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Old 09-06-2015, 09:25   #31
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

You can be sure there was a bow watch engaged at the time, you can be sure there was a pilot on the bridge and the 3rd Mate was broadcasting on Ch. 13, & 16 during the transit to advise other vessels of their vessel's position as it made progress down the channel and prior to departure from the quay. You can also be sure that the vessel has a very limited ability to maneuver, stop, or avoid someone stupid enough to get into the vessel's path. From some of the responses, I see some people are under the mistaken belief that a ship is going to get out of their way no matter, some people think it is okay to race a train to a crossing too. The ship's sailing schedule is not going to be altered for a yacht race. There are some things you just have to get out of the way for and let them pass. How else do you expect to get your custom jeans and $5 lattes on demand?
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:44   #32
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Irrelevant.. if sailboat s are crossing a channel used by commercial shipping constrained by draught they are obliged to give way..
Or do you expect them to anchor offshore and wait for the kids to finish playing
You have that right. Maybe they would want to pay the shipping co. the cost of a day on the hook. One post said something, I think, about ships having a race schedule. Would make more sense for yacht clubs to contact the locate Harbor Pilots Assoc. or what ever it may be called locally, and schedule races around that ship movements.
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:46   #33
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Then there's the other side, Coming out of Shelter Bay in Panama and heading south, crossing the lines of container ships, quite an experience.
Matched by night sailing south of Cozumel, large ship coming astern, red/green, then green/red, then red/green etc. Answer next morning.... cruise ship, early for Cozumel, doing 360's at minimum, fuel saving, speed, 4 hours of whats going on?
Bill
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Old 09-06-2015, 09:52   #34
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Ship's sailing schedules are published on the internet, no need to contact anyone, just look it up.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:06   #35
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

I drive ships for a living, and I sail for enjoyment. Reading some of the comments here are humorous to say the least. If you are going to be out where ships are, one needs to know not only the rules but the physics as well.

I used to occasionally come into Miami with a RORO on a Sunday and the entrance was just chock full of small boats, fish boats, sail boats, and mega yachts. Unfortunately most of them do not have a clue what goes on aboard a ship.

Be aware of this:
We pick up a Pilot out by the sea buoy, If a pilot boat brought the pilot out, he (the pilot boat) may or may not be ahead of us coming in, the person driving the pilot boat really does not care about all these little boats. The Pilot (who is now aboard and on the bridge) is used to seeing all these little boats in the way, they usually do not concern him/her.

We really cannot see what is under our bow for quite a way ahead of us, the Chief Mate is on the foredeck with one or two crew standing by the windlass ready to let go the anchor should we lose power or steerage. We are sailing on a range, which keeps us in the safe area of the channel, we do NOT want to get off the range. (If you do not know what a range is, it is past time you learned).

Even if we wanted to, we could not stop or alter, remember a ship steers by moving her stern, and we do not have a lot of room . We also have bank suction to deal with. Yes we have bow thrusters but they are ineffective above about 4kts. We are committed to going down the channel, we have to have enough way on to get good steerage. If we do not have a bow thruster, more than likely we will have an assist tug (San Diego and many other ports requires a tug if you do not have a bow thruster).

If you get in our way and we see you (lookout reports your presence to the bridge), we will give you five blasts. It is all we can do, the ship is physically not able to stop or alter for you.Even if we could stop, we would now be more of a danger because we would then have no control and at the whim of the wind and current.

If you choose to have a race where the course crosses a commercial channel, do not expect it to have any effect on commercial shipping. No one is paying demurrage for you to race. We sail on schedule, treat us as an obstacle and cross astern of us if there is any doubt whatsoever.

If you try and call us on 16, we will most likely not hear you. Near the coast and especially near large cities there is so much incessant useless chatter on 16 we often turn the volume down. If you truly wish to speak to us, call us on 13 (or the working channel for the harbor ) and say who you are calling, (“ Inbound ship passing Buoy 7 Miami ship channel--- etc…) we will answer if able.

You will do us and yourself a large favor if you stay out of our way

And at sea, yes we have lookouts, but unfortunately they are looking for ships, lights, and anything unusual. They probably have not seen anything for a while and are not expecting to see something. Small boats do not catch the eye if the weather is a bit rough, and the lights on sailboats are so dim they are very hard to catch, so sail defensively. Call us on 13, we are always happy to talk at sea, but again, identify who you are calling. If you do not have AIS, call us by position, “Southeast bound containership at 31 degrees 54 north 77 42 west (degrees and minutes, don’t worry about tenths) This is the south bound sailboat three miles off your port bow” And speak slowly, many officers do not have English as a first language, call us a couple of times, the bridge watch may need to get someone who speaks English.

I hope this helps to enlighten you to what is going on aboard a ship. We can share the water, just not the same place at the same time.

