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Old 31-08-2011, 14:21   #16
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

OK.. I'll pipe in now.

This area is known as Phil Foster Park. It is in an insane area of boat traffic . It is also known as a great beach diving location.

What you do not see (off the right side of the bridge and a bit east) is a large beach that is cordoned off for swimmers.

The area here is to the east of the main channel... They divers are not in the channel itself. in fact they are separated by large wooden fenders. The boat ignored the marked traffic channel. There is often 62-65' of clearance in the traffic channel, that boat had plenty of clearance in the channel.

Here is a page with a diagram of that site Blue Heron Bridge I've also uploaded a satellite view

I would also like to point out that everyone of the divers is pulling a dive flag. and Florida states the following:

Quote:
(Any vessel other than a law enforcement or rescue vessel that approaches within 100 feet of a divers-down flag on a river, inlet, or navigation channel, or within 300 feet of a divers-down flag on waters other than a river, inlet, or navigation channel, must proceed no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerageway.
My verdict is that the captain (loosely used here) of that sailboat exercised some nearly criminal stupidity and should have used the marked channel and avoided them altogether. He choose a narrow location with limited steerage and was careless.

I hope that he learns something from this.
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Old 31-08-2011, 14:24   #17
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
The divers had no business being there and the boat did not run over any diver. Sometimes the span next to the main draw has better clearance like the Julia Tuttle in Miami.

Not the case here. The divers are not in the main channel and they have just as much right to the waterway as we do..

Span clearance is usually greater than 63'.. That boat didn't have a rig that tall
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Old 31-08-2011, 14:49   #18
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

Don't those bridges usually have a no swimming, no diving, no fishing sign on them?
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Old 31-08-2011, 14:51   #19
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

I could be wrong and I'll double check when we go out on Saturday
..
The old bridge span was left in place for fishing.

There is no swimming in the marked channel...
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Old 31-08-2011, 14:58   #20
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

How much effort would it have taken to launch an inflatable to patrol over the top of the divers keeping other users away and flying a big A flag or the US equivalent Red with white stripe if I remember correctly.

The dive supervisor (or instructor) should have thought about other boats if it's a bottle neck for boats. It isn't known if there are 4 divers or 4 pairs of divers in the clip, but it would be very easy for one or a pair to wander off away from the main group. If the supervisor is on the shore how is he going to control the divers. If I was supervising that I would want to be on top of them in a small inflatable.

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Old 31-08-2011, 15:03   #21
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

That is not a location I'd choose in which to go diving. My approach to diving/driving/boating has always been it is better to be alive than right. I have transited the Intracoastal a number of times and I have been unimpressed MANY times at how unskilled some boat operators can be. Placing myself in a location where I am dependent on many peoples awareness/competence would not be done lightly.

Glad no one got injured, at least they were looking up before making an ascent.
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Old 31-08-2011, 15:06   #22
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

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Originally Posted by Strygaldwir View Post
That is not a location I'd choose in which to go diving. My approach to diving/driving/boating has always been it is better to be alive than right. I have transited the Intracoastal a number of times and I have been unimpressed MANY times at how unskilled some boat operators can be. Placing myself in a location where I am dependent on many peoples awareness/competence would not be done lightly.

Glad no one got injured, at least they were looking up before making an ascent.

+1 Well put.
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Old 31-08-2011, 15:15   #23
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strygaldwir View Post
That is not a location I'd choose in which to go diving. My approach to diving/driving/boating has always been it is better to be alive than right. I have transited the Intracoastal a number of times and I have been unimpressed MANY times at how unskilled some boat operators can be. Placing myself in a location where I am dependent on many peoples awareness/competence would not be done lightly.

Glad no one got injured, at least they were looking up before making an ascent.
+2

Glad everyone was ok.
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Old 31-08-2011, 15:32   #24
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

Looks to me this was one of those "Oh ****!" situations. By the time one sees the tiny floats in the shadow of the bridge, one is virtually upon them, and in this tight situation, there's not much that can be done except to turn off propulsion and coast creepingly slow. Given the sailboat's speed, that seems what the captain did. It's not like the guy plowed through at 20 knots.
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Old 31-08-2011, 15:47   #25
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

While I'm glad no one was hurt, I think the boat captain did eaxctly what he needed to do once he comitted to the channel he was going through. Why he decided to go through that channel i've got no clue. Doesn't seem reasonable to me, but I'm not that familiar with the area. Looking at the tide board it seems that this was at high tide and bridge clearance was minimal. Perhaps there is a little better clearance where he was than in the main navigation channel. In any case it looked to me like he was maintaining minimum steerage way which he is requiored to do by law. The divers flags were on the far side of the bridge from his direction of approach and I would surmise that he did not see them until after he had comitted. Once under the bridge he had little choice but to proceed as slowly as possible. To gauge his speed one might note the comparitive speed of the sailboat proceeding through the main channel in the background. Once intermixed with the divers the safest course was probably to proceed directly ahead at dead slow speed which is exactly what he did. The last thing you want to be doing is attempting to turn a boat around in a narrow space above a bunch of divers. In my youth I dove on bridges a lot. I clearly knew that boats were not obligated to use the main navigation channel. Knowing this we always made our ascents on the down current side of a piling. We never came up between the piling. For those of you wondering what the dive master was thinking, what makes you think there was a dive master with the group under the bridge. Dive masters or instructors are only fixtures of commercial dive operations. While the boat taking the video appears to have been a commercial dive operatror, we have no indication thet the divers in the water were part of a commercial dive operation. Thank god the law makers have not yet required that we have to pay someone to go diving and we can take individual responsibility for our activities.
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Old 31-08-2011, 15:52   #26
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

Google Earth measures the entrance at the "large wooden fenders" (that Offline spoke of) which create what looks like guardrails defining the channel, to be aprox 125 feet wide. The video shows the captain went to his left and inside of his port "guardrail". To the left of that appears to be a concrete pier type thing. Between that thing and the guardrail, Google Earth measures the width to be only about 5o feet. Why would someone intentionally take the "skinny" path. It doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 31-08-2011, 16:12   #27
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

I frequently prefer to be outside of the shipping channel. Easier to avoid tugs and such. See, here I'm leaving the channel, turning to starboard:



The channel makes a near-90-degree turn toward me at the green buoy.

This is more stuff to deal with in a shipping channel:

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Old 31-08-2011, 16:29   #28
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

Quote:
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For those of you wondering what the dive master was thinking, what makes you think there was a dive master with the group under the bridge. Dive masters or instructors are only fixtures of commercial dive operations.
This side of the pond a dive marshal would normally be nominated by the club to run the dive in accordance with the British Sub Aqua Club safe diving practices. They are not rules, but safe practices on how to do something. However, read between the lines and those practices have been learnt the hard way over 60 years of people getting it wrong, therefore BSAC divers ingore the advice at there peril.

The dive marshals duties are many but completely different to the any of the dive leader of a pair of divers underwater. He would normally hand over to a deputy to enable him to dive. The system works well, someone is in charge and ultimately makes the calls. Sometimes that call has been sorry we are not diving today because.........

It is similar to the PADI Dive Master, except he is a volunteer and doesn't get paid. Looks like they could have used an experienced diver top side that day.

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Old 31-08-2011, 16:33   #29
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

The thread title "Sailboat Runs Over Divers" is a little sensational, IMHO.
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Old 31-08-2011, 16:44   #30
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Re: Sailboat Runs Over Divers

divers, lobster pots, kaykers, ski doos, sail boards, just so many speed bumps around sometimes to keep track of
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