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Old 11-05-2014, 07:43   #1
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Why Port Side of Channel?

Quote:
Rule 9 - Narrow Channels Return to the top of the page
(a) (i) A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel or fairway shall keep as near to the outer limit of the channel or fairway which lies on her starboard side as is safe and practicable.
That's the rule straight out of US Inland rules - so why do so many boaters insist on running down the wrong side of the channel (their port side)? Is it just American boaters, or are these people all over the world? WTF?
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:57   #2
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Mainly because they aren't interested in learning and don't bother to read.

If it ain't in an app it don't exist.
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:12   #3
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

You find them all over the world. Typically in 'day' boats, which are very accessible and require knowledge little to get in the water except for a form of payment.

In that respect, Stu's right: why bother learning the rules of the road when you're already on the water whizzing around having fun!?

Just before we left Norway, the Norwegian government instituted a Certificate of competence requirement for anybody over the age of 16 born after xx.xx.xx. It was a shame because you used to see a lot of 7-14 year olds out on small boats being very responsible. It was part of the culture. That's not permitted anymore. The upside is that people have to go through a 3 day (long weekend) theoretical course and practical course/exam prior to becoming a new boater. This has led to a small reduction in insurance premiums for everybody, and coming into a port isn't as hap-hazard as it once was.

The only reason I can think to run up the port side of a narrow channel is because you've negotiated "two whistles" over VHF with a large workboat, with the sole purpose of putting you on the windward side when passing the much larger vessel, or inboard on a curve in the waterway.


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Old 11-05-2014, 08:32   #4
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

I see this and behave this way outside a channel. I won't hesitate to run inbound outside the greens (US) or outbound with reds to starboard if this path is more efficient for me and deep for me. Of course, the rule states, "A vessel proceeding along the course of a narrow channel......." and I am proceeding just outside the course of the channel. If I'm on my small sailboat comming out of Buttermilk Channel down from the East River in New York Harbor; then I'm not going to head across the shipping lanes to pass under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge if I'm headed for Sandy Hook. I'll stay on the "wrong" side and cross the traffic lanes clearly in Raritan Bay. There are reasonable choices that are contrary to some rules.

Don't mistake my comment for a disagreement with your message. If I'm between the reds and greens in a channel that is narrow enough for my presence to have any significance or if there is any other significant traffic, then I'm following the rules!
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Old 11-05-2014, 17:27   #5
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

A (to me) funny story:

We were proceeding along a narrow entrance channel in New Zealand some years ago, motoring along the starboard edge as required by Colregs. A large motor yacht was exiting along the same edge (his port side). I had to make a violent course change to avoid a headon collision. He then berated me (having seen our American flag) "you stupid Yank, down here we drive on the left side... etc". VHF rules prevented me from saying what I wanted to say in return!

Like many, I have seen that particular rule ignored just about everywhere that we have sailed.

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Old 11-05-2014, 17:32   #6
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Alot depends on the width of the waterway. Also, the "wrong side" may be the quickest way to get into shallower waters when a deep-draft vessel is approaching.



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Old 11-05-2014, 18:00   #7
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptForce View Post
There are reasonable choices that are contrary to some rules.

Don't mistake my comment for a disagreement with your message.
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Old 11-05-2014, 18:14   #8
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

+2

Lots of good water outside the channel and takes the pressure off of freighters sometimes.

I don't see many people on the wrong side of the channel oin the ICW, save for shrimp boats and the occasional fishing boat.
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Old 11-05-2014, 19:06   #9
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Jim,



Reminds me of another anecdote.



Proceeding westwards down the ICW towards New Orleans from the Rigolets on a breezy day and I'd just confirmed a port to port pass with a tug which was pushing a bank of eight (2x4) empty barges riding high in the water.

A very strong blast of air came across the channel from my port side, and I suddenly hear him again over VHF, "I'm going to bank, er, two whistles, TWO WHISTLES!!!"

I managed to turn across his bow about 50' in front of him as his forward port barge slammed into the high grasses of the bank I'd have been passing.

I did receive a wave from the bridge, however, as I passed.

Somedays I'm amazed how.some of those Captains control their loads on windy days - serious skill!



Best,



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Old 11-05-2014, 20:01   #10
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Thanks for the answers so far, but to clarify, I'm not talking about operating outside of the buoyed channel, nor negotiated green-green passing. In most of the cases there didn't appear to be a compelling navigational imperative to go port. It's not rare - I see it in almost every port I visit on the US east coast. And the boats are often cruising sailboats, under power, so not likely big-wallet, little brain mobidiots. Most recently, as I was going out near the centre of the channel to give a wide berth to the sportfishermen just outside the channel to my stbd (between the buoys and the breakwater), I spotted two inbound cruising sailboats motoring in one after the other, also near the centre of the channel. Head-on I figure, I went right. They went left. They persisted and squeezed between me and the green buoy. There was no other traffic that would have compelled that action, and they still had another couple miles of straightlining up the channel before they could turn anywhere.
Two days later, as I was coming into port, a large motor yacht cut across my bow so that he could hug the reds. A sailboat was motoring in his wake. Perhaps they intended to take the channel to the north, but cutting me off like that would have reduced their distance to go by no more than 100 yards. So far it seems that Stu might be right and that's very sad.
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Old 11-05-2014, 20:12   #11
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Imray has a very good "navigational rules" app.. So that's that idea blown! ;-)


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Old 11-05-2014, 20:26   #12
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Portside-of-channel sailboats in San Diego harbor entrance last week:



We were heading outbound. The channel was wide enough to accommodate.
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Old 12-05-2014, 00:15   #13
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Why Port Side of Channel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Portside-of-channel sailboats in San Diego harbor entrance last week:



We were heading outbound. The channel was wide enough to accommodate.
The two in front are on the proper side of the channel?? They are stbd side. If you took photo from your boat, then you are on wrong side (port side of channel) or am I missing something.
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Old 12-05-2014, 03:00   #14
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Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Portside-of-channel sailboats in San Diego harbor entrance last week:



We were heading outbound. The channel was wide enough to accommodate.
I'm assuming this is a fairly wide channel, and you are either in the middle or on the starboard side.

These boats obviously didn't want to "Waste" the time or effort to go to the other side.

They look like they are sailing pretty close-hauled, which means that if they had gone to the other side of the channel, they would have ended up having to tack to come back to this side. Tacking in a channel is generally not a good thing to do (if there is big ship traffic)

I appreciate your point, but looking at the conditions (clear, high visibility) and assuming little or no other traffic, I'm not sure the offense is a "hanging offense".

The Regs are clear on small boats in marked channels for big ship traffic. How is the Water depth outside the channel buoys?

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Old 12-05-2014, 05:22   #15
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pirate Re: Why Port Side of Channel?

I was reading something about a tight spot on the ICW that one should go right down the center, and if encountering another vessel the advice was to "take your half out of the middle."
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