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Old 15-10-2016, 04:14   #1
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Question How do you obtain navigational information?

I came across the following thread post from another forum while researching the Galveston to New Orleans ICW crossing.

Quote:
I have worked the ICWW for 15 years running from Brownsville to St Marks Fl. The section you are asking about, all commercial vessels work traffic on channel 13 vhf. be sure to contact VTS in Port Arthur ( I think channell 12) there are a couple of check points. Be sure to contact Berwick Traffic approaching Morgan City channel 11. when passing through towns you will need to run a slow bell. The locks you will encounter operate on ch 14. There is fuel avaiable in Port Arthur, Lake Charles,193 boat store, Intercoastal City, Morgan City, Houma, and New Orleans. you can expect it to take 2 - 2.5 days depending on stopping, Don't drop anchor in the canal itself, if you plan a stop. There are many area's just off the canal to anchor, if you are not sure ask any of the captains on the pushboats, they should answer any questions you may have! Have a great trip!
And this post illustrates MANY of the questions I have, that I can't seem to get answers to.

If you don't know what channels these places use, how do you find out?
How do you hale a barge in your area without knowing the boats name?
Aside from an ICW map, how would you know how to navigate these locks?
How do you learn WHO to contact to schedule a bridge opening?

Whats the class name that teaches me all this?
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Old 15-10-2016, 04:28   #2
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

A site like activecaptain.com has a lot of local knowledge. From what I've seen in east Florida most people (like bridges etc) monitor channel 16 as well as specific channels (I'm from the west coast so new to dealing with bridges and such). I was wary of the whole bridge thing at first, but really it's not that much of an issue.

I hear a lot of communications such as "barge passing under Atlantic blvd bridge" as a way of communicating with a vessel that you can't see the name.
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Old 15-10-2016, 04:38   #3
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

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Originally Posted by dwedeking2 View Post
monitor channel 16 as well as specific channels (I'm from the west coast so new to dealing with bridges and such). ...
I've been through one set of locks once or twice in my life, and we were fishing the intracoastal near Pecan Island Louisiana. And we didn't radio, we motored up to the wall, and pulled a string attached to a canned air horn strapped to the bulkhead.

I assume if you get to a bridge or locks and you're in the wrong place, someone would pipe up on the radio and let you know?
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Old 15-10-2016, 05:22   #4
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

You don't get "everything all in one cute little place" and handed to you on a platter. You actually have to do some research and homework on your own. Sources like Active Captain is one. Books! Yup, good old fashioned books, like cruising guides for the area, usually have tons of material as well as local charts. Then there's the internet. You can ask a question like that, hoping that some nice skipper will write back telling you everything you think you need to know but it'd take him two hours and exceed the word count of most forums! Many folks say sailing in different waters is no different than gaining local knowledge one step-at-a-time. Lotsa truth to that.
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Old 15-10-2016, 05:52   #5
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TooCoys View Post
If you don't know what channels these places use, how do you find out?
How do you hale a barge in your area without knowing the boats name?
Aside from an ICW map, how would you know how to navigate these locks?
How do you learn WHO to contact to schedule a bridge opening?

Whats the class name that teaches me all this?


1) Cruising guides with various names, some on-line (e.g., cruisersnet.net) and some hardcopy (e.g., Waterway Guide); plus (now) ActiveCaptain

2) Research AIS.

3) Learn and understand the buoyage system for main navigation, and see also cruising guides for lock info. Check the "Coast Pilot" for your area of interest. I think the USACE has lock info, too...

4) Bridge tender; call on VHF using local channels (see cruising guides) and sometimes you'll also see phone numbers. Many should also respond to whistle signals, but VHF is usually easiest.

5) You can start with courses from USCG Aux or the US Power Squadron (for power boats) and there are likely equivalent sailing-oriented versions by somebody or other. Then get out there and gradually gather some actual experience; it's not really an armchair sport.

In the meantime, buy a copy of Chapman's Piloting... and memorize it.


And get the area charts (NOAA, for example, free) for your area of interest... and download Chart No. 1... which 'splains all the markings on all the area charts.

-Chris
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Old 15-10-2016, 09:00   #6
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
1) Cruising guides with various names, some on-line (e.g., cruisersnet.net) and some hardcopy (e.g., Waterway Guide); plus (now) ActiveCaptain

2) Research AIS.

3) Learn and understand the buoyage system for main navigation, and see also cruising guides for lock info. Check the "Coast Pilot" for your area of interest. I think the USACE has lock info, too...

4) Bridge tender; call on VHF using local channels (see cruising guides) and sometimes you'll also see phone numbers. Many should also respond to whistle signals, but VHF is usually easiest.

5) You can start with courses from USCG Aux or the US Power Squadron (for power boats) and there are likely equivalent sailing-oriented versions by somebody or other. Then get out there and gradually gather some actual experience; it's not really an armchair sport.