Michael
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:20   #36
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by anacapaisland42 View Post
Then there's the other side, Coming out of Shelter Bay in Panama and heading south, crossing the lines of container ships, quite an experience.
Matched by night sailing south of Cozumel, large ship coming astern, red/green, then green/red, then red/green etc. Answer next morning.... cruise ship, early for Cozumel, doing 360's at minimum, fuel saving, speed, 4 hours of whats going on?
Bill
That one is believable.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:25   #37
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

I sail the SD Bay and vicinity and see the problem all the time. But what is not entirely clear here because of the telescopic lens and the time laps speed up is the relative distances between the container ship and the sailboats. You certainly cannot count on the large ships to change course. Just the opposite actually. You can count on them keeping to a track like they were on rails and their speed changes little as well. So you know where they are going due to the confines of the channel.
Yes, I have seen people make poor decisions but I don't think it is as bad as this video makes it look.
Our new (to us) boat, a Catalina 30, has an AIS transponder so if I do something stupid the ship can call me out by name. That would get your attention and would help the situation I think. Same goes for the big ships when they are outside of the bay and you want to know if they intend to turn in your direction. They often ignore your call but not if you can call them by name. The technology is getting very inexpensive and should be on all boats in this kind of an area.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:36   #38
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
I drive ships for a living, and I sail for enjoyment.

SNIP…

I hope this helps to enlighten you to what is going on aboard a ship. We can share the water, just not the same place at the same time.

Michael
Michael,
Thanks for adding your POV to the discussion. I enjoyed reading your comments and think it was all very well written and all sailors could benefit from reading it. In fact, I think it would be a good post (topic) in the wiki (so it would be easily seen and linked for others to read) that is related to this site, or a sticky or something like that in the seamanship forum.
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Old 09-06-2015, 13:34   #39
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
I drive ships for a living, and I sail for enjoyment. Reading some of the comments here are humorous to say the least. If you are going to be out where ships are, one needs to know not only the rules but the physics as well.

I used to occasionally come into Miami with a RORO on a Sunday and the entrance was just chock full of small boats, fish boats, sail boats, and mega yachts. Unfortunately most of them do not have a clue what goes on aboard a ship.

Be aware of this:
We pick up a Pilot out by the sea buoy, If a pilot boat brought the pilot out, he (the pilot boat) may or may not be ahead of us coming in, the person driving the pilot boat really does not care about all these little boats. The Pilot (who is now aboard and on the bridge) is used to seeing all these little boats in the way, they usually do not concern him/her.

We really cannot see what is under our bow for quite a way ahead of us, the Chief Mate is on the foredeck with one or two crew standing by the windlass ready to let go the anchor should we lose power or steerage. We are sailing on a range, which keeps us in the safe area of the channel, we do NOT want to get off the range. (If you do not know what a range is, it is past time you learned).

Even if we wanted to, we could not stop or alter, remember a ship steers by moving her stern, and we do not have a lot of room . We also have bank suction to deal with. Yes we have bow thrusters but they are ineffective above about 4kts. We are committed to going down the channel, we have to have enough way on to get good steerage. If we do not have a bow thruster, more than likely we will have an assist tug (San Diego and many other ports requires a tug if you do not have a bow thruster).

If you get in our way and we see you (lookout reports your presence to the bridge), we will give you five blasts. It is all we can do, the ship is physically not able to stop or alter for you.Even if we could stop, we would now be more of a danger because we would then have no control and at the whim of the wind and current.

If you choose to have a race where the course crosses a commercial channel, do not expect it to have any effect on commercial shipping. No one is paying demurrage for you to race. We sail on schedule, treat us as an obstacle and cross astern of us if there is any doubt whatsoever.

If you try and call us on 16, we will most likely not hear you. Near the coast and especially near large cities there is so much incessant useless chatter on 16 we often turn the volume down. If you truly wish to speak to us, call us on 13 (or the working channel for the harbor ) and say who you are calling, (“ Inbound ship passing Buoy 7 Miami ship channel--- etc…) we will answer if able.

You will do us and yourself a large favor if you stay out of our way

And at sea, yes we have lookouts, but unfortunately they are looking for ships, lights, and anything unusual. They probably have not seen anything for a while and are not expecting to see something. Small boats do not catch the eye if the weather is a bit rough, and the lights on sailboats are so dim they are very hard to catch, so sail defensively. Call us on 13, we are always happy to talk at sea, but again, identify who you are calling. If you do not have AIS, call us by position, “Southeast bound containership at 31 degrees 54 north 77 42 west (degrees and minutes, don’t worry about tenths) This is the south bound sailboat three miles off your port bow” And speak slowly, many officers do not have English as a first language, call us a couple of times, the bridge watch may need to get someone who speaks English.

I hope this helps to enlighten you to what is going on aboard a ship. We can share the water, just not the same place at the same time.

