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Old 17-06-2010, 18:44   #226
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Originally Posted by Pyxis156 View Post
I agree with this philosophy as well but am wondering... if I have a Class B AIS onboard so I know that VTS can see me, does it still make sense to advise VTS when I am entering or exiting the TSS lanes? As long as I am monitoring the appropriate VHF channel(s) so they can reach me if necessary, would contacting them be redundant or does it still make sense to notify them of my intended course across the lanes?
I think we would all agree with Waterman and Lodesman that ultimately as the skipper on board, you are responsible for the decisions you make on piloting your vessel…. So “permission” may be a semantic nicety.

However, “legally” on a VTS once you inform Traffic control of your “intentions” to cross the traffic lanes they do have the mandate to ask you to hold for some valid reason.

Normally (all over the world) I state my intentions and (sometimes specifically which ship I will pass astern of) and get their standard reply… “proceed with caution”.

On small pleasure craft I usually check in with my position and destination and inform Traffic that I will be “monitoring but not participating” in their system…(meaning I wont bother to call at their designated CIP’s check in points)
One thing of note is that in a Traffic Management System… it is not just when you are in the Traffic Lanes that you call them, but when you are getting underway

With AIS, I would think a radio and positional check-in with Traffic makes sense for them to confirm that they can contact you. (Especially if it is foggy)


My own take on AIS is that it is an added form of communication and does not replace VHF com, if that is the local standard.
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Old 17-06-2010, 18:58   #227
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Originally Posted by Pyxis156 View Post
does it still make sense to notify them of my intended course across the lanes?
Yes. AIS tells them you're crossing the lanes, it doesn't tell them you are doing it intentionally or even know there are lanes there - this will distinguish you from the many WAFIs they deal with regularly. Also, you can glean traffic or other important info from them as part of keeping an effective lookout by all means available.
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Old 17-06-2010, 19:09   #228
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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
I'm not familiar with Gibraltar - only got as far as Casablanca and Cadiz. So I'll take a stab at generic reasoning. One obvious reason is where there are navigational hazards (shoaling, etc) inshore and the lane is dredged and measured. The other would be if the traffic in the inshore zone is dense, particularly with fishing vessels, then it would seem to favour using the lane.
This is something I have discussed with other cruisers who get intimidated by the big boys overtaking them in the lanes and always stay out of the main lanes and hug the coast

Lodesman is correct, if you see a lot of fishing activity, I recommend you stay in the traffic lanes where commercial fishing is generally avoided and if there is controlled directionally.

Also if the inshore lanes are fraught with outlying reefs or strong currents, it is just easier to stay in safe water

The other main reason in a place like approaching Gibraltar is that inshore you can run afoul of customs/anti-smuggling police who have detained yachts they thought were acting suspiciously by transiting in the inshore lanes…. Happened a few times on the Moroccan side

Just something to consider when making that decision

Any other reasons that have not come up??
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Old 17-06-2010, 19:39   #229
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Originally Posted by Pyxis156 View Post
From the VTS Manual:

Question: Does Seattle Traffic have the authority to direct the movement of my vessel?
Answer: Yes, “Seattle Traffic” may issue measures or directions to enhance navigation and vessel safety and protect the marine environment by:
(a) Designating temporary reporting points and procedures;
(b) Imposing vessel operating requirements;
(c) Establishing vessel traffic routing schemes;
(d) During conditions of vessel congestion, restricted visibility, adverse weather, or other hazardous circumstances, “Seattle Traffic” may control, supervise, or otherwise manage traffic, specifying times of entry, movement, or departure, from, or within Seattle Traffic's area.
Yes, this is the part I was referring to when I mentioned that there are some extremely limited situations in which they can "direct" traffic. However, there are a few things to note in this.

One, AFAIK, they have vitrually zero liability in the case of an incident. The proposed law after the Cosco Busan specifically went on to say that ultimate responsibility still rested with the master. Well, then what's the deal? Are we required to follow your directions or not? This is the initial tickling of having "too many cooks in the kitchen", each with diminished authority. Somebody has to be in charge, both practically and legally. I can't see how that can be anybody other than the master. This was a huge reason that the proposed legislation (Maritime Emergency Prevention Act of 2007) was pushed against by both professional mariners and the USCG. There was too much gray area and was clearly knee-jerk politics.

