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Old 17-10-2014, 16:32   #121
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

Officers on the ship that ran you over could lose their license/job.
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Old 17-10-2014, 16:38   #122
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Once the ship starts to take evasive action, then that gives me a good safe direction for me to know to take evasive action.
I don't think anyone is failing to knowledge that every skipper has the responsibility to take evasive action as well, that's the law. But you were advocating reversing the law and that's simply not practical or realistic.
Of course, once the ship moves you can react accordingly. But we are talking about a situation where the ship was not moving, but was continuing in the direction of the sailboat. Remember, the ship was 1 1/2 miles away and still not responding to the hail. What I am advocating is that the sailboat take some responsibility to move out of the way of the ship long before it becomes urgent.

In the English Channel I am sure that ships keep a very close watch. But on the open ocean, it is an entirely different matter. Go and read the Jessica Watson report. We are all talking about hypothetical collisions. Her's was an actual collision. That ship did not care one hoot about hitting her. They cared so little that they didn't even stop after hitting her. So keep in mind that the guy on watch of the give-way ship does not care one bit about you.

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The fatal problem in that situation is you can't know which way to go. This statement: "So no matter what way he went he would have reduced the odds by 50%" is false. You cannot determine even close with your eyeballs, and you can't even guess with your radar without several minutes of tracking, whether the ship is passing a cable ahead or a cable behind.
I have been in exactly the situation you describe. Here is a quick solution, if you see red and green, you are in real trouble. If one minute later you still see red and green, AND if the ship is not responding to hails, then you'd better do something bloody quick, because you can't tell if the ship is 5 miles or 1/4 mile away from you. If you see only red or only green, you are in an improved situation. So get yourself to a position where you only see red or green.

When I'm on the sea, I am solely responsible for my own safety. I don't leave it to anyone else, let alone the watch on a ship. So I take maneuvers to make myself safe. And that usually means that I follow the law of tonnage. I get out of the way of big ships.
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Old 17-10-2014, 17:01   #123
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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I have been in exactly the situation you describe. Here is a quick solution, if you see red and green, you are in real trouble. If one minute later you still see red and green, AND if the ship is not responding to hails, then you'd better do something bloody quick, because you can't tell if the ship is 5 miles or 1/4 mile away from you. If you see only red or only green, you are in an improved situation. So get yourself to a position where you only see red or green.
Red and green? So in this hypothetical, we don't even have a radar fix? Are we not even using a hand bearing compass? We're just judging aspect from nav lights? Then how do you even know whether you have a collision situation or not? Seeing both red and green just means that the boat's bow is within 5 degrees plus or minus your bearing. So it's a 10 degree arc (IF that boat's nav lights are perfectly aligned -- rare). This is then more or less pure luck, whether you get out of that situation, because you only know that he's coming in your general direction, not whether you actually have a collision situation or not, and you certainly have no clue about which way to go.
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Old 17-10-2014, 18:01   #124
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Officers on the ship that ran you over could lose their license/job.

Ok MP, I'm feeling a bit feisty this pm. If a guy being PAID to keep a look out and fails see see my little sailboat runs me down because he is NOT doing his job and gets fired for it how is that my problem, well except for the fact that I'm dead. If the guy worked for me, he would be fired for sure. He can cause a world of hurt with that big boat traveling at high speeds, me, the dead sailor in my small, slow moving sailboat, who can I hurt?
I checked out you bio, I'm not saying that it would be ok to sail around the SF bay or in the delta while sleeping below. I'm talking open ocean, out of ship lanes etc. if I have anyone but me and my dog aboard I keep a watch 24 hours.





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Old 17-10-2014, 18:13   #125
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

Ok, Dockhead. It's pitch black on the open ocean and you can't see anything other than the red and green lights. The ship is 1.5 miles away. It's not responding to your hail, turning or responding in any other way. A minute later you still see red and green, so it's a pretty good guess that the ship is coming right at you - or pretty darned close. You are the stand-on vessel. You say you can't turn left or right because you can't judge what direction the ship is going to turn, and you will still be in the 10 degree range of the bow anyway. So tell me, what is the best solution to this situation?
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Old 17-10-2014, 18:25   #126
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Ok, Dockhead. It's pitch black on the open ocean and you can't see anything other than the red and green lights. The ship is 1.5 miles away. It's not responding to your hail, turning or responding in any other way. A minute later you still see red and green, so it's a pretty good guess that the ship is coming right at you - or pretty darned close. You are the stand-on vessel. You say you can't turn left or right because you can't judge what direction the ship is going to turn, and you will still be in the 10 degree range of the bow anyway. So tell me, what is the best solution to this situation?
"You say you can't turn left or right because you can't judge what direction the ship is going to turn, and you will still be in the 10 degree range of the bow anyway."

That is, at last, a correct statement of the problem!

First of all, 1.5 miles is already in extremis. So no waiting around for him to do something. Stand-on or give way is already irrelevant.

In order to do something, however, you need to know whether the ship is passing ahead or behind you, in order to know which way to turn so that you can open up the CPA. This is a life or death matter.

