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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK so I've searched the COLREGS and my Chapman Guide to Piloting and I cannot find a definitive answer to a question I have. Are you required to stay between channel markers when traveling along the ICWW or any waterway for that matter? I know that aids to navigation are placed to assist boaters with navigation but are you required to stay within them or can you go around them if you are familiar with the depth of the water?

The reason I ask is that several times over the summer I have come upon a crowded portion of the ICWW where there was a Sheriff patrol boat going very slowly (seemingly causing everyone else to run slowly) causing a traffic jam in a narrow part of the channel. I was hesitant to run around this log jam b/c of the Sheriff boat and the fact that I'd be going outside of the channel markers. I'm not trying to be a speed demon, but the Sheriff boats cruise along at like 6mph, I'm just trying to make a reasonable speed to some fishing grounds. Is it unlawful or just bad form to go around these guys, outside the channel markers?
 

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I guess I don't know for certain. But, the way I read regulations is, if it doesn't say to NOT do something specifically, then it is not unlawful. If it was unlawful, it would specifically say. Those bouys, I believe, are just a "navigational aid" and are intended to keep boat traffic in known safe water free of obstacles.
 

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They are there as an ATON only. It is the responsibility of you as the captain to navigate your vessel. If you are familiar with the water and are comfortable going outside of them then by all means do so. Just remember, with those flashing blue lights you are still required to slow down to a no wake speed not to exceed 5 mph when passing within 100 feet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Just remember, with those flashing blue lights you are still required to slow down to a no wake speed not to exceed 5 mph when passing within 100 feet.
Thanks everyone for the replies. No flashing lights on the Sheriff boat, he is just cruising along. It usually is around an inlet and the bouys are way off, with plenty of room to go around.
 
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