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Old 16-09-2013, 19:03   #46
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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Originally Posted by Tayana42 View Post
If fog doesn't worry you a little your nuts. But it doesn't worry me as much now that I have a boat with radar, plotter, etc. On the California coast fog is a matter of fact and so is heavy shipping traffic. When I was young and sailing a 24 footer on the East coast in Chesapeake and Long Island Sound with only a compass and chart, dealing with fog meant dead reckoning from buoy to buoy and blowing a horn by mouth. The confidence (stupidity) of youth helps you get through the fog.

Yeah I get that about both California and Washington. Been to CA many times. Been to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula once, but liked it so much that I seriously considered retiring in the Squim area. But I don't think I'd have a boat in either place without radar, which probably means I never would have gotten a boat ... 'spensive, some of those toys!
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Old 16-09-2013, 19:14   #47
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

I actually like the fog. I try to avoid it when I can, but if necessary it's perfectly possible to make a safe passage in fog....even heavy fog...providing that you have the proper attitude, crew, equipment, and experience.

Much better, though, to sit at anchor or dockside and wait it out with a good book and some hot coffee.

Here are a few fog scenes from a Maine cruise.

Bill

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Old 16-09-2013, 19:35   #48
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

[QUOTE=btrayfors;1341797]I actually like the fog. I try to avoid it when I can, but if necessary it's perfectly possible to make a safe passage in fog....even heavy fog...providing that you have the proper attitude, crew, equipment, and experience.

Much better, though, to sit at anchor or dockside and wait it out with a good book and some hot coffee.

Here are a few fog scenes from a Maine cruise.

Bill



I like fog at the dock, but without radar I really don't want to be out in it. Fortunately, it's 1) not common here and 2) forecastable.
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:05   #49
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

I don't mind fog and actually enjoy it. But for many years I was a commercial lobsterman and you fish in all weather. If we did not fish in the fog in coastal Maine or NH we'd be out of business...

What I don't like is the change in behavior on the water by people who really have no clue about navigation in the fog and who blindly follow an electronic plotter while not monitoring VHF 16, while not using fog signals, while not using nav lights, while not hoisting a reflector etc....

I've seen more scary stuff in the last 10 years than in the previous 30.. I can remember cruising Maine well before radar on pleasure boats and long before even Loran. I can remember one trip where we never saw anything for about a week. We still had fun, though nothing ever dried out...

Ok this is going to be a little bit of a frustration rant but mostly at folks who probably do not participate in these forums anyway.. I'm sure you guys don't behave like this..

A few summers ago we had a rather foggy July cruise, even for Maine standards, and IMHO the growth of the GPS plotter is causing some rather inflated man jewels, (brass balls), on the water. No, make that big reckless man jewells. I took notes on that trip of some of the sheer stupidity we witnessed...

As one who grew up navigating in the fog, before the advent of GPS plotters, and also one who spent thousands of hours working the foggy waters of the North East as a commercial lobsterman & while fishing commercially for Blue Fin Tuna, I am alarmed at the new quality & quantity of boaters who are willing to venture out in this stuff, totally ill prepared, being guided by nothing more than blind faith and a GPS screen.

Thick fog deserves RESPECT and you need to use some common sense when out in the soup.

Here's a list of some things I witnessed, not just once, but many times over just one week, in visibilities from 70 feet to about 400 feet.

Boat #1 - Sailboat from MA in 100 feet of visibility = No running lights, no radar reflector, no radar, no fog signals/horn, boat not a good radar target & barely showing up about every third sweep, not monitoring VHF 16 or any of the standard channels.

Boat #2 - Sea Ray from South Portland doing 30+ knots in 150 feet of vis. Picked up at 1 mile out as a random sea clutter type of return, tracked it, and realized it was a vessel moving at a high rate of speed directly towards me. Made hard turn to stbd and Sea Ray passed seconds later within 70 feet. Did not slow down, did not respond to VHF 09, 13, 16 or 72 hails. No fog horn, no radar, no running lights no radar reflector boat showed up like sea clutter at best. If my radar screen was anywhere other than the helm he might have run us down. Blind faith in the plotter at its best.

Boat #3 - Center console from the mid coast doing close to 30 knots and heading straight for a nun. This is what all the "inexperienced in fog boaters" do in fog. Do yourself a favor and STAY AWAY FROM MARKS IN THE FOG! Set your course well proud of any widely used nav aids. All the "new bravado" guys with plotters & no radar head straight for them. "Hey baby, see how cool this GPS thingy is, we almost hit that can!"

