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Old 23-03-2011, 08:57   #31
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazzas Boat View Post
The Tow Boat US Captain never asked the owner/skipper his mast height.
Just curious, how do you know that? Were you on the sailboat? Are you the skipper of the sailboat?
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Old 23-03-2011, 09:44   #32
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Why would anyone (tow captain or sailboat captain) not have a means of communication? At least a handheld VHF. It says foreign flagged vessel. Maybe there was a language problem.
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Old 24-03-2011, 06:53   #33
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Readers may find this interesting:
Quote:
A common misperception in the maritime industry is that a towing company is liable whenever its tow is lost or damaged. In fact, there is no such rule under US law, and diverse parties can share responsibility for towing casualties....

Arkansas State Highway Commision vs Arkansas River Co...the US Army Corps of Engineers contracted with Arkansas River Company to move a dragline barge on the Mississippi River. TheCorps's supervisor determined the boom on the barge did not have to be lowered from 30 degrees to 15 degrees for the voyage, which involved passing under a certain bridge. The tug captain inspected the barge before departing and assumed the boom would clear the bridge, but the boom struck the underside of the bridge. The district court, affirmed on appeal, held the Corps to be 100 percent liable and rejected the argument that the tug operator should have noticed the boom had not been lowered.


read it all here:
Towing Liability 1
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Old 24-03-2011, 12:51   #34
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

I was there when this happened and there was no wind at all, and even if there was it would have been almost impossible to sail thru that area, - the scale on the bridge was intact and they were traveling around 5 knots- The tow boat was running alongside the bridge until it came to the main channel where it turned hard to starboard with only about 100 -150 feet to the bridge it would have been hard for the vessel being towed to react fast enough to cut the lines- there should have been radio contact the whole time as is the norm-
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Old 24-03-2011, 13:06   #35
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Quote:
Originally Posted by doug86 View Post
Readers may find this interesting:

read it all here:
Towing Liability 1
Yeah especially because this is "distress towing" I can see it being even harder to pin it on the tow operator.

And I'm not sure if anyone's pointed it out yet, but (as a guy with master's license and towing endorsement) there's a world of difference between what I know and can do versus what a "real" tow operator can do.
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Old 24-03-2011, 13:36   #36
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Wow...so much mis-information I don't even know where to start. 9 year vet of a towboat company and former USCG operations officer with the duty to oversee the local towboat companies (to the degree allowed by law...plus their whining when things weren't going their way)

First much of the franchise/not franchise info is either incorrect or misleading. Plus it doesn't matter as to the professionalism of the tow boat captain in question or any other for that matter.

There are many factors that could have lead to the damaged mast. Unless you were privy to the conversations between the towboat and sailboat...it's all guessing. Usually the towboat is responsible...but clearly if the sailboat didn't give correct info...that may relieve the towboat skipper of some liability.

lastly...anyone that actually believes the clearance board on bridges...good luck...I accurately measure many because of my job and while many are close...some are way off. If in doubt of my assessment...look up info on the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine, FL...seems there's more written on that bridge than religion in general.
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Old 24-03-2011, 13:39   #37
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Yeah especially because this is "distress towing" I can see it being even harder to pin it on the tow operator.

And I'm not sure if anyone's pointed it out yet, but (as a guy with master's license and towing endorsement) there's a world of difference between what I know and can do versus what a "real" tow operator can do.

technically there's no such thing as "distress towing" except by the USCG here in the states....there's assistance towing and salvage....what this sailboat was going through would have been assistance towing unless she was taking on water faster than pumps could keep up with or she was on fire headed for a fireboat/engine.
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Old 24-03-2011, 13:42   #38
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

What we've got here is a failure to communicate.
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Old 24-03-2011, 14:04   #39
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

Simply incredible that this could happen. Obviously, whoever was in control of the two craft is responsible. It is unbelievable that they did not approach the bridge VERY slowly if there was ANY doubt whatsoever. Looks like there was no wind/wave driving them and those tow boats have mega horsepower to maintain control. I guess the lesson is to be very careful who you let control your boat. Would be a good forum topic to discuss the stupidest things people have seen done. Bet there are plenty.
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Old 24-03-2011, 14:13   #40
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

YOU are responsible for your vessel..
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Old 24-03-2011, 14:13   #41
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Simply incredible that this could happen. Obviously, whoever was in control of the two craft is responsible. It is unbelievable that they did not approach the bridge VERY slowly if there was ANY doubt whatsoever. Looks like there was no wind/wave driving them and those tow boats have mega horsepower to maintain control. I guess the lesson is to be very careful who you let control your boat. Would be a good forum topic to discuss the stupidest things people have seen done. Bet there are plenty.
As I said...without knowing what info was passed...all comments are only guesses...