Michael
Capt. -- Thanks for the perspective & the enlightenment. If I may ask, how effective for a large commercial ship is the Class B AIS now being increasingly transmitted by recreational vessels on the open ocean? There is speculation that it gets filtered out or otherwise ignored, but it would be instructive to hear from someone with direct experience. Thanks again.
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Old 09-06-2015, 14:04   #40
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

When at sea in clear conditions a freighter MAY be able to miss a small (100' or less sailboat) because the skipper and lookouts on the freighter do have a much greater sight distance and so may be warned of the sailboat's presence and existing course. But if visibility is restricted by weather, channel changing directions or any of a multitude of other situations the freighter can't change course or speed quick enough to make a significant difference. Any sailboater (or other recreational boater) that relies on the freighter manouvering so as to miss him is likely to improve the gene pool by dieing. And having a lookout on the bow of the freighter will do little or nothing to prevent a collision with a recreational craft in a harbor or busy shipping area. We have MUCH greater manouverability and MUCH more to lose when there is a conflict between a large commercial vessel and our relatively smaller sailboat. As such it behooves us to get out of their way.
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Old 09-06-2015, 14:28   #41
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
I drive ships for a living, and I sail for enjoyment. Reading some of the comments here are humorous to say the least. If you are going to be out where ships are, one needs to know not only the rules but the physics as well.

I used to occasionally come into Miami with a RORO on a Sunday and the entrance was just chock full of small boats, fish boats, sail boats, and mega yachts. Unfortunately most of them do not have a clue what goes on aboard a ship.

Be aware of this:
We pick up a Pilot out by the sea buoy, If a pilot boat brought the pilot out, he (the pilot boat) may or may not be ahead of us coming in, the person driving the pilot boat really does not care about all these little boats. The Pilot (who is now aboard and on the bridge) is used to seeing all these little boats in the way, they usually do not concern him/her.

We really cannot see what is under our bow for quite a way ahead of us, the Chief Mate is on the foredeck with one or two crew standing by the windlass ready to let go the anchor should we lose power or steerage. We are sailing on a range, which keeps us in the safe area of the channel, we do NOT want to get off the range. (If you do not know what a range is, it is past time you learned).

Even if we wanted to, we could not stop or alter, remember a ship steers by moving her stern, and we do not have a lot of room . We also have bank suction to deal with. Yes we have bow thrusters but they are ineffective above about 4kts. We are committed to going down the channel, we have to have enough way on to get good steerage. If we do not have a bow thruster, more than likely we will have an assist tug (San Diego and many other ports requires a tug if you do not have a bow thruster).

If you get in our way and we see you (lookout reports your presence to the bridge), we will give you five blasts. It is all we can do, the ship is physically not able to stop or alter for you.Even if we could stop, we would now be more of a danger because we would then have no control and at the whim of the wind and current.

If you choose to have a race where the course crosses a commercial channel, do not expect it to have any effect on commercial shipping. No one is paying demurrage for you to race. We sail on schedule, treat us as an obstacle and cross astern of us if there is any doubt whatsoever.

If you try and call us on 16, we will most likely not hear you. Near the coast and especially near large cities there is so much incessant useless chatter on 16 we often turn the volume down. If you truly wish to speak to us, call us on 13 (or the working channel for the harbor ) and say who you are calling, (“ Inbound ship passing Buoy 7 Miami ship channel--- etc…) we will answer if able.

You will do us and yourself a large favor if you stay out of our way

And at sea, yes we have lookouts, but unfortunately they are looking for ships, lights, and anything unusual. They probably have not seen anything for a while and are not expecting to see something. Small boats do not catch the eye if the weather is a bit rough, and the lights on sailboats are so dim they are very hard to catch, so sail defensively. Call us on 13, we are always happy to talk at sea, but again, identify who you are calling. If you do not have AIS, call us by position, “Southeast bound containership at 31 degrees 54 north 77 42 west (degrees and minutes, don’t worry about tenths) This is the south bound sailboat three miles off your port bow” And speak slowly, many officers do not have English as a first language, call us a couple of times, the bridge watch may need to get someone who speaks English.

I hope this helps to enlighten you to what is going on aboard a ship. We can share the water, just not the same place at the same time.

Michael
Well stated.
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Old 09-06-2015, 15:31   #42
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Exile View Post
Capt. -- Thanks for the perspective & the enlightenment. If I may ask, how effective for a large commercial ship is the Class B AIS now being increasingly transmitted by recreational vessels on the open ocean? There is speculation that it gets filtered out or otherwise ignored, but it would be instructive to hear from someone with direct experience. Thanks again.
Steady hand and Exile, thank you for your kind words.

And to your question Exile, AIS is a truly great aid, and especially at the speeds we make on larger ships. It does however breed a bit of complacency in some people.