Boat #4
Heard on VHF 16 in an accent that was certainly not from the North East: "Billings Marine, Billings Marine this is the sailing vessel XXX." "This is Billings please switch and answer 09." Still on 16. "Billings I just left your fuel dock but forgot to ask and wanted to know if the tide today is a port or a starboard tide."

A port or starboard tide??????? Even Billings was confused by that one.. Oh and the vis that day was 50-70 feet...

I could go on and on and on from just a short trip. Please don't get me wrong we did meet plenty experienced skippers of boats who were using proper fog etiquette, communications, lights & signals but there seem to be more and more people who have NO CLUE how dangerous they really are to themselves and others.

If your one and only tool for navigation in the fog is a plotter, please, please, please STAY PUT! You don't absolutely need radar, though more so today than in the 70's or 80's because inexperienced people did not go out in the fog as they do today, but you DO need some other items to communicate and let others know of your presence.

If you can afford a boat, and to risk your life and the life of others, in 100 foot visibility, you can certainly afford a VHF, a fog horn/signal, running lights and a radar reflector. Are these items too much to ask for? Apparently they are for many these days..

Things to consider, when in fog, to be a good boater and to be courteous to others.

Radar Reflector
= Buy one and use it, please.. Just because you may choose not to have radar does not mean you should choose to be invisible or nearly invisible to the rest of the world who may be trying to practice good collision avoidance. While not perfect it is pretty rare that a boat with a reflector does not show up.

VHF = Use it please, and by that I mean turn the darn thing on and monitor VHF 16. PLEASE! We don't have your cell number on speed dial... it's the law to monitor VHF 16 if your vessel is VHF equipped.

Running Lights
= When the visibility drops PLEASE USE THEM. They do help and can add another 50-100 feet of warning.

Fog Signals = At a minimum Wal*Mart sells sports air horns for $6.00. Please get one and use it.. Many VHF radios now have built in fog hailers. Hamilton Marine sells a fog relay to drive a horn for about $100.00... The stupidity of the whole thing is I had a boat owner from CT row over to me and asked why our boat was "sounding like a light house" as we approached the harbor in the fog.... Umm, its called fog signals....??

Slow Down = A single sailboat traveling at 6 knots is covering 10.1 feet per second. In 100 feet of visibility the collision time to a fixed object is roughly 11 seconds from your first physical sighting. Now take two sailboats converging, each traveling at 6 knots, your collision time in 100 feet of visibility, from your first physical sighting, becomes just 5 seconds.

A power boat traveling 30 knots, on a collision course, will collide with a sailboat doing six knots, at 100 feet of visibility, in under two seconds from the first sighting! You will NOT have enough reaction time to avoid a collision with a clown like this other than to have radar and already been tracking him. Think people don't go fast in the fog? Think again..

Some photo examples of what these reckless boaters look like:

There really is a boat here 100 feet off my stern. No radar, no reflector, no running lights, no horn signals and not even a VHF response. "Dumb dee dumb, sailing awayyyy, dumb dee dumb, doh', a boat, how'd that get there?"


Here's a radar shot of that boat when it was actually showing up. It's the red spec just above the 18 foot spot off my stbd stern quarter. The two targets ahead and to port and stbd were two J Boats traveling together both of which had reflectors when they went by. SOME BOATS JUST DO NOT SHOW UP ON RADAR!!! The guy behind me owns one!


1st class clown (see speed above), no radar, no lights, no horn signals, no reflector and also not showing up well, and not monitoring VHF!


For reference this is 400 feet of visibility (400 feet is generally fairly good vis for Maine fog):


And here's the screen shot with the cursor just over the closest radar image at 411 feet (upper left corner measures distance).:




It scares me how many people are just plain dangerous and have no clue they are being so reckless. If they succeed once they do it again only this time with a greater level of comfort and confidence.

Fog can be magical but it still deserves attention and respect. Please be careful...

Sorry for the rant but each year the idiocy we see in the fog just gets worse and worse....
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:20   #50
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And... if your in a TSZ like the English Channel when the fog comes... maintain a 90 degrees to the lane track as required at a steady speed of 4-5kts using your horn to signal at the required intervals...
A religious conversion also helps in those circumstances

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Old 16-09-2013, 20:27   #51
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I would not agree with your advice to avoid the cans. In low vis I usually jump from buoy to buoy , admittedly slowly. It's provides a specific location reference and also tends to keep you out of the main channel and its vessels

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Old 16-09-2013, 20:37   #52
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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........