The nav lights are the last thing you will use to figure this out.

Start with AIS, which will give you precise information about CPA and relative courses.

No AIS? Then use radar. If you have MARPA and it works (you need a decent heading data source), then this will do, but you need a few minutes to get a fix. No MARPA? Radar plotting by hand.

No radar? Hand bearing compass. No boat should be at sea without a hand bearing compass, so I'll stop there. That is the worst acceptable method of dealing with this, and no excuse not to have it.

While doing this, I might very well turn to sail away from the ship on his same course, and make best possible speed sail or motor or both, to reduce the relative speed and increase time to determine his aspect. Crew at the helm; me at the nav table to concentrate on the problem.

Then when you understand his relative course and aspect, turn the other way. Hopefully before he has run you down.


One more thing: If I have failed to detect a ship on a constant bearing until it's already 1.5 miles away, I should be flogged through the fleet. This is a catastrophic failure of the watch. You ought to see ships 10 miles off, and notice pretty fast whether they are on a constant bearing. At 5 miles, tops, you should have situational awareness. 1.5 miles is crazy.

Concerning nav lights, again -- seeing both red and green is a vague indication of something 5 degrees +/- of a collision course only if you are motionless yourself. If you are underway, this is almost meaningless. The key indicator of a potential collision is a constant bearing, which works whether you are hove-to or under way. If you don't have electronic means (and skill to use them) to determine this, then you need a hand bearing compass around your neck. If you're sailing anywhere where there are ships.
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Old 17-10-2014, 18:46   #127
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

Re red and green: If you can see the red and green of a ship at sea, surely you can also see its two steaming lights, and those are a far better indication of the ships aspect relative to you. In my experience, the steaming lights are far more visible at longer distances than the sidelights, and they are my first visual clues as to the ships path.

And as to which way to turn... in nearly all situations it is better to turn to starboard, for that will be the first instinct of the skipper of the other vessel. As a master mariner friend likes to say "Turn to port? See you in court!"

And finally, if one does visually detect a ship at long distance (say 8-10 miles, as is possible at night under good conditions) I see nothing wrong with making a course change to widen the apparent CPA. It is usually beyond the distance where collision avoidance COLREGS start kicking in for the merchant vessel... if he is even aware of your presence.

Cheers,

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Old 17-10-2014, 18:48   #128
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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............. Thirdly, the advice in the book to ignore (to "reverse", even) the Colregs is very poor advice, for very many reasons. There have been a lot of discussions about that on CF.

The phrase "right of way" does not belong in a maritime discussion. A lot on that in other threads.
You could easily find yourself "dead right". Expecting a 1,000' tanker to get out of the way of your 35' boat is pretty risky. That ship may not even know he hit you.
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Old 17-10-2014, 18:52   #129
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Ok MP, I'm feeling a bit feisty this pm. If a guy being PAID to keep a look out and fails see see my little sailboat runs me down because he is NOT doing his job and gets fired for it how is that my problem, well except for the fact that I'm dead. If the guy worked for me, he would be fired for sure. He can cause a world of hurt with that big boat traveling at high speeds, me, the dead sailor in my small, slow moving sailboat, who can I hurt?
I checked out you bio, I'm not saying that it would be ok to sail around the SF bay or in the delta while sleeping below. I'm talking open ocean, out of ship lanes etc. if I have anyone but me and my dog aboard I keep a watch 24 hours.
What he means is that professional mariners have different priorities from us WAFIs. Their jobs depend on their avoiding incidents, so they are not going to be taking chances. They will, most of them, be looking hard for other vessels with AIS and powerful radars, and will do the COREGS thing quickly -- if a risk of collision already exists, and if they are stand-on, they'll give you a chance to make your move. But when dealing with WAFIs, the decision point for the professional is usually far before the WAFI is even aware he's there. So even if he is stand-on, he will usually start maneuvering, just to ensure that a situation never occurs. And often he will make his move before a COLREGS situation even comes up. And you will never know he was even there -- sailing along fat, dumb, and happy. That probably describes the absolute majority of encounters between WAFIs and professional mariners.
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Old 17-10-2014, 19:03   #130
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Re red and green: If you can see the red and green of a ship at sea, surely you can also see its two steaming lights, and those are a far better indication of the ships aspect relative to you. In my experience, the steaming lights are far more visible at longer distances than the sidelights, and they are my first visual clues as to the ships path.

And as to which way to turn... in nearly all situations it is better to turn to starboard, for that will be the first instinct of the skipper of the other vessel. As a master mariner friend likes to say "Turn to port? See you in court!"

And finally, if one does visually detect a ship at long distance (say 8-10 miles, as is possible at night under good conditions) I see nothing wrong with making a course change to widen the apparent CPA. It is usually beyond the distance where collision avoidance COLREGS start kicking in for the merchant vessel... if he is even aware of your presence.

Cheers,

Jim
All good advice!

Just remember that there will be two steaming lights only if he is 50 meters or more in length.

But yes, you are right -- this is a far better guide to aspect than the sidelights, if they exist.

