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Old 22-09-2009, 11:25   #1
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Dinghy Safety / Etiquette

I recently arrived in the Carribean after travelling from Australia via South Africa.

It is my impression that handling of dingies here in Grenada and Trinidad is very different than in other parts of the world.

First, in general, the dingies are bigger and have more powerful engines. There are still lots of folks with wooden rowing dingies, smaller inflatables, but still, by and large the dingies are larger and more powerful. Nothing inherently wrong there I reckon, it sort of matches the trend of larger boat out cruising but...

It also strikes me there are a lot of folks who are standing up in their dingies, holding onto the painter and tiller extensions and zooming around the anchorages at full power. I have always thought that standing up in a dingy was an invitation to disaster, a surefire way to be thrown overboard. Am I just being an old fashioned fellow that is not moving with the change in times, or is there a sense that because the dingy is big, and presumably more stable, standing up is not an issue?

I also had been told that it was proper when passing another smaller boat, it was appropriate to throttle down to keep the wake from causing an issue, but I seldom see this courtesy being observed.

Finally, the larger dingies take up a lot more dock space, but most do not have correspondingly longer painters for tieing up to these very crowded docks. I have always thought, again based on articles and discussions heard over the years, that the appropriate painter length (and that would apply to anti theft chains as well,) was a minimum of 1.5 time the dingy length.

What say my fellow forumites? Are these concepts outdated or just being forgotten or ignored?

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Tom
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Old 22-09-2009, 11:58   #2
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Welcome to the Caribbean!! Standing up is a lot easier than sitting, especially when it gets a bit bouncy. Just make sure the kill thingamajig is around your wrist. Only folks in those little Walker Bay dinks with the 2 hp motors sit down.

Long painters are still required on busy dinghy docks. As for slowing down, it's optional. If you're heading up towards the Bahamas you'll get an eyeful when the dinks tear through the little hole under the bridge in Georgetown. Incoming has right of way. The track is the clear strip of water between the two buildings.
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Old 22-09-2009, 11:59   #3
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Most people are standing up in their dinghies to stay drier, and because their knees can take the pounding better than their lower backs. Darwin's law will weed out the careless ones.

The big, fast, high-wake dinghies are also the ones stolen first, but that doesn't seem to stop the trend. You can't make them be courteous, and their wakes are nothing compared to the local boats, so you might as well get a bigger dinghy.

As far as docking goes, you are not alone--see Dinghy Dock Etiquette
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Old 22-09-2009, 12:21   #4
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If it is a planning dinghy then the way to make less wake is to ... speed up (anybody disagree?).

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Old 22-09-2009, 12:28   #5
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Thanks Don for the link, my search did not turn that up. The dipping the loop is an underused courteys.

The issue of standing up in a dingy is one of safety, convenience is just an excuse. If you do not want to get wet, you should not be in a dingy (or perhaps sailing) in the first place. They already have the newer, bigger and drier dingies, so they should be able so sit in perfect"dingy" comfort. The pounding is caused because they are going so fast.

Not only can you be thrown overboard, but speeding in a crowded anchorage is a hazard as well. The constant complaint in Trini from yachties is that the local fishing boats drive too fast through the anchorage. Indeed several months ago one person was killed in just this type of incident in Trinidad.

I just do not think it is good seamanship to do this high powered kind of operation in an anchorage, and the practice of standing up only compounds the dangers

In summary, I would opine that slower = safer and drier!
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Old 22-09-2009, 14:20   #6
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Ever wonder why so many people use outboards in the first place. If the beach/landing dock is far off, OK. But how many times have you seen the boat anchored a stone's throw from the shore and the crew still using the engine in the dink?

And with the newer / bigger boats what is the problem to have a newer / lighter, proper rowing dinghy onboard (or perhaps a rowing/sailing dinghy)? They are pretty, silent and give you excellent exercise!

Sometimes I think many of the outboard freaks simply cannot row. ;-)

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Old 22-09-2009, 14:25   #7
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Very difficult to row a rubber dink. In certain weather it might be dangerous to try, even for a short distance.
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Old 22-09-2009, 14:48   #8
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It is certainly awkward to row my little, old and tired Avon Redcrest but it has essentially a flat bottom. I wonder how hard it would be to row one of the larger rigid bottom dingys if you have a decent set of oars. Granted, they have the problem of windage with the sponsons, but all the rigid bottom boats have a solid V shaped hull that might be suitable for rowing, if they were properly rigged with suitable oarlocks and oars.

