The owner, master, or person in charge of each vessel underway shall ensure that:
(a) The wheelhouse is constantly manned by persons who:
(1) Direct and control the movement of the vessel; and
(2) Fix the vessel's position;
(b) Each person performing a duty described in paragraph (a) of this section is competent to perform that duty;
(c) The position of the vessel at each fix is plotted on a chart of the area and the person directing the movement of the vessel is informed of the vessel's position;
(d) Electronic and other navigational equipment, external fixed aids to navigation, geographic reference points, and hydrographic contours are used when fixing the vessel's position;
(e) Buoys alone are not used to fix the vessel's position;
Buoys are aids to navigation placed in approximate positions to alert the mariner to hazards to navigation or to indicate the orientation of a channel. Buoys may not maintain an exact position because strong or varying currents, heavy seas, ice, and collisions with vessels can move or sink them or set them adrift. Although buoys may corroborate a position fixed by other means, buoys cannot be used to fix a position: however, if no other aids are available, buoys alone may be used to establish an estimated position.
(f) The danger of each closing visual or each closing radar contact is evaluated and the person directing the movement of the vessel knows the evaluation;
(g) Rudder orders are executed as given;
(h) Engine speed and direction orders are executed as given;
(i) Magnetic variation and deviation and gyrocompass errors are known and correctly applied by the person directing the movement of the vessel;
(j) A person whom he has determined is competent to steer the vessel is in the wheelhouse at all times; 1
1 See also 46 U.S.C. 8702(d), which requires an able seaman at the wheel on U.S. vessels of 100 gross tons or more in narrow or crowded waters during low visibility.
(k) If a pilot other than a member of the vessel's crew is employed, the pilot is informed of the draft, maneuvering characteristics, and peculiarities of the vessel and of any abnormal circumstances on the vessel that may affect its safe navigation.
(l) Current velocity and direction for the area to be transited are known by the person directing the movement of the vessel;
(m) Predicted set and drift are known by the person directing movement of the vessel;
(n) Tidal state for the area to be transited is known by the person directing movement of the vessel;
(o) The vessel's anchors are ready for letting go;
(p) The person directing the movement of the vessel sets the vessel's speed with consideration for:
(1) The prevailing visibility and weather conditions;
(2) The proximity of the vessel to fixed shore and marine structures;
(3) The tendency of the vessel underway to squat and suffer impairment of maneuverability when there is small underkeel clearance;
(4) The comparative proportions of the vessel and the channel;
(5) The density of marine traffic;
(6) The damage that might be caused by the vessel's wake;
(7) The strength and direction of the current; and
(8) Any local vessel speed limit;
(q) The tests required by § 164.25 are made and recorded in the vessel's log; and
(r) The equipment required by this part is maintained in operable condition.
(s) Upon entering U.S. waters, the steering wheel or lever on the navigating bridge is operated to determine if the steering equipment is operating properly under manual control, unless the vessel has been steered under manual control from the navigating bridge within the preceding 2 hours, except when operating on the Great Lakes and their connecting and tributary waters.
(t) At least two of the steering-gear power units on the vessel are in operation when such units are capable of simultaneous operation, except when the vessel is sailing on the Great Lakes and their connecting and tributary waters, and except as required by paragraph (u) of this section.
(u) On each passenger vessel meeting the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1960 (SOLAS 60) and on each cargo vessel meeting the requirements of SOLAS 74 as amended in 1981, the number of steering-gear power units necessary to move the rudder from 35° on either side to 30° on the other in not more than 28 seconds must be in simultaneous operation.
[CGD 74-77, 42 FR 5956, Jan. 31, 1977, as amended by CGD 83-004, 49 FR 43466, Oct. 29, 1984; CGD 91-203, 58 FR 27633, May 10, 1993; CGD 83-043, 60 FR 24771, May 10, 1995]
Title 33 published on 2014-07-01
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