Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/02/04

Tips from Capt JJ: “One black ball means he’s anchored. After that, the more balls you see, the more f*k’d  he is.”

one black ball:

two black balls:
“Not under command. Underway, but no way on. Adrift.”
Unable to follow any rules.

three black balls:
“Aground. Displayed aloft.”

 two black balls, two diamonds:
“Vessel engaged in underwater work. Pass on diamond side; avoid ball side.”

Another beauty tip from Capt JJ: “You know how I remember it? girls love diamonds, so go for the diamonds. Or, you have to have balls to pass on the side with the balls. But the girls and diamonds one is easier, for me.”

ball diamond ball:
“Restricted in ability to maneuver. Working vessel.”

And, Capt JJ had to go there—“This is no good, either:”

— thanks, Capt JJ. I think.

If hungry for more, the COLREGS International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, published by the IMO, spells out in exhaustive detail the rules for lights, shapes (dayshapes like these), and sound signals.

Note:  *No vessel ever has absolute ‘right of way’ over other vessels.*  You can be the ‘give way’ (burdened) or the ‘stand on’ (privileged) vessel.

13 Responses

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  1. SeaBart said, on 2012/02/04 at 14:34

    Excellent imaging of a few important & hard to remember rules.

    I dig the “Capt JJ”-tips!

    Can we have a print to hang it on the bridge here? Thnx! ;-D

  2. eastriver said, on 2012/02/04 at 20:27

    Absolutely wonderful, and correct!

  3. o docker said, on 2012/02/05 at 01:10

    I like a post with balls.

    Speaking of balls, did you know there’s a nautical connection behind the one that drops at Times Square on New Year’s Eve?

    • Cayman Pete said, on 2012/10/25 at 13:53

      and of course, everyone know where the expression “freeze the balls off a brass monkey” comes from?

  4. […] themselves patriots and equally burly ones calling going by “giants,” and inspired by bowsprite’s clarity and conciseness on the subject of balls, I thought to reflect on them […]

  5. Bob Easton said, on 2012/02/05 at 20:17

    Great pictures Christina!

    … and I think you got it right for the Costa Concordia. Can’t find any ball signals in the photos I see of her. The Captain must have taken them with him when he accidentally departed early in that life boat.

    Thanks for the education … via beautifully done watercolors.

  6. Buck said, on 2012/02/06 at 14:10

    Oh, I served me time in the Black Ball Line,
    To me way-aye-aye, hurrah-oh!
    In the Black Ball Line I served me time,
    Hurrah for the Black Ball Line!

  7. Vladimir Brezina said, on 2012/02/06 at 15:19

    Lovely pictures, and informative! Now we need another post on night-time light configurations 😉 The Costa Concordia, for instance, may not have displayed any balls, but it did display two red lights on the mast…

    • Bmcuscg said, on 2012/02/07 at 10:11

      To bad the captain did not have any. Leaving the boat

  8. Vagabonde said, on 2012/02/06 at 21:12

    I learn so much on your blog and your illustrations are perfect.

  9. Daniel Gallegos said, on 2012/02/07 at 08:50

    Wonderful post! So glad you are out there!

  10. Harbor Humorist « BOAT ART said, on 2012/04/02 at 13:57

    […] commentary, always with a maritime flavor. One of her latest presents a comic panel  called “Balls“: here she explores highly topical dilemmas in the display of nautical signals. Another is […]

  11. […] Balls; Bowsprite: A New York Harbor Sketchbook […]

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