Sound and light signals.

For the purposes of this section, the term "short blast" means a blast of about one second's duration, and the term "prolonged blast" means a blast of from four to six seconds' duration.
(1) Maneuvering and warning signals - International waters.
(a) When vessels are in sight of one another, a power-driven vessel underway, when maneuvering as authorized or required by these requirements, shall indicate that maneuver by the following signals on her whistle:
- One short blast to mean "I am altering my course to starboard";
- Two short blasts to mean "I am altering my course to port";
- Three short blasts to mean "I am operating astern propulsion."
(b) Any vessel may supplement the whistle signals prescribed in (a) of this subsection by light signals, repeated as appropriate, whilst the maneuver is being carried out:
(i) These light signals shall have the following significance:
- One flash to mean "I am altering my course to starboard";
- Two flashes to mean "I am altering my course to port";
- Three flashes to mean "I am operating astern propulsion";
(ii) The duration of each flash shall be about one second, the interval between flashes shall be about one second, and the interval between successive signals shall be not less than ten seconds;
(iii) The light used for this signal shall, if fitted, be an all-round white light, visible at a minimum range of five miles, and shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 33, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 81, Appendix A, Annex I.
(c) When in sight of one another in a narrow channel or fairway:
(i) A vessel intending to overtake another shall in compliance with WAC 352-60-070 (6)(e)(i) indicate her intention by the following signals on her whistle:
- Two prolonged blasts followed by one short blast to mean "I intend to overtake you on your starboard side";
- Two prolonged blasts followed by two short blasts to mean "I intend to overtake you on your port side";
(ii) The vessel about to be overtaken when acting in accordance with WAC 352-60-070 (6)(e)(i) shall indicate her agreement by the following signal on her whistle:
- One prolonged, one short, one prolonged and one short blast, in that order.
(d) When vessels in sight of one another are approaching each other and from any cause either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle. Such signal may be supplemented by a light signal of at least five short and rapid flashes.
(e) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one prolonged blast. Such signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction.
(f) If whistles are fitted on a vessel at a distance apart of more than one hundred meters (328.1 feet), one whistle only shall be used for giving maneuvering and warning signals.
(2) Maneuvering and warning signals - Inland waters.
(a) When power-driven vessels are in sight of one another and meeting or crossing at a distance within one-half mile of each other, each vessel underway, when maneuvering as authorized or required by these requirements:
(i) Shall indicate that maneuver by the following signals on her whistle:
- One short blast to mean "I intend to leave you on my port side";
- Two short blasts to mean "I intend to leave you on my starboard side"; and
- Three short blasts to mean "I am operating astern propulsion."
(ii) Upon hearing the one or two blast signal the other shall, if in agreement, sound the same whistle signal and take the steps necessary to effect a safe passing. If, however, from any cause, the vessel doubts the safety of the proposed maneuver, she shall sound the danger signal specified in (d) of this subsection and each vessel shall take appropriate precautionary action until a safe passing agreement is made.
(b) A vessel may supplement the whistle signals prescribed in (a) of this subsection by light signals:
(i) These signals shall have the following significance:
- One flash to mean "I intend to leave you on my port side";
- Two flashes to mean "I intend to leave you on my starboard side";
- Three flashes to mean "I am operating astern propulsion";
(ii) The duration of each flash shall be about one second; and
(iii) The light used for this signal shall, if fitted, be one all-around white or yellow light, visible at a minimum range of two miles (3219.1 meters), synchronized with the whistle, and shall comply with the provisions of Chapter 33, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 84, Annex I.
(c) When in sight of one another:
(i) A power-driven vessel intending to overtake another power-driven vessel shall indicate her intention by the following signals on her whistle:
- One short blast to mean "I intend to overtake you on your starboard side";
- Two short blasts to mean "I intend to overtake you on your port side"; and
(ii) The power-driven vessel about to be overtaken shall, if in agreement, sound a similar sound signal. If in doubt she shall sound the danger signal prescribed in (d) of this subsection.
(d) When vessels in sight of one another are approaching each other and from any cause either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other, or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision, the vessel in doubt shall immediately indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle. This signal may be supplemented by a light signal of at least five short and rapid flashes.
(e) A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one prolonged blast. This signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction.
(f) If whistles are fitted on a vessel at a distance apart of more than one hundred meters (328.1 feet), one whistle only shall be used for giving maneuvering and warning signals.
(g) When a power-driven vessel is leaving a dock or berth, she shall sound one prolonged blast.
(h) A vessel that reaches agreement with another vessel in a meeting, crossing, or overtaking situation by using the radiotelephone as prescribed by the Federal Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Act (85 Stat. 165; 33 U.S.C. 1207), is not obliged to sound the whistle signals prescribed by this subsection, but may do so. If agreement is not reached, then whistle signals shall be exchanged in a timely manner and shall prevail.
(3) Sound signals in restricted visibility - International waters. In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night, the signals prescribed in this subsection shall be used as follows:
(a) A power-driven vessel making way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than two minutes, one prolonged blast.
