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Mr. MURPHY. No, sir; I do not know of any; however, the possibility is there and I think it should be eliminated, if possible. Mr. O'BRIEN. That is a pretty congested section, anyway. Is it not a fact that everybody in New York has a boat on Sheepshead Bay; is not that true? Mr. MURPHY. Yes; that is true; but I get around the country quite a bit in my peddling tactics, and there are quite a few other points that are just as crowded as Sheepshead Bay and perhaps more so, and they are to be taken into consideration, too. Mr. O'BRIEN. But you are more familiar with Sheepshead Bay? Mr. MURPHY. I am more familiar with Sheepshead Bay than any other point at the present time; yes, sir.
BrookLYN, N. Y., June 6, 1939. Hon. SoHUYLER OTIs BLAND, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, House Office Building, Washington, D. C. Reference: Bill H. R. 6039.
DEAR SIR: As specialists in the manufacture of marine navigation lights, we feel qualified to discuss that part of the above bill referring to the uses and needs for lights carried by certain classes of motorboats. We first want to say that we are in favor of any bill that will help to eliminate the possibility or probality of accidents in connection with vessels of all classes. We feel however, that certain sections of the above bill need clarification and changes before it can fully accomplish the desired results. We shall take them in their regular order as written in the bill (H. R. 6039). Subsection. A section 3 of the bill provides that, “Every motorboat of class A shall carry a bright white light mounted either at the bow or on the stern, so placed as to show all around the horizon.” but does not provide for a combined red and green light as used on vessels of class 1. Such a combined light is an absolute necessity on motorboats under 16 feet long, for the following reasons: 1. Most motorboats under 16 feet long are powered by outboard motors. These are high-speed power plants and in a great many cases an outboard motorboat is faster than boats of class 2 or 3. If red and green running lights are necessary on the larger but slower craft, they are certainly necessary on the smaller but faster boat. 2. The use of a white light only on class A boats would make it almost impossible for the operator of another vessel to determine whether the former vessel is approaching head on, or proceeding in the same direction, or crossing his bow, or perhaps it might be the white light of a boat at anchor. It might also indicate a rowboat under oars or sail. Realization of its true character might of course arise too late. 3. The fixing of responsibility would be very difficult and subject to a great deal of controversy should an accident occur, particularly between two highspeed boats of class A. 4. Sensible and safe handling of larger vessels would be greatly handicapped in waters where class A motorboats are numerous. We recommend that a combined lantern for class A motorboats be required by statute, specifications to be left to regulation. Such a light forces no hardship on the class A boat owner as same is in use at the present time and the cost is quite low. Subsection D of section 3 of the draft bill provides that, “Motorboats when propelled by sail and machinery, or by sail alone, shall carry the colored sidelights but not the white light prescribed by that section.” We feel that if a fixed white light in addition to the colored lights is exhibited by the vessel propelled by sail and machinery, and the white light extinguished or eliminated when propelled by sail alone, such an arrangement would be more sensible. At least it would determine that very important question of right-of-way, by showing which vessel has the greater maneuverability. Some method of distinction between the two types of vessels, should exist. Subsection D of section 3 also provides that motorboats of class A and 1 (less than 26 feet long) when propelled by sail and machinery or by sail alone shall carry at hand, a lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to avert collision.
We are sure that this subsection permits very dangerous possibilities. It would allow boats of limited maneuverability to proceed under way at night without lights of any kind, except a white light to be exhibited in sufficient time to avert collision. The phrase, “In sufficient time,” would presuppose that the operator of the subject vessel is aware of the intentions as well as the maneuverability of the meeting vessel. When it is realized that boats of class A and 1 are frequently handled by inexperienced operators and in very crowded waters, it can be seen that dangerous situations will frequently arise.
Consideration is not given to the possibility that two class A or 1 vessels under sail or sail and machinery might meet, both under way without lights unless some member of either or both crews is holding a flashlight illuminating the sails at all times. Needless to say that can hardly be expected or hoped for.
We recommend that sidelights for class A and 1 vessels under sail or sail and machinery be required by statute, specifications left to regulations.
There is no requirement in the draft bill for a fog horn on class 2 and 3 motorboats.
We manufacture fog horns, whistles, and other sounding-producing devices for boats. We contend that a good mouth blown fog horn is more efficient than a medium priced electric horn or mouth whistle. While fog horns should not be used for passing signals, they are certainly a necessity as an emergency device in fog, should the power-driven horn fail mechanically. We have also found that a fog horn, because of its greater range is more useful than a whistle when signaling for bridges to open.
Nothing is gained by eliminating fog horns from motorboats. They are in general use and again the cost is very low.
Section 4 of the draft bill does not require whistles or sound-producing devices of any kind on class A motorboats. Again because of their high speed, a warning or signaling device of some sort should be provided for.