Ninety-nine times out of one hundred, the types of deviations required to be directed by VTS are generally the kinds of things imposed by the Captain of the Port (or, if urgency is needed, the VTS watch supervisor) following either a specific incident (oil spill, collision, sinking, etc) or a pre-planned maritime event (regatta, air shows, etc). I certainly have no problem with this, as there is good-founded reason to restrict/"control" traffic in these instances. My problem comes in for that last one time where a routine crossing of a TSS becomes a matter of receiving permission and although that is not the case yet, some mariners (including professionals) think that they need to.

The incident which sticks out in my head is one I overheard one night when I was leaving Seattle on a ship on our way to Alaska, maybe four years ago or so. A tug and tow was approaching the 'Sierra-Golf' TSS buoy off West Point and getting ready to turn into Seattle. A southbound container ship a couple miles or so astern was continuing south to Tacoma and still at sea-speed (20+ kt). The pilot on the ship had been told that the tug was also continuing onto Tacoma and was setting himself up to overtake the tug on its port side. The tug's own AIS destination was also listed as Tacoma (another reason I give special skepticism towards user-input AIS static data - a lot of vessels, particularly those who are constantly running between different ports, like tugs, simply don't update them). However, as the tug approached the buoy, he called traffic, asked for permission to cross the northbound (opposing) lane into Elliot Bay and expected a traffic report. The report he got was for every little tour boat and other tug in the Bay but the VTS operator neglected to pass on the info on the ship overtaking the tug - the most critical vessel at this point. Without checking astern of him before he turned, the tug swung over and started to cross the path of the ship. The pilot was on his toes already, having heard the tug call-in unexpectedly at sierra-golf and after a brief conversation, the tug went back to his base course until the ship cleared. This was not an extremely close situation, but it illustrates the point that many mariners get into a false sense of security when "someone else is watching the traffic for them" such as in a VTS area. Sure this was probably a more isolated incident that was corrected immediately with no harm done, but would not have happened in the first place if the tug mate/captain had taken a more complete responsibility for his situational awareness. Maybe 99 times out of 100 he checks astern, both visually and on radar, but this one time he thought that VTS was watching his back. Apparently, that VTS operator was assuming the same thing.

VTS Puget Sound tends to be more involved with every movement you make as compared to other VTS' in the country (except maybe San Francisco and Valdez). VTS New York for instance is relatively passive - you give an initial report, check-in call and then again when secure. There are some call-in points along different routes, but most "blind" traffic awareness is done through the transmission and reception of securite calls at the customary points. This is not a knock on the NY VTS, but that's the system they have setup there and it works. They also have a heck of a lot more traffic in a more confined area than Puget Sound. Other VTS' do even less - Tarifa Traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar will talk to you once when you check-in and that's about it, unless a close-quarters situation is developing.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyxis156
I agree with this philosophy as well but am wondering... if I have a Class B AIS onboard so I know that VTS can see me, does it still make sense to advise VTS when I am entering or exiting the TSS lanes? As long as I am monitoring the appropriate VHF channel(s) so they can reach me if necessary, would contacting them be redundant or does it still make sense to notify them of my intended course across the lanes?
Legally, it depends on your type of vessel and your length. AIS, on its own, doesn't force you to participate, although it can't hurt to call-in as a passive user, like Pelagic said. I agree with Lodesman's stance on that it would separate you from the other weekend warriors who don't even know about the lanes or VTS in the first place. Just try to keep your transmission short, clear and brief (and still maintain your VTS VHF watch when you're not speaking with them!). If you're intimidated by talking on the radio (like so many recreational boaters are, for some reason), listen in on the VTS channel for awhile to "get a feel" for things and some local names for certain points (there are only a few in Puget Sound), At night or in poor visibility, I would definitely call in, particularly if crossing a TSS or operating in one of the major commercial harbors. If you are using the lanes (ie, you'll be in them for a long time), definitely let them know. I don't know if VTS Puget Sound has a website or not, but there may be a user's handbook online somewhere that you can use to acquaint yourself with the system here. It is large, but fairly simple.