You can't always approach slowly...speed often is needed for control.

The towboat is either an outboard or I/O (can't tell from pic) which isn't mega horsepower nor does mega horsepower equal control.

yes...picking your captain is a great idea...though often not practical in almost ANY situation...we are all licensed captains...but like all professions (I hate that word.... as it's overused and inappropriately used way too often) so let's used certified operator...there's light years from the best to the worst....even experienced to inexperienced can be a huge factor.
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Old 24-03-2011, 14:17   #42
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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YOU are responsible for your vessel..
Shared in the case of a tow...both parties are expected to excercise due care and proper seamanship...whomever fails the most is the most responsible/liable.
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Old 24-03-2011, 14:33   #43
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
As I said...without knowing what info was passed...all comments are only guesses...

You can't always approach slowly...speed often is needed for control.

The towboat is either an outboard or I/O (can't tell from pic) which isn't mega horsepower nor does mega horsepower equal control.

yes...picking your captain is a great idea...though often not practical in almost ANY situation...we are all licensed captains...but like all professions (I hate that word.... as it's overused and inappropriately used way too often) so let's used certified operator...there's light years from the best to the worst....even experienced to inexperienced can be a huge factor.
The tow boat had twin big outboards and it was slack high tide-/no wind- If it was me doing the tow I would have really slowed down to a crawl ,in this case it could have been easily done-under current conditions this alone would have prevented the collision, I believe the tow boat operators is mostly at fault, because he was in command –(I also hold a Masters license with tow & sail endorsements and very experienced) I watched them go by me ,as i was in the water snorkeling with my grand kids , heard the boom looked up to see the boat rocking , hobby horsing , looking like the mast was ready to come down-
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:03   #44
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

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The tow boat had twin big outboards and it was slack high tide-/no wind- If it was me doing the tow I would have really slowed down to a crawl ,in this case it could have been easily done-under current conditions this alone would have prevented the collision, I believe the tow boat operators is mostly at fault, because he was in command –(I also hold a Masters license with tow & sail endorsements and very experienced) I watched them go by me ,as i was in the water snorkeling with my grand kids , heard the boom looked up to see the boat rocking , hobby horsing , looking like the mast was ready to come down-
Do you know if the sailboats rudder or other underwater gear were all normal?
Do you know if the sailboat was dragging anything?
Was there ANY eddies near/under the bridge?
Do you know if both if both outboards were running?

I could go on a lot more....too much lack of info in my case to pass judgement...maybe you are comfortable.

Plus...never a fan of outboars big, small whatever stroke, 2 of them, etc...etc...I'll keep my 454 swinging a big 4 bladed michigan.
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Old 24-03-2011, 15:12   #45
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Re: Sailboat under tow had mast broken off on the Blue Heron Bridge-today

That bridge is a fixed bridge that is charted at 65 feet of clearance, but it is notorious for actually having less than that fairly frequently around the time of high tide. I have a warning about that right next to the bridge in my chartbook. Others have hit that bridge. There are several bridges with the same problem in various places along the ICW. In fact, I suggest that if your height is more than 62 feet you should approach any fixed bridge on the ICW with great caution around the time of high tide. I have observed several instances of less than 62 feet being available. I have seen bridges not offer 65 feet for several days due to wind-blown water depth changes. DO NOT TAKE YOUR HEIGHT FOR GRANTED--MEASURE IT with a tape measure if you are doing the ICW, even if you are well below 65 feet. I have helped people measure their mast height over the water and they were surprised that the actual figure was very different from the specifications they got from the builder or the previous owner. A lot of side channels have bridges lower than 65 feet, the West Coast of Florida has a 55-foot limit on most bridges, the Julia Tuttle Bridge in Miami is only 56 feet, and the bridge at Indiantown on the Okeechobee is only 49 feet. I have found that the gauges on the bridges are usually pretty accurate on the Atlantic ICW. You read the height where the water hits the gauge, which is often heavily fouled and hard to read, which can lead to misreading. Size does matter!
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