Site Feedback

Title 33

Displaying title 33, up to date as of 9/22/2021. Title 33 was last amended 9/22/2021.

Title 33

eCFR Content

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the official legal print publication containing the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) is a continuously updated online version of the CFR. It is not an official legal edition of the CFR.

Learn more about the eCFR, its status, and the editorial process.

§ 165.501 Chesapeake Bay entrance and Hampton Roads, VA and adjacent waters - Regulated Navigation Area.

(a) Location. The waters enclosed by the shoreline and the following lines are a Regulated Navigation Area:

(1) Offshore zone. A line drawn due East from the mean low water mark at the North Carolina and Virginia border at latitude 36°33′03″ N, longitude 75°52′00″ W, to the Territorial Seas boundary line at latitude 36°33′05″ N, longitude 75°36′51″ W, thence generally Northeastward along the Territorial Seas boundary line to latitude 38°01′39″ N, longitude 74°57′18″ W, thence due West to the mean low water mark at the Maryland and Virginia border at latitude 38°01′39″ N, longitude 75°14′30″ W, thence South along the mean low water mark on the Virginia coast, and eastward of the Colregs Demarcation Lines across Chincoteague Inlet, Assawoman Inlet, Gargathy Inlet, Metompkin Inlet, Wachapreague Inlet, Quinby Inlet, Great Machipongo Inlet, Sand Shoal Inlet, New Inlet, Ship Shoal Inlet and Little Inlet, to the Colregs Demarcation Line across the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, continuing south along the Virginia low water mark and eastward of the Colregs Demarcation Line across Rudee Inlet to the point of beginning. All positions reference NAD 83.

(2) Inland zone. The waters enclosed by the shoreline and the following lines:

(i) A line drawn across the entrance to Chesapeake Bay between Wise Point and Cape Charles Light, and then continuing to Cape Henry Light.

(ii) A line drawn across the Chesapeake Bay between Old Point Comfort Light and Cape Charles City Range “A” Rear Light.

(iii) A line drawn across the James River along the eastern side of U.S. Route 17 highway bridge, between Newport News and Isle of Wight County, Virginia.

(iv) A line drawn across Chuckatuck Creek along the northern side of the north span of the U.S. Route 17 highway bridge, between Isle of Wight County and Suffolk, Virginia.

(v) A line drawn across the Nansemond River along the northern side of the Mills Godwin (U.S. Route 17) Bridge, Suffolk, Virginia.

(vi) A line drawn across the mouth of Bennetts Creek, Suffolk, Virginia.

(vii) A line drawn across the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River along the eastern side of the West Norfolk Bridge, Portsmouth, Virginia.

(viii) A line drawn across the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River along the northern side of the I-64 highway bridge, Chesapeake, Virginia.

(ix) A line drawn across the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River along the western side of the west span of the Campostella Bridge, Norfolk, Virginia.

(x) A line drawn across the Lafayette River along the western side of the Hampton Boulevard Bridge, Norfolk, Virginia.

(xi) A line drawn across Little Creek along the eastern side of the Ocean View Avenue (U.S. Route 60) Bridge, Norfolk, Virginia.

(xii) A line drawn across Lynnhaven Inlet along the northern side of Shore Drive (U.S. Route 60) Bridge, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

(b) Definitions. In this section:

CBBT means the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Coast Guard Patrol Commander is a Coast Guard commissioned, warrant or petty officer who has been designated by the Commander, Coast Guard Sector Virginia.

Designated representative of the Captain of the Port means a person, including the duty officer at the Coast Guard Sector Virginia, the Joint Harbor Operations Center watchstander, or the Coast Guard or Navy Patrol Commander who has been authorized by the Captain of the Port to act on his or her behalf and at his or her request to carry out such orders and directions as needed. All patrol vessels shall display the Coast Guard Ensign at all times when underway.

I-664 Bridge Tunnel means the Monitor Merrimac Bridge Tunnel.

Inland waters means waters within the COLREGS Line of Demarcation.

