How to Maneuver Around a Dredge

A couple of good friends of mine are currently underway on a month-long journey bringing their 54′  Trawler “Promise Promise” from West Palm Beach Florida to Camden Maine. Recently they ventured upon a dredge working in the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). They were contacted by the dredge on the VHF radio with instructions on passing.

Could they have correctly decided on which side to pass if they were not contacted by the dredge?

For those of you who don’t know the answer to the above question and as a reminder to those who do, I offer the following from the Rules of the Road:

A vessel involved in dredging or underwater construction that has an obstruction on one side (such as pipe lines, suction lines or cutter arm) will warn approaching vessels away from that side by displaying two black balls during the day, one over the other.  At night, the vessel will show two all around red lights in a vertical line.

One the opposite side, if there is no obstruction, the dredge would carry two diamond shapes during the day, one over the other.  (“Diamonds are a boaters best friend”) At night, two all around green lights in a vertical line as an indication that this is the safe side to pass.

In addition, on the mast, the dredge would display the “restricted in the ability to manuever” indicators. That would be a black ball over which a diamond shape is displayed over which another black ball is displayed. At night this would be represented by 3 all around lights in a vertical line. The light configuration would be red over white over red.

See if you can spot the day shapes that are being displayed on the dredge below. With the exception of the “restricted in the ability to manuever” day shapes, with all the rigging it is difficult to see the 2 diamonds and the 2 balls.


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Filed under Boat Operation, Boating Safety

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