A really stupid knife question

I am almost embarrassed to ask this but figure here is the forum.

I came from working on commercial fishing boats, in that I always carried a pocket knife able to cut out some small lines. On the after bulkhead on my smaller boats I had a nice 6" or 8" overall length, Kershaw, solid bar stock knife. I forget the name of it. Moving up we carried machette’s for larger lines, bolt cutters, axes, etc.

So a few years ago I had to end up working deck for a little bit. I saw a painter line almost get wrapped up on someone, made me think man why not carry that Kershaw knife I have at home for this shit, awesome blade on it, etc. So I did, was wearing it out one day and walked by one of the long time AB’s and he jumped all over me, saying it was illegal to have a solid stock knife onboard, Captain will fire you, etc, saying its against USCG Regulations etc. etc.

So, what is the real deal, any truth to that? I wanted to bring it up but I didn’t get along with the captain already, was leaving the boat in a few days anyways. I haven’t worn it since…

What I think pisses me off more, is if they took advantage of a new guy, for a bullshit thing, that would really piss me off. Sure have me go get a bottle of prop wash, etc. (which when asked, I leave for about 30 minutes, get a cup of coffee) However, if it is safety related, putting someone in danger, that would piss me off.

[TITLE 46 > Subtitle II > Part G > CHAPTER 115 > § 11506


A seaman in the merchant marine may not wear a sheath knife on board a vessel without the consent of the master. The master of a vessel of the United States shall inform each seaman of this prohibition before engagement. A master failing to advise a seaman is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of $50.](http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode46/usc_sec_46_00011506----000-.html)

It’s the Master who can get fined, not the seaman. Note that the responsibility falls on the master, both in giving consent and informing the crew of the law. If you ever sail with me, you have my consent.

I remember back in the early '70s the chief mate pointed out the reg that read then $50 fine for the offender. The wording was $25 to go to the informant and $25 for the relief of disabled seamen, or something to that effect.

[QUOTE=Snipe79;55159]…its against USCG Regulations etc. etc.[/QUOTE]

As noted above, it’s in the U.S. Code, not the CFR. Congress writes the U.S. Code, not the Coast Guard.

Interesting. It was on this forum that following the Deep Water Horizon incident one of the first recomendations was that some survivors stated that a [[U]B]knife and a tourch [/B[/U]]would have been most valuble. Following this I think it was admin. that commented that no prudent seaman would be without both at hand. I always carry a knife on deck allbeit not a sheath knife but a good quality pocket folding knife capable of cutting through all ropes and even small dia. wire. I carry it in my luggage when joining or leaving never on my person and have never experianced any problems or objections from any person in my years at sea.I will continue to do so and I now ensure I have a working tourch at my cabin door ! Regards Gerry. (MN Officer UK)

Folding knives are not prohibited and on most vessels I know are highly advised. It is sheath knives that are illegal without the permission of the master.

[QUOTE=Capt. Schmitt;55312]Folding knives are not prohibited and on most vessels I know are highly advised. It is sheath knives that are illegal without the permission of the master.[/QUOTE]

Unfortunately, several companies in the GOM do not allow their employees to have knives of any sort in their possession. Not sure which ones, but have heard it mentioned more than once around the forum.

That is a recipe for disaster. Maybe it is my mindset since I started on square riggers where good, solid sheath knives (no flimsy bait knives allowed) were required at all times. Hell, when I towed in alaska I wore two fishing knives, one serrated bait knife and a heavier serrated knife - both sheath knives - when working on deck.

Been more than one occasion I needed a knife to keep a larger line or hose out of the prop. Now we carry these bulky “alternative cutting devices” cause we’ll get fired for having a knife.

Sent from my HTC Inspire using gCaptain

If I have pants on, I have a sharp knife in my pocket!

Except when the #R^% %%^&ing TSA is involved!

I have carried a sheath knife on deck since 1977. In the Royal Navy on my first ship I would be fined as a seaman if caught in workrime on the deck without it. It became a habit to carry a good serated sheath knife or divers knife for heavy or emergency use as well as a smaller one or multitool forsmall stuff. Also carry a small maglite on the belt too both of which have served me very well. Have travelled abroad with them in my luggage( hold luggage) and have never had them refused or even questioned.In fact on certain jobs I have asked my company to buy divers knives for all crew involved on deck and this has been granted.

I vote that no competent sailor will be without a knife, a light and a small crescent.

The government prohibition of knives is clearly obsolete and never enforced, but the company rules now prohibit them in any form. Alternative cutting devices are the norm, thanks to a bunch of office bound MBAs and bean counters. The rule actually makes sense in plants and manufacturing settings and that’s where the rule has migrated from.

BUT, no competent sailor will be without a knife. Everyone here carries them quietly against the rule. We would never fire someone for it unless we’re looking for a reason anyway. I don’t think many of our unlicensed people would quit over it, but I think we’d loose a couple of mates in the company if they pushed the issue. Personally I will not go to sea without it.