Thimble Shoal Channel consists of the waters bounded by a line connecting Thimble Shoal Channel Lighted Bell Buoy 1TS, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Gong Buoy 17, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 19, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 21, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 22, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 18, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 2, thence to the beginning.

Thimble Shoal North Auxiliary Channel consists of the waters in a rectangular area 450 feet wide adjacent to the north side of Thimble Shoal Channel, the southern boundary of which extends from Thimble Shoal Channel Lighted Buoy 2 to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 18.

Thimble Shoal South Auxiliary Channel consists of the waters in a rectangular area 450 feet wide adjacent to the south side of Thimble Shoal Channel, the northern boundary of which extends from Thimble Shoal Channel Lighted Bell Buoy 1TS, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Gong Buoy 17, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 19, thence to Thimble Shoal Lighted Buoy 21.

(c) Applicability. This section applies to all vessels operating within the Regulated Navigation Area, including naval and public vessels, except vessels that are engaged in the following operations:

(1) Law enforcement.

(2) Servicing aids to navigation.

(3) Surveying, maintenance, or improvement of waters in the Regulated Navigation Area.

(d) Regulations -

(1) Anchoring restrictions. No vessel over 65 feet long may anchor or moor in the inland waters of the Regulated Navigation Area outside an anchorage designated in § 110.168 of this title, with these exceptions:

(i) The vessel has the permission of the Captain of the Port.

(ii) Only in an emergency, when unable to proceed without endangering the safety of persons, property, or the environment, may a vessel anchor in a channel.

(iii) A vessel may not anchor within the confines of Little Creek Harbor, Desert Cove, or Little Creek Cove without the permission of the Captain of the Port. The Captain of the Port shall consult with the Commander, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, before granting permission to anchor within this area.

(2) Anchoring detail requirements. A self-propelled vessel over 100 gross tons, which is equipped with an anchor or anchors (other than a tugboat equipped with bow fenderwork of a type of construction that prevents an anchor being rigged for quick release), that is underway within two nautical miles of the CBBT or the I-664 Bridge Tunnel shall station its personnel at locations on the vessel from which they can anchor the vessel without delay in an emergency.

(3) Secondary towing rig requirements on inland waters.

(i) A vessel over 100 gross tons may not be towed in the inland waters of the Regulated Navigation Area unless it is equipped with a secondary towing rig, in addition to its primary towing rig, that:

(A) Is of sufficient strength for towing the vessel.

(B) Has a connecting device that can receive a shackle pin of at least two inches in diameter.

(C) Is fitted with a recovery pickup line led outboard of the vessel's hull.

(ii) A tow consisting of two or more vessels, each of which is less than 100 gross tons, that has a total gross tonnage that is over 100 gross tons, shall be equipped with a secondary towing rig between each vessel in the tow, in addition to its primary towing rigs, while the tow is operating within this Regulated Navigation Area. The secondary towing rig must:

(A) Be of sufficient strength for towing the vessels.

(B) Have connecting devices that can receive a shackle pin of at least two inches in diameter.

(C) Be fitted with recovery pickup lines led outboard of the vessel's hull.

(4) Thimble Shoals Channel controls.

(i) A vessel drawing less than 25 feet may not enter the Thimble Shoal Channel, unless the vessel is crossing the channel. Masters should consider the squat of their vessel based upon vessel design and environmental conditions. Channel crossings shall be made as perpendicular to the channel axis as possible.

(ii) Except when crossing the channel, a vessel in the Thimble Shoal North Auxiliary Channel shall proceed in a westbound direction.

(iii) Except when crossing the channel, a vessel in the Thimble Shoal South Auxiliary Channel shall proceed in an eastbound direction.

(5) Restrictions on vessels with impaired maneuverability -

(i) Before entry. A vessel over 100 gross tons, whose ability to maneuver is impaired by heavy weather, defective steering equipment, defective main propulsion machinery, or other damage, may not enter the Regulated Navigation Area without the permission of the Captain of the Port.

(ii) After entry. A vessel over 100 gross tons, which is underway in the Regulated Navigation Area, that has its ability to maneuver become impaired for any reason, shall, as soon as possible, report the impairment to the Captain of the Port.