In my opinion most ships are run properly, their Masters and Chief Mates demand professionalism from their crews. No one would intentionally ignore or filter a signal indicating another vessel in the area while at sea regardless of its size or make up. We do, however filter or quiet CPA alarms near harbor entrances. When the pilot is aboard, he or she uses their “pilot plug” on the AIS and are in constant contact with other pilots aboard ships in the area that are underway or about to get underway. Once the pilot departs and we get up to sea speed we clear any filters and re-enable the CPA alarms. Now this is not saying that all vessels are as diligent.

Think of it like this, the weather is up and the watch officer has tuned the sea clutter up so he does not have a large return area in the middle of the radar picture. When the sea moderates the watch officer will adjust the sea clutter down again so as to pick up targets that would have been missed otherwise. Now, there may be watch officers who neglect to retune, not on my ship of course but it does happen, thus missing small targets. Same thing can happen with AIS. But no deck officer would intentionally disable a device designed to alert him/her of traffic when at sea, no matter who or what the traffic is.


But there will always be people on small boats who assume they do, assume the bridge watch is asleep or drunk because they do not see them or they did not answer them on the radio when they call on 16 “ Big ship, this is cutie pie”. At six miles a ship is quite visible to a small boat, and people aboard them seem to think they are just as visible to the watch on the ship. They are not, they are nearly invisible.

If you are going to make an assumption, assume that ship on the horizon does not see you, and that she is going to maintain her course and speed. This will most likely turn out to be true.

Relax, enjoy the trip, altering course toward a ships stern is only going to add a few moments of time to your pleasurable voyage.


Michael
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Old 09-06-2015, 17:50   #43
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Exclamation Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Law and the Rules require us to give way in any waterway when the ship is constrained - a river or channel - try racing the "ditch" from Oakland to Stockton, and have a grain carrier come downstream. And, lord knows how many times I've seen both sail and power boats cut across and even under the bows of ships underway - the "Law of Tonnage" applies - the ship can't stop or turn to give you room - there's few thousand tons underway. I've seen the occasion ship captain slow for a sailing/racing fleet headed across his bow - probably because he knew the we're idiots, and would take our chances for the sake of a trophy..
The simple answer is head up, head down, and deal with his wake. Don't worry about stand on - just stand down.
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Old 09-06-2015, 18:02   #44
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

The container ship maintained course and speed, I assume. The sailboats, by definition gave way since none was hit.
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Old 09-06-2015, 19:39   #45
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Re: Container Ship and Saliboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
Steady hand and Exile, thank you for your kind words.

And to your question Exile, AIS is a truly great aid, and especially at the speeds we make on larger ships. It does however breed a bit of complacency in some people.

In my opinion most ships are run properly, their Masters and Chief Mates demand professionalism from their crews. No one would intentionally ignore or filter a signal indicating another vessel in the area while at sea regardless of its size or make up. We do, however filter or quiet CPA alarms near harbor entrances. When the pilot is aboard, he or she uses their “pilot plug” on the AIS and are in constant contact with other pilots aboard ships in the area that are underway or about to get underway. Once the pilot departs and we get up to sea speed we clear any filters and re-enable the CPA alarms. Now this is not saying that all vessels are as diligent.

Think of it like this, the weather is up and the watch officer has tuned the sea clutter up so he does not have a large return area in the middle of the radar picture. When the sea moderates the watch officer will adjust the sea clutter down again so as to pick up targets that would have been missed otherwise. Now, there may be watch officers who neglect to retune, not on my ship of course but it does happen, thus missing small targets. Same thing can happen with AIS. But no deck officer would intentionally disable a device designed to alert him/her of traffic when at sea, no matter who or what the traffic is.


But there will always be people on small boats who assume they do, assume the bridge watch is asleep or drunk because they do not see them or they did not answer them on the radio when they call on 16 “ Big ship, this is cutie pie”. At six miles a ship is quite visible to a small boat, and people aboard them seem to think they are just as visible to the watch on the ship. They are not, they are nearly invisible.

If you are going to make an assumption, assume that ship on the horizon does not see you, and that she is going to maintain her course and speed. This will most likely turn out to be true.

Relax, enjoy the trip, altering course toward a ships stern is only going to add a few moments of time to your pleasurable voyage.



Michael
I'm much obliged for all your insight, Capt. Mike, and the parts I've highlighted are especially well taken, imo. Even on clear, sunny days on the Chesapeake Bay, I'm often amazed when crew will suggest there is "plenty of time" to sail across the bow of an oncoming container ship or tanker. As we close on its stern it's their turn to be amazed how wildly off they were in their assumption. I think it's probably fair to say that the most prudent assumption is usually correct in most areas of seamanship, and maybe that much more so on a small recreational vessel.

Nice hearing from a professional, big ship captain on a forum like this. Many thanks.
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