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Old 23-10-2014, 08:14   #31
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

In the maritime industry people sail with the same or near equivalent licenses frequently. A log entry and other paperwork done before the ship departs states who is Master, Mates, Chief Engineer etc.
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Old 23-10-2014, 08:28   #32
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I know you said this was a friendly exchange and it seemed the chain of authority was clear.

However sailing by committee can be frought with issues.

I was rail meat on a race crew and was telling my railmate that we were sailing in unfavorable currents and pointed out where we should be sailing. He asked why I didn't inform the ower/drive & tactician.

"He's paying the bills. He can take his boat any place he pleases."

As crewman I have quietly given my opinion to the tactician many times. Not a "public" announcement so the crew can hear. Also, some boats want opinions, others not so much.

However, when I am "driving" anyone's boat I make it clear that I am in charge/skipper until relieved.
I think this is just the attitude that more crewmembers need to have, whether they have licenses or not. When I'm aboard someone else's boat with them aboard, I'm either there just as a guest or to play a role as crew and only occasionally to act as skipper. Unless they ask for my advice or I am quite certain they are doing something dangerous, I play my role as you did.

Offering unsolicited advice while the action is ongoing, while well intended, can momentarily confuse the owner/skipper and cause them to loose their train of thought. Maybe what they were doing wasn't the perfect way to go about it, but as long as it's not going to hurt someone, best to let them find that out for themselves and debrief it later if you really think it's necessary. The same concept applies to backseat drivers as well as sailors and pilots and in many other pursuits.

To the OP, I can understand what an uncomfortable spot your guests comments put you in. I guess all you could say next time is that you are the owner and don't remember hiring him as your captain, so he's not your captain. Sounds like he either needs to read up on the rules or not accept invitations to sail on other peoples boats.
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Old 23-10-2014, 08:45   #33
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

This thread has made an interesting turn (Thanks Dan!) It has become "when to speak up" or "should I speak up" rather than should I exert my authority as lisc. captain. As owner I want a discussion. Once at 3 am when a commerical vessel seemed hell bent on intercepting us I asked this Captain who had just got off watch minutes earlier to come up. I wanted to see if he could visualize something I did not.
Having a Captain as crew is worth the $$ I pay for that privilege in dangerous waters. I have not found him to confuse my line of thought at all.
BTW- I agree that the person at the helm makes the decisions. If he had said "I am going to do XXX and I had felt strongly in the contrary, I would ask to relieve him and take the helm.
In sailing, things don't usually happen that fast. There is plenty of time for alternate opinions and politeness.
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Old 23-10-2014, 09:23   #34
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
This thread has made an interesting turn (Thanks Dan!) It has become "when to speak up" or "should I speak up" rather than should I exert my authority as lisc. captain. As owner I want a discussion. Once at 3 am when a commerical vessel seemed hell bent on intercepting us I asked this Captain who had just got off watch minutes earlier to come up. I wanted to see if he could visualize something I did not.
Having a Captain as crew is worth the $$ I pay for that privilege in dangerous waters. I have not found him to confuse my line of thought at all.
BTW- I agree that the person at the helm makes the decisions. If he had said "I am going to do XXX and I had felt strongly in the contrary, I would ask to relieve him and take the helm.
In sailing, things don't usually happen that fast. There is plenty of time for alternate opinions and politeness.
Absolutely, when you hire a captain to act in that role, you are tacitly asking for his opinions and in the case you cited where you asked him to come up and clarify something, that's far from the type of "unsolicited" comments in the middle of a maneuver or some other event that I was referring to.

Usually you are right that there is time aboard a sailboat for adequate discussion to get everyone on the same page, but sometimes, such as the situation Ex-Calif described, there's just no need to speak up unless you are asked. Better to let the skipper sail his own race and then calmly bring up local information you may have regarding current strengths and locations, etc. after the fact if you think it's appropriate and the captain seems receptive, rather than confusing him by trying to educate him about quite a broad subject while he has a lot of other things on his mind.