(b) A power-driven vessel underway but stopped and making no way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than two minutes, two prolonged blasts in succession with an interval of about two seconds between them.
(c) A vessel not under command, a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver, a sailing vessel, a vessel engaged in fishing and a vessel engaged in towing or pushing another vessel shall, instead of the signals prescribed in (a) or (b) of this subsection, sound at intervals of not more than two minutes, three blasts in succession, namely one prolonged followed by two short blasts.
(d) A vessel engaged in fishing, when at anchor, and a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver when carrying out her work at anchor, shall instead of the signals prescribed in (g) of this subsection sound the signal prescribed in (c) of this subsection.
(e) A vessel towed or if more than one vessel is towed the last vessel of the tow, if manned, shall at intervals of not more than two minutes sound four blasts in succession, namely one prolonged followed by three short blasts. When practicable, this signal shall be made immediately after the signal made by the towing vessel.
(f) When a pushing vessel and a vessel being pushed ahead are rigidly connected in a composite unit they shall be regarded as a power-driven vessel and shall give the signals prescribed in (a) or (b) of this subsection.
(g) A vessel at anchor shall at intervals of not more than one minute ring the bell rapidly for about five seconds. In a vessel of one hundred meters (328.1 feet) or more in length the bell shall be sounded in the forepart of the vessel and immediately after the ringing of the bell the gong shall be sounded rapidly for about five seconds in the after part of the vessel. A vessel at anchor may in addition sound three blasts in succession, namely one short, one prolonged and one short blast, to give warning of her position and of the possibility of collision to an approaching vessel.
(h) A vessel aground shall give the bell signal and if required the gong signal prescribed in (g) of this subsection and shall, in addition, give three separate and distinct strokes on the bell immediately before and after the rapid ringing of the bell. A vessel aground may in addition sound an appropriate whistle signal.
(i) A vessel of less than twelve meters (39.4 feet) in length shall not be obliged to give the above-mentioned signals but, if she does not, shall make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than two minutes.
(j) A pilot vessel when engaged on pilotage duty may in addition to the signals prescribed in (a), (b), or (g) of this subsection sound an identity signal consisting of four short blasts.
(4) Sound signals in restricted visibility - Inland waters. In or near an area of restricted visibility, whether by day or night, the signals prescribed in this subsection shall be used as follows:
(a) A power-driven vessel making way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than two minutes, one prolonged blast.
(b) A power-driven vessel underway but stopped and making no way through the water shall sound at intervals of not more than two minutes, two prolonged blasts in succession with an interval of about two seconds between them.
(c) A vessel not under command, a vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver, whether under way or at anchor; a sailing vessel; a vessel engaged in fishing, whether underway or at anchor; and a vessel engaged in towing or pushing another vessel shall, instead of the signals prescribed in (a) or (b) of this subsection, sound at intervals of not more than two minutes, three blasts in succession, namely, one prolonged followed by two short blasts.
(d) A vessel towed or if more than one vessel is towed the last vessel of the tow, if manned, shall at intervals of not more than two minutes sound four blasts in succession; namely, one prolonged followed by three short blasts. When practicable, this signal shall be made immediately after the signal made by the towing vessel.
(e) When a pushing vessel and a vessel being pushed ahead are rigidly connected in a composite unit they shall be regarded as a power-driven vessel and shall give the signals prescribed in (a) or (b) of this subsection.
(f) A vessel at anchor shall at intervals of not more than one minute ring the bell rapidly for about five seconds. In a vessel of one hundred meters (328.1 feet) or more in length the bell shall be sounded in the forepart of the vessel and immediately after the ringing of the bell the gong shall be sounded rapidly for about five seconds in the after part of the vessel. A vessel at anchor may in addition sound three blasts in succession; namely, one short, one prolonged and one short blast, to give warning of her position and of the possibility of collision to an approaching vessel.
(g) A vessel aground shall give the bell signal and if required the gong signal prescribed in (f) of this subsection and shall, in addition, give three separate and distinct strokes on the bell immediately before and after the rapid ringing of the bell. A vessel aground may in addition sound an appropriate whistle signal.
(h) A vessel of less than twelve meters (39.4 feet) in length shall not be obliged to give the above-mentioned signals but, if she does not, shall make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than two minutes.
(i) A pilot vessel when engaged on pilotage duty may in addition to the signals prescribed in (a), (b), or (f) of this subsection sound an identity signal consisting of four short blasts.
(j) The following vessels shall not be required to sound signals as prescribed in (f) of this subsection when anchored in a special anchorage area designated by the United States Coast Guard:
(i) A vessel of less than twenty meters (65.6 feet) in length; and
(ii) A barge, canal boat, scow or other nondescript craft.
(5) Signals to attract attention - International and inland waters.
(a) If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel, any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these requirements, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel.
(b) For international waters only, any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this subsection the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.51.400, 88.12.065, 88.12.125, 88.12.245 and chapter 33, C.F.R. Part 175.15. WSR 94-16-027, ยง 352-60-066, filed 7/25/94, effective 8/25/94.]
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