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Old 03-07-2009, 06:02   #1
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What Can Be Done?

This happened recently to me on the Chesapeake:

I am motoring through the middle span of the Bay Bridge, heading north. No wind and I hate wallowing under bridges any longer than necessary. I'm having some engine trouble though, so babying the engine.

Anyway, I see a poweryacht that, quite literally, could have been owned by Bernie Madoff -- it's probably an 80'er, at least and it's coming open throttle southward. No offense to powerboaters, but I don't trust them, so I assume this guy is not going to slow down. I make a vain attempt to press my addled 4-cyl. diesel to get under the bridge before he passes. But, he's going so fast and I am going so slow that I can't quite make it.

When I say the wake generated by this guy was like nothing I have seen outside of a Force 10 storm, I am not joking. It was that bad. The crew and bikini-clad passengers were completely oblivious to what they were wreaking. I shutter to think what could have happened if I hadn't taken the middle span and had plenty of clearance to either pylon.

Belatedly, after recovering, I tried to grab the binocs and get the name off the transom, but owing to his tremendous speed and the roostertail he was throwing up, I couldn't read it.

If I had gotten the name, I would have looked him up in the USCG documentation database and at least sent him a really nasty email, if I could track down the address. What else could have been done?

I assume nothing.
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:11   #2
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Like those turkeys who insist on barging their way through peaceful anchorages in their oversized and over powered stink boats without any thought for those trying to enjoy the tranquility.
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Old 03-07-2009, 06:24   #3
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Just another idiot on the water. Nothing really can be done, if you call the CG they ask a million questions about you and your boat rather than the offending boat. Sometimes I make a call on the vhf warning others that an idiot is on the way. That and shrug it off.
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:15   #4
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Just to play devil's advocate, what should he have done? If he were 80ish feet long slowing down before the bridge wouldn't have helped a whole lot since his following wake would have reached you anyway.

Having been in your position on that exact stretch of water and being waked by the same boat (there's only one of these jerks, right?), my solution was to avoid the center span at all costs. You can easily move 3 spans away and still have plenty of air draft; the other pilings help break up the huge wake and you have more time to get through the bridges before the wake reaches you.
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:39   #5
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What is really amazing is the differnce in wakes created by various large powerboats. When I was in Florida on my boat I used to watch the 75-125 footers go by on the intracoastal. They all moved at about the same speed ( they police wakes pretty good down there due to the "anti-anything-boating" landownders) One would go by leaving almost nothing in regards to a wake... I'm talking 6" maybe. another would go by and here comes a 2-3 ft wave... absolutely amazing.....
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:45   #6
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Slingshots with ball bearings work really well. Anyone who swamps another boater in confined waters is a pure idiot.

I have actually hit a wake crazy power boat inside the marina with an open can of varnish..... they just idled away....
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Old 03-07-2009, 10:48   #7
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and courts have held boaters liable for damage/injury due to wakes before also, power or sail...
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Old 03-07-2009, 14:21   #8
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My sympathies ... a common ailment.

I have always favoured the idea of wake homing torpedos myself. Main job is to dispose of jet skis, but all launches and any yacht going faster than me could be classed as a legitimate target ...

Then again, anyone who can afford even one could treble the size of their boat instead!

Avoidance first (pretty hard to do), but slowing & pointing up into the wake are about the only answers once the bugger is approaching your beam.

My favourite with big launches was in the narrow channel leading up to my marina. The better educated one goes to (his) starboard, and the other idiot draws abeam of him to play chicken on my side of the channel.

Rocks metres to my starboard, and a correctly positioned launch to my port. No question in my mind about what I would hit if it came down to it ...
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Old 03-07-2009, 18:55   #9
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Heres two thing that can be done; First, if you saw this coming, slow down and let him pass. Situate your yacht so you can take his wake on the quarter and prepare for it. Two, grab the VHF and remind him that he is financially responsible for any damage his wake causes and you've got his name. This is what they do during the Chesapeake log canoe races, when idiots threaten to swamp the 100 year old canoes... IMHO
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:13   #10
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Off of Florida about 6 or 7 years ago one of those cigarette boats filled with screaming girls and some hunks kept “buzzing” us. They would come within 20 feet of us just to splash us. I finally loaded the 25 mm flare gun and made a deliberate show of aiming it. He immediately left. Magnesium is a powerful retardant.
There is not much you can. The Coast Guard has clearly demonstrated a lack of concern. My wife once let loose on them years ago for a similar incident as yours in a harbour within sight of the coast guard station. They wanted her to switch to their VHF channel, she being French Canadian let them know what she thought about that. Then she proceeded to tell them what she thought of all their questions about the number of people aboard, quantity of lifejackets, types and number of flares and all that other crap that evidently pertained to our call. She also told them in very expressive language to go look out their window. The air waves were immediately full of calls of support for what she was saying. The poor Coast Guard radioman didn’t have a clue what to do, perhaps he thought she was using the odd French word. Being highly trained and therefore single minded he kept going back to that damned checklist which further infuriated my wife. It was evident though that he was having trouble staying on target. Knowing my wife he has my compliments and sympathy as he steadfastly refused to show much concern about our complaint and continued to focus on our boat.
My advice is to call it in and refuse to switch channels. Let everyone hear and know. Embarrass them and the offending boat, perhaps then something might change.
I am reminded of an incident years ago when someone fired a gun as a warning of an imminent collision. He was charged by the local authorities. He was acquitted when it was pointed out that in Rule 36 of the International Collision Regulations it states very clearly “any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these rules.
A gun being fired certainly fits that bill as everyone noticed, paid close attention to it as it is a most uncommon marine signal and as such it clearly complies with Rule 36 but being shore dwellers the misbehaving boat’s “Captain” and the local authorities took it to be threatening act and not as it was intended to be a signal of immediate danger and as such intended to preserve lives and property.
Anyone without any training or licensing is allowed to operate any non-commercial vessel up to 66 feet in the US. No knowledge of the Rules is required or considered necessary.
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Old 04-07-2009, 07:12   #11
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mesquaukee,

Unfortunately your wife's experience with the coast guard is all too common. Some of their radio personnel may be experienced and helpful but the majority of them don't have a clue on how to deal with a situation but to resort to their checklist of standard questions. This may sound harsh but I base it on years of listening to calls from NY to FL. In cases of being waked I find the local authorities to be more responsive but it is a fact of life in the harbours and on the waterway so it's best to live with it although it is annoying.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:10   #12
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Old 05-07-2009, 22:00   #13
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Try a paintball gun. Just don't hit anyone.

If we ALL kept them onboard, we would then know, at the end of the day, who the stupid ones were!
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Old 05-07-2009, 22:17   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Try a paintball gun. Just don't hit anyone.

If we ALL kept them onboard, we would then know, at the end of the day, who the stupid ones were!
That's not a bad idea, Bill. The only downside might be if you point your paintball gun at a boat with a cop on board. They really don't like, well, anything pointed at them, and tend to react aggressively and with lethal force when someone does.

And their claim of self-defense always prevails in court.

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Old 05-07-2009, 22:33   #15
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Potato Gun

Make a potato gun and tie the potato you are shooting to a nice long section of gill net. I would suggest some expermentation as to the length of mono and the weight of the mono but you get the idea.

Shoot the potato in the path of the oncoming boat so the then streched out gill netting will ge in front of the boat. If he is using IO or outboard he will lose his seals as the mono cuts them up and good chance he will come to a dead stop as the mono twist around the prop and skeg.

I have no idea what will happen with a full inboard// might screw things up. tie some light mono on to the end so you can retreve.
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