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Old 29-02-2008, 11:43   #46
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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
I guess my own personal take on this is strongly influenced by years of sailing in areas where the 3rd world commercial guys had poor training and appreciation that we in the West take for granted.

Meeting a deep sea crewed by someone like David is a pleasant relief and you can assume they have working radar and binoculars. But many times the watch keeper doesn’t even have a driver’s license and his marine license was secured through a paid “accommodation”. (Sad but true)

That is why I advise to “keep it simple”, remembering the key parts of Rule 2

Responsibility

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.

In the open sea, ship’s using radar assess between 12 and 8nm , should take action before 4nm and anything under that is considered a close quarter situation.

On a sailboat once you measure that ship on a steady bearing at 4nm YOU should be planning to take action to avoid the ship even if you are privileged.

Judicial use of a strong flashlight or spreader lights to let him know you are concerned should be done between 4 and 3nm for about 3 minutes then wait about one minute while organising your crew and then make a course change that is readily apparent.

In developed countries where every one talks to each other on VHF and Ships are properly manned and regulated, you can usually depend on the rules to be followed, but in other parts of the world I always remember Rule 2 and never expect a sailboat to be considered privileged. That's why I keep it simple!
Just to add something...as much as we hate listening to the VHF, keeping a radio watch out on open waters is a good thing. Making an attempt at contacting the other vessel on 16 or 13 if it appears that there could be a collision is always wise. Passing agreements by radio is a legitimate way in the COLREG's of designating how you want to pass...in addition to flashing light and whistle signals...(less frequent)

People on watch on ships are more often than not bored and don't mind a short chat anyways. (Besides the social aspect, the real benefit is that talking to them confirms they know where you are.)
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Old 29-02-2008, 11:56   #47
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Passing agreements by radio is a legitimate way in the COLREG's of designating how you want to pass...
Actually David that is true ONLY under the US Inland Rules. Under the international COLREGS VHF contact is NOT an appropriate way of contacting another boat for passing agreements. Under the international COLREGS all passings are done as described in the rules--no exceptions are allowed, even if "agreed to" over the radio.

This might sound silly, but in a world with lots of different languages the possibility for a misunderstanding is very large.
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:02   #48
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And here I thought "red over red" meant "ladies and beds" and was just the local red light district. Oddly enough, I've never been able to find a statutory definition (as opposed to an opinion) of what "not under command" really means. Captain fell down drunk and the XO refuses to take an early watch? Or everyone went ashore for dinner?
You have never been able to find a definition? How hard did you look? Did you try reading the rules???? Maybe looking in the "Definitions" section right in front?

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The term "vessel not under command" means a vessel which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.
That is right out of the rules. Anything else you might hear is "opinion" which may or may not be informed opinion. On the other hand the official definition is pretty clear, isn't it?


Sorry for the snide tone, but really, if you want to comment on the COLREGS, try reading them first.

Bill

P.S. Under the rules, being aground is NOT "not under command" it has a seperate definition. (Is it possible to say that without a double negative??)
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:05   #49
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I didn't read all of the posts but I've gotta tell ya....that is the goofiest thing I've ever heard of. Having red/green all-round is a recipe for getting run down.

If a ship does see your lights at night (which is doubtful) he will try to determine your course by visual and radar. Typically, a sailboat moves through the water too slowely to get a radar track fast enough to take evasive action for a fast moving, slow turning ship. If the helmsman sees red and green, he MUST assume that you are heading straight toward him and if you are straight off his bow, he will make a 15* course change (in either direction). This coarse change could get you run down if you are actually traveling in the direction of his change.

It is far better to give a ship correct information. If a ship sees a green light off his bow, he can correctly assume that a coarse change of 15* to port will avoid a collision.

One thing that I can gaurantee you, the ship will not come to a stop (even if they could) to try to figure it out. You are not a danger to them.

