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Old 05-07-2017, 09:13   #46
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Re: What would you do?

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Originally Posted by Benz View Post
I'd rather use a phone than a VHF any day. With a phone, it you get no answer, you can still usually leave a message and tell them what you think of their failure to answer. I've often wondered on dark nights when trying to get through or around a fishing fleet if I'm the only one with a VHF--I get no answer from those guys, and all I want to know is how best to get past without causing them any inconvenience or danger.
To me the VHF is a big disappointment, and I now always proceed assuming the other guy has none, ready to change course even if I'm the stand-on vessel. It's just not worth assuming the other guy has any spark of intelligence.
Ah...and what is the phone number of that boat in the distance on a collision course with you?

And what about areas with no cell service? Whats that place called? Oh yeah...the OCEAN! Hey, thats where some boats go sailing! ...VHF works line of sight, which is often to the horizon. No cell tower required.

The right tool for the job is the VHF radio. If you are sitting in the marina enjoying a beer, please do use your cell phone.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:25   #47
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Re: What would you do?

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Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
VHF versus mobile phone. Why suffer from the tyranny of OR when you can have the genius of AND?! Both have strengths and weaknesses. You can also use both; e.g. call the Coast Guard (or other similar SAR agency) and then call on the VHF, thus alerting other vessels.

Having said this, I have no issue with him not having a VHF. Yes, it is better to have one, but many people do day sails on Optis, Sunfish, etc. and have no radio. For that matter, I don't now of many kite surfers or Jet Ski people who have them either
The OP made it clear they were sailing at night. None of the above day sailing dinghies, windsurfers and kiteboarders would be out at night.

When my daughter takes out her 14 foot laser, she has a small VHF clipped to her lifejacket, and she knows how to use it. Many disasters could be averted if more people carried the right gear.

A good friend last the mast on his Northern 25 late in the season one year. The forestay parted and the mast fell aft, with rigging getting hopelessly tangled in the outboard motor. Now he could not sail or motor. When he tells the story, he eagerly admits the VHF totally saved him. He was able to quickly get assistance from nearby boats, the CG were alerted, help and a tow were arranged. What could have been a disaster was averted because he had a working VHF radio.

Even though I sail mostly on Lake Ontario, only the near shore areas have good cell coverage. Mid lake, and many of the islands (main duck for example) have sketchy coverage at best. And even if you do get some bars, if you have a canadian service provider, you may not be able to make a call on an american cell tower (and vice versa). This has happened to me (thank you WIND).

Anyone who says the great lakes have full coverage obviously has not gone very far from their marina.
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:26   #48
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Re: What would you do?

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Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
VHF versus mobile phone. Why suffer from the tyranny of OR when you can have the genius of AND?! Both have strengths and weaknesses. You can also use both; e.g. call the Coast Guard (or other similar SAR agency) and then call on the VHF, thus alerting other vessels.

Having said this, I have no issue with him not having a VHF. Yes, it is better to have one, but many people do day sails on Optis, Sunfish, etc. and have no radio. For that matter, I don't now of many kite surfers or Jet Ski people who have them either (uh oh, did I just open up a can of worms?!). He didn't describe the type of sailing but most likely it was just a sail of a few hours. A handheld is better than no radio, but even there one only has a range of a few miles. He did have the phone. Myself, I usually have a base unit and a hand held and a phone for coastal sailing. Again, I think it is better to have one, but not having it isn't the end of the world.
I don't think you opened up a can of worms. Maybe you make sense and he is day sailing. As far a cell available on all of Ontario I somewhat doubt that.
I for one would prefer to have a sorry VHF if needing to send a mayday or hear one. A cell won't get to the guy two miles away. Everyone has a cell glued to there hip so that's not an issue. JMHO
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Old 05-07-2017, 12:33   #49
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Re: What would you do?

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Ah...and what is the phone number of that boat in the distance on a collision course with you?

And what about areas with no cell service? Whats that place called? Oh yeah...the OCEAN! Hey, thats where some boats go sailing! ...VHF works line of sight, which is often to the horizon. No cell tower required.

The right tool for the job is the VHF radio. If you are sitting in the marina enjoying a beer, please do use your cell phone.
If you ever get out to the ocean, try calling all the vessels you see at night on the VHF. I get a less than 50% response. Of course you don't know the cell number of the boat running you down--but my point is that I've never been on a stretch of water where all big boats are responding to VHF 16: it's a useless tool if not monitored. It's rare to be within VHF range of the USCG and not have cell service to them, unless you're in waters near Cuba where they stray pretty far from their bases.
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Old 05-07-2017, 13:05   #50
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Re: What would you do?

