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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. Top of Page
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