Handbook of the Nautical Rules of the Road by Llana & Wisneskey

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Rule 30 -- Anchored Vessels and Vessels Aground


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:

(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball;

(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in subparagraph (i), an all-round white light.

(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.

(c) A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters and more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.

(a) A vessel at anchor shall exhibit where it can best be seen:

(i) in the fore part, an all-round white light or one ball; and

(ii) at or near the stern and at a lower level than the light prescribed in subparagraph (i), an all-round white light.

(b) A vessel of less than 50 meters in length may exhibit an all-round white light where it can best be seen instead of the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) of this Rule.

(c) A vessel at anchor may, and a vessel of 100 meters or more in length shall, also use the available working or equivalent lights to illuminate her decks.

 

The basic lighting requirements for anchoring are given in the first three paragraphs: two white lights for vessels 50 meters or more in length; one white light for vessels less than 50 meters long; and deck lights for vessels 100 meters or more in length. Smaller vessels may at their option show the extra lights required for larger vessels. These requirements are the same for the International and Inland Rules.

A vessel is anchored when its anchor touches bottom; a vessel is no longer anchored when the anchor is lifted off the bottom. A vessel dragging it anchor is underway and therefore not "anchored." A vessel fastened to its mooring is "at anchor."


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(d) A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule and in addition, where they can best be seen:

(i) two all-round red lights in a vertical line;

(ii) three balls in a vertical line.

(d) A vessel aground shall exhibit the lights prescribed in paragraph (a) or (b) of this Rule and in addition, if practicable, where they can best be seen:

(i) two all-round red lights in a vertical line; and

(ii) three balls in a vertical line.

 

Paragraph (d) tells you what lights to display when you run aground. You are not considered to be "aground" for purposes of the navigation rules if you have intentionally moved your vessel against the bottom or bank of a river or other body of water to hold your position. If you have to keep your engines engaged to maintain your position, or if you are free to move away from your holding position at any time, then you are not considered to be "aground." You would be underway but not making way through the water.

The Inland and International versions of paragraph (d) vary slightly. Both require that vessels aground display the navigation lights and shapes for a vessel at anchor. The International version also requires the display of two all-round red lights (or three balls), whereas the Inland version requires the display of these extra lights and shapes only "if practicable."


INTERNATIONAL

INLAND

(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor, not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage, or where others vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shape prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule.

(f) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length, when aground, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (d)(i) and (ii) of this Rule.

(e) A vessel of less than 7 meters in length, when at anchor, not in or near a narrow channel, fairway or anchorage, or where others vessels normally navigate, shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shape prescribed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Rule.

(f) A vessel of less than 12 meters in length when aground shall not be required to exhibit the lights or shapes prescribed in subparagraphs (d)(i) and (ii) of this Rule.

 

Paragraphs (e) and (f) excuse small vessels from the display of anchor lights and shapes under certain circumstances, and from the display of aground lights and shapes.


INLAND

(g) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length, when at anchor in a special anchorage area designated by the Secretary, shall not be required to exhibit the anchor lights and shapes required by this Rule.

 

Inland Rule 30 alone contains a paragraph (g). This provision allows small vessels to anchor without displaying lights if they are in a "special anchorage area." These special areas are listed in Title 33 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110, and can also be found in the Coast Pilot.

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Rule 31