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    Re: A few questions for the pros
    From: Carl Herzog
    Date: 2005 Jun 14, 17:27 -0400

    Lu is generally correct in his assessment of the obligations of
    commercial vessels in designated shipping lanes.
    I'm not familiar with the Great Lakes, but specific regulations
    surrounding the lanes in Lake Michigan, as well as any VTS that may
    exist there, will be spelled out in the U.S. Coast Pilot, vol. 6, which
    can downloaded from the National Ocean Service:
    Lu Abel wrote:
    > It is my understanding that the obligations of commercial vessels around
    > the use of charted shipping channels are spelled out in the US
    > regulations that establish each specific shipping channel (ie, there is
    > no "universal" rule about commercial vessel behavior with respect to a
    > charted shipping lane).  These regulations specify the tonnage of
    > vessels and also such issues as those you mention (ie, whether a large
    > vessel could sail a rhumb line from NE to SW or whether they would have
    > to sail a "Z" to stay in the shipping lane).
    > Shipping lanes are intended to separate traffic going in different
    > directions (eg, up-lake and down-lake in your example) by providing
    > specific areas for vessels to operate in while going in opposite
    > directions.  With respect to the issue you raise about a commercial
    > vessel being out of the charted lane, most commonly the regulations
    > would specify that it must remain in the charted lane as long as it was
    > transiting in the direction of the lane (and of the proper size to be
    > required to use the lane).  But they may be a bit more lax with a vessel
    > going in the direction of a lane that strays outside of it by getting
    > too far off center.  It's crossing into the lane carrying traffic in the
    > opposite direction that is an absolute no-no.
    > For vessels going crossways to the traffic lane (as in your example) a
    > vessel would not be under an obligation to go off its most reasonable
    > course and be forced to use the lane unless specifically required by
    > regulations for that traffic separation scheme.  Most regulations simply
    > require that a vessel crossing a shipping lane do it in "the most
    > expeditious fashion," ie, cross it at right angles or as close to 90
    > degrees as reasonable and possible.  So a vessel needing to cross a
    > shipping lane (eg, to get to or from a port on the opposite side) would
    > not be allowed to drift diagonally across the other lane but rather make
    > a smart right-angle turn across it.  Very much like what we'd do when
    > driving a car and needing to make a left turn... (for those of us who
    > drive on the right side of the road at least).
    > Lu Abel
    > Bill wrote:
    >> On lake Michigan there are northbound and southbound shipping lanes
    >> on the
    >> charts from the north of the lake to various harbors near the south
    >> west of
    >> the lake.
    >> What are the rules/conventions as to how close to the lanes commercial
    >> traffic should travel?  For example, if a vessel is coming from a
    >> harbor on
    >> the east side of the lake (not charted with shipping lanes) to a marked
    >> harbor on the south west side of the lake, does she sail the rhumb line
    >> between to two harbors if possible, or first go to the shipping lane and
    >> then proceed?
    >> If coming south from the straits so there is no problem using a lane,
    >> how
    >> far off the lane may she wander?
    >> Also, is anyone familiar with the term, "Stand To."   Our boat owner
    >> used it
    >> during radio contact with a freighter when I noted us on a collision
    >> course
    >> (freighter was approx.5 nm off the charted lane).
    >> What he was trying to communicate was he intended to heave to and let
    >> the
    >> freighter stand on, but I am unfamiliar with this term.
    >> Any input from past or present professional/licensed members and others
    >> would be appreciated.
    >> Bill
    Carl Herzog
    Editor, Reed's Nautical Almanacs
    Providence, RI

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