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Old 17-01-2018, 07:34   #1
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crab traps do you avoid them ?

Hello

I bought my first sailboat in Marathon and sailed it to Cape Coral

We motored most of the way and pretty much had to dodge crap traps most of the way.
We ran quite a few over and didn't pick any up in the prop

Pretty annoying when you have to man the wheel most of the time because your afraid to get one in the prop

Question is should I just set my autopilot and pretend they aren't there ?
Should they be avoided under power ? under sail ?
What are the odds of getting them in the prop ?

We motored at night to so im sure we went over quite a few of them with no problem

Thanks for any input
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Old 17-01-2018, 07:45   #2
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

Well I can tell you from personal experience that a commercial crab trap (presumably full) is enough to stop a 42' sailboat under sail dead in it's tracks. So ya, probably best to dodge them
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:00   #3
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

Obviously, you avoid them. Often the bow wave will push the floats aside, but a severe entanglement can be troublesome and even expensive.

The autopilot statement is bothersome; you have the same duty to maintain watch, both legally and to protect your boat.

Normally, they are only set in certain depths and areas, where the crabs are. Be observant, and you can learn to avoid those areas However, the areas move as the water temperature and the crabs move, so you have to watch. They should not be set in channels (law), but that can be a problem. I'm also not too fond of the dark colored markers.

Try also to see it from the fisherman's perspective. These are very small businesses and we enjoy what they catch. He places gear at the mercy of the sea and boaters, hoping not too much of it is damaged. If you cut a float off, the pot is lost. These are not wealthy people. More to the point, how would you feel?

Also remember that a pot without a float continues to catch crabs, but they all die. Rather wasteful.

So yes, I avoid them.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:04   #4
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

A crab pot wrapped up in the shaft is No Fun, plus they can damage things like props, strutts or shaft. Even with cutters, they will wrap up. When sailing we can go right over them and no fear of hanging up, cause we a a folding prop and no gaps for lines to hang in.

Yes avoid them and abandoned pots are a problem.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:27   #5
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

I think you know the answer to your question... yes, you avoid them.

As "thinwater" so eloquently stated, these traps are someone's means of putting food on their family's table. I would suggest that we have a self-imposed obligation to take it a step further; If we do get tangled up in one, we should do everything we can to disentangle and cut the line only as a last resort.

That said, you don't need to panic either; in heavily crabbed areas, I've run over a few that were simply unavoidable and as stated, the bow wake luckily pushed them aside... certainly don't put your vessel or crew in danger trying to avoid every single one.

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Old 17-01-2018, 08:29   #6
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pirate Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

I have been going up and down the W Portuguese coast and the Algarve for years both under sail and motor.. usually between 3 and 10nm off shore.. yes there are many out there but have yet to snag one.. usually they're pushed out of the way by the bow wave.
A deeper keeled boat 6ft or more may possibly snag one.. mind these crab pots do not employ a separate pick up line and float.. just the main float and flag pole on a sinking line.
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:45   #7
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

Is the Sailboat with a wing keel less likely to pick one up than a twin engine powerboat ? (I would think much more likely the powerboat will pick one up)

Ive been running twin engine powerboats in SW Florida for over 20yrs and probably have ran over hundreds by accident and never had one in the prop

Maybe im lucky
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Old 17-01-2018, 08:51   #8
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
Obviously, you avoid them. Often the bow wave will push the floats aside, but a severe entanglement can be troublesome and even expensive.

The autopilot statement is bothersome; you have the same duty to maintain watch, both legally and to protect your boat.

Normally, they are only set in certain depths and areas, where the crabs are. Be observant, and you can learn to avoid those areas However, the areas move as the water temperature and the crabs move, so you have to watch. They should not be set in channels (law), but that can be a problem. I'm also not too fond of the dark colored markers.

Try also to see it from the fisherman's perspective. These are very small businesses and we enjoy what they catch. He places gear at the mercy of the sea and boaters, hoping not too much of it is damaged. If you cut a float off, the pot is lost. These are not wealthy people. More to the point, how would you feel?

