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Old 27-01-2018, 19:35   #1
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How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

How do you deal with fisherman who block channels, especially in places like bridges where there is a tight passage?

In Massachusetts the law is pretty vague, it just says that it is illegal to "operate any vessel in such a way that it will interfere unnecessarily with the safe navigation of other vessels."

So, what do you do when some jerk fisherman is idling under a bridge and blocking your passage?
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Old 27-01-2018, 20:41   #2
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Define "fisherman"?
Commercial operation or a guy out for the weekend hanging his line over the side of his small boat?


Define "blocking"
Anchored or motoring around.

What sort of vessel are you in? (power or under sail?)

Waters coverd by COLREGS or Inland Rules?
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Old 27-01-2018, 20:41   #3
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

What do you do? Depends.

Usually what I do is navigate slowly, carefully, and deliberately through the bridge or channel or whatever assuming I can do so without any risk of collision. I am not the police, and I'm not going to start a fight by expressing any value judgements of the other guy's choice of places to fish. Who knows, maybe he thought there wasn't any traffic and figured there would be lots of fish.

Ordinarily people will reel up and stay out of your way once it's clear you're going through.

But it depends. Maybe under some circumstances I'd call law enforcement but around here the odds of them showing up for a call like that are basically zero.

If the channel is blocked to navigation well then it's probably time for a respectful little chat.
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Old 27-01-2018, 20:57   #4
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

As a sailor and a fisherman, a kind word goes a long way.
I can't imagine a fisherman who would not motor out of the way to clear the channel.
A quick call on VFH, a short blast from a horn.
Slow and deliberate passage will signal your intent to pass.
Luckily, as a sailboat little wake or water disturbance will be left.
A howdy, good morning, or how's fishing and best of luck usually goes a long way in keeping friendly spirits on the water.
We all go crazy with speedboats roaring through small passages.

Hopes this helps!
Fair winds, and hook a big one!
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Old 28-01-2018, 09:38   #5
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Be cool, move slow, make intentions known.

From their perspective......they are fishing and sometimes when doing that one gets terribly focused on the fish (italics).

Generally once they look up they will move. A smile and a wave gona Long way as well.

We’re all part of the same community, at least that is the attitude I’ve adopted and serves well to date.

If they are still assholes run over their lines :-)

Side note I used to drive a ferry in Auckland and the fisherman at Northcoate would take their sweet time pulling their lines in from the dock as I would approach. We’re on a schedule and it’s our dock.

One day out of frustration more than anything I dropped the “be pleasant” thing and bombed in there with plenty of warning and took half the lines with me.

From that day forward if they saw blue costa Del Mar sunglasses on the bridge wing they got those lines in pronto!

:-)
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Old 28-01-2018, 09:46   #6
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Long Blast of the horn and in you loudest voice through the bull horn yell "RAMMING SPEED" and watch what happens ! <sarcasm>
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Old 28-01-2018, 09:47   #7
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc7 View Post
...So, what do you do when some jerk fisherman is idling under a bridge and blocking your passage?
"Slow down" is what the collision regs require you to do, and while you're passing, while he is quickly reeling in his nets or lines, call out a cheerful 'good morning bro' to your fellow boater (that's new regulation 245G/11).

This small planet is far too crowded for any resentment over our sharing of open spaces.

Of course the other option is to mount a blaster-ray-gun on your foredeck.
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Old 28-01-2018, 09:59   #8
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

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As a sailor and a fisherman, a kind word goes a long way.

A quick call on VFH, a short blast from a horn.

We all go crazy with speedboats roaring through small passages.
I agree that a pleasant attitude helps.

Speedboats roaring through passages. .... That is sometimes better than speed limits that cause these boats to slow to "speed of maximum wake".
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Old 28-01-2018, 10:01   #9
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

it's all about attitude. I fish and sail. Sometimes if I'm drift fishing on a reef, with the engine off, a sailboat will come by and insist he has the right of way as he's a sailboat and I'm in a powerboat. All he'd have to do is ease off a little to avoid a collision.

I've also had power boater's with similar attitudes...

If a fisherman has lines in the water, it's big PIA to retrieve the lines, retrieve the anchor if necessary and start the engine to relocate the boat for a new drift.

None of us own the water. Avoiding collisions is everyone's responsibility. Everyone as a different tolerance for close situations. If I'm getting close to someone and they seem a little nervous, I always ask if they have any beer left... it seems to break the tension.

Courtesy works both ways. Fortunately we are talking about a small percentage of people on the water.
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Old 28-01-2018, 10:08   #10
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Most recreational fishermen know the rules of the road and may cheat a little bit, particularly around "hot structure", but are more than happy to get out of the way when required, and as mentioned, when not zoned in on what they are doing.

For my own part, as a life-long saltwater fisherman, I do my best to accommodate them when doing so does not present any danger or problem for me or others. When hailing them on VHF I've never had one respond negatively to a request to make room or whatever.

It's all about attitude and tone. Ask nicely and you'll almost always get a polite and cooperative response. Ask with an irritated or judgmental tone and you'll get far less accommodation.
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Old 28-01-2018, 10:12   #11
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KP44 View Post
...Speedboats roaring through passages. .... That is sometimes better than speed limits that cause these boats to slow to "speed of maximum wake".
Hmmm... went out in the dinghy at low tide the other day to inspect the narrow, muddy channel into the marina here. Large fishing barges enter at low water and we wanted to find where we could safely dodge to get out of their way without grounding. The endless stream of fizz-boats kindly slowed down for our rubber duck, but not enough; by slowing, their wakes increased and steepened. We took one clean over the bow before realising quite how dangerous this was and scuttling outa there like drowning rats!
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Old 28-01-2018, 10:22   #12
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
Most recreational fishermen know the rules of the road.

Highly doubtful.....up where I live anyway.
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Old 28-01-2018, 10:23   #13
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Funny ran into this yesterday going under the Christie Mcalley bridge here at Port Canaveral, draw bride, very busy roadway so itís on a half hour schedule. I had a small weekend fishing boat right under the bridge, all I could do was go through at 6 kts and just miss him as the other sailboat wanted to get through also and the cars were stacking up.
Now at 6 kts I leave no wake. I got a scowl from the fisherman as I waved, but as Iím now nearing S Fl. I have come to think of the scowl as you wave as normal.
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Old 28-01-2018, 10:49   #14
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

Here is the simplest solution.
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Old 28-01-2018, 11:10   #15
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Re: How do deal with fisherman blocking channels?

As the Brits found out in the Falklands war, "one missile = one destroyer". Fishing boats leave less wreckage behind.

If you can't afford proper ordnance or are of a more pacific nature, and the fisherman really is in someplace (like a *designated* channel) then often it is easy enough to call the nearest USCG station. Call on a phone, not on the VHF, since the fisherman might be listening to that. Or call on the VHF and switch to a working channel immediately, or get a callback number immediately. If the channels are busy, they're eager to do that anyway.
Just tell them "there's a fishing boat anchored in the channel blocking passage" and if they agree with you, they'll come out and deal with it. Usually no fine or penalty, just a stern warning for first time offenders. And of course, a beer and equipment check.

They get paid to do this.
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