Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Sailing Navigation Secrets - How to Pass Through a 'Flashing Gate'

by John Jamieson on 20 Oct 2012
DregePipelineLighting Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
Imagine that you need to enter an unfamiliar channel just after sunset. You have an injured crew aboard and must get him or her to a medical facility as soon as possible. You proceed with caution from buoy to buoy. Up ahead you see a row of blinking yellow lights strung across the channel from bank to bank. There are no other alternative channels, and deadly shoals surround you on both sides. You need to pass through the obstruction ahead. Now what, skipper?

Sail long enough and you will encounter channel maintenance operations. This includes cable or pipeline laying, dredging operations, or bridge construction or repair. Here, we will discuss the first of these--cable or pipeline construction across the channel from one side to another. Be aware that underwater pipelines while in the construction phase can cause costly damage. Vessels have had rudders ripped off, keels damages, props and shafts mangled, and crew injured from impact.

In non-emergency situations, the wisest move may be to anchor and wait until daylight to pass through if inshore. Or, if offshore approaching landfall and you see a string of flashing lights ahead, heave-to until daybreak.

But, you will still want to know how to navigate through a pipeline area in safety. You may find that you need to access the other side of the pipeline to:

* Bring an injured or sick crew ashore.
* Gain access to safe moorings or anchorages further inshore.
* Take shelter inshore from oncoming heavy weather.

How to Find the Pipeline 'Gate' Opening

Look to the Navigation Rules to identify the way pipeline lights and pipeline openings are marked. Annex V--also known as the 'Pilot Rules'--applies to all vessels that operate on US Inland or Canadian Waters of the Great Lakes. Dredge pipelines must be marked like this:

Lights Along the Length of the Pipeline

Lights along the length of the pipeline must be yellow and staggered at equal intervals. Each yellow light will flash 50 to 70 times per minute. Each light must be visible for two miles on a clear, dark light.

Lights that Mark the Opening in a Pipeline

Find the narrow gap in the pipeline that marks an open slot for vessels to pass through in safety. Look for two red, non-blinking lights in a vertical line at each end of the pipeline. These will be visible all around the horizon for two miles on a clear, dark night. The lower red light on each side will be at the same height as the yellow blinking lights. The higher red light will be a minimum of one meter (3.3 feet) above the lower red light on each side.

With this knowledge, you can pass through the pipeline in safety, access the other side of the channel, and keep boat and crew damage- and injury-free---wherever in the world you choose to cruise!

..........................

John Jamieson (Captain John) with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at www.skippertips.com for a free issue of the highly popular 'Captain John's Sailing Tips' newsletter.
Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, e-Books and more!
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignT Clewring AC72Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

Olympic Gold medalist and Volvo Ocean Race winner up for WS Board
Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing Torben Grael (BRA) is amongst the 15 nominations for one of seven places on the Board of Directors of World Sailing in November. The five times Olympic medalist, Volvo Ocean Race winner and several times America's Cup competitor will bring a much needed sailing edge to the Board of World Sailing if he can navigate the politics of the controlling body of the sport.
Posted on 25 Sep
D-Marin Farr 40 Zadar Regatta – Overall report
Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Enfant Terrible and Plenty have been doing battle on the Farr 40 International Circuit for several years now. Those two top-notch programs have resumed their rivalry this week in the waters off this historic city along the Dalmatian coast.
Posted on 23 Sep
Impressive tow-in freestyle show on the water in Cold Hawaii
The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competitio The second day of the netIP Cold Hawaii PWA World Cup proved to be yet another lay day for the main competition as expected with light winds and small waves.
Posted on 21 Sep
Brookes and Gatehouse Videos with Knut Frostad
Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos Navico, the parent company for Brookes and Gatehouse (B&G), Simrad and Lowrance have prepared some terrific videos with Knut Frostad, the legendary Volvo Ocean Race sailor and former CEO. See him talk about sailing in general, the B&G product choices and placement he made for his own boat, and then why he loves his Outremer 5X.
Posted on 8 Sep
Soft Padeyes – light, strong and versatile
Several types of soft padeyes are now available and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel pa Several types of soft padeyes are now available on the market and are proving increasingly popular over traditional stainless steel padeyes. They all capitalise on the incredible strength to weight ratio and abrasion resistance of Dyneema® which offers a reliable, robust, flexible and safe termination.
Posted on 6 Sep
The hurricanes headed for Hawaii and Florida
The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The National Weather Service has upgraded a tropical storm headed for Florida to hurricane status. The first of two hurricanes headed toward Hawaii lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. Meanwhile, in Florida, a tropical storm gained in strength and is now designated as a hurricane.
Posted on 4 Sep
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun