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Old 10-03-2024, 06:09   #46
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Re: Collision Avoidance

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While very few tugs are RAM ( they are just power-driven vessels by the rules), most traffic tend to give them a wide berth anyway. This tends to give them the idea that they don't have to give way to anyone. This is a generality and doesn't apply to them all, but it's largely accurate.
In my experience this applies to most commercial vessels--they really don't want to change course for you on your puny pleasure boat. A few years ago I took a high speed catamaran ferry from Martha's Vineyard to New Bedford and back. In a complete pea soup fog the ferry blasted through Woods Hole at close to 30 knots. Sure, he probably had good radar, but still in a narrow passage where there might be small skiffs fishing and possibly people crossing the channel it seemed a bit reckless. I've been nearly run down by a tug towing a barge on a long stern tow in the fog, and not making any sound signals. I've had fishing head boats power directly in front of us while under sail, and then proceed to stop so everyone could throw their fishing lines in, requiring us to drastically alter course to stay clear. Those are just a few of the many instances we have encountered of commercial traffic showing no courtesy and sometimes actively violating the COLREGS.
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Old 10-03-2024, 07:25   #47
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Re: Collision Avoidance

Ferries and charter fishing guys are the 2 types that often stand out to me as acting like they own the water. In the case of ferries, some local areas have additional rules that do give the ferries extra rights, but that's not the case everywhere.
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Old 11-03-2024, 07:00   #48
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Re: Collision Avoidance

Hi there, 45 years of sailing under the keel. In my opinion regulations are the basic rules, then intelligence MUST be applyed. If you are on a timy sailing boat and you may cross the bow of a container ship, they have such a limited visibility afore that they will never see you unless you are at least 3 miles away. And even them it is a steel behemot of say 50,000 tns of steel coming at say 18 knots, even if they want to turn, the reaction time is very long. And they are working, you are out for fun, they may have other ships to care about, so it always better to leave them whereever possible a wide berth. Against idiotic guys putting on autopilot while gliding at 25 knts and getting distracted, you cannot maneuver much anyway, so just be alert.
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Old 11-03-2024, 07:24   #49
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Re: Collision Avoidance

I think we will see more, rather than less collisions in the future. Too many clueless careless neophyte skippers. A friend recently recounted his personal experience on the ICW in the Carolinas. Mid-day, mid-week clear and sunny. He sees an approaching sailboat motoring down the middle of the ICW. His sailboat draws 4'8", so his ability to avoid collision is dictated by the dredged channel. As they close he noted that he could only see the top of the approaching boat's helm man's head. He moved as far to port as his depth so under indicated was safe. The other helmsman never looked up. My friend waited until both cockpits were abreast and then laid on his horn. The other skipper's cell phone went flying onto the cockpit floor and the skipper wrenched the wheel to port. Because the boat never actually changed course, my friend surmised that not only was he on the phone, but the boat had hydraulic steering and was on autopilot.


My friend successfully did everything he could to avoid a collision, within the physical depth limits of that stretch of the ICW. Has that other skipper learned his lesson on being situation aware? Doubtful, if you read all the reports on distracted driving. Be careful out there.
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Old 11-03-2024, 07:24   #50
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Re: Collision Avoidance

Doesnít anyone use a horn anymore to telegraph your intentions in these situations or is everyone deaf?
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Old 11-03-2024, 08:08   #51
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Re: Collision Avoidance

I was the captain on a delivery where we were crossing the the Strait of Georgia where a large ship traveling ~ 18knts. Our 48 foot vessel was crossing ahead of the container ship, and the ship was on course to pass behind. The timid helmsman kept slowing the boat down by heading up. I could see visually that the ship decided to pass in front of us, as it was obvious that he changed course. He passed so close to us that his bow wake caused us to fall off the wave hard. ďIf we break something, Iíd rather it be from my bad judgement, not you two doing something contrary to my instructions.Ē
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Old 11-03-2024, 08:10   #52
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Re: Collision Avoidance

If you are out in open water, and the ship has seen you, it is more likely they will follow the rules of the road than not.
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Old 11-03-2024, 08:43   #53
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Re: Collision Avoidance

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Originally Posted by singlespeed View Post
He moved as far to port as his depth so under indicated was safe.
Why would he have gone to port?
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Old 11-03-2024, 08:57   #54
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Re: Collision Avoidance

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I've had fishing head boats power directly in front of us while under sail, and then proceed to stop so everyone could throw their fishing lines in, requiring us to drastically alter course to stay clear.
Was this a commercial long-liner, or a sport-fishing boat?
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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
In my experience this applies to most commercial vessels--they really don't want to change course for you on your puny pleasure boat. A few years ago I took a high speed catamaran ferry from Martha's Vineyard to New Bedford and back. In a complete pea soup fog the ferry blasted through Woods Hole at close to 30 knots. Sure, he probably had good radar, but still in a narrow passage where there might be small skiffs fishing and possibly people crossing the channel it seemed a bit reckless. ...