But we are a bit off topic, the issue as I asked is one of safety, and then etiquette, I have always been taught, that standing up in a dingy is not a good practice, they are just too unstable, and high speeds in an anchorage is just unsafe and inconsiderate.

I do not disagree that the newer, bigger dingies certainly make life better, they are drier, get you to fun spots quickly, and can be used for fishing outside reefs. They haul more goods and are better for doing many of the tasks, like setting kedge anchors and such.

Just the operating practices of some of the folks.
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Old 22-09-2009, 15:12   #9
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Face it, the Yuppies have gone cruising.
Now everything has to be bigger, faster, showier. Just MHO.
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Old 22-09-2009, 15:58   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hildebrandt View Post
... But we are a bit off topic, the issue as I asked is one of safety, and then etiquette ...
I think it is safer to go slow - not only for the rider but also for the untimely diver / swimmer / turtle.

I think it is good manners to slow / or speed up - to make minimum wash, minimum noise and minimum inconvenience for our neighbor in the anchorage.

Thus, in summary, slow is the way.

I noticed most cruisers / charters in the West Indies and in the Pacific observed the 'rules'. I noticed most local boats (fishers, divers, tour operators) don't care.

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Old 22-09-2009, 16:15   #11
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It's just part of the "it's about me!" thinking that is everywhere. Same as the reason people haul ass though the mooring field because all they cared about is getting there faster no matter what. And this "me thinking" completely replaces any saftey thoughts one would have.
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Old 22-09-2009, 17:20   #12
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Welcome to the Caribbean, mate

Just to summarize and to reiterate:
  • Look closely, most speeding around is by the locals, not cruisers
  • Getting your dinghy on a plane creates far less wake than running @ 5 knots.
  • Wear the kill switch for safety
  • Standing is not a getting wet issue, it is a staying healthy issue! Sitting can really hurt your lower back.
  • Standing lets you see and avoid underwater dangers/debris that you cannot see sitting.
  • Painters should be long enough to allow you to tie and lock, AND let others get to the dinghy dock as well - YES! there is an unknown group of cruisers who cannot figure out this simple piece of etiquette.

Fair Winds,
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Old 22-09-2009, 17:51   #13
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"Standers up" are just tempory cruisers... like motor cycle riders!


Bigger OB's and dinks let you go exploring much easier. With our 3.3hp we really don't go anywhere except straight to the beach / dock. but with the new 9.9 the world is our.... ummmm cockle?...

And when we grow up we will get a nice hard bottom dink...
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Old 22-09-2009, 18:30   #14
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I have spent most of my time in the past two months in Prickly Bay, Grenada. My impression is the culprits are the cruisers, not locals. But, by the same token, in Chagaramus, Trinidad, the local fishermen (or taxi boats) who are the "speeders" doing the standing up thing.

I am not sayng which group (cruisers or locals) is or is not the most lacking in considereation, but my comments are that regardless of who and where, it is not appropriate.

In my travels, now over 6 years, my perception, and it is an opinion, right or wrong, is that only here in the Carib is this a problem. Why is this?

In Prickly Bay, I think, hands down, it is cruisers, not locals. In Chagaramus, Trinidad it is primariy the local fisherman or the taxi boats. I also will point out that it in both cases is a relatively small proportion of the respective populations that are speeding (and standing) but it is enough for it to be a topic of conversation.

I do not like the idea of any body speeding through an anchorage, but those who chose to do it standing up are, in my judgement, pushing the limit. Regarding the other arguments, if there is an issue of visibility, slow down. You will have plenty of time to see the obstructions. If the trip hurts your back, slow down. There will be less pounding, and your back will feel bette and you will have made the journey in a much safer manner.

Warm regards to all

Tom on Juno
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Old 22-09-2009, 18:36   #15
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Every season in Georgetown, Bahamas, there are one or two cruisers thrown out of their dinks, often hurt - sometimes quite seriously by the propellor. A friend, formerly with the Toronto Marine Unit, had to go rescue one of these heroes last April while we were there.
I am a sailing instructor and also a water safety instructor, and well qualified to make this statement: standing up in a dinghy is not safe. Standing has nothing to do with greater comfort. If you don't like getting wet, bring along a lightweight, inexpensive waterproof jacket - like $2 at the walmart - for your dinghy excursions.
Boat smart, boat safe.
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