In the meantime, buy a copy of Chapman's Piloting... and memorize it.


And get the area charts (NOAA, for example, free) for your area of interest... and download Chart No. 1... which 'splains all the markings on all the area charts.

-Chris
Finaly a good answer!
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Old 15-10-2016, 10:05   #7
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
1)
-----In the meantime, buy a copy of Chapman's Piloting... and memorize it.
-----
Lmao. Yep, that'll do it.

Actually, purchasing a copy of Chapman: Piloting and Seamanship is a very good idea. While looking up answers to your questions, you'll discover answers to questions you didn't know you should be asking.
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Old 15-10-2016, 10:44   #8
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

When I decided I wanted to sail, I didn't own a boat and had only sailed twice. I worked the midnight shift at the airport and there were hours where I was required to be awake and absolutely nothing to do. I took Annapolis Book of Seamanship into work and started on the Introduction. Read every page, made up a mythical "dreamboat" and learned how to calculate hull speed, what size sails I needed, etc.

25 years later I sit on my boat waiting for part two of this massive storm system to hit the West Coast and I still can quote parts of that book.

Reading up on a subject never hurts, local knowledge is something all transients don't have but if you're familiar with Chapman, have a passing knowledge of Colregs, get a waterway guide, ask questions politely I've found everyone everywhere willing to help. Our trick is humility. When entering an unknown area we get on the radio, hail a boat we see and say something like "Hi Skipper, we're new to the area, can you fill me in on....... Thanks" Never ever has failed us.
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Old 15-10-2016, 10:46   #9
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

United States Coast Pilot.

Free to download at:
United States Coast Pilot®

Coast Pilot 1 covers the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and part of Massachusetts, from Eastport, ME to Provincetown, MA.

Coast Pilot 2 covers the Atlantic coast from Cape Cod, MA to Sandy Hook, NJ, including the coasts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.

Coast Pilot 3 covers the Atlantic coast from Sandy Hook, NJ to Cape Henry, VA, including Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay.

Coast Pilot 4 covers the Atlantic coast from Cape Henry, VA to Key West, FL

Coast Pilot 5 covers the Gulf of Mexico from Key West, FL to the Rio Grande, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Coast Pilot 6 covers the Great Lakes system, including Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, their connecting waters, and the St. Lawrence River.

Coast Pilot 7 covers the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington, and includes Hawaii and other United States territories in the South Pacific.

Coast Pilot 8 covers the panhandle section of Alaska between the south boundary and Cape Spencer.

Coast Pilot 9 covers the Pacific and Arctic coasts of Alaska from Cape Spencer to the Beaufort Sea.

That is what they are there for.

Michael
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Old 15-10-2016, 13:44   #10
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

Coast Pilot is downloadable free as are many of the other resources mentioned here. In fact I'm downloading Coast Pilot right now to my lap top.
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Old 15-10-2016, 14:26   #11
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TooCoys View Post
I came across the following thread post from another forum while researching the Galveston to New Orleans ICW crossing.



And this post illustrates MANY of the questions I have, that I can't seem to get answers to.

If you don't know what channels these places use, how do you find out?
How do you hale a barge in your area without knowing the boats name?
Aside from an ICW map, how would you know how to navigate these locks?
How do you learn WHO to contact to schedule a bridge opening?

Whats the class name that teaches me all this?
You can start here
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Old 15-10-2016, 18:39   #12
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
In the meantime, buy a copy of Chapman's Piloting... and memorize it.

I think I have the 4th or 5th edition hardback.
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Old 15-10-2016, 18:50   #13
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

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Originally Posted by captmikem View Post

Coast Pilot 5 covers the Gulf of Mexico from Key West, FL to the Rio Grande, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.



Michael
There's what I was looking for! Thanks!
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Old 16-10-2016, 07:16   #14
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

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Originally Posted by TooCoys View Post
I think I have the 4th or 5th edition hardback.

I think it's on the 68th edition now, something like that. One of the e-book folks has it in softcopy, either Nook or Kindle. And older versions are still useful, anyway.

Another occurs to me: the USCG Aux "textbook" (for their basic course) is named something like "Safety and Seamanship" or some such, and you can get that in softcopy, too. Another decent overview, not as much depth and breadth as Chapman's.

-Chris
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Old 16-10-2016, 07:40   #15
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Re: How do you obtain navigational information?

Back to the original issue -- where do we get information as we cruise -- cruising guides - we got so many on board we could start a library - we have sailed to over 35 different countries and all our planning is done with cruising guides - there is just so much to know everything - which harbor which freq ect ect

we always double check the cruising guide as we approach ports or various areas to refresh us on what we need to do -

We also make notes in our cruising guides of changes or something that we thinks I necessary and not in the guide
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