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If you ever get out to the ocean, try calling all the vessels you see at night on the VHF. I get a less than 50% response. Of course you don't know the cell number of the boat running you down--but my point is that I've never been on a stretch of water where all big boats are responding to VHF 16: it's a useless tool if not monitored. It's rare to be within VHF range of the USCG and not have cell service to them, unless you're in waters near Cuba where they stray pretty far from their bases.
if you see a boat on a collision course and your initial reaction is to use your cellphone or VHF you better have great insurance. Many of us would alter course on the theory 'better live than right'. As for the 50% who do answer, what do they do? For those who do not alter course, do you break out another beer and continue on?
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Old 05-07-2017, 18:24   #51
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Re: What would you do?

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if you see a boat on a collision course and your initial reaction is to use your cellphone or VHF you better have great insurance. Many of us would alter course on the theory 'better live than right'. As for the 50% who do answer, what do they do? For those who do not alter course, do you break out another beer and continue on?
As I said a few posts earlier, I always assume the other guy is an idiot and take evasive action early enough that things can't get hairy. But I think communicating is a wonderful courtesy, and always try to reach the other vessel by VHF, if for no other reason than to let him know I'm there and aware. However, it's disappointing how often my calls are ignored.
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Old 05-07-2017, 18:42   #52
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Re: What would you do?

When you have an emergency aboard your boat, the cell phone is useless to call the boat 1/2 mile away unless you have his phone number. If you had had a working radio, you might have heard the call of crew practice and this conversation would never have happened.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:09   #53
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Re: What would you do?

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I would immediatley go out and buy two good VHFs. One permantly mounted with a masthead antenna and a handheld! Sailing without the ability to contact other vessels is STUPID!
The OP might have been sailing a dinghy or other small craft with no installed battery, making a permanently mounted VHF impossible. It is not "stupid" to go day sailing without a radio, especially if you have a phone. Millions do it every day.
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Old 06-07-2017, 06:34   #54
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Re: What would you do?

OK, let's go over the basics. A marine VHF radio is much better in SAR situations than a cell phone because every vessel in the area is, or should be, monitoring VHF 16. Yes, a cell phone, once establishing contact with the US (or other) CG can be very helpful. I've been a relay on three situations, two PanPan and one MayDay. In one case a cell phone was on one end of the call to the USCG and VHF to the out of cell range boat (but in the range of my 78' mast head antenna); in another no cell range but VHF to the USCG for me again but not the boat with dead batteries and a hand held. The third was a MayDay and all on HF/Amateur Bands. Use every communication tool you have, and train on them till you can use them at night, in a storm, when you're sick, because that's when you'll really need those skills. Airplane pilots have a saying: aviate, navigate, communicate (in that order). So evaluate your ability to help, speed toward the flares if you can, and communicate with help. A VHF radio would help by letting EVERY boat in area assist rather than a single responder; and there might be a fast motor yacht in range. So get a VHF, get your radio license, and practice. We all should...
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:37   #55
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Re: What would you do?

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Say screw it and head in for the night?
....
Still the sick feeling of the moment when you realize you have to make the call to alter course/plans and render aid even if it will require a substantial deviation is something to think about.
Boggles my mind, really.
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Old 06-07-2017, 10:53   #56
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Re: What would you do?

Wait, if it is "stupid to go sailing without a radio" can't we just shorten that down to "stupid to go sailing" ?

After all, you save gobs of money by just staying in the local library, and there's almost no chance of drowning or stuff like that, there.

And no environmental impact from conflict-zone metals used in the semiconductors of a radio, no toxic bottom paint, all sorts of benefits.

Heck, they don't even allow you to carry scissors, much less run with them.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:39   #57
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Re: What would you do?

Why would you leave port without a VHF radio?
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:40   #58
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Re: What would you do?

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Wait, if it is "stupid to go sailing without a radio" can't we just shorten that down to "stupid to go sailing" ?

After all, you save gobs of money by just staying in the local library, and there's almost no chance of drowning or stuff like that, there.

And no environmental impact from conflict-zone metals used in the semiconductors of a radio, no toxic bottom paint, all sorts of benefits.

Heck, they don't even allow you to carry scissors, much less run with them.
If you can afford to buy a boat you can afford to buy a radio.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:34   #59
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Re: What would you do?

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Wait, if it is "stupid to go sailing without a radio" can't we just shorten that down to "stupid to go sailing" ?

After all, you save gobs of money by just staying in the local library, and there's almost no chance of drowning or stuff like that, there.

And no environmental impact from conflict-zone metals used in the semiconductors of a radio, no toxic bottom paint, all sorts of benefits.

Heck, they don't even allow you to carry scissors, much less run with them.
Love it!
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