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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation and Natural Resources
Agency 15. Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Chapter 420. Watercraft: Navigation Lights and Shapes
1/25/2020

4VAC15-420-50. Towing and Pushing.

A. A power-driven vessel when towing astern shall exhibit:

1. Instead of the lights prescribed in 4VAC15-420-40 A 1 or 2, two masthead lights in a vertical line. When the length of the tow, measuring from the stern of the towing vessel to the after end of the tow exceeds 656.2 feet (200 meters), three such lights in a vertical line;

2. Sidelights;

3. A sternlight;

4. A towing light in a vertical line above the sternlight; and

5. When the length of the tow exceeds 656.2 feet (200 meters), a diamond shape where it can best be seen.

B. When a pushing vessel and a vessel being pushed ahead are rigidly connected in a composite unit, they shall be regarded as a power-driven vessel and exhibit the lights prescribed in 4VAC15-420-40.

C. A power-driven vessel when pushing ahead or towing alongside, except as required by subsections A and B of this section, shall exhibit:

1. Instead of the light prescribed in 4VAC15-420-40 A 1 or 2, two masthead lights in a vertical line;

2. Sidelights; and

3. Two towing lights in a vertical line.

D. A power-driven vessel to which subsection A or C of this section apply shall also comply with 4VAC15-420-40 A 1 and 2.

E. A vessel or object other than those referred to in subsection G of this section being towed shall exhibit:

1. Sidelights;

2. A sternlight; and

3. When the length of the tow exceeds 656.2 feet (200 meters), a diamond shape where it can best be seen.

F. Provided that any number of vessels being towed alongside or pushed in a group shall be lighted as one vessel, except as provided in subdivision 3 of this subsection:

1. A vessel being pushed ahead, not being part of a composite unit, shall exhibit at the forward end, sidelights and a special flashing light;

2. A vessel being towed alongside shall exhibit a sternlight and at the forward end, sidelights and a special flashing light; and

3. When vessels are towed alongside on both sides of the towing vessels, a sternlight shall be exhibited on the stern of the outboard vessel on each side of the towing vessel, and a single set of sidelights as far forward and as far outboard as is practicable, and a single special flashing light.

G. An inconspicuous, partly submerged vessel or object being towed shall exhibit:

1. If it is less than 82 feet (25 meters) in breadth, one all-round white light at or near each end;

2. If it is 82 feet (25 meters) or more in breadth, four all-round white lights to mark its length and breadth;

3. If it exceeds 328.1 feet (100 meters) in length, additional all-round white lights between the lights prescribed in subdivisions 1 and 2 of this subsection so that the distance between the lights shall not exceed 328.1 feet (100 meters), provided that any vessels or objects being towed alongside each other shall be lighted as one vessel or object;

4. A diamond shape at or near the aftermost extremity of the last vessel or object being towed; and

5. The towing vessel may direct a searchlight in the direction of the tow to indicate its presence to an approaching vessel.

H. Where from any sufficient cause it is impracticable for a vessel or object being towed to exhibit the lights prescribed in subsection A or G of this section, all possible measures shall be taken to light the vessel or object towed or at least to indicate the presence of the unlighted vessel or object.

I. Where from any sufficient cause it is impracticable for a vessel not normally engaged in towing operations to display the lights prescribed by subsection A or C of this section, such vessel shall not be required to exhibit those lights when engaged in towing another vessel in distress or otherwise in need of assistance. All possible measures shall be taken to indicate the nature of the relationship between the towing vessel and the vessel being assisted. A searchlight may be used to illuminate the tow.

Statutory Authority

§§ 29.1-501, 29.1-502, 29.1-701, and 29.1-735 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 19, Issue 05, eff. January 1, 2003.

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