Is it wise, or unlawful, to drift fish in a busy channel? I'm talking about the Thames River in New London, CT, which has ferries constanta
No its not illegal, though you cant anchor in a marked navigable channel. I think I "hear" what you are saying: its a pain to have to slow down and go around those fishing in a narrow channel. I agree. But its everybody's water, and we have to share it best we can.
I don't think that it is illegal to do it but think about it, your there drifting and the John H or the Cape Henlonplin ferry is heading for you and you not watching, How quickly do you think they can turn ?
I would rather stay out of the middle and out of the way. Better safe the sorry.
OH BTW you would also be in the sub track. Check with the US Navy.
You're right. If you choose to fish in a spot like that you need to be watchful and ready to move. That said, I have been transiting the Thames for decades in my own boat, and as a ferry passenger, and there have always been folks fishing the channel. So, without checking mind you, I'd say the Navy is cool with it.
Of course, a check of the "Notes" on the nautical chart would tell you at a glance whether any special regs applied to the channel in the Thames.
This link to the Captain of the Port might prove interesting. It seems to indicate that some special safety rules may be under consideration.
Just checkd the nautical chart ( http://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/13213.shtml) and referenced my copy of the US Coast Pilot, #2, chapter 2. Nothing about fishing/drifting in the channel specific to New London Harbor.
Check your federal regs along with your state.
1. In Florida you are 'NOT' allowed to anchor in the traveled portion of the river or channel that will prevent or interfere with any vessel passing through the same area.
2. Operate a vessel that will interfere unnecessarily with the safe operation of other vessels.
Homeland Security Restrictions
1. Cannot approach within 100 yards and must slow to min speed within 500 yards of any Navy vessel unless you contact them or the coast gaurd escort vessel .
2. Avoid all security zones and commercial port operation areas ie: cruise lines, ferries, or petroleum facilities.
3. Do not stop or anchor beneath bridges or in the channel.
This is straight out of the Florida boaters guide. Hope this helps.