.....What I don't like is the change in behavior on the water by people who really have no clue about navigation in the fog and who blindly follow an electronic plotter while not monitoring VHF 16, while not using fog signals, while not using nav lights, while not hoisting a reflector etc....

.... It scares me how many people are just plain dangerous and have no clue they are being so reckless. If they succeed once they do it again only this time with a greater level of comfort and confidence.

Fog can be magical but it still deserves attention and respect. Please be careful...

Sorry for the rant but each year the idiocy we see in the fog just gets worse and worse....
My friend Paul who lives and sails extensively in Maine explains this trend very succinctly: "It's the Garmins!"

:-)

Bill
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:39   #53
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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I would not agree with your advice to avoid the cans. In low vis I usually jump from buoy to buoy , admittedly slowly. It's provides a specific location reference and also tends to keep you out of the main channel and its vessels

Dave

Here in Maine you are much more likely to get run down because a large majority of the boats head for the marks, and I mean so spot on, they could likely run over them. I'm not the only one who plies these foggy waters who refuses to even get close to a mark in the fog.. May not apply to all waters but if you ever visit Maine, and get caught in the fog, keep that one in mind...

I have seen four boats all converging on the same mark on radar all scattering at the absolute last second to avoid collision. One of the more humorous events I've seen on the radar actually... I'll stick 500+ feet off and pick it up on radar instead and not risk being run down by a Sea Ray doing 30 knots.........

Here in Maine we are much less concerened with commercial traffic than recreational. The lobstermen are tough because they are unpredictable but they are also easy to spot on radar with their erratic maneuvering and if you understand how they pull and lay then it is easy to avoid them.
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:40   #54
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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My friend Paul who lives and sails extensively in Maine explains this trend very succinctly: "It's the Garmins!"

:-)

Bill
Would that be Paul D. ..?
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:42   #55
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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Would that be Paul D. ..?
Yep! You nailed it.

Actually, I think he used the term after noting that there are a LOT more boats venturing way Down East than there used to be, apparently as the button-pushers of the day feel empowered by GPS displays to go way East of Mt. Desert Is.

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Old 16-09-2013, 20:47   #56
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

Maine Sail, I'm in total sympathy/agreement.
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:51   #57
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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Yep! You nailed it.

Actually, I think he used the term after noting that there are a LOT more boats venturing way Down East than there used to be, apparently as the button-pushers of the day feel empowered by GPS displays.

B
As much as I love my electronics I'd give them up every foggy day if it would keep the clowns off the water, when foggy. Hell I'd go back to navigating by depth & compass, like I did when I fished, if it would keep them tied to a dock in the fog... The problem in Maine, of plotter guided fog monkeys, is reaching epic proportions and getting dangerous. It is really, really scary to see the speed some of these knuckle heads will do in 50-100 feet of vis... But hey they know where THEY are thanks to the "Garmins" they just don't know where YOU are...........
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Old 16-09-2013, 20:54   #58
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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I don't mind fog and actually enjoy it. But for many years I was a commercial lobsterman and you fish in all weather. If we did not fish in the fog in coastal Maine or NH we'd be out of business...

.....

Sorry for the rant but each year the idiocy we see in the fog just gets worse and worse....

WOW. I'm going to concede a point here. I still don't think GPS's make people stupid, but I will concede that from your experience, CLEARLY they put more stupid people on the water.

I do have a radar ball. Don't really need radar here, but where you are it reallly ought to be standard equipment.

What a great article. Good job!
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Old 16-09-2013, 21:08   #59
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

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...... But hey they know where THEY are thanks to the "Garmins" they just don't know where YOU are...........
Sure they do! They have AIS, don't they?

I don't know whether to laugh or cry when in contemporary discussions of the most valuable navigation gear AIS is apt to get chosen first.....even over compass, fathometer, charts, GPS, radar, or even the venerable Mark One Eyeball.

Guess we're just old fuddy-duddies from a bygone era who can't seem to get with the program these days :-)

Bill
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Old 16-09-2013, 21:24   #60
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Re: How do you feel about FOG?

Just learn your radar. It really doesn't bother me that much. Get used to your instruments and don't be afraid to put the breaks on. One of the little known and infrequently mentioned things that can happen in fog is that two small vessels, after seeing each other, can inadvertently steer towards one another because they have no perspective other than a compass to tell them that they are turning. It can be very disorientating.
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