Another time I can think or is entering a harbor when all on deck have studied the harbor and have a plan in mind, but another crewmember inserts himself into the plan at the last minute and starts suggesting changes, possibly without all the up to date information available to him. If you happen to have the chart available online, check out the entrance to the Blue Hill, Maine harbor and visualize how this could cause serious problems. After reviewing the chart and briefing the crewmember in the cockpit, I was up on the foredeck rigging dock lines and fenders and enjoying the view while allowing a relative to have the helm when another crewmember "came to life" and started suggesting a more direct entry to the harbor to save time, persuading the helmsman to try it his way...fortunately I noticed before we hit the rocks right in front of the entrance.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.......and sometimes it's better to accept that we are more valuable just being a tasty ingredient rather than always trying to be the master chef. Of course there are other times when it's important to have input from all crew members. As owner or captain it's important to not stifle anyone from speaking up when they have something important to say, but as crew it's equally important to allow whoever's in charge or at the helm to do their job and only distract them with a "better way" to do something when you're really sure you're right and your input is needed to avoid a bad outcome.
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Old 23-10-2014, 10:38   #35
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

I agree with "insecure on a new vessel and trying to establish his credibility".


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Old 23-10-2014, 10:47   #36
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

Good summary jtsailjt. And I have had a crew "come to life" too at an awkward moment. Usually when they think I am asleep. Now that I think about it, I don't sleep very well with newbies on board...
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Old 23-10-2014, 13:30   #37
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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BTW- I agree that the person at the helm makes the decisions. If he had said "I am going to do XXX and I had felt strongly in the contrary, I would ask to relieve him and take the helm.
I don't. The person in charge is the person in charge, regardless of where he is and what he's doing. Sometimes I take the helm, sometimes I don't. Putting you on the helm doesn't delegate authority unless I say it does. Sometimes I do, sometimes I'm putting you on the helm specifically so I can concentrate on an important decision.

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Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
In sailing, things don't usually happen that fast. There is plenty of time for alternate opinions and politeness.
Most of the time. The obvious counter example is man overboard. Sometimes there's time, and sometimes you need to do what I tell you to do without discussion.
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Old 23-10-2014, 13:41   #38
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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I don't. The person in charge is the person in charge, regardless of where he is and what he's doing. Sometimes I take the helm, sometimes I don't. Putting you on the helm doesn't delegate authority unless I say it does. Sometimes I do, sometimes I'm putting you on the helm specifically so I can concentrate on an important decision.



Most of the time. The obvious counter example is man overboard. Sometimes there's time, and sometimes you need to do what I tell you to do without discussion.
I agree on both points. The person at the helm is the person at the helm. It certainly isn't the person in charge. I'm in charge always, even if I'm asleep.

And most things happen slowly on a sailboat, but I've been in a few situations and can picture many more where seconds count (broach, knockdown, engine failure in current, anchor dragging to a lee shore, man overboard, rigging failure, breaching humpback, any time I get within six feet of a dock...).
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Old 23-10-2014, 14:03   #39
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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I agree on both points. The person at the helm is the person at the helm. It certainly isn't the person in charge. I'm in charge always, even if I'm asleep.
Agreed wholeheartedly.

As an instructor, I seldom take the helm, but I am the "master of the vessel" at all times. On advanced courses I have watch captains who have some decision making power, but I have set of standing orders about when I to be woken up.

I few years ago I had a Lt. Commander from the Canadian Navy as a students on an advanced. I asked him how it was done in the navy. He said, just like what we are doing. The Captain seldom shows up on the bridge unless there is a problem. He spends more time in his cabin and the ops room.

Back to the OPs question. The master of vessel is generally responsible, not the highest "ranked" person on board.

Unfortunately, in Canada Transport Canada has decided that the vessel operator (the helmsman) is responsible.
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Old 23-10-2014, 17:25   #40
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
<snip>
Putting you on the helm doesn't delegate authority unless I say it does. <snip>
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Agreed wholeheartedly.

<snip>
Back to the OPs question. The master of vessel is generally responsible, not the highest "ranked" person on board.

Unfortunately, in Canada Transport Canada has decided that the vessel operator (the helmsman) is responsible.
Not to drag up a very old wound but when someone "gives" me the helm I try to make it clear what is going on.

The event I am speaking to is the one on the lake in California where the Sherrif's spedboat hit the sailboat. The "guest" helmsman was held liable.

I always assume that if I am steering and something goes terribly wrong, I will be in court and act accordingly, or don't take the helm.

