U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 23, 2024

§ 162.65 - All waterways tributary to the Atlantic Ocean south of Chesapeake Bay and all waterways tributary to the Gulf of Mexico east and south of St. Marks, Fla.

(a) Description. This section applies to the following:

(1) Waterways. All navigable waters of the United States, natural or artificial, including bays, lakes, sounds, rivers, creeks, intracoastal waterways, as well as canals and channels of all types, which are tributary to or connected by other waterways with the Atlantic Ocean south of Chesapeake Bay or with the Gulf of Mexico east and south of St. Marks, Florida.

(2) United States property. All river and harbor lands owned by the United States in or along the waterways described in paragraph (a)(1) of this paragraph, including lock sites and all structures thereon, other sites for Government structures and for the accommodation and use of employees of the United States, and rights of way and spoil disposal areas to the extent of Federal interest therein.

(3) Vessels and rafts. The term “vessel” as used in this section includes all floating things moved over these waterways other than rafts.

(b) Waterways—(1) Fairway. A clear channel shall at all times be left open to permit free and unobstructed navigation by all types of vessels and rafts that normally use the various waterways or sections thereof. The District Commander may specify the width of the fairway required in the various waterways under his charge.

(2) Stoppage in waterway, anchorage or mooring. (i) No vessels or rafts shall anchor or moor in any of the land cuts or other narrow parts of the waterway, except in case of an emergency. Whenever it becomes necessary for a vessel or raft to stop in any such portions of the waterway it shall be securely fastened to one bank and as close to the bank as possible. This shall be done only at such a place and under such conditions as will not obstruct or prevent the passage of other vessels or craft. Stoppages shall be only for such periods as may be necessary.

(ii) No vessel or raft will be allowed to use any portion of the fairway as a mooring place except temporarily as authorized above without the written permission from the District Commander.

(iii) When tied up, all vessels must be moored by bow and stern lines. Rafts and tows shall be secured at sufficiently close intervals to insure their not being drawn away from the bank by winds, currents or the suction of passing vessels. Tow lines shall be shortened so that the different parts of the tow shall be as close together as possible. In narrow sections, no vessel or raft shall be tied abreast of another.

(iv) Lights shall be displayed in accordance with provisions of the Navigation Rules (33 CFR Subchapter E).

(v) No vessel, even if fastened to the bank as prescribed in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, shall be left without a sufficient crew to care for it properly.

(vi) Vessels will not be permitted to load or unload in any of the land cuts except as a regular established landing or wharf without written permission secured in advance from the District Commander.

(vii) No vessel, regardless of size, shall anchor in a dredged channel or narrow portion of a waterway for the purpose of fishing, if navigation is obstructed, thereby.

(viii) Except in cases of emergency the dropping of anchors, weights, or other ground tackle, within areas occupied by submarine cable or pipe crossings, is prohibited. Such crossings will ordinarily be marked by signboards on each bank of the shore or indicated on coast charts.

(3) Speed. (i) Vessels shall proceed at a speed which will not endanger other vessels or structures and will not interfere with any work in progress incident to maintaining, improving, surveying or marking the channel.

(ii) Official signs indicating limiting speeds through critical portions of the waterways shall be strictly obeyed.

(iii) Vessels approaching and passing through a bridge shall so govern their speed as to insure passage through the bridge without damage to the bridge or its fenders.

(4) Assembly and handling of tows. (i) All vessels drawing tows and equipped with rudders shall use two tow lines or a bridle and shorten them to the greatest possible extent so as to have full control at all times. The various parts of a tow shall be securely assembled with the individual units connected by lines as short as practicable. If necessary, as in the case of lengthy or cumbersome tows or tows in restricted channels, the District Commander may require that tows be broken up and may require the installation of a rudder, drag or other approved steering device on the tow in order to avoid obstructing navigation or damaging the property of others, including aids to navigation maintained by the United States or under its authorization, by collision or otherwise.

(ii) No tow shall be drawn by a vessel that has insufficient power or crew to permit ready maneuverability and safe handling.

(iii) Tows desiring to pass a bridge shall approach the opening along the axis of the channel so as to pass through without danger of striking the bridge or its fenders. No vessel or tow shall navigate through a drawbridge until the movable span is fully opened.

(iv) In the event that it is evident to the master of a towing vessel that a tow cannot be safely handled through a bridge, it will be brought to anchor and the towed vessels will be taken through the bridge in small units, or singly if necessary, or the tow will wait until navigation conditions have improved to such an extent that the tow can pass through the bridge without damage.

(5) Projections from vessels. No vessel carrying a deck load which overhangs or projects over the side of said vessel, or whose rigging projects over the side of the vessel so as to endanger passing vessels, wharves or other property, will enter or pass through any of the narrow parts of the waterway.

(6) Meeting and passing. Vessels, on meeting or overtaking, shall give the proper signals and pass in accordance with the Navigation Rules (33 CFR Subchapter E). Rafts shall give to vessels the side demanded by proper signal. All vessels approaching dredges or other plant engaged on improvements to a waterway, shall give the signal for passing and slow down sufficiently to stop if so ordered or if no answering signal is received. On receiving the answering signal, they shall then proceed to pass at a speed sufficiently slow to insure safe navigation.


The Corps of Engineers also has regulations dealing with this section in 33 CFR Part 207.

[CGD 75-082, 42 FR 51759, Sept. 29, 1977, as amended by CGD 93-072, 59 FR 39963, Aug. 5, 1994; USCG-2000-7223, 65 FR 40058, June 29, 2000; USCG-2015-0433, 80 FR 44282, July 27, 2015]