Trusting that the committee will give serious consideration to the above statements, we remain,
PERKINS MARINE LAMP & HARDw ARE CoBPORATION, - Brooklyn, N. Y., June 8, 1939. Hon. OTIs Schuyi,FR BLAND, Chairman, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.
Re: Bill H. R. 6039. DEAR SIR: At the hearing on the above bill of June 6, the writer protested against the elimination of combination red and green lights on class A motorboats, under 16 feet. I mentioned the need for such lights, and also the possibility of accidents if they are eliminated. Mr. O'Brien asked if I knew of any accidents due to the lack of proper running-light equipment. I truthfully answered “No," as I could not state any specific case. However, when Captain Sweet, of the Department of Commerce, was testifying, he stated that such combination lights were unnecessary, but as far as I can recall, the only reason he gave was “outboard motorboats very seldom carry lights anyway.” However, he later on said that “accidents are considerable in outboard motorboats, and in most cases the operators know nothing about the proper handling of such craft.” Isn't that remark significant? I am quite sure that there must be numerous cases of accidents due to the lack of proper light equipment on outboard motorboats on file in the Department of Commerce. Might I suggest that this be investigated before approval of the bill. Referring to subsection D of section 3, which will eliminate the use of sidelights on boats under sail or sail and machinery, Captain Sweet feels that a flashlight illuminating the sail in time to prevent an accident is all that is necessary, presuming, of course, that a white sail is used. As far as I know, however, there is no legislation on the color of sails. I know of many cases where colored sails are used; some blue, back, and other dark colors. Needless to say, the illumination of such a sail by a flashlight would hardly serve the purpose intended. Hoping that your committee will give the above due consideration, I am Yours very truly, W. J. MURPHY, Sales Manager.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS E. LODGE, DIRECTOR, PRESIDENT'S CUP REGATTA ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D. C.
Mr. Lodge. My name is Thomas E. Lodge; I am director of the President's Cup Regatta Association, Washington, D. C. I wish to file, on behalf of that association, a brief o H. R. 6273. We are vitally interested in it for the reason we conduct regattas here every year and that bill, we feel, will be a great aid and support to our regatta.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think anybody has interposed any objection to that. I have had considerable correspondence with various associations and they are all in favor of it.
Mr. Lodge. That is very gratifying. May I file the brief?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Have you any comments on H. R. 6039%
Mr. Lodge. I do not: no.
(The brief submitted for the record by Mr. Lodge is as follows:)
PRESIDENT's CUP REGATTA Association, INC.,
Hon. SCHUYLER OTIs BLAND,
DEAR MR. BLAND: The President's Cup Regatta Association, composed of civic and business leaders of the District of Columbia, annually conducts the President's Cup Regatta on the Potomac River at Washington. This event has come to be one of Washington's outstanding civic enterprises, and in 1938 attracted 188,000 spectators, according to the figures of the National Parks Service. Among the power-boat racing events of this regatta is a rather full program of races for those boats equipped with outboard motors, and therefore we are vitally interested in anything which might adversely affect their participation. On behalf of this association I would like to endorse the passage of H. R. 6273, which, if enacted, would exempt outboard racing boats from the requirement of carrying certain equipment, as specified by the Motor Boat Act of June 9, 1910, and from the necessity of carrying on board two copies of the pilot rules, as required by the regulations of the Department of Commerce which were adopted in accordance with that act. All the races of our regatta are conducted under the rules of the American Power Boat Association and under the official sanction of that body. Among other things these rules require that every driver must not only carry but wear a life jacket, and failure to comply with this rule makes the offender liable to an automatic and mandatory suspension of 6 months. From our experience in conducting this regatta, we are of the firm opinion that it is next to impossible to find room aboard these craft to carry a fire extinguisher or sound-producing device because of the extremely small size of the racing outboards and the very small cockpit in which the driver has to crouch in piloting the craft. Assuming that room could be found, the driver could hardly have a chance to use either of them due both to his cramped quarters and the speed at which these boats travel during a race. There is also the grave danger of their becoming dislodged from their fastenings and breaking through the frail hull of the boat or seriously injuring the driver if it should chance to strike him. In the event of the fire board one of these craft, rather than attempting to use a fire extinguisher with the attendant necessity of losing control of the craft, it is a much more expedient measure for the driver to intentionally capsize the boat and jump clear, depending on his life jacket for his own safety. Outboard racing drivers are fully aware of this fact, and are prepared to take this action should the emergency arise. When this action is taken it is a very effective means of extinguishing any flame aboard the boat because nearly all engines in this type of craft use one of the several alcohol fuels commercially available, and water diluting this fuel very rapidly forms a noncombustible mixture. Referring to the requirement of carrying on board two copies of the pilot rules, we believe that it is entirely unneecssary due to the fact that these craft are designed solely for racing, and when so engaged travel only a previously surveyed and prescribed course. In addition, it would be palpably impossible for the driver to consult these rules while traveling at a speed probably in excess of 60 miles per hour.