Also, I don't know if you know this or not, but all active and passive VTS participants in U.S. waters are required to monitor Ch. 13 in addition to the VTS channel. Virtually none of the commercial traffic (including the ferries) in Puget Sound monitors 16, nor are they required to. Never be afraid or intimidated to call a commercial vessel, if needed. I'm always glad to get them, even if I already saw you and we're going to clear just fine.
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Old 17-06-2010, 19:55   #230
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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
This is something I have discussed with other cruisers who get intimidated by the big boys overtaking them in the lanes and always stay out of the main lanes and hug the coast

Lodesman is correct, if you see a lot of fishing activity, I recommend you stay in the traffic lanes where commercial fishing is generally avoided and if there is controlled directionally.

Also if the inshore lanes are fraught with outlying reefs or strong currents, it is just easier to stay in safe water

The other main reason in a place like approaching Gibraltar is that inshore you can run afoul of customs/anti-smuggling police who have detained yachts they thought were acting suspiciously by transiting in the inshore lanes…. Happened a few times on the Moroccan side

Just something to consider when making that decision

Any other reasons that have not come up??
I may have a different take on this than the two of you, as I have been through Gibraltar a few times on fast ships. It is one of the busier straits in the world and there is one dog-leg turn, not to mention the ferries that cross back and forth constantly. There tends to be a lot of fishing traffic near both approaches particularly due west of Tarifa and out quite a ways. With that in mind, in a sailboat, I would most likely stay clear of the TSS, but hug the lane edge as close as practicable (one of our favorite words on this thread!) and in the general direction of the adjoining lane (ie, Morocco side when eastbound, Tarifa side when westbound). In short, there is plenty going on with the big guys in the lanes that the last thing I would want to do is go weaving through there at a lazy 5 or 6 knots. Call it a "professional courtesy" if you want, but I would much rather deal with the fishing boats.

Granted, I'm speaking from a pure traffic standpoint. I can't recall what each shoreline there is like (Tarifa side is deeper/less foul, but closer to the TSS I think?), nor can I speak for any of the other law-enforcement issues that Pelagic brought up.
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Old 17-06-2010, 20:50   #231
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....The incident which sticks out in my head is one I overheard one night when I was leaving Seattle on a ship on our way to Alaska, maybe four years ago or so. A tug and tow was approaching the 'Sierra-Golf' TSS buoy off West Point and getting ready to turn into Seattle. A southbound container ship a couple miles or so astern was continuing south to Tacoma and still at sea-speed (20+ kt). The pilot on the ship had been told that the tug was also continuing onto Tacoma and was setting himself up to overtake the tug on its port side. The tug's own AIS destination was also listed as Tacoma (another reason I give special skepticism towards user-input AIS static data - a lot of vessels, particularly those who are constantly running between different ports, like tugs, simply don't update them). However, as the tug approached the buoy, he called traffic, asked for permission to cross the northbound (opposing) lane into Elliot Bay and expected a traffic report. The report he got was for every little tour boat and other tug in the Bay but the VTS operator neglected to pass on the info on the ship overtaking the tug - the most critical vessel at this point. Without checking astern of him before he turned, the tug swung over and started to cross the path of the ship. The pilot was on his toes already, having heard the tug call-in unexpectedly at sierra-golf and after a brief conversation, the tug went back to his base course until the ship cleared. This was not an extremely close situation, but it illustrates the point that many mariners get into a false sense of security when "someone else is watching the traffic for them" such as in a VTS area. Sure this was probably a more isolated incident that was corrected immediately with no harm done, but would not have happened in the first place if the tug mate/captain had taken a more complete responsibility for his situational awareness. Maybe 99 times out of 100 he checks astern, both visually and on radar, but this one time he thought that VTS was watching his back. Apparently, that VTS operator was assuming the same thing.
Great advice from a professional Waterman and in my early days as a watch keeper on a large tug towing active rudder container ships up to Skagway… (JB Brown and the Klondike) … your West Point incident rings so true and familiar.

