New York State Law

Navigation Law

Consolidated Laws of New York's NAV code

Laws of New York

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NYS Navigation Law - NAV

PIOLT RULES

Section Description
41 Pilot rules.
      S 41. Pilot rules. The  following  rules  shall  be  observed on all
  mechanically propelled vessels on the navigable waters of the state  and
  all tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries of Nassau and
  Suffolk  counties: 1.   Signals. The signals for passing, by the blowing
  of the whistle, shall at all times be given by the master as defined  in
  this act.
    (a)  One distinct blast of the whistle shall mean: "I direct my course
  to starboard"; except when two vessels are  approaching  each  other  at
  right  angles  or  obliquely, when it shall signify the intention of the
  vessel which is to starboard of the other to hold course and speed.
    (b) Two distinct blasts of the whistle shall mean: "I direct my course
  to port."
    (c) Three distinct blasts of the whistle shall mean: "My  engines  are
  going at full speed astern."
    (d)  Four distinct blasts of the whistle shall mean: "I am in distress
  and need your assistance."
    (e) Five or more distinct blasts of the whistle shall  constitute  the
  "danger signal."
    (f)  It  shall  be  forbidden to use what has become technically known
  among pilots as "cross-signals"; that is answering one whistle with two,
  or two whistles with one.
    (g) When a vessel is under way in a fog, mist, falling snow, or  heavy
  rain  storm, it shall be the duty of the master to cause a long blast of
  the whistle to be sounded at intervals not exceeding  one  minute.  When
  towing  other vessels the long blast of the whistle shall be followed by
  two short blasts. Such vessel shall proceed at a moderate speed and with
  caution,  having  careful  regard  to  the  existing  circumstances  and
  conditions.
    (h) The master of a vessel, when at anchor during a fog, mist, falling
  snow  or  heavy  rain  storm,  shall,  at intervals of not more than one
  minute, ring a bell rapidly or sound other  warning  signals  for  about
  five seconds.
    2.  Positions.  (a)  When vessels are approaching each other "head and
  head," that is, end on or nearly so, it shall be the  duty  of  each  to
  pass  on  the port side of the other, and either vessel shall give, as a
  signal of her intention, one distinct blast on her  whistle,  which  the
  other  vessel  shall  answer  promptly  with  one  similar  blast of her
  whistle.
    (b) When vessels are approaching each other and the  courses  of  such
  vessels  are  so  far  to  the  starboard  of  each  other  as not to be
  considered to be meeting head on  or  nearly  so,  either  vessel  shall
  immediately  give  two  distinct  blasts of her whistle, which the other
  shall answer promptly with two similar blasts of her whistle,  and  they
  shall pass on the starboard side of each other.
    (c)  When  vessels  are  approaching  each  other  at "right angles or
  obliquely" so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has  the
  other on her own port side shall hold her course and speed, and shall so
  signify with one distinct blast of her whistle; and the vessel which has
  the  other  on  her  own starboard side shall keep out of the way of the
  other by directing her course to starboard so as to cross the  stern  of
  the other vessel, or, if necessary to do so, shall slacken her speed, or
  stop or reverse.
    (d)  When  vessels  are  running  in the same direction and the vessel
  which is astern shall desire to pass on the starboard side of the vessel
  ahead, she shall give one distinct blast of her whistle as the signal of
  such desire, and if the vessel ahead answers with one similar  blast  of
  her  whistle,  she  shall pass to the starboard; or if the vessel astern
  shall desire to pass on the port side of the  vessel  ahead,  she  shall
  give two distinct blasts of her whistle as a signal of such desire, and,
  if  the vessel ahead answers with two similar blasts of the whistle, she
  shall pass to the port; but if the vessel ahead does not think  it  safe
  for  the  vessel  astern  to  pass  at that point, she shall immediately
  signify the same by giving five or more rapid blasts of her whistle (the
  danger signal), and under  no  circumstances  shall  the  vessel  astern
  attempt  to pass the vessel ahead until such time as they have reached a
  point where it can be safely done, when said vessel ahead shall  signify
  her willingness by blowing the proper signal, which shall be answered by
  the vessel astern. Neither vessel shall in any case attempt to cross the
  bow or to crowd upon the course of the other vessel.
    (e) If when vessels are approaching each other head and head, that is,
  end  on  or nearly so, (as per subdivision (a) and (b)) or crossing each
  other's courses, (as per subdivision (c)), or desire to pass each  other
  (as  per  subdivision (d)), either vessel fails to understand the course
  or intention of the other, from any cause, the vessel so in doubt  shall
  immediately  signify the same by giving five or more rapid blasts of her
  whistle, (the danger signal), and both vessels  shall  immediately  slow
  their  speed,  or stop or reverse, as required to avoid collision, until
  proper signals have been given, answered and understood,  or  until  the
  vessels have passed each other.
    (f)  When  a mechanically propelled vessel shall meet a sailing vessel
  proceeding in such direction  as  to  involve  risk  of  collision,  the
  sailing vessel shall have the right of way. It shall be incumbent on the
  master  of  the sailing vessel to keep a vigilant lookout and change her
  course, if necessary, to avoid any danger.
    (g) In narrow channels, every  vessel  shall,  when  it  is  safe  and
  practicable,  keep to that side of the fairway or mid-channel which lies
  on the starboard side of such vessel.
    3. Aid in distress. It shall be the duty of every master or  pilot  of
  any  vessel  to  render  such  assistance as he can possibly give to any
  other vessel coming under his  observation  and  being  in  distress  on
  account of accident, collision or otherwise.
    4. Construing rules. In obeying and construing these rules, due regard
  shall  be  had  to  all  dangers of navigation and collision, and to any
  special circumstances which may render a departure from the above  rules
  necessary in order to avoid immediate danger.
    5.  Application. The rules of this section shall apply to all vessels,
  public and pleasure, propelled by machinery on the navigable  waters  of
  the state and all tidewaters bordering on or lying within the boundaries
  of Nassau and Suffolk counties.
    6.  Commissioner  may modify. The commissioner is hereby authorized to
  modify, change or expand the pilot rules as set forth in this section if
  necessary to make them comply or be uniform with the provisions  of  the
  federal  navigation law, or of the navigation rules and regulations made
  by the United States coast guard.
    7. A violation of any provision of this  section  shall  constitute  a
  violation  punishable  as  set  forth in section seventy-three-c of this
  article.

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