Someone above mentioned liability on a joint charter. For the boat damage it is probably the guy who has his credit card on file for the insurance deductible. We did a joint charter with 8 guys for a race. Of course we are friends and a gentleman's agreement was in place for any catastrophe but I am glad we didn't have to test it.

So we can all conjecture who is responsible but unfortunately if it goes south the unpredictable and often irrational courts will decide and in Canada (apparently) and the US it is likely going to be the driver.

Act accordingly...
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Old 23-10-2014, 18:35   #41
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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Someone above mentioned liability on a joint charter. For the boat damage it is probably the guy who has his credit card on file for the insurance deductible.
We all have our credit card on file, for exactly that reason, and we all signed the same agreement agreeing to split the deductible.

In our club (Windworks, in Seattle) it's all settled, well in advance. It'll all happen automatically, and it has happened automatically.

It's a good system, for us.
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Old 23-10-2014, 19:15   #42
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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We all have our credit card on file, for exactly that reason, and we all signed the same agreement agreeing to split the deductible.

In our club (Windworks, in Seattle) it's all settled, well in advance. It'll all happen automatically, and it has happened automatically.

It's a good system, for us.
Sounds like you have a good system worked out as a club.

For casual couples charterers there should also be something worked out.

I wsa in a parntership. We had a pretty exhaustive agreement on who pays for what damages to the boat. Pretty clear when one of us was not on board - we had a day sharing schedule and all.

When we were both on board the "skipper/helmsman" was in charge and liable just as if the other owner was not on board. We did this to avoid sailing by committee.

If the skipper drove into a rock, it's on him. It's not a joint "choice" or failure. i.e. Why should I pay if my partner sunk the boat.

In reality we kept each other out of trouble, of course. But in my opinion there can only ever be one skipper at a time and that skipper is liable for the boat and the passengers.

However, I was on a race boat for a while where the owner was a rich guy and had a paid instructor/tactician. I would occasionally helm on deliveries. I took orders form the tactician who took advice/gave advice to the owner. The responsibilities were clear. I drove the boat where I was told to, using sound care and judgment to avoid rocks, the shore and other boats as part of my responsibility.
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Old 24-10-2014, 00:31   #43
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

When I did my 80 hour USCG masters course at Seattle Maritime Training Academy about 12 or so years ago we were told the same thing. That if you are aboard a vessel as a licensed captain and there was an accident you could loose your license if it was found you had contributed to the accident.

That was how they put it anyway. Not sure if it is true.

Anyway my solution was stay out of the way, don't touch anything and to never tell anyone I have a 100T license except when I am aboard my own vessel.
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Old 24-10-2014, 00:49   #44
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

I have disobeyed the owner of the boat once when I was at the helm. But not because of anything to do with having a license. He was jsut asking me to do something unsafe.

Returning from Hawaii we had just transited into the Strait of Juan de Fuca past Tattosh in the middle of the night we put all four hands on deck as there was a lot of large commercial traffic, crabpots, gillnetters, etc. There are also lights (they LOOK like navaids) that were not on our up to date charts (I have noticed this all three times I have transited this entrance in the dark). After picking our way thru all this for an hour or more we got past most of the activity. We then changed watch and when I took the helm I asked the skipper to give me a course.

After a moment below he came up and told me 280deg. "Um, Skipper, thats is behind us" he insisted, I told him that was west, Anacortes is east.

He went below and checked again, longer this time. On return, Skippy still insisted the course was 280. again I explained with exaggertated arm motions, "Hawaii and 270 THAAT way, Anacortes and 90 THIIIS way. We DONT want to turn around and go back thru all those nets and pots and seiners and all that **** we just came thru."

He insisted I make the course 280. I told him he would have to take the wheel if he wanted to go that direction, it was to dangerous to go back thru all that crap, besides I wanted to actually get home one day and not back to Hawaii.

He got ANGRY! But he went below and after several looonng minutes he came back up and said to make the course 100deg. We were still navigating to the last waypoint as we were dodging nets and traffic and had not passed near enough to it to make the nav system kick over to the next waypoint.
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Old 24-10-2014, 02:52   #45
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Re: USCG Licensed Captain as Crew

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I have disobeyed the owner of the boat once when I was at the helm.
I'd have given him his course.
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