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Making it easier to deploy the black ball day shape



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What is the issue?
The international COLREGS state that an anchored boat must display a round ball when anchored during the day and an all-around white light at night when anchored. Yet although most cruising skippers know this they do not attend to the day shape regulation.

Why address this?
Folding Anchor Ball Day Shape
Photo: Courtesy of PLASTIMO
Typically the only boats that hoist the black ball day shape tend to be the larger professionally run yachts and cruise ships. These are largely concerned about their legal exposure and taking professional measures to protect themselves. If your boat is hit at anchor by another vessel during the day, under maritime rules, you can be deemed to be partially at fault, since you have signalled you are not anchored, no day shape, and being underway, could be expected to manoeuvre in such a fashion as to avoid the collision. Likewise, Harbour Masters can take a dim view of this and can impose fines.

The anchor ball itself is a simple affair with two circles that slot together. It only takes seconds to set up the day shape and seconds to take it down again, so with such little effort involved, and potentially so to much gain in doing so, it should be procedural.

How to address this?
One of the largest reasons for not hoisting the black ball day shape is oversight and second to that, taking the trouble of finding it. The black ball can so easily be cast into a formidably deep back locker where far too many will find it too bothersome to pursue.

If however, the black ball comes to be stored on top of the chain locker, or a special arrangement is made to attach it to the inside lid of the anchor locker, it is next to near impossible to forget and could not be simpler to put one's hand upon it when required. This makes it simple not to forget to do the right thing.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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