Jump to content
Hotdog71

Trolling- Who's got the right away?

Recommended Posts

I know while trolling we've all had "that boat" that just didn't get it. Maybe we were even "that boat".

Who's in the right, who's wrong?

Taken from Boat U.S. Article: 

 

Fishing For A Right Of Way

By Bob Adriance

An angler with many lines out encounters another boat while trolling. What to do? It's simple. Real simple.

photo of two men fishing from a Grady WhiteTwo men fish from a Grady White with multiple trolling lines out.

If you browse a fishing forum, there's a good chance you'll read a post from someone who was trolling seven rods along with a pair of planer boards spanning 50 feet out from either side of their boat, and they're upset because other vessels, especially sailboats, didn't observe "the right of way" rules. In this case, everyone involved is wrong. Some anglers are convinced, because they're trolling all these lines 50-250 feet behind the boat, or using outriggers that can span 100 feet across their course, that this entitles them to a right-of-way status because there is less maneuverability. Yes, there is less ability to correct a course but no, there isn't any privilege to being the stand-on vessel. Another problem with this idea is the other vessel in a crossing situation probably isn't aware the angler is trolling. So, here's how to handle trolling lines:

  • Even though a boat has lines in the water and is underway, it has absolutely nothing to do with having the right of way over other vessels. In fact, the boat on starboard has the right of way when two vessels are crossing. The number of lines in the water has nothing to do with it.
  • If you're in a crossing situation with a boat that's trolling lines, slow down, let them pass, speed up and cross ahead of their direction without creating a large wake, or just put the engine in neutral and let them pass, allowing lines being pulled to clear your prop.
  • BoatUS Magazine electronics editor (and avid troller) Lenny Rudow suggests the following if a boat is about to pass over your lines while trolling: "If someone is about to cross over your lines, shift into neutral and allow your lures to sink, thus pulling your lines down and reducing the chance the other boat will snarl them. And if you have to shift into neutral to avoid running over someone else's lines, don't forget to reel in your own deep lines, so they don't fall to the bottom and become snagged." Rudow also notes that trolling depths vary from place to place; in the Great Lakes, they're in deeper water while on the ocean, they can be run along the surface.
  • A sailboat under sail and without engine power has the right of way over powerboats in its path. That said, sailors should be aware of boat traffic and, right of way or not, avoid creating a situation where contact with another vessel is possible. It's easier to tack than deal with insurance companies.
  • Similarly, if there is any concern you, or the other boat, may not have an understanding of the right-of-way rules, then the simple thing to do is make a big circle, allowing the boat in question (and its lines) to pass. Remember, the most important navigation rule is to avoid a collision with another boat at all costs. Time may be lost but both boats, and crew, will be safe. 
  • This article was published in Fall 2011 issue of Trailering Magazine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks 

Very good.

You always have to plan way ahead. Most guys know not to cross close behind you and to turn and run parallel to you or slowdown.

Many times you run into boats that refuse to turn or avoid problems so you have to be proactive.

In August n early September you run into boats that don’t even know what copper amd lead are   so you have to be very vigilant and try yo be courteous and say please and thank you so they understand what needs to be done. Sometimes it’s hard to be nice. But, it works much better. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually this is not exactly correct relative to right  of way. I have discussed this issue with CG and have written response in which they have provided more insight into "right of way" on the water.

  1. No vessel has absolute right of way including sail boats.
  2. All vessels have a legal mandate to avoid collision regardless of scenario or type of power.
  3. Fishing vessels flying the correct fishing flag do have right of way due to the trolling gear in the water does not allow them to be able to navigate as easily as a vessel that is not engaged in fishing. The key point is you must fly the correct flag and it must be visible for a specific distance.

This was obtained from the CG Regulation Unit. I will scan and post up shortly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have heard of them being used down south but not on the Great Lakes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understood the "act of fishing" really only applies to commercial fishing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the email I received from CG back in 2012. Commercial fishing vessel definition does not include pleasure craft is why I asked for clarity from the CG. The key point is having restricted maneuverability such as in trolling long copper, lead core, wire etc. Commercial fishing flies the flag etc but we can also fly appropriate with specific lighting per Rule 26 as long as it is recognized to be severely limited in ability to maneuver. My whole issue back then was the constant sailboat ignorance of tacking directly into me without consequence. I had further discussions with the CG and best is to obviously avoid at all cost but also video for formal complaint against a specific vessel.

The other issue of right of way trolling with other trollers is always going to be a hassle. I would hope courtesy would carry the day when the fleet is parallel to the shore to only pick the time to trolling inward when there is a reasonable space so long lines on each boat are clear from each other. It doesn't hurt to adjust speeds to be courteous and no one "owns" a specific trolling line on your GPS. If each boats moves slightly, everyone can be "happy" with the result. But unfortunately not the case a whole lot of times. Plotter lines seem to become possessive and end up with GPS rage which really can be interesting after dark.

The funny part about combat fishing is we have done much better away from traffic of the fleet anyway.

But one of the discussions I had with CG should there be a recognition of the trolling restricted maneuverability in the regulation. The answer was to formally request it up through the legal request process which I decided not to pursue.

