Am I a power vessel....?

davel

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I've just been checking a point in the ColRegs when I happened to re-read Rule 3 (the definitions bit). Para 3 reads:

(c) The term 'sailing vessel' means any vessel under sail provided that propelling machinery, if fitted, is not being used.

Now that definition doesn't make it clear what the propelling machinery could be being used for. In other words if I'm using my propelling machinery (engine) to charge my batteries or run ther fridge, am I no longer a "sailing" vessel under the definition above. Alternatively does the engine only become propelling machinery once the gearbox and prop is engaged?

Any bar-room lawyers out there with an opinion? Any marine lawyers with an answer?
 

tony_brighton

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When the question was asked of my yachtmaster instructor at night school, he said the agreed (RYA) interpretation was that if the engine was running then it was deemed that you were under power as far as the col regs went because you had the ability (or apparent ability) to manouevre as a motor vessel.

Of course for the avoidance of doubt you would be flying your inverted black cone in the fore-most part of the rigging during the day or the correct lights at night wouldn't you....
 
G

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If you're running the engine you're a power vessel, it doesn't matter whether it's in gear or out, you are still "using" propelling machinery.

It'd be great for ships of course if they could suddenly stop being power drivel vessels just by taking their engines out of gear and coasting along! It'd be fun trying to guess for the purposes of the colregs whether a ship had its engine in gear or not. But the rules don't work like that.
 

davel

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This is where it gets interesting. The "display a cone" regulation actually states:
(e) A vessel proceeding under sail when also being propelled by machinery shall exhibit forward where it can best be seen a conical shape, apex downwards.

Now if I'm proceeding under sail with my engine running in neutral I'm not "also being propelled by machinery" so I don't have to display a cone. But am I a power vessel?

Mine's a pint by the way.
 

davel

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If a ship puts its engine in neutral, that doesn't make it a sailing vessel since, whilst it may not being propelled by machinery, it's certainly not being propelled by sail.

Gin and Tonic please.
 
G

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I didn't say it would become a sailing vessel. What I was getting at was that it wouldn't cease to be a power driven vessel.

Luckily we don't have to worry our heads about what the ship might be if it weren't a power driven vessel because it is a power driven vessel.
 

Bergman

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I beg to differ

The propelling machinery is the combination of engine AND propellor (or water jet or paddles)

Therefore running an engine just to charge the batteries does not make you a power vessel. If this were the case running a generator would make you a power vessel.

In the case of a ship going into neutral it becomes a vessel not under command and should hoist the appropriate signals.

The bill is in the post.
 

davel

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But on a sailing vessel driven by sail, is an engine run in neutral "propelling machinery that is in use". The engine can be reasonably interpreted as only a part of the propelling machinery, but it can't actually propel until the gearbox/prop is engaged. Isn't that really the point of Rule 25(e) - the "cone" rule?
 

Laurence

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Re: Am I a power vessel....?The Definitive Answer

Take a look at www.sailingindepth.com in an article called The Collision Regulations Explained (Part2) and you will see teh interpretation of the Rule in questions by an Extra Master Mariner
 
G

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I presume you're arguing that for the sake of being controversial not as a serious argument, but just in case:

The rule doesn't say that you have to be using every bit of the propelling machinery, it doesn't matter whether the propeller is turning. In any case a ship's engine is "propelling machinery" within the normal meaning of those words, so as a matter of law it is in use if it is running, whether or not it is turning the propellor.

A generator is not propelling machinery unless it is designed and installed so that it is also capable of propelling the ship (without major surgery!).
 
G

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Re: Am I a power vessel....?The Definitive Answer

So he says it's a "moot point".

Well, sorry, the guy's not a judge or a lawyer and there's nothing definitive about his answer!
 

Boatman

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Great debate............................I am still not sure of the correct answer, but I feel that when one has two methods of propulsion and one is not propelling then you must be the other.
 

davel

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Re: Am I a power vessel....?The Definitive Answer

Thanks for the reference to what looks like an excellent site - I've bookmarked it for future use.

However on the particular point under discussion, it's not really conclusive. I interpret what it says as "if your engine is in neutral it might be construed that you intend to use it for proulsion in an emergency so it's advisable to show the motor sailing signals" - this is sensible advice but presumably not a definitive statement in the event of a collision.
It also says that the use of an engine simply to charge batteries is "a moot point".

This is a good contribution but I think the debate is still open.

Oh by the way, it's your round !
 
G

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Re: Clear as a bell

'fraid not. If as you say propelling "propelling machinery = machinery that is propelling" then the phrase in the regulations "provided that propelling machinery, if fitted, is not being used" would not logically make sense.

ie. it does not cease to be "propelling machinery" when it is not being used. And if the machinery is running, whether or not in gear, it is "being used".

QED The rule is pretty clear, I don't understand why people have a problem with it.

Strictly speaking you don't have to fly a cone since you're not being propelled by machinery. That doesn't stop you being a power driven vessel.
 

jollyjacktar

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How about a rowing boat?

Where does a dinghy fit in? When rowing [under power], not rowing what then??? Oars in water...under power, oars out of water, vessel not powered. When too tired to row ????
 
G

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Too tired to row

Vessel not under command obviously.

if we examine what the rules are called and combine that with the wording of the rules, the meaning becomes quite clear.
Colregs = Collision Regulations
or
The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.

The regulations are provided primarily for the purpose of providing guidelines as how to avoid collisions. To this extent, if I'm under sail, but my engines are running, and I come across a situation with a colision risk, then I have the capability of very simply kicking into gear to avoid the collision, therefore I am a power driven vessel because I COULD be.

Whilst the colregs CAN be used as evidence in court, their real purpose is to help us avoid hitting each other.
 
G

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Re: Clear as a bell

Surely the definition of being a powered vessel is that you do not p*ss off other motor boats. As soon as you cut across their bows, by definition, you must be a sailboat...
 

davel

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Re: Clear as a bell

Nice one Graham ! Made me chuckle anyway.

There's lots of comments above from people who think they know what they're talking about (including me). Is there anyone out there who's qualified to give an interpretation?
 
G

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Re: Clear as a bell

I'm a lawyer, if that helps.

Not a marine lawyer, but fairly used to construing regulations!
 
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