Rule 26

Fishing vessels come in two classes.


Trawlers: have their nets on the bottom, and although they require caution, are less of a hazard to surface vessels than other fishing vessels. Provided you give them a reasonable berth you can be happy that their nets are well below you.

Fishing vessels other than trawlers;

Fishing vessels other than trawlers: have their nets on the surface and can easily catch a surface vessel. As these nets can be miles long they can be a major hazard to small craft. They are of particular concern off the coasts of Southern Ireland and Spain. In these areas, mariners must keep a very good look-out.

All fishing vessels should indicate that they are fishing with this shape. However, as they tend to leave it up all the time, it is probably prudent to assume that they are fishing whenever you see this shape.
Fishing vessels other than trawlers may show this shape if they have gear more than 150m from the vessel.
Trawlers show an all round green over white light instead of their masthead light.
If a trawler is over 50m in length, it will display another masthead light above and behind the all round trawling lights.
If a trawler is making way, it will display sidelights and sternlight.
The trawling lights are all round lights, and can be seen from astern.
Fishing vessels other than trawlers show all round red over white lights at the mast-head. The increased hazard of these craft is indicated by the red light.

Fishing vessels other than trawlers will often be stopped, not making way. In this case they only show the all round fishing lights.

This vessel could also be at anchor!

Fishing vessels other than trawlers never have a second steaming light to indicate their length. If there is another white light, there is gear more that 150m from the vessel.
This is an ambiguous set of lights, but a prudent skipper would give this vessel a wide berth.(RED OVER WHITE-FRYING TONIGHT)

To remember the lights on fishing boats, some people remember;

Red over white-frying tonight.

The other idea is that trawlers are relatively safe because their nets are on the bottom, so they have a green light. Fishing vessels other than trawlers are more of a hazard because of their surface nets, so they have a red light.

There are other lights displayed by fishing vessels working in close proximity to other fishing vessels. These are covered in Annex II.

You may find the memory aids at useful.

Test on Rule 26.

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