Item of the Day: Blunt’s American Coast Pilot (1809)

Full Title: The American coast pilot; containing the courses and distances between the principal harbours, capes and headlands, from Passamaquoddy, through the Gulph of Florida; with directions for sailing into the same, describing the soundings, bearings of the light-houses and beacons from the rocks, shoals, ledges, &c. Together with the courses and distances from Cape Cod and Cape Ann to George’s Bank, through the south and east channels, and the settings of the currents, with the latitudes and longitudes of the principal harbours on the coast, together with a tide table. By Capt. Lawrence Furlong. Corrected and improved by the most serious pilots in the United States. Also information to masters of vessels, wherein the manner of transacting business at the Custom Houses is fully elucidated. Sixth edition. Newburyport: Printed by Edmund M. Blunt, proprietor; sold by Edward Little, 1809.

[Blunt’s American Coast Pilot, origianlly published in 1796, was the first publication of sailing directions compiled and published in the United States. It contains sailing directions for the U. S. territorial waters as well as for those of its possessions. In addition to sailing directions, included in the American Coastal Pilot are charts, plans, harbor descriptions, and courses and distances. The appendix contains additional useful information such as: laws relating to the power and duty of consuls, instructions for masters of vessels, regulations of seamen, state of Georgia seamen and mariners, regulations of the fisheries, an abstract of the laws of the United States concerning vessels to be employed in the coasting trade and fisheries, relief of sick and disabled seamen, quarantine, protection of American seamen, the slave trade, duties payable by law on all goods, and wares and merchandize. Blunt pubished around thirty editions. The following excerpt is taken from the sixth edition.]


All vessels moored in the stream of the East or North river, are not to be within 150 fathoms of any wharf.All vessels lying at the wharves of either river, or in the basons [sic] or slips, are to have their lower and tip sail yards topped, their fore and aft spars rigged in, and to have the anchors taken up, and the crowns in upon the forecastle.

All vessels having on board gun-powder, or other combustible articles, are to discharge the same before they come to the wharf.

All vessels having on board unslacked lime, are not to entanble themselves with other vessels or lie where thwy will take the ground.

No vessel whatever, between this and Sandy hook, to throw overboard stone ballast below low water mark; and in this harbour particularly, all ballast is to be fairly landed at high water mark; and at the time of discharging it, attention is to be paid not to drop any in the water, ballast of any kind not to be unladen at night.

No fire to be made or kept on baord any vessel whatever at any dock, wharf, pier or key, within the bounds of this city, at any other time, than from day-light in the morning till eight o’clock at night.

No pitch, or tar, or other combustibles, to be heated on board any vessel lying at the wharves, or in the basons or slips, but to be done on the stages or boats, removeable in case of accident.

All vessels that are not employed in discharging or receiving cargoes, are to make room for such others, as require to be more immediately accomadated with proper births for those purposes.

All vessels at the end of any wharf, and in part or in whole covering the slips, must occasionally haul either way to accommodate those going in or out of the docks or slips, or quit the birth.

All masters of ships or other vessels are to reprort in writing, and on aoth, to the mahor of the city, the names and occupations of every person who shall be brought into this port in his vessels, and for every neglect a fine of 50 dollars for each person, who is likeley to become a tax on the city; he is to carry him or her back, or support them himself.

It is recommended, that all vessels lying at the wharves keep an anchor anc cable in readiness, in case of fire to bring up with in the stream, if necessary.


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Filed under 1800's, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel

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