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Old 20-02-2015, 19:53   #16
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Re: Ship's bell location

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Wow, just reading deeper into this thread.

It appears you yanks have to have a Bell by law. WOW!

Usually, on a small boat, someone screaming is enough to get my attention. Perhaps it a conspiracy between bell makers and the authorities to sell more bells.

(that should get a few conspiracy nuts thinking anyway- they will 'connect' the bells to JFK if they try hard enough)
We are required to have a noise maker. For most smaller boats, that is a hand held air horn that works off of a compressed air cannister. Someone on this thread said that it is required for >65 feet. I don't pay much attention to regulations for that size.

That being said, we have a bell mounted by our nav table, thanks to a previous owner somewhere along the line. I am not sure how well it can do its job from below, but I think our VHF has the auto-bell function, as well. Maybe I should go play with it, since none of the neighbors are around this evening.
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Old 20-02-2015, 20:21   #17
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Re: Ship's bell location

When I sold my old liveaboard 46' cutter and bought my little 19' cruising catboat, I brought the nice cast bronze bell from the old boat along. It looks really nice and has a great, sonorous tone, unlike the cheap thin ones.

It's mounted just inside the companionway so that it can be useful as a fog bell... which is really the intended purpose of a bell on a small boat. It's also great for announcing the beginning of cocktail hour to guests aboard... a purpose for which it gets more use on the Chesapeake.

Given that the catboat lacks standing headroom, there is no worry about it being a head knocker.

It's simple to make a silencer for the clapper out of a bit of ordinary polyurethane foam split pipe insulation with a bit of gaffer's tape around it. Keep it pulled down around the ball of the clapper when you want silence, and simply slide it up onto the shaft when you want to ring the bell.
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Old 21-02-2015, 04:18   #18
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Re: Ship's bell location

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Originally Posted by ozskipper View Post
...............................

It appears you yanks have to have a Bell by law. WOW!

..............
The US Coast Guard only requies the bell on vessels over 20 meters and to be used as a signaling device, rapidly rung once a minute, while anchored in fog.

It's been my experience that this bell ringing is done when someone anchors in a coastal or inland passage due to the fog. I have never witnessed skippers within an established anchorage ringing a bell once a minute within a fog!
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Old 21-02-2015, 05:15   #19
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Re: Ship's bell location

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What is the purpose of the Bell?
Dinner Bell? Soups up! Yah right
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Old 21-02-2015, 06:51   #20
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Re: Ship's bell location

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The US Coast Guard only requies the bell on vessels over 20 meters and to be used as a signaling device, rapidly rung once a minute, while anchored in fog.

It's been my experience that this bell ringing is done when someone anchors in a coastal or inland passage due to the fog. I have never witnessed skippers within an established anchorage ringing a bell once a minute within a fog!
We have so little fog down here, in 40 plus years of boating, I have found myself out in fog just twice. Neither time did we ring a bell. The one time we anchored, we just had someone sit and watch the radar the whole time.

In New England, I'm sure it's different. But, our bell is pretty.
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Old 21-02-2015, 07:40   #21
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Re: Ship's bell location

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Dinner Bell? Soups up! Yah right
Ah... Well... When my daughter was a teenager and brought friends along on some of our cruises, they would sometimes take the dinghy to the beach. We told her that, when she heard a fast ring on the Bell, it was time to come back to the boat for lunch/dinner/whatever. We later replaced the bell with a couple of waterproof family radios but, frankly, the bell worked just as well if not better. Similarly we used a bell when the kids were roaming around in the woods behind our house (and the dogs definitely knew that the Bell meant food!).
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Old 21-02-2015, 07:43   #22
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Re: Ship's bell location

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I am wanting to have a functional yet removable ship's bell on my pocket sized 28ft southern cross. Now the problem, where should this be mounted....?

Over the companionway? Off the stern rail? Side of mast? Backstay radar mount?

Would you be so kind to share your pics with me......