Thoughts?

 

 

201904.02.Redacted.CG.Opinion.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No amount of flags will fix stupid.  Fellow trollers cut us off all the time.  Push you off your line, turn right behind you.

I had a sailboat watch a steelhead jump behind me a couple times and then ran it right over.  Not a clue that I was fighting it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/2/2019 at 3:20 PM, pyt212 said:

Here is the email I received from CG back in 2012. Commercial fishing vessel definition does not include pleasure craft is why I asked for clarity from the CG. The key point is having restricted maneuverability such as in trolling long copper, lead core, wire etc. Commercial fishing flies the flag etc but we can also fly appropriate with specific lighting per Rule 26 as long as it is recognized to be severely limited in ability to maneuver. My whole issue back then was the constant sailboat ignorance of tacking directly into me without consequence. I had further discussions with the CG and best is to obviously avoid at all cost but also video for formal complaint against a specific vessel.

The other issue of right of way trolling with other trollers is always going to be a hassle. I would hope courtesy would carry the day when the fleet is parallel to the shore to only pick the time to trolling inward when there is a reasonable space so long lines on each boat are clear from each other. It doesn't hurt to adjust speeds to be courteous and no one "owns" a specific trolling line on your GPS. If each boats moves slightly, everyone can be "happy" with the result. But unfortunately not the case a whole lot of times. Plotter lines seem to become possessive and end up with GPS rage which really can be interesting after dark.

The funny part about combat fishing is we have done much better away from traffic of the fleet anyway.

But one of the discussions I had with CG should there be a recognition of the trolling restricted maneuverability in the regulation. The answer was to formally request it up through the legal request process which I decided not to pursue.

Thoughts?

 

 

201904.02.Redacted.CG.Opinion.pdf

My understanding of interpretations of the regulations is that the trolling gear used in our type of fishing does not qualify as restricting maneuverability.  It's a stretch, in my mind, that the lines deployed inhibit the ability to turn or stop a vessel.  Certainly, your lines may foul, but that isn't a consideration in the rules...only in common sense and courtesy.  Any ruling I've ever seen clearly indicated a Great Lakes troller was nothing less than a vessel underway.  That's my take on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually no to just being a vessel underway. You are inhibited just by the fact you can sustain damage to your vessel and gear. You could say the same about commercial netting operations as well, they can maneuver just how much damage will occur. CG agrees that if you damage your equipment or vessel trying to maneuver away from someone it proves you are restricted in maneuverability.   Any violent turning with rigggers can cause cables into prop etc. Heck I know enough boats where this has happened just from heavy currents. Having 4 downriggers down and multiple long lines such as copper, wire can cause damage to your gear and even your vessel if you had to "escape" from another vessel. The key component from even telephone discussions was that how much gear you had out to prove you would sustain damage to your gear and vessel.  The CG recognizes this potential risk and has provided suggestions to possibly alleviate encounters with other vessels that are clueless and since they are the authority on navigation, I will accept their position on it.

But to FBD's point you can't fix stupid when folks go buy a 35' boat, attend no classes in seamanship and put the hammer down without thought or liability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, pyt212 said:

Actually no to just being a vessel underway. You are inhibited just by the fact you can sustain damage to your vessel and gear. You could say the same about commercial netting operations as well, they can maneuver just how much damage will occur. CG agrees that if you damage your equipment or vessel trying to maneuver away from someone it proves you are restricted in maneuverability.   Any violent turning with rigggers can cause cables into prop etc. Heck I know enough boats where this has happened just from heavy currents. Having 4 downriggers down and multiple long lines such as copper, wire can cause damage to your gear and even your vessel if you had to "escape" from another vessel. The key component from even telephone discussions was that how much gear you had out to prove you would sustain damage to your gear and vessel.  The CG recognizes this potential risk and has provided suggestions to possibly alleviate encounters with other vessels that are clueless and since they are the authority on navigation, I will accept their position on it.

OK...no real argument, that's just the explanation I've always received.  So in light of your restricted maneuverability, do you display the appropriate shapes or lights to indicate your condition?  If not, I would contend that according to the rules referenced in the pdf you supplied, you are indeed a vessel underway.  It appears the rules get a little vague based on a couple sentences in the pdf and that just because you're pulling lead core does not in itself necessarily qualify as restricted maneuverability based on the last phrase "based on your particular circumstances at that given time..."  I don't know...in 40 years of boating on both sides of the issue (cruising and trolling) I can't say I've really had too many issues with this.  Maybe it's just because I'll be the first to flinch when it comes to being on a collision course.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Play Dough, I probably will not fly flags lights etc since I am with you on being first to change course. But I wanted to know what options were out there and there are some if anyone is interested.  The biggest problem is getting blowboats to realize they have a legal obligation to avoid collision as much as any other vessel. WE can all cite incident after incident crossing behind us, in front of us, into us forcing stop or abrupt course change weaving gear into a wonderful braided mess behind boat. We don't need rules. Just common sense courtesy to everyone regardless of craft your in. The water belongs to all vessels and if we shared like 5 year olds taught in kindergarten there wouldn't be any issues to talk about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...