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Old 09-09-2010, 14:43   #1
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Almost Run Down by a Shrimper . . .

We were coming into the ClearLake entrance early(4:30am) Monday morning when this happened.

We were in the channel about 2 marks out, well to the right side as we should have been as we are quite slow and had a large shrimp boat with only a red light showing come from outside the channel to my right and damn near run us down.

The light was the only one to be seen on the boat, no green, and no stern light after he passed. I saw him when he was less than 100ft away and going full tilt and I had to turn hard to starboard to allow him to pass port to port. I have no idea where he was coming from as the channel was straight ahead of me.

I am sure he must have seen us as we were spotlighted by a crew boat coming up very fast from astern. The crew boat was flying too but as they came abreast of us they chopped power so as not to wake us to hard. A couple after they passed us this happened. There were several shrimpers coming out of ClearLake using the channel but I guess this guy had another way, flying by his own rules.

Unfortunately I didn't get an ID on the boat so I have no one to kick in the head.

I was a comercial fisherman years ago on the west coast of Canada and we regularly saw the authorities checking boats for compliance. It seems they are missing here in Texas or are more interested in giving tickets to jet skiers.

I guess in future I will keep my spotlight a bit more handy.

Just blowing off steam about this and may it serve as a warning to others using the entrance early in the morning.

Watch out for the shrimpers...........m
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Old 09-09-2010, 15:06   #2
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When it comes to commercial fishing vessels in USA waters my rule of thumb is get the heck out of their way. I can only surmise that they are very busy rigging the boat and getting outriggers positioned, etc. and really do not pay much attention to any other boats in their path.
- - I have noticed a trend for them to lower the outriggers as soon as they get clear of their dockage area and are in the channel. Now you have a 100 to 200 + ft wide boat to avoid rather than a 20-30 wide boat.
- - Off shore they are basically on autopilot tracking their "pattern" and tending the nets so again I stay at least a quarter mile away laterally and almost a mile along their track. Problem is there are sometimes several of them running the same pattern just like airliners in a holding pattern.
- - But it is the entering and leaving from river channels that is an especially dangerous time to encounter these fishing boats. They tend to leave and return about the same time each day so like avoiding cruise ships you just stay away during those hours.
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Old 09-09-2010, 15:18   #3
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Anyone who has accumulated enough sea time to be a captain of that vessel should know not to be a jerk like that. There's no reason (jet ski, rib with outboard, power boat, shrimper) to race around like a jackass.
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Old 09-09-2010, 16:33   #4
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When it comes to commercial fishing vessels in USA waters my rule of thumb is get the heck out of their way.
Good thing, becuase commercial vessels engaged in the act of fishing have the right of way (rule 18).
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Old 09-09-2010, 16:55   #5
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I once heard a tale of a large composite tanker coming into Boca Grande (FL) with about 20 feet of a sailboat mast in his anchor.... But the sailboat had the right-of-way!
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Old 09-09-2010, 17:03   #6
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Good thing, becuase commercial vessels engaged in the act of fishing have the right of way (rule 18).
They have to be in the act of fishing for rule 18 to be enforceable in COLREGS.

Sailboat under motor is just a motorboat.
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Old 09-09-2010, 17:17   #7
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Good thing, becuase commercial vessels engaged in the act of fishing have the right of way (rule 18).
I doubt they're hauling ass in a channel engaged in fishing.
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Old 09-09-2010, 17:52   #8
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I doubt they're hauling ass in a channel engaged in fishing.
Welp, maybe they were chasing one out the channel
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Old 09-09-2010, 18:04   #9
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They have to be in the act of fishing for rule 18 to be enforceable in COLREGS.
IIRC they also have to be engaged in an activity that reduces their maneuverability, so hauling nets applies but dropping crab traps doesn't. They also have to be correctly marked.
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Old 09-09-2010, 19:27   #10
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where this happend it's fairly typical to see a vietnamese shrimp boat with no one at the wheel, not fishing, no lights, motoring toward what they thought was home when they walked away from the wheel assuming that they'd keep pointing in the right direction. I don't beleive you need to be a licensed captain to operate one of the bay shrimpers.
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Old 09-09-2010, 20:47   #11
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Not exactly. It depends on the type of fishing.

Rule 3(d) The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict maneuverability.

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=Rule03


Please don't blanket label all commercial fishermen as being irresponsible. That's far from the truth. To be brutally honest, as a commercial boat operator I see far more bad things done by yachties than any other type of vessel operators. Those are the ones to especially be watching out for.
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Old 09-09-2010, 22:36   #12
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A friend had his boat sunk under him while he and young family were asleep at anchor.
Fishing boat on autopilot with crew below having coffee. But it was OK cos it saved the fishing boat from running up on the beach hey! I am sure there must be one more fool on a fishing boat or yacht waiting to repeat the performance. Might be a few on land too - might have something to do with the road mortality. Just sail and drive defensively.
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Old 09-09-2010, 23:17   #13
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Red over white, fishing at night - at least in first world countries. And they should have been showing running lights. But...
I was 100 miles off Columbia on my way to Ecuador when I ran through a fleet of pangeras engaged in fishing - at night - with no lights. Open 20 foot boats with two or three people on board, an outboard for power. When I approached they would flick a flashlight on and off to indicate they were there, then turn it off when it appeared I would miss them. No radar signature, no radio, obviously no AIS. Such is commercial fishing. We have to keep our eyes open and try our best to avoid them, it is "heck on Earth" with collisions...

Michael
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Old 10-09-2010, 00:37   #14
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With the other boat to starboard and you to port of it why would you see a green light?
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Old 10-09-2010, 04:02   #15
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You were out at 4:30 AM in a 25 ft boat and " I saw him when he was less than 100ft away " ????

You should keep a better watch.
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