The VHF radio can be used in lieu of sounds for communicating intentions, especially with larger ships. They are required to monitor VHF Channel 13 which is used for traffic communication. They would appreciate a call on Ch 13 telling them your intentions it lowers their stress level if they know what you are going to do.*Lets talk about the maneuvering signals for vessels in sight of one another. This slide explains the subtle differences between the COLREGs and the INLAND rules..When you signal (either by sound or radio) you are indicating your intended action under the COLREGs or your proposed action under Inland rules.As to an answer, under COLREGs none is required for meeting or crossing unless you need to signal danger, but you must acknowledge the overtaking action signalUnder Inland rules you need to respond with the same signal to indicate agreement with the proposed action, or a warning if you disagree. Well cover the signals next.*The signals are the same for COLREGs and Inland, but one indicates I am, the other I propose:For going to starboard sound on short blast (1 second)For going to port sound two short blastsFor going astern use three short blastsIf you disagree with any action or see danger, sound five or more short blasts. The other party must cease his action.As previously mentioned, sound a prolonged blast (4-6 seconds) if rounding a bend or if departing a dock (inland rules).*P 31 Wing The signaling rules depart for overtaking in a narrow channel. The Inland rules are the same with one short for passing to starboard and two shorts to port and echoing the signal as the response (or five or more to wave the other party off).The COLREGs add two long blasts prior to the one or two short blasts respectively for signaling starboard and port.In addition, the response under COLREGs is long-short, long-short.*P 32 Wing Under conditions of restricted visibility, you must sound signals the radio is not an alternative. These signals must be sounded every two minutes using an efficient sound-producing device horn is preferred.For powerboats, sound one long blast every two minutes if underway, two if stoppedFor sailboats, sound one long blast followed by two short blasts every two minutes. Same if you are in a fishing boat trailing nets, or a boat with restricted draftIf you are anchored, sound one short, followed by one long, and one short.A manned tow will sound a long followed by three shortsIf aground, sound any efficient sound every two minutes if less than 12 meters in length. Longer boats must sound three bell claps, followed by three seconds of rapid bell, followed by three bell claps every minute.

    *Heres a sample of sound signals for inland rules overtaking. First power overtaking power, second sail overtaking power. Note that the sailboat is the give-way vessel when overtaking*Remember the diagram for the rules, were back to that now with lights.Note that you show a white light in the 135 degree arc sternward.Red is shown to port this is so any powerboat coming from that direction knows to give-way because that is the light they see (see inset)Green is shown to starboard (your danger zone) to indicate to the other boat that they are the stand-on vessel.If approaching from dead ahead, you will see both green and red.If approaching from the stern, you will see a white light.

    Now, these are the basic lights there are more required to indicate the specific type of boat which we will now see.*P 33 Wing the most common light patterns for recreational boaters are the basic powerboat and sailboat.The sailboat (top right) uses the light patterns shown on the previous slide. For boats less than 12m (39 feet) you have the option to use a single masthead tri-color lamp, but as soon as you go under power, your sailboat becomes a powerboat and must comply with the powerboat rules.Powerboats (under 50m) add a white light forward covering the same sector as the red and green combined. The white light is on a mast head, so it is higher than the red and green. Powerboats under 12m have the option to combine the forward masthead and sternlight into a single all-around light.*P 33 wing we wont dwell on this, but the visibility of lights depends upon the size of the boat.*Rule 23 - P 34 Wing note that longer powerboats require an all-around white masthead light in addition to the normal compliment this is to provide you with a sense of the vessel size.

    The plate in your book shows law enforcement under inland rules with an added all-around blue light

    It also shows hovercraft and submarine lighting look these over if you boat in areas where these may be found.*Rule 24, p 35 Towing vessels add more forward facing mast lights depending upon size of the tow boat, and they add a yellow stern light above the white stern light.The tow, has the three basic lights red/green forward and white stern light.If you boat near any shipping lanes, make sure you familiarize yourself with these lights.Tows present a major risk to boaters any towed barge at any distance behind the tow may appear initially to be just an independent boat. An unwary boater may attempt passage between the towing boat and its tow and get caught up on the tow line, only to be caught under the tow.*P 36, Wing As previously presented, sailboats (under sail alone) do not use the forward masthead light but they need to turn it on if the start the auxiliary engine.*Rule 26 p 37 Wing Fishing vessels come in two major categories Trawling and Fishing. The trawling boat is more restricted in its ability to maneuver since it is dragging nets or trawls. It gets a green all-around light above a white all-around masthead light. Other fishing boats use a red over white. In daylight they use dayshapes which are black cones suspended from the mast.*Rule 27, p 38 wing. These vessels are distinguished by red-white-red all-around masthead lights. Note the accompanying dayshapes as black balls and cones*Rule 30, p 40 Wing Anchored vessels use a single white all-around light unless they are over 50m in which case they show a second all around white light to give a sense of the vessel size. Note the dayshapes.*P 42 Wing. - As previously mentioned, maneuvering signals can be relayed via radio. It is a wise idea to monitor Channel 16 and especially Channel 13 for vessel and security information. You should alert commercial ships of your intentions using Ch 13. This option only applies for Inland Rules.*Rule 36 if needed, you can use any combination of lights and sounds to attract attention.*Rule 37 You are required to carry distress signals if in waters of 2mi across from shore to shore or seaward. Actually, its a good idea to carry some distress signals no matter where you boat. The distress signals fall into categories daylight and night and are subdivided as pyrotechnic or not. Pyrotechnics are explosive, so they require caution and can start fires.You are required to carry signals that can be seen at night and these generally are suitable for daylight as well. Good examples are flares (much like the standard roadside flare) that provides a bright reddish light. Be careful, they drip hot slag. Hold them over the boat on the down wind side.Meteors are shot upward and provide bright points of light that fall to earth. Some have parachutes to slow the fall. Some are formed into shotgun-like shells and are fired from a launcher.During the day, an orange flag showing a black square over a black ball is a distress signal. Also waving both arms up and down, or a U.S. flag or ensign flown upside down. Orange smoke also is an effective daytime signal.Offshore, it is wise to carry an EPIRB once activated, they emit radio signals intercepted by satellites and can be used to pinpoint your position. Each EPIRB is registered so the authorities know the identity of the sender. Some use GPS to also transmit coordinates.Of course the radio is an effective means of signaling distress on Ch 16 or using DSC (Digital Selective Calling). Offshore you should have an SSB radio.***Contrary to popular opinion divers do not have to be connected to a vessel for the Alpha Flag to be flown.Frequently the recreational divers flag is abused by boaters by flying it when there are no swimmers or divers in the water and by Permanently painting or adhering it to the boat.