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    Re: A few questions for the pros
    From: Lu Abel
    Date: 2005 Jun 14, 13:54 -0700

    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

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