Originally Posted by David M
Why are so many non-professional boaters so seemingly frightened of making radio contact with a ship? Professionals make radio contact with each other long before a situation occurs in order to make passing arrangements.
Usually do that if there is any question but it doesn't always work.
Sailing South from San Francisco
in the fall of 2012 we had an 800' ship (Rose Pantera if I remember the name correctly) repeatedly set off our AIS alarm
. There were large swells and the ship's course oscillated significantly (that's the course reported by their AIS) and we were well within the angle of their back and forth course swings. Note; I do not know if the swells could really make their course reporting shift that much but the alternative explanations were less appealing.
So, once again I got on the VHF and started hailing to ask them what they prefer I do. I got no answer and it was beginning to look dicey since they were hauling ass coming down on us fast. I kept hailing and when it seemed they had settled on a new course I adjusted ours to get out of their way, then they swept back again and again set off the AIS
predicted proximity alarm
This was not good so I finally hailed the San Francisco
Coast Guard and asked them for help. They got on their much more powerful radios and hailed the ship on a number of channels but finally came back and said that they could get no response and that I should continue to try channel 13 for bridge-to-bridge.
Before they came back with that I'd already decided to start the engine
and hurry 90° to starboard. They confirmed that was probably the best thing to do under the circumstances. The rumbling of Rose Pantera's engines was easily heard as she chugged past us well less than 1/2 NM behind our stern a few minutes later.
We were broadcasting AIS B all that time and our friends on Scott Free (sp ?) got on 16 afterwards and asked "was that really as close as it looked on AIS ?". Scott Free was hugging the coast at the time and we and the ship were about 10 Nm out..
I reported back to the USCG that we'd gotten out of the way and that was that.
But I agree, always hail by name to avoid confusion, it works surprisingly well most of the time.