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International/inland  Distress  Signals
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Maritime Bouyage System
made immediately after the signal made by the towing vessel. When a pushing vessel and a vessel being pushed ahead are rigidly connected in a composite unit, they will be regarded as a power-driven vessel and give the signals  prescribed  earlier  for  a  power-driven  vessel making way through the water or a vessel underway but stopped and making no way through the water. A vessel at anchor must, at intervals of not more than 1 minute, ring the bell rapidly for about 5 seconds. In a vessel of 100 meters or more in length, the bell must be sounded in the forepart of the vessel; and immediately after the ringing of the bell, the gong must be sounded rapidly for about 5 seconds in the afterpart 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 its position and of the possibility  of  collision  to  an  approaching  vessel. In addition to giving the bell signal and, if required, the gong signal prescribed above, a vessel aground must 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. A vessel of less than 12 meters in length is not obliged to give the above-mentioned signals but, if it does not, the vessel will make some other efficient sound signal at intervals of not more than 2 minutes. NOTE The   following   paragraph   from   the International Rules is not included in the Inland Rules: “Any light to attract the attention of another vessel will be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For that reason, the use of high-intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, must be avoided”. There is no basis in the Rules of the Road for the popular notion that the national ensign hoisted upside down is a recognized signal of distress. No man-of-war would  ever  subject  the  colors  to  this  indignity.  But  if  you should see a private craft with the ensign hoisted upside down, it is probably in distress. See figure 5-17 for distress signals under the International and Inland Rules. The signals in figure 5-17 may be used or exhibited either together or separately, to indicate distress and need  of  assistance. NOTE There is no provision in the International Rules for the distress signal shown in figure 5-18. A pilot vessel, when engaged on pilotage duty, may, in addition to the signals prescribed for a power-driven vessel  underway  making  way  through  the  water; underway  but  stopped  and  not  making  way  through  the water; or at anchor; sound an identity signal consisting of four short blasts. DISTRESS SIGNALS The International and Inland Rules on signals to attract attention are almost identical. They are as follows: 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 rules, or may direct the beam of its searchlight in the direction of the danger in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel. Figure 5-18.–A high-intensity white light flashing at regular intervals from 50 to 70 times per minute. 5-25

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