Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Boating History, 1942: War-Time Regulations Applicable to Boats

Within an old (1942) copy of Chapman's Seamanship textbook was a summary of special rules that pleasure boaters had to follow after the USA's entry into World War II. They make for interesting reading, so I've summarized some of the bits here. In the wake of 9/11, some of these may look familiar; sometimes what is old becomes new again. Try to imagine what it might have been like to have operated a small boat under wartime conditions.

No craft can be operated on territorial waters of the United States without a license. The only exceptions are rowboats, sailboats under 16 feet, and outboards under 16 feet with not over 10 h.p.

.... Before departure from "local waters" of a Naval District, bots must have a departure license...

The owner, operator, and every member of the crew must have on board with him a personal identification card issued by the U. S. Coast Guard....

Pleasure boats are not allowed in restricted areas. They must not operate within 100 feet of a Navy Yard, shipbuilding plant, power plant, oil terminal, marine terminal... except on legitimate business. Operation at night prohibited, except on legitimate business. Boats authorized to go to sea must not leave before 1/2 hour before sunrise or return later than 1/2 hour after sunset. Boats must not land at private property or proceed to sea without permission from the guard vessel. Cameras and enemy aliens are not permitted aboard.

...For the duration of the war, and for six months thereafter, registration numbers painted on both bows of a boat must be of a larger size than the 3 inches originally prescribed. On boats up to 20 feet in length, numbers must be 6 to 8 inches high;... The registration number must also be painted, same size, on the cabin or deckhouse top so as to be visible from the air...

Sale of a boat to any person not a citizen of the United States is void, without the approval of the U. S. Maritime Commission.


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