As for VHF communications.............don't count on it. A small number of ships will reply and the ones that do may not understand what you are saying, in time to avoid a collision.
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:12   #50
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Actually David that is true ONLY under the US Inland Rules. Under the international COLREGS VHF contact is NOT an appropriate way of contacting another boat for passing agreements. Under the international COLREGS all passings are done as described in the rules--no exceptions are allowed, even if "agreed to" over the radio.

This might sound silly, but in a world with lots of different languages the possibility for a misunderstanding is very large.

The fact remains that it is done though....usually with a toot or two on the whistle after the communication just to be official or a toot and then trying to reach the other vessel to make sure we are on the same page...if the other vessel repeats the signal quickly, then you know you are on the same page and if not its time to get on the VHF. As much as there are different languages, the people on watch know the difference between "port to port" and "starboard to starboard" when they hear it. I'm not arguing, just trying to convey what does happen lots of times.

When there are people that speak different languages usually the default language is English. This is especially so for when a pilot comes aboard and needs to give helm and speed commands. Pilots in fact test the helmsman on his ability to understand by giving a few harmless commands before letting off the lines or right as he takes the con.
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:25   #51
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The fact remains that it is done though....usually with a toot or two on the whistle after the communication just to be official or a toot and then trying to reach the other vessel to make sure we are on the same page...if the other vessel repeats the signal quickly, then you know you are on the same page and if not its time to get on the VHF. As much as there are different languages, the people on watch know the difference between "port to port" and "starboard to starboard" when they hear it. I'm not arguing, just trying to convey what does happen lots of times. When there are people that speak different languages usually the default language is English. This is especially so for when a pilot comes aboard and needs to give helm and speed commands. Pilots in fact test the helmsman on his ability to understand by giving a few harmless commands before letting off the lines or right as he takes the con.
David

What you are asaying is all reasonable and a pretty good summary of the way things work WITHIN US INLAND RULES. Once you get out outside the demarcation line the international rules apply. The differences are dramatic, and misunderstanding of them can lead to real problems.

For example, under international rules the whistle is used to signal a course change, NOT intent, and is not "agreed to" by the other boat. Under the inland rules when boat A blows his whistle once he is effectively "asking" boat B if it is ok to leave him to port, vessel B sounds one blast to "agree".

Under international rules, when vessel A gives one blast it means "I am turning to starboard NOW." Vessel B does nothing. If "B" answers with one blast it would mean "I am ALSO turning to starboard" Do you see why the difference is important?

In your area the demarcation line is right outside the Golden Gate Bridge, so the difference isn't completely academic.

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Old 29-02-2008, 12:33   #52
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If a ship does see your lights at night (which is doubtful) he will try to determine your course by visual and radar. Typically, a sailboat moves through the water too slowely to get a radar track fast enough to take evasive action for a fast moving, slow turning ship. If the helmsman sees red and green, he MUST assume that you are heading straight toward him and if you are straight off his bow, he will make a 15* course change (in either direction). This coarse change could get you run down if you are actually traveling in the direction of his change.

It is far better to give a ship correct information. If a ship sees a green light off his bow, he can correctly assume that a coarse change of 15* to port will avoid a collision.

One thing that I can gaurantee you, the ship will not come to a stop (even if they could) to try to figure it out. You are not a danger to them.

As for VHF communications.............don't count on it. A small number of ships will reply and the ones that do may not understand what you are saying, in time to avoid a collision.
Everytime I give an account from what happens from the bridge of a ship I seem to catch hell for it...so I am going to say it anyways.

Ships are MUCH better at turning than stopping. It makes absolutely no sense then to try to avoid a collision by stopping..so what do you have left?..turning. For a ship, the other vessels true course and speed is irrelevant. I know I am oging to get scoffed at for saying that but what matters is the other vessels APPARENT speed and direction or its RML. APPARENT speed and direction is plotted now electronically using an ECDIS system or it can easily be plotted right on the radar screen with a grease pencil...unbelievable but true! Remember, ships radar is wired into the gyro which gives a north up display which means you can plot an RML of the closing vessel. It's the other vessels RML or relative motion line and subsequent CPA that matters. Saying your course and speed, unless the watch officer is on the ball, is really going to confuse things because then he has to resort to rapid radar plotting but if he has an ECDIS, then he probably knows better than you your actual course and speed and certainly knows your RML.