I think we both totally agree that VHF communications is by far the best form of communications between ship to ship to clarify an overtaking/passing situation if language is not a problem.

However, my conclusions may differ a bit from yours.

The Wk on the Tug had failed to update his AIS information which confused Traffic Control and perhaps any other vessel, making it a liability rather than an asset. Tug’s Fault if things had got nasty insofar as he was transmitting false info.

The value of the Tug calling Traffic is apparent as he clarified his intentions but failed as you said to take ultimate responsibility by checking to see if it was safe to make a large course change to Port. Tug’s Fault, because just like having a mandatory Pilot on board, VTS is an advisory…. So it is the same as “Pilots advice, Master’s orders.”

The value of having a local Pilot on board, monitoring VHF13 is clear as two professionals were able to come to a quick and clear understanding of an overtaking situation turning into a crossing situation, but if there had been a collision, the overtaking ship would have been judged to have failed to give the tug sufficient warning of his intentions. Ship’s Master and Pilot’s fault.

I think we both agree where mariners fail is when they place too much reliance on just one type of watch keeping aid, instead of using all available senses and services to reach a conclusion.

That is how I view VTS as an aid, not big brother who is there to look after me.
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Old 17-06-2010, 21:15   #232
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Originally Posted by Watermann View Post
Granted, I'm speaking from a pure traffic standpoint. I can't recall what each shoreline there is like (Tarifa side is deeper/less foul, but closer to the TSS I think?), nor can I speak for any of the other law-enforcement issues that Pelagic brought up.
If someone has the ability to Jpeg the chart and traffic scheme with the low border at
35:30' I can show where there have been incidents with local enforcements
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Old 17-06-2010, 21:20   #233
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Great advice from a professional Waterman and in my early days as a watch keeper on a large tug towing active rudder container ships up to Skagway… (JB Brown and the Klondike) … your West Point incident rings so true and familiar.

I think we both totally agree that VHF communications is by far the best form of communications between ship to ship to clarify an overtaking/passing situation if language is not a problem.

However, my conclusions may differ a bit from yours.

The Wk on the Tug had failed to update his AIS information which confused Traffic Control and perhaps any other vessel, making it a liability rather than an asset. Tug’s Fault if things had got nasty insofar as he was transmitting false info.

The value of the Tug calling Traffic is apparent as he clarified his intentions but failed as you said to take ultimate responsibility by checking to see if it was safe to make a large course change to Port. Tug’s Fault, because just like having a mandatory Pilot on board, VTS is an advisory…. So it is the same as “Pilots advice, Master’s orders.”

The value of having a local Pilot on board, monitoring VHF13 is clear as two professionals were able to come to a quick and clear understanding of an overtaking situation turning into a crossing situation, but if there had been a collision, the overtaking ship would have been judged to have failed to give the tug sufficient warning of his intentions. Ship’s Master and Pilot’s fault.

I think we both agree where mariners fail is when they place too much reliance on just one type of watch keeping aid, instead of using all available senses and services to reach a conclusion.

That is how I view VTS as an aid, not big brother who is there to look after me.

Agreed on every point, particularly the one I underlined . My conclusions were just focused how this incident related to VTS. Certainly if there had been a collision, there would've been other, even more significant, factors.

I think I've said all that I want to about the responsibilities of VTS and how it integrates into navigation/piloting.

