Harbor Safety Committee

Bay Area Committees

AIS Vessel Tracking



HSC Best Maritime Practices

LARGE VESSELS and TUGS with TOWS >1600 Gross Tons

< BACK to Best Practices >

Large Vessels and Tugs with Tows > 1600 GT: Guidelines for Navigating in Reduced Visibility

Large Vessels are power driven vessels of 1600 gross tons or more, and tugs with tows of 1600 gross tons or more. Mariners are at all times to comply with the requirements of the COLREGS.

Critical Maneuvering Areas (CMAs): There are areas within the Bay where additional standards of care are required due to the restrictive nature of the channel, proximity of hazards, or the prevalence of adverse currents. Large vessels should not transit through CMAs when visibility is less than 0.5 nautical miles. Locations within the Bay identified as Critical Maneuvering Areas:

• Redwood Creek
• San Mateo-Hayward Bridge
• Oakland Bar Channel*
• Islais Creek Channel
• Richmond Inner Harbor
• Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, East Span
• Union Pacific Bridge
• New York Slough, up-bound
• Rio Vista Lift Bridge

*The Oakland Bar Channel is identified due to cross currents and its proximity to the Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island.

Vessels docked: Large vessels at a dock within the Bay should not commence a movement if visibility is less than 0.5 nautical miles at the dock.

Vessels proceeding to dock: Large vessels proceeding to a dock should anchor if visibility at the dock is known to be less than 0.5 nautical miles, unless, under all circumstances, proceeding to the dock is the safest option.

Note: Vessel pilots or operators should notify VTS upon determination that a scheduled movement will be delayed or cancelled. If underway, they shall make a sailing plan deviation report per VTS regulations.

Adopted March 2008. See Harbor Safety Plan Chapter II: General Weather, Currents and Tides for discussion.

Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region - Copyright © 2010