In view of the above facts and in order that we might be relieved of any possible difficulties or embarrassment in connection with the running of our regatta, we heartily endorse passage of H. R. 6273. I respectfully request for this bill, therefore, the consideration of your committee and earnestly hope that you will report it favorably to the Congress.
Very truly yours,
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any others here with amendments or with suggestions as to these bills? (No response.)
Are representatives of the Coast Guard here?
Commander, O'NEILL Yes, sir; Lieutenant Pollio, Commander Richmond, and myself [Commander O'Neill] are here.
The CHAIRMAN. I want you people to get together and give me something about these boats being ol to carry identification cards. I want to write that in this bill, if I can.
All right, Captain Sweet, take the stand.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. HENRY E. SWEET, SENIOR NAVIGATION OFFICER, BUREAU OF MARINE INSPECTION AND NAVIGATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Captain Sweet. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the only objections I have heard here this morning to this bill, H. R. 6039, have been with relation to the section dealing with lights and to section 6 dealing with life preservers. The suggestion has been made that the size of class A boats as set up in the bill be reduced from 16 feet to 12 or 13 feet, I believe. I personally do not see any reason for reducing that limit. It would set up one additional division for motorboats. We now have in the Numbering Act, in the case of the numbering of outboard boats, a limit at 16 feet, and this simply continues the same limitation for the purposes of equipment.
Mr. KEEFE. I understand, Captain, that an outboard motorboat under 16 feet is not subject to existing law.
Captain Sweet. No, sir; that is not quite correct; an outboard motorboat, regardless of length, is required to comply with the motorboat law requiring equipment.
Mr. KEEFE. Yes.
Captain Sweet. But if used mainly for rowing or for sailing and is not more than 16 feet long, it is not required to be numbere or registered; it is exempt from that provision of the law.
In the matter of the white light for these smaller boats, I have inspected quite a number of motorboats myself, and I have seen a great number of these small boats operating in the daytime, but I have seen very few of them operating at night. In the main, the small outboard motorboat, when it is operated at night, at the present time, as far as I know, carries no lights; the exhibition of any o is a rare thing. It would be my thought and my hope that these boats would comply with the requirements that they carry a white light, which is the same requirement now set up for a rowboat or for a small sailboat. It is not as burdensome as the present requirement for a combination light, and a white light may be carried
a little more readily. Many of the owners of outboard motorboats or, rather, outboard motors, carry their motors with them and rent boats, and the more equipment they are required to take with them and carry around with them and put in that rented boat the more burdensome it is and the less likely they are to do it.
As far as these very fast small outboard boats are concerned, it is true we have quite a number of them. But I think it is a very rare thing to find those boats operating at night. A fast outboard boat is a very light boat. A very small piece of driftwood would sink them if they happen to strike it and at night the driftwood cannot be seen. The result is very few people take that chance and we have little or no danger from those boats operating at night. In Sheepshead Bay it is true we have considerable congestion. I cannot say exactly what the conditions are there today; but in the past the outboard boats on Sheepshead Bay were like they are in all other places—they carried lights very seldom. The bay itself is a narrow bay; it is well lighted on both sides, and boats with no lights at all can be distinguished in the bay.
As far as telling the course of these small boats which are moving rapidly, I do not think that presents any difficulty. If the white light is seen moving rapidly, it is certainly easy to tell which way it is going.
In the matter of these class 1 motorboats, when operating by sail and machinery, or by sail alone, at the present time the law requires a motorboat, when under way, under a sail and machinery, or under sail alone, to extinguish the white lights and exhibit colored side lights. That does not present any difficulty in the case of class 2 and class 3 motorboats, which are equipped with colored side lights and simply have to put out their white lights. In the case of smaller boats, they are not equipped with colored side lights. The law requires them to be equipped with a combination light and one white light. Under the present law, if those boats are used with a sail, they must extinguish both of those lights and exhibit two colored side lights properly screened. The only statute we have today which requires those side lights, and under which they must carry it, are the inland rules of the road and the corresponding rules for the Great Lakes and western rivers. Those rules require colored side lights to be fitted with inboad screens at least 3 feet long, and I think it is manifestly ridiculous on a small boat. It cannot be done. It seems to me it is a burdensome thing to require the owner of those small boats to carry two complete sets of lights, to extinguish his white light and tell him to show only the combination light, the colored red-and-green bow light. It would not seem to do much good, as many of those boats carry jibs, and jibs flap around in front of the combination light and obscure it practically all of the time from some direction, and a good part of the time from all directions.
In the case of sailboats having no power, the inland rules of the road and the other rules now permit that small sailboats may have ready at hand a white light to be shown in sufficient time to avert a collision, and this bill proposes to extend that to cover those same boats when they do have an engine, and even in case the engine is