Maybe it's time to get back to Rule 10 or maybe move onto 11??
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Old 18-06-2010, 05:46   #234
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The incident which sticks out in my head is one I overheard one night when I was leaving Seattle on a ship on our way to Alaska, maybe four years ago or so. A tug and tow was approaching the 'Sierra-Golf' TSS buoy off West Point and getting ready to turn into Seattle. A southbound container ship a couple miles or so astern was continuing south to Tacoma and still at sea-speed (20+ kt). The pilot on the ship had been told that the tug was also continuing onto Tacoma and was setting himself up to overtake the tug on its port side. The tug's own AIS destination was also listed as Tacoma (another reason I give special skepticism towards user-input AIS static data - a lot of vessels, particularly those who are constantly running between different ports, like tugs, simply don't update them). However, as the tug approached the buoy, he called traffic, asked for permission to cross the northbound (opposing) lane into Elliot Bay and expected a traffic report. The report he got was for every little tour boat and other tug in the Bay but the VTS operator neglected to pass on the info on the ship overtaking the tug - the most critical vessel at this point. Without checking astern of him before he turned, the tug swung over and started to cross the path of the ship. The pilot was on his toes already, having heard the tug call-in unexpectedly at sierra-golf and after a brief conversation, the tug went back to his base course until the ship cleared. This was not an extremely close situation, but it illustrates the point that many mariners get into a false sense of security when "someone else is watching the traffic for them" such as in a VTS area. Sure this was probably a more isolated incident that was corrected immediately with no harm done, but would not have happened in the first place if the tug mate/captain had taken a more complete responsibility for his situational awareness. Maybe 99 times out of 100 he checks astern, both visually and on radar, but this one time he thought that VTS was watching his back. Apparently, that VTS operator was assuming the same thing.
It strikes me that the tug operator failed in another respect - if his intention was taking a left turn out of the lanes, he should have moved to the side of the lane on his own port side well ahead of the planned turn; if he exited from the lane rather than the precautionary area, he should have left the lane at a shallow angle and made the port turn in the separation zone as is required by the rules.
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Old 18-06-2010, 07:39   #235
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I don't know if VTS Puget Sound has a website or not, but there may be a user's handbook online somewhere that you can use to acquaint yourself with the system here. It is large, but fairly simple.
Sector Seattle Vessel Traffic Service Homepage

VTS Users Manual

Recreational Boaters Manual

Thanks for sharing your experiences and for your advice Watermann, it is most helpful to me as a recreational sailboater / racer in Puget Sound!

Also of note relevant to our conversation, this quote from the Recreational Boaters Manual (emphasis added):

"You do not need our permission to use these charted lanes! Simply abide by the TSS rules: Proceed in the direction of traffic. If joining or leaving, do so at a TSS buoy by passing the buoy on your port side. When not near a buoy, join or leave a lane with the direction of traffic. Avoid the separation zone as much as possible. If it is necessary to cross the lanes (and separation zone) then do so at right angles to minimize the time crossing. When not using the lanes, you are responsible for knowing the location of the TSS, and avoiding others using it. Above all, do not impede traffic. Each year, numerous incidents involve boaters being in the way, or, proceeding the wrong way in a traffic lane. Often, the vessels they obstruct are large container ships or tankers that cannot maneuver sharply to avoid them."
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Old 18-06-2010, 08:18   #236
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Rules 11 to 17

Perhaps it is best that we show maneuvers when in sight of one another in one shot

Section II. Conduct of vessels in sight of one another.

Rule 11
Application.

Rules in this section shall apply to vessels in sight of one another.


Rule 12


Sailing vessels

(a) When two sailing vessels are approaching one another, so as to involve risk of collision, one of them shall keep out of the way of the other as follows:


(i) when each has the wind on a different side, the vessel which has the wind on the port side shall keep out of the way of the other;


(ii) when both have the wind on the same side, the vessel which is to windward shall keep out of the way of the vessel which is to leeward.


(iii) if a vessel with the wind on the port side sees a vessel to windward and cannot determine with certainty whether the other vessel has the wind on her port or starboard side, she shall keep out of the way of the other.


(b) For the purposes of this rule the windward side shall be deemed to be the side opposite to that on which the mainsail is carried or, in the case of a square-rigged vessel, the side opposite to that on which the largest fore-and-aft sail is carried.



Rule 13

Overtaking.

(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rules of Part B, Sections I and II any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken.


(b) A vessel shall be deemed to be overtaking when coming up with another vessel from a direction more than 22.5 degrees abaft her beam, that is, in such a position with reference to the vessel she is overtaking, that at night she would be able to see only the sternlight of that vessel but neither of her sidelights.