An attempt at VHF communication is better than nothing. So don't throw your hands up saying it is worthless. Even people who know very little English at sea know what "port to port" means when they hear it.

Generally at sea the helmsman is the lookout and the ship is on autopilot. The helmsman, when there is one, has no decision making ability. It does not matter what he thinks is right or wrong when he sees a red over green. His job is to report it.

I have to say that this whole attitude about yachts towards ships is so overdone. People on ships are fellow mariners as well and the last thing they want to do is hit you. Ships are also the ones who will pull you out of the drink if you get into trouble. Making an attempt at communicating with them if in doubt or just to say hello goes a long way towards keeping you informed..keeping them informed and developing better "karma" amongst all mariners...especially between the yachties and the professionals. Ships are not the enemy..so I think it is time to stop this mindset that they are.

Ultimately?..vessels collide through lack of good communication.
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:35   #53
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Doesn't matter. Because there is always that one bulb that refuses to light even though you checked everything three times prior to leaving the dock.
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:35   #54
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I didn't read all of the posts but I've gotta tell ya....that is the goofiest thing I've ever heard of. Having red/green all-round is a recipe for getting run down.

If a ship does see your lights at night (which is doubtful) he will try to determine your course by visual and radar. Typically, a sailboat moves through the water too slowely to get a radar track fast enough to take evasive action for a fast moving, slow turning ship. If the helmsman sees red and green, he MUST assume that you are heading straight toward him and if you are straight off his bow, he will make a 15* course change (in either direction). This coarse change could get you run down if you are actually traveling in the direction of his change.

It is far better to give a ship correct information. If a ship sees a green light off his bow, he can correctly assume that a coarse change of 15* to port will avoid a collision.

One thing that I can gaurantee you, the ship will not come to a stop (even if they could) to try to figure it out. You are not a danger to them.

As for VHF communications.............don't count on it. A small number of ships will reply and the ones that do may not understand what you are saying, in time to avoid a collision.
Actually, you may have missed a couple of important points from earlier in the discussion. The red/green combination can NOT be used alone, but must also be used with deck level lights to give directional information. In addition, the red and green lights have to be seperated by 1 meter vertically, to helpo avoid the kind of confusion you describe.

I think you'll find that the Rules are pretty carefully thought out and give lighting combinations that are unambiguous in almost all cases. I think you would find, if you ever saw one, that a verticall spaced red over green combination gives a quite diffenent presentation that a vessel head on.
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:42   #55
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Everytime I give an account from what happens from the bridge of a ship I seem to catch hell for it...so I am going to say it anyways.

Ships are MUCH better at turning than stopping. It makes absolutely no sense then to try to avoid a collision by stopping..so what do you have left?..turning. For a ship, the other vessels true course and speed is irrelevant. I know I am oging to get scoffed at for saying that but what matters is the other vessels APPARENT speed and direction or its RML. APPARENT speed and direction is plotted now electronically using an ECDIS system or it can easily be plotted right on the radar screen with a grease pencil...unbelievable but true! Remember, ships radar is wired into the gyro which gives a north up display which means you can plot an RML of the closing vessel. It's the other vessels RML or relative motion line and subsequent CPA that matters. Saying your course and speed, unless the watch officer is on the ball, is really going to confuse things because then he has to resort to rapid radar plotting and if has an ECDIS, then he probably knows better than you your actual course and speed.
Far from catching hell for it, I think that is a great summary! It really is all about RELATIVE motion.

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An attempt at VHF communication is better than nothing. So don't throw your hands up saying it is worthless. Even people who know very little English at sea know what "port to port" means when they hear it.
Just so I am making myself clear, I am not suggesting that VHF communications is worthless in a crossing situation, just that strictly under the international rules it is not a valid approach to change the way vessels interact. It still might be very worthwhile to do so, even if you have to "break" the rules to do so.