I made dozens of Channel crossings before I had AIS, which now seems like a nightmare -- how can you live without AIS? I found it much easier to understand and be aware of ships' aspects at night, when you could see the two steaming lights, than in the day time. I liked doing it at night, at least, in decent weather. But it could become horrendously hairy in the extremely busy Channel when you have as many as three potential collisions at once. It becomes task overload to be running the numbers on all three at the same time. MARPA on my old radar was nearly useless, so I usually used hand radar plotting, or the HBC, and hand-written notes.

And then there's the case when you're running before a gale, and crossing the sea lanes. You will have a lot more canvas up than you could carry on any other point of sail, so your options in terms of maneuvering are quite limited. That requires a lot more concentration, and planning a lot further ahead, in order to avoid getting into a hairy situation.
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Old 17-10-2014, 19:05   #131
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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First of all, 1.5 miles is already in extremis. So no waiting around for him to do something. Stand-on or give way is already irrelevant.
-But that's the situation we were talking about. He said the ship was 1.5 miles away. But the actual fact is that at night, you don't have any idea how close the ship is. You just came up from a nice supper below and you see red and green lights. They could be 3 miles or 1/2 mile away. You can't tell by sight.
-Radar and AIS - forget it. This is a small boat. Or more likely your electrics are shot.
-Hand bearing compass. Only good if the seas are calm enough for you to get a fix on how the ship is moving to you. And since you are continuing to see red and green, the amount of variation that you will see will be very small, only a few degrees. He is not cutting across you at 90 degrees. He is bearing down on you with (as you say) only 10 degrees of variation. And that's not possible to confirm with your hand bearing compass on a bouncy sea. The only way to make it work is to wait, and wait, and wait until you are sure that he is really 3 degrees higher or lower than he was when you started this process. And by the way, you don't need a compass to do this, just stand steady on your boat and watch the ship in relation to a stansion. Same principle as the compass. But it still won't work on a bouncy sea.

The ship is continuing to bear down on you. Full speed. What do you do?

And just so you know, I have been in this exact situation.
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Old 17-10-2014, 19:13   #132
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

Before I got a AIS. receiver I would have agreed that the big boats did not maneuver to miss me. Heading north in the Yucatain straight I did not sleep ,way to many big ships. My AIS seems to easily pick up targets 20 miles out. I could see them change course to avoid me. The first time I saw it i was amazed and so happy.







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Old 17-10-2014, 19:16   #133
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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Before I got a AIS. receiver I would have agreed that the big boats did not maneuver to miss me. Heading north in the Yucatain straight I did not sleep ,way to many big ships. My AIS seems to easily pick up targets 20 miles out. I could see them change course to avoid me. The first time I saw it i was amazed and so happy.
Same thing happened to me! And many others. Just goes to show that without AIS, things were happening which we simply were not aware of.
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Old 17-10-2014, 19:19   #134
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

I should have mentioned that the AIS. Shows course , speed, ship info, CPA. Etc. I could see that they changed course not by seeing the ship but the course would change on the AIS readout


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Old 17-10-2014, 19:26   #135
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Re: Do you keep a Constant Lookout?

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-But that's the situation we were talking about. He said the ship was 1.5 miles away. But the actual fact is that at night, you don't have any idea how close the ship is. You just came up from a nice supper below and you see red and green lights. They could be 3 miles or 1/2 mile away. You can't tell by sight.
-Radar and AIS - forget it. This is a small boat. Or more likely your electrics are shot.
-Hand bearing compass. Only good if the seas are calm enough for you to get a fix on how the ship is moving to you. And since you are continuing to see red and green, the amount of variation that you will see will be very small, only a few degrees. He is not cutting across you at 90 degrees. He is bearing down on you with (as you say) only 10 degrees of variation. And that's not possible to confirm with your hand bearing compass on a bouncy sea. The only way to make it work is to wait, and wait, and wait until you are sure that he is really 3 degrees higher or lower than he was when you started this process. And by the way, you don't need a compass to do this, just stand steady on your boat and watch the ship in relation to a stansion. Same principle as the compass. But it still won't work on a bouncy sea.

The ship is continuing to bear down on you. Full speed. What do you do?

And just so you know, I have been in this exact situation.

The guy you were criticizing detected the ship at 6 miles, not 1.5 miles. Whole different kettle of fish. At six miles, you have time to get the attention of the other watchstander -- just the right thing to do. By 1.5 miles, you have to be maneuvering yourself.

Hand bearing compass works better than bare eyeballs in any situation. The stanchion - which everyone uses -- is a good preliminary reference when a ship is still very far away. But it doesn't actually work right -- because the stanchion is not a compass reference -- it is only as good as your course is steady (and you said this is a small boat, right?). So it's not the same principle as the compass. The HBC will give you orders of magnitude better data, even if it's "bouncing around".

Seeing red and green, I say again, is only a vague indication of a possible collision only if you are hove to and not making way. If you are making way, then it might or very well might not indicate a possible collision. You need a series of bearings from some means, electronic or HBC, to have any clue about this if you're making way.
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