(c) When a vessel is in any doubt as to whether she is overtaking another, she shall assume that this is the case and act accordingly.


(d) Any subsequent alteration of bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.



Rule 14

Head-on situation.

(a) When two power-driven vessels are meeting on reciprocal or nearly reciprocal courses so as to involve risk of collision each shall alter her course to starboard so as to each shall pass on the port side of the other.


(b) Such a situation shall be deemed to exist when a vessel sees the other ahead or nearly ahead and by night she could see the masthead lights of the other in line or nearly in a line and/or both sidelights and by day she observes the corresponding aspect of the other vessel.


(c) Then a vessel is in any doubt as to whether such a situation exists she shall assume that it does exist and act accordingly.



Rule 15

Crossing situations.

When two power-driven vessel are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.


Rule 16

Action by give-way vessel.
Every vessel which is directed to keep out of the way of another vessel shall, as far as possible, take early and substantial action to keep well clear.

Rule 17

Action by stand-on vessel.
(a)

(i) Where one of two vessels is to keep out of the way, the other shall keep her course and speed.


(ii) The latter vessel may however take action to avoid collision by her manoeuvre alone, as soon as it becomes apparent to her that the vessel required to keep out of the way is not taking appropriate action in compliance with these Rules.


(b) When, from any cause, the vessel required to keep her course and speed finds herself so close that collision cannot be avoided by the action of the give-way vessel alone, she shall take such action as will best aid to avoid collision.


(c) A power-driven vessel which takes action in a crossing situation in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) (ii) of this rule to avoid collision with another power-driven vessel shall, if the circumstances at the case admit, not alter course to port for a vessel on her own port side.


(d) This rule does not relieve the give-way vessel of her obligation to keep out of the way.
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Old 22-06-2010, 10:20   #237
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Just back from a trip from Comox to Ucluelet via Cape Scott.

The definition for "in sight" have always stuck me as interesting. I would love to know why it was felt necesary to define something I thought was obvious.

Quote:
Vessels shall be deemed to be in sight of one another only when one can be observed visually from the other.
Rule 3 (k)
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Old 22-06-2010, 12:24   #238
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Just back from a trip from Comox to Ucluelet via Cape Scott.

The definition for "in sight" have always stuck me as interesting. I would love to know why it was felt necesary to define something I thought was obvious.

Rule 3 (k)
Because too many people 'see' another vessel on radar and procede on that info as if they had seen it with their eyes even though radar and sight have different advantages and disadvantages.
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Old 22-06-2010, 19:45   #239
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The definition for "in sight" have always stuck me as interesting. I would love to know why it was felt necesary to define something I thought was obvious.

Vessels shall be deemed to be in sight of one another only when one can be observed visually from the other.

Rule 3 (k)
My take on it is that there is no need for you to assume the other vessel can see you in order for you to follow the visual rules. If you're in a small vessel with wimpy small vessel nav-lights and a >50m vessel's lights just come into view on a rainy hazy night, you would probably assume he doesn't see you (at least not yet), but since you see him, you follow the Section 2 rules; he will probably follow Section 3 until you come into view - you have no way of anticipating when (or even if) that should occur. I'm not entirely sure it would matter one way or the other, but see that it would be a way for the rulemakers to try to keep the mindreading and guesswork to a minimum.
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Old 22-06-2010, 23:04   #240
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Just back from a trip from Comox to Ucluelet via Cape Scott.

The definition for "in sight" have always stuck me as interesting. I would love to know why it was felt necesary to define something I thought was obvious.
Certainly lots of Fog this time of year on the West Coast....

That is a really good question jackdale and in 1972 IMO Conference, serious consideration was given to forming one set of maneuvering rules, but was decided against because it is usually possible for vessels to sight one another in time, to determine the lights and shapes so that the degree of responsibility can be based on the vessels actual ability to take effective avoiding action…

Rule 13 and 18 are based on the principal of allocating prime responsibility to the vessel more capable of keeping out of the way.

When we get to Restricted visibility, subtle changes to the Rules were made in 1972, which we can discuss then.

I have added a few more questions
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