Restricted areas are outlined in the coastal sections. Night approaches
Approaches in darkness are often made difficult by the plethora of background lights - fixed, flashing, occulting, interrupted - of all colours. Though there may be exceptions, this applies to nearly all harbours backed by a town of any size. Powerful shore lights make weaker navigation lights difficult to identify and mask unlit features such as exposed rocks or the line of a jetty. If at all possible, avoid closing an unknown harbour in darkness.
Individual buildings on the coast - particularly prominent hotel blocks - are built, demolished, duplicated, change colour, change shape, all with amazing rapidity. They are not nearly as reliable as landmarks as might be thought. If a particular building on a chart or in a photograph can be positively identified on the ground, well and good. If not, take care.
During summer and autumn these nets, anchored to the sea bed and up to 6 miles long, are normally laid inshore across the current in depths of 15-40m but may be placed as far as 10 miles offshore. They may be laid in parallel lines. The outer end of a line should be marked by a float or a boat carrying a white flag with an A' (in
black) by day, and two red or red and white lights by night. There should also be markers along the line of the net.
These nets are capable of stopping a small freighter but should you by accident, and successfully, sail over one, look out for a second within a few hundred metres. If seen, the best action may be to sail parallel to the nets until one end is reached.
Areas where nets are laid are noted in the introduction to the coastal sections.
However, recent reports saw no nets east of Punta Sabinal but many calas and bays had fish farms proliferating. These latter are often lit with flashing yellow lights but great care should be taken when entering small calas at night.
The positions of some fish farms are indicated on the latest charts but be aware these farms change position frequently. Fish farming is developing along this coast and navigators must be prepared to encounter ones not shown on plans and charts.
Commercial fishing boats
Commercial fishing boats should be given a wide berth. They may be:
• Trawling singly or in pairs with a net between the boats.
• Laying a long net, the top of which is supported by floats.
• Picking up or laying pots either singly or in groups or lines.
• Trolling with one or more lines out astern.
• Drifting, trailing nets to windward.
Do not assume they know, or will observe, the law of the sea - keep well clear on principle.
Small fishing boats, including the traditional double-ended Hands, either use nets or troll with lines astern and should be avoided as far as possible. At night many lámparas put to sea and, using powerful electric or gas lights, attract fish to the surface. When seen from a distance these lights appear to flash as the boat moves up and down in the waves and can at first be mistaken for a lighthouse.
Para-gliding, water-skiing, speedboats and jet-skis are all popular, and are sometimes operated by unskilled and thoughtless drivers with small regard to collision risks. In theory they are not allowed to exceed 5 knots within 100m of the coast or within 250m of bathing beaches. Water-skiing is restricted to buoyed areas.
A good watch should be kept for scuba divers and swimmers, with or without snorkel equipment, particularly around harbour entrances. If accompanied by a boat, the presence of divers may be indicated either by International Code Flag A or by a square red flag with a single yellow diagonal, as commonly seen in north America and the Caribbean.
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Lets start by identifying what exactly certain boats are. Sometimes the terminology can get lost on beginners, so well look at some of the most common boats and what theyre called. These boats are exactly what the name implies. They are meant to be used for fishing. Most fishing boats are powered by outboard motors, and many also have a trolling motor mounted on the bow. Bass boats can be made of aluminium or fibreglass.