Bill
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Old 29-02-2008, 12:52   #56
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David

What you are asaying is all reasonable and a pretty good summary of the way things work WITHIN US INLAND RULES. Once you get out outside the demarcation line the international rules apply. The differences are dramatic, and misunderstanding of them can lead to real problems.

For example, under international rules the whistle is used to signal a course change, NOT intent, and is not "agreed to" by the other boat. Under the inland rules when boat A blows his whistle once he is effectively "asking" boat B if it is ok to leave him to port, vessel B sounds one blast to "agree".

Under international rules, when vessel A gives one blast it means "I am turning to starboard NOW." Vessel B does nothing. If "B" answers with one blast it would mean "I am ALSO turning to starboard" Do you see why the difference is important?

In your area the demarcation line is right outside the Golden Gate Bridge, so the difference isn't completely academic.

Bill
Yes, I spent 4 years studying the rules. I have also spent years practicing the rules in international waters. What I said is from first hand experience. The rules as practiced and the rules as applied, are the same the vast majority of the time but not always.

Communication is the key...however that is done....whether is is done by "early and apparent action", radio communication, lights or whistle signals..all are relevant...so long as there is communication of some sort.
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Old 29-02-2008, 13:06   #57
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Ah! Something from the lindly folks at the NavCen. So in this sense, "command" harks back to the older meaning of the word, the sam way that a "well regulated militia" means "well regulated" like a properly adjusted watch, rather than one subject to a thousand volumes of regulations.<G>

If I'd been sharper in fourth grade grammar clas I could probably figure out exactly what "in command" means, as opposed to "under command". A vessel "not in command" apparently is still "under the command of" someone, it's just busted.

Red over red, vessel is dead. Not the captain.<G>
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Old 29-02-2008, 13:10   #58
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Doesn't matter. Because there is always that one bulb that refuses to light even though you checked everything three times prior to leaving the dock.
Carefully check out the nav lights on ships sometime....almost always they have duplicate lights...one right above the other. We also have a panel that sound an alarm if a light extinguishes.
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Old 29-02-2008, 13:13   #59
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Ah! Something from the lindly folks at the NavCen. So in this sense, "command" harks back to the older meaning of the word, the sam way that a "well regulated militia" means "well regulated" like a properly adjusted watch, rather than one subject to a thousand volumes of regulations.<G>

If I'd been sharper in fourth grade grammar clas I could probably figure out exactly what "in command" means, as opposed to "under command". A vessel "not in command" apparently is still "under the command of" someone, it's just busted.

Red over red, vessel is dead. Not the captain.<G>
Well, I learned "captain is dead", it sounds more dramatic! (although not really accurate) ..and from a mnemonic perspective, is probably easier to remember.
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Old 29-02-2008, 13:17   #60
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Kanani-This is the goofiest thing you have ever heard, and you live in Brittany Hills? (g)

I think you are incorrect in assuming that when a ship sees red OVER green (one meter seperation, earlier in this thread) with no horizontal seperation that anyone is going to immediately assume a head on situation (would you?). You are also forgetting about the deck nav lights, that will ALSO be on (the main advantage to running the red over green), giving them the direction of travel. All of this IS THE CORRECT INFORMATION. I don't think your argument is valid, and you aren't giving any credit to the (mostly) professionals in the wheelhouse who have studied and been tested (red over green, sailing machine) on the different lighting configurations. Worst case is that when the masthead first comes over the horizon the red over green could be interpreted momentarily as two vessels heading in opposite directions (check the radar?). When the boat becomes hull up they will see the deck nav lights giving direction, but there will have been TWICE the chance that they will have seen me over either the tri-color or deck lights only. I'm not trying to convince anyone to install these, they make a lot of sense to me and frankly I would rather have them SEE me even if they temporarily don't know what I am than to be not seen at all. I'll let you know how they work out in a couple of years or so, if I survive that is.

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