Those are just a few of the many instances we have encountered of commercial traffic showing no courtesy and sometimes actively violating the COLREGS.
There's a wide variance in "commercial vessels", and I wouldn't say that this applies to most.
Ferries are kind of an odd sort, where you expect them to have higher level tickets, meaning more experience. I think they, like the tugs, get complacent because so many people just give them a wide berth normally. They forget that they need to follow the rules. We've had a number of instances in BC and Wash. (some discussed in CF) where ferries have run into recreational boats, in bizarre circumstances.
That said, in most places the ferry routes are literally written on the charts, and their schedules are publicly available. If a small skiff is sitting on the 'dashed line' in pea soup fog, when a fast ferry is normally scheduled to run through, that's pretty f-in stupid and counts as a failed lookout.
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Old 11-03-2024, 10:27   #55
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Re: Collision Avoidance

Many of these COLREGS were written around ships, massively heavy, sluggish and slow to maneuver. Donít overthink crossing situations. Donít even assume the other vessel is standing watch. A ship may not to get out of your way even if you are stand on. Look for a decisive way out. Hail the guy on the VHS if possible. Make an agreeable plan or execute an avoidance at the earliest opportunity.

We have a very good AIS. It calculates all of the usual and then plots the crossing at CPA showing perpendicular distances. Shows also if you will be ahead or behind. This is live so as you compensate, the plot is modified.

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Old 11-03-2024, 10:43   #56
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Re: Collision Avoidance

In my experience the majority of close calls have been in the fog because we always keep a good watch. That means we are usually under power, because thick fog usually blows away if the wind picks up.

I live in the UK, in the spring our sea is cold but our prevailing wind is from the south west from the Caribbean and across the Gulf Steam. This generates advection fog which neither gets blown away nor is burnt off. Iíve certainly experienced 40mph fog.
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Old 11-03-2024, 13:05   #57
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Re: Collision Avoidance

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If you talked to the ship on CH16, the USCG has recorded every word, plus both AIS tracks.
And you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times each year that the USCG takes some kind of action against a commercial vessel or its master for a COLREGs/Inland Rules violation that does not result in a collision, allision, or grounding. At least, in years when there are any.

The USCG takes approximately 500 suspension and revocation actions every year. The vast majority of these are related to substance abuse -- DUI convictions, failed drug tests, controlled substance convictions, and the like. This is for the approximately 350,000 merchant mariners who are presently licensed (of which roughly 50,000 are OUPV and maybe 20,000 are master/mate for 25 tons or more).

Most of the rest of them are a grab bag of things unrelated to operation of a vessel. Medical fitness, disqualifying criminal history, other background check problems, fraud, desertion, paperwork filed late, procedures not followed.

Occasionally they will suspend or revoke a license for reckless or negligent operation resulting in collisions, allisions (especially with a bridge), environmental damage, or blocking a channel.
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Old 11-03-2024, 13:18   #58
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Re: Collision Avoidance

Screw up badly enough and it happens.

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Old 11-03-2024, 13:56   #59
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Re: Collision Avoidance

The era of unmanned ships is rapidly arriving and I’m interested to see how the Colregs get changed to deal with this, will ECDIS be legally approved as a dedicated watchkeeper? Even an AI will struggle with the conflicting strategies to avoid collision as outlined in the Colregs ……. But could work out if ALL ships had unmanned bridges and no human lookout, often the human is the weak link, (perhaps it could be argued ..always) after reading hundreds of NTSB, AMSA and MCA accident investigation reports.
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Old 11-03-2024, 14:41   #60
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Re: Collision Avoidance

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Was this a commercial long-liner, or a sport-fishing boat?
This was a commercial fishing boat that takes people out for pleasure fishing--often 50 or more people will be crowding the side decks of these things, each with a pole and line in the water. You run into them up and down the East Coast. There are a lot of them operating off of New Jersey. They basically chase schools of fish and then stop, letting everyone drop their lines over the side. If the fish happen to be right in front of your sailboat they will stop there, completely ignoring your existence. Sport fishermen often do this too. I've actually had lures hit my boat that were cast out from the sides of a narrow channel. One time there was a guy fishing from a little aluminum boat right in the middle of the Miami entrance channel. I called the pilot boat to let them know this tiny boat was there and they asked me to tell him to get out of there, which I tried to do. The guy just ignored me and kept on fishing while a big cruise ship squeezed by.
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