BP, Coast Guard, Media and the 65 foot rule

… or maybe there’s still ‘no THERE, THERE.’

Apparently there was an amendment made to the 65 feet ‘media rule’ by the Coast Guard.  But, where does this correction come from?

In 1972 there was, um,  (as listed clearly in the press release issued at first) this: ” …  may require vessels to install and use specified navigation equipment, communications equipment, electronic relative motion analyzer equipment, or any electronic or other device necessary to comply with a vessel traffic service or which is necessary in the interests of vessel safety: Provided, That the Secretary shall not require fishing vessels under 300 gross tons as measured under section 14502 of title 46, United States Code, or an alternate tonnage measured under section 14302 of that title as prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of that title or recreational vessels 65 feet or less to possess or use the equipment or devices required by this subsection solely under the authority of this Act …”

Did you see the specific distance of 65 feet?

(Late Addition: the bar on seagoing vessel distance kept changing because it was fairly arbitrary … never did see any reference to the once-mentioned 300 feet.  The above is less relevant than I thought but what caused me to look into this issue in the first place.)

Is it REALLY POSSIBLE that our media, AND BLOGGERS, cannot tell the difference between a 65 FOOT SEA VESSEL AND 65 FEET FROM SHORES? REALLY?! 


So, not only has the Coast Guard been speaking of water based activity – NOT land based as implied constantly – but also has been talking about a fairly short distance by sea.  Yes, it is possible to walk on a beach – I guess you could swim if you REALLY wanted to – and get closer.  As long as you’re not in a boat.

In short, you will not be fined $40,000 for taking some pictures.

UPDATE:  Just got off the phone with the Deepwater Horizon press room who told me, yes, I am – in fact – correct. They are speaking of being on the sea, not on foot, and they are speaking of vessel size distance – which is why clarification was necessary.  Text stating as much coming via email. I will post it then.

UPDATE 2:  Remember, in the rather early stages of the disaster Talking Points Memo got this email from a reader stating this:  “Tons of workboats are on site. There are 5 or more ROVs roaming the wellhead monitoring and cleaning things up. They’re already bumping into each other because they normally work solo while tied to a ship by a mile long umbilical cable. They don’t need more ROVs down there adding to the traffic.”

UPDATE 3: On July 4,  retired Adm. Thad Allen released the following clarification indicating that he ALSO has been talking about ocean based access:  “‘Last week Coast Guard Captains of the Port in the region put in place limited, small waterside safety zones around protective boom and those vessels actively responding to this spill. This was required due to recent instances of protective boom being vandalized or broken by non-response vessels getting too close.”

Full UPDATE: Per Deepwater Horizon Representative Mark Proegler’s email: “Clarification on 20 meter safety zone: Per your call earlier today, I understanding you’re seeking clarification on the 20 meter safety zone:  this specifies the minimum distance between containment boom and the vessel.”



  1. Ha! This is like some crazy urban myth.

  2. […] realize there is an investigation going on with regard to the newest well leak, but should that boat have been in the water? Has anyone asked that question? Have journalists asked that […]

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s