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Old 21-02-2015, 08:20   #23
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Re: Ship's bell location

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We carry an 8" ships bell (similar to the below) that mounts in a slide-in bracket. We have two of the brackets, one on the bulkhead in the Salon for storage and a second on the binnacle for use. In the event of heavy fog we move the bell to the cockpit where it can be rung at intervals as required by Regulations. (One of the advantages to certain VHF Radios that include loud-hailers is the automatic fog Bell function included with some that takes over the bell ringing function.) While some may doubt the effectiveness of such bells, we have found they can be heard for a surprisingly long distance.
Exactly our arrangement and use. Ours is a certified fog bell (in case we're ever accosted by authorities wanting to know where our fog horn is). It stays down below until it gets foggy, then it comes out and sits in its cockpit bracket. It is amazingly effective, and is far less jarring on the helms person's nerves as we sound it every two minutes. And yes, we travel through a lot of fog up here.
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Old 21-02-2015, 11:33   #24
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Re: Ship's bell location

As other respondents have mentioned above, a bracket in the cockpit within easy reach of the helmsman is very practical/useful for those who frequently sail in fog. The advantage over the air horn is obvious and the bell may be stored safely below to avoid clanging when not in use. It need not only be useful to larger vessels and its sound carries extremely well in the atmosphere.
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Old 21-02-2015, 16:22   #25
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Re: Ship's bell location

All's well with using a bell to call crew to dinner or dogs and cats to their food dish, but I see posts above that speak of a bell or fog horn used while under sail in restricted visibility. This is not correct! Whistle signals are used by vessels underway and bells are used for those at anchor. Admittidly, most people are presenting information about their location and risk on the VHF, but the sound signals present a different message. Those ringing a bell are anchored and those with the whistle (fog horn) are underway.
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Old 21-02-2015, 16:57   #26
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Re: Ship's bell location

Ever since my face rang the bell it's been kept about 20 NM North of Corsica...
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Old 21-02-2015, 18:02   #27
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Re: Ship's bell location

My bell is stored in a locker and would take an hour to dig out. In the US Bells are still required under the inland rules for boats over 12 meters(39 ft). My Radio and loud hailer take care of my actual bell requirements. The PO bought the bell and left it on the boat. In my experience neither the bell or the fog horn is of much actual use and are relics of the age of sail. In new England the lobster boats with their dry stacks couldn't hear either one if you stuck it in their ear. In the south 300 HP roaring outboards running in the fog at 30 knots don't do any better. Another sailboat might have a chance of hearing you, but the really life threatening boats don't stand a chance. I've had a power boat miss me by twenty feet in thick fog off of St. Augustine doing well over 30 with his twin 300 hp outboards and despite a blast from my 123 decibel dual horns he never looked at my boat. I'm fairly sure he never saw or heard me.
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Old 21-02-2015, 19:24   #28
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Re: Ship's bell location

Ours was bought just days before the CG eliminated the requirement. I have a quick shackle to let us store it below or mount it on the boom gallows on deck. It is not a problem regarding chance ringing. The only danger is banging your head on it below. In use, its at the binnacle so the pilot can operate it. It lives safely below. Our dock mate has his really nice big one mounted on a central Dorade box on deck with a line from the clapper to the cockpit, fire-truck style.

I kind-of like the portable plan.
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Old 21-02-2015, 20:21   #29
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Re: Ship's bell location

I have read all of the above replies.

My view:

1. Sound signals work in fog, IF someone on the other boat is listening for them. I have sailed in very dense fog offshore at night and sounds can carry surprisingly "clearly" in the thickest of fog.

Obviously a boat under sail is quieter than a boat motoring. But, the thing about a bell or horn is that it is a distinctive sound that on a boat should be recognized by knowledgeable crew as a warning signal. If one hears a bell, it is easy to know that it means "Attention, I am here."

2. I would have three sound signal devices on board:

A. Bell that can be rung from the cockpit (anchor watch during fog). Stow below when not needed in fog. Would not ring it "inside" or down below deck, as the point is for OTHER people to hear it on OTHER boats.

B. Fog Horn (manual and reliable, looks like a trumpet, dependable as long as one can breathe)

C. Air Horn (canned air, loud as possible, used only in emergency). The thing about these "canned air horns" is that they are VERY loud and I imagine a crew would NOT use them frequently when anchored in fog, because that blast would drive the crew crazy.

For calling people to dinner, I will be using a traditional ranch triangle.

Amazon.com: Texsport Triangle Dinner Bell: Sports & Outdoors
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Old 21-02-2015, 20:32   #30
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Re: Ship's bell location

Why not just have a dog....?
Major benefit ...scares the stuffing out of fog bound sailors 'unsure of their position'....

I had one once , Harry the Sailor Prince, who would go ape whenever he heard a motor...never got a chance to see how he went in fog.... he didn't like seagulls either.
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