(6) Requirements for navigation charts, radars, and pilots. No vessel over 100 gross tons may enter the Regulated Navigation Area, unless it has on board:

(i) Corrected charts of the Regulated Navigation Area. Instead of corrected paper charts, warships or other vessels owned, leased, or operated by the United States Government and used only in government noncommercial service may carry electronic charting and navigation systems that have met the applicable agency regulations regarding navigation safety.

(ii) An operative radar during periods of reduced visibility;

(iii) When in inland waters, a pilot or other person on board with previous experience navigating vessels on the waters of the Regulated Navigation Area.

(7) Emergency procedures.

(i) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(7)(ii) of this section, in an emergency any vessel may deviate from the regulations in this section to the extent necessary to avoid endangering the safety of persons, property, or the environment.

(ii) A vessel over 100 gross tons with an emergency that is located within two nautical miles of the CBBT or I-664 Bridge Tunnel shall notify the Captain of the Port of its location and the nature of the emergency, as soon as possible.

(8) Vessel speed limits -

(i) Little Creek. A vessel may not proceed at a speed over five knots between the Route 60 bridge and the mouth of Fishermans Cove (Northwest Branch of Little Creek).

(ii) Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River. A vessel may not proceed at a speed over six knots between the junction of the Southern and Eastern Branches of the Elizabeth River and the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Bridge between Chesapeake and Portsmouth, Virginia.

(iii) Norfolk Harbor Reach. Nonpublic vessels of 300 gross tons or more may not proceed at a speed over 10 knots between the Elizabeth River Channel Lighted Gong Buoy 5 of Norfolk Harbor Reach (southwest of Sewells Point) at approximately 36°58′00″ N, 076°20′00″ W, and gated Elizabeth River Channel Lighted Buoys 17 and 18 of Craney Island Reach (southwest of Norfolk International Terminal at approximately 36°54′17″ N, and 076°20′11″ W.

(9) Port security requirements. Vessels in excess of 300 gross tons, including tug and barge combinations in excess of 300 gross tons (combined), shall not enter the Regulated Navigation Area, move within the Regulated Navigation Area, or be present within the Regulated Navigation Area, unless they comply with the following requirements:

(i) Obtain authorization to enter the Regulated Navigation Area from the designated representative of the Captain of the Port prior to entry. All vessels entering or remaining in the Regulated Navigation Area may be subject to a Coast Guard boarding.

(ii) Ensure that no person who is not a permanent member of the vessel's crew, or a member of a Coast Guard boarding team, boards the vessel without a valid purpose and photo identification.

(iii) Report any departure from or movement within the Regulated Navigation Area to the designated representative of the Captain of the Port prior to getting underway.

(iv) The designated representative of the Captain of the Port is the Sector Command Center (SCC) - Joint Harbor Operations Center (JHOC) which shall be contacted on VHF-FM channel 12, or by calling (757) 668-5555.

(v) In addition to the authorities listed in this part, this paragraph is promulgated under the authority under 46 U.S.C. 70116.

(e) Waivers.

(1) The Captain of the Port may, upon request, waive any regulation in this section.

(2) An application for a waiver must state the need for the waiver and describe the proposed vessel operations.

(f) Control of vessels within the regulated navigation area.

(1) When necessary to prevent damage, destruction or loss of any vessel, facility or port infrastructure, the Captain of the Port may direct the movement of vessels or issue orders requiring vessels to anchor or moor in specific locations.

(2) If needed for the maritime, commercial or security interests of the United States, the Captain of the Port may order a vessel to move from the location in which it is anchored to another location within the Regulated Navigation Area.

(3) The master of a vessel within the Regulated Navigation Area shall comply with any orders or directions issued to the master's vessel by the Captain of the Port.

[CGD05-02-099, 68 FR 35175, June 12, 2003, as amended by USCG-2006-25150, 71 FR 39211, July 12, 2006; USCG-0943, 85 FR 6806, Feb. 6, 2020]