Also remember that a pot without a float continues to catch crabs, but they all die. Rather wasteful.

So yes, I avoid them.
Probably rare but not unheard of -- float line wrapped around your shaft can rip it out of the boat and sink you.

Or if it merely stops the shaft, it will just rip up your machinery and leave you dead in the water.

I have a rope cutter on my shaft, but still live in dread of them. They get into my rudder from time to time. They are really hard to avoid at night.

Do avoid them, for your own sake as well as for the sake of the fishermen. By the way, you are theoretically liable for damage you cause by running over a crab pot which is placed in a legal spot. You are OBLIGATED to avoid them.
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Old 17-01-2018, 12:14   #9
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

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Originally Posted by RobD527 View Post
Pretty annoying when you have to man the wheel most of the time because your afraid to get one in the prop...

Question is should I just set my autopilot and pretend they aren't there ?
Should they be avoided under power ? under sail ?
Yes, you have to maintain adequate lookout and a proper helm watch. It's right there in the COLREGs. It's not considered "annoying."

Look at it this way. I tell power boaters all the time, just because you have the ability to go 30 knots or whatever, doesn't mean you always SHOULD.

Likewise, just because you HAVE autopilot, doesn't mean you should set it and go about doing other things.

I cruise the coast of Maine a lot. You don't know about trap buoys until you've spent some time around here. Autopilot is of little use in many places.

One last thought: If you don't watch for buoys, how are you going to spot a log, a deadhead, a refrigerator (yes, I saw one floating just below the surface once)?
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Old 17-01-2018, 12:18   #10
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

I came down to Marathon last month and was happy during the night as I couldn't see the pots, but in the morning it was "damn they are everywhere" and now I was trying to miss them.

In 8 years up north with the lobster pots I going caught them if going slow, otherwise they seemed to get pushed aside.
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Old 17-01-2018, 12:34   #11
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

Quote:
One last thought: If you don't watch for buoys, how are you going to spot a log, a deadhead, a refrigerator (yes, I saw one floating just below the surface once)?
Gee, that's pretty impressive - spotting a fridge floating BELOW the surface. A degree of watchkeeping we should all strive towards/

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Old 17-01-2018, 12:38   #12
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

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Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
Yes, you have to maintain adequate lookout and a proper helm watch. It's right there in the COLREGs. It's not considered "annoying."

Look at it this way. I tell power boaters all the time, just because you have the ability to go 30 knots or whatever, doesn't mean you always SHOULD.

Likewise, just because you HAVE autopilot, doesn't mean you should set it and go about doing other things.

I cruise the coast of Maine a lot. You don't know about trap buoys until you've spent some time around here. Autopilot is of little use in many places.

One last thought: If you don't watch for buoys, how are you going to spot a log, a deadhead, a refrigerator (yes, I saw one floating just below the surface once)?
I had the autopilot set the whole time on the trip pretty simple to push a button to make minor corrections to avoid the pots

Just a simple question if anyone sailing runs them over or avoids them because I have never had one in the prop after 20yrs
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Old 17-01-2018, 14:18   #13
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

not crab pots, but I've caught a lot of lobster pots and had them stop me dead in my tracks, but have also never had one in the prop
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Old 17-01-2018, 14:48   #14
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

We have the 'shaft shark' and it works great.

Prop Shaft Line Cutters | Blue Water Sailing

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Old 17-01-2018, 15:24   #15
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Re: crab traps do you avoid them ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobD527 View Post
I had the autopilot set the whole time on the trip pretty simple to push a button to make minor corrections to avoid the pots



Just a simple question if anyone sailing runs them over or avoids them because I have never had one in the prop after 20yrs


I have been lucky too, but I think my boats design helps.
Nighttime, I wish I had a nickel for every float I have seen “appear” behind me illuminated by the stern light, how are you supposed to see them at night, especially as it seems some genius paints a lot of them black?
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