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Old 31-05-2020, 11:19   #1
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Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?t

It sure seems that way, at least in Maryland, where there was a boating lockdown. The number of daysailors and the number of overnight boats in the most popular coves seems 2-4 times normal for this time. I imagine this is pent-up restlessness.


I have also notice that the percentage of clueless boaters seems about triple. Multiple groundings in marked areas, bizarre behavior in channels, flogging sails that couldn't be furled or raised, and lots of non-watch keeping. Perhaps the most impatient included the least skilled? It seems so. Or just those that don't like to pay attention or follow rules.



[And don't start into me--I go out with the same frequency 12 months per year.]


There were lots of dumber things, but I was too busy trying not be a part of the mess to take pictures.

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Old 31-05-2020, 12:31   #2
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Yes! I’ve noticed the exact same thing. Extra crowded. More jet skis than ever.
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Old 31-05-2020, 14:55   #3
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Tons of jet skis here, but it otherwise seems pretty normal. People are total weather weenies as usual.
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Old 31-05-2020, 14:58   #4
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Give it a few months, the sea will weed out the landlubbers soon enough

Edit - But if some brave souls could take photos they would be welcome
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Old 01-06-2020, 04:53   #5
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

I'm sure the golf course usage is up for those with that as a hobby as well.



It's just pent up demand (tell someone they can't do something and that's all they think about doing). It will peter off and go back to normal.
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:42   #6
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
It sure seems that way, at least in Maryland, where there was a boating lockdown. The number of daysailors and the number of overnight boats in the most popular coves seems 2-4 times normal for this time. I imagine this is pent-up restlessness.


I have also notice that the percentage of clueless boaters seems about triple. Multiple groundings in marked areas, bizarre behavior in channels, flogging sails that couldn't be furled or raised, and lots of non-watch keeping. Perhaps the most impatient included the least skilled? It seems so. Or just those that don't like to pay attention or follow rules.

[And don't start into me--I go out with the same frequency 12 months per year.]


There were lots of dumber things, but I was too busy trying not be a part of the mess to take pictures.

Isn't that normal for the Chesapeake? I never saw such a high percentage of cluelessness anywhere else, not even on lakes.
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:44   #7
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

What I've seen along the East Coast US over the last month is that things are picking up, but everyone is behind the usual schedule. As recently as last week I saw marinas with no docks out and all the boats still shrink-wrapped in Connecticut and New York. Staff at marinas and fuel docks have confirmed this.

However, reports from the inland lakes of NH are consistent with the OP's observations. More of the less skilled boaters than usual are taking to the water. Marine Law Enforcement seem to be struggling to catch up, so lots of kids with no life jackets and other obvious offenses are going unchallenged.

The first boats out are always the small recreational fishing boats. I think they also carry more than their share of less diligent operators. So that may be what the OP is seeing. As more cruisers get their boats back into the water things may even out.
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Old 01-06-2020, 05:59   #8
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Interesting photo, presumably showing a power boat apparently ignoring (passing on the wrong side of) a green channel marker. Power boaties are often oblivious to the normal rules of seamanship. Sometimes dangerously so.

However, I wonder if in this case they are actually breaking a rule, or if they are choosing to ignore a suggested/recommended route?

The lack of visible bio-fouling on the post would suggest that the tide is at or nearly full. There may therefore be sufficient water depth outside the channel for their draught, and they knew this and elected to travel outside of a possibly busy waterway.

I have occasionally sailed into a harbour, keeping outside the channel markers, so as to remain clear of the big ships coming and going in the designated shipping channels.

Am I breaking rules? Being prudent? Displaying bad seamanship? A genuine query...

Tim
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
It sure seems that way, at least in Maryland, where there was a boating lockdown. The number of daysailors and the number of overnight boats in the most popular coves seems 2-4 times normal for this time. I imagine this is pent-up restlessness.


I have also notice that the percentage of clueless boaters seems about triple. Multiple groundings in marked areas, bizarre behavior in channels, flogging sails that couldn't be furled or raised, and lots of non-watch keeping. Perhaps the most impatient included the least skilled? It seems so. Or just those that don't like to pay attention or follow rules.



[And don't start into me--I go out with the same frequency 12 months per year.]


There were lots of dumber things, but I was too busy trying not be a part of the mess to take pictures.

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Old 01-06-2020, 06:26   #9
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

There's nothing wrong with running outside of a channel if you have the local knowledge to know that you can do it safely under the current conditions. I see people do it regularly, and there are places where I've done it to save distance over the "correct" route.
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Old 01-06-2020, 06:27   #10
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karanga View Post
Interesting photo, presumably showing a power boat apparently ignoring (passing on the wrong side of) a green channel marker. Power boaties are often oblivious to the normal rules of seamanship. Sometimes dangerously so.

However, I wonder if in this case they are actually breaking a rule, or if they are choosing to ignore a suggested/recommended route?

The lack of visible bio-fouling on the post would suggest that the tide is at or nearly full. There may therefore be sufficient water depth outside the channel for their draught, and they knew this and elected to travel outside of a possibly busy waterway.

I have occasionally sailed into a harbour, keeping outside the channel markers, so as to remain clear of the big ships coming and going in the designated shipping channels.

Am I breaking rules? Being prudent? Displaying bad seamanship? A genuine query...

Tim

Absolutely not. On the contrary, you should always stay out of channels and stay out of the way of shipping when you have enough water outside them. Read Rule 9.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:17   #11
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

It may be that people are perceiving boating as a safer alternative to the beach or shopping where there may be dangerous levels of crowding so that is the first recreational opportunity they are turning to. They are right, being out on a boat is much safer than the beach or the mall. I think we are going to see son significant cultural ships in behavior after this as people question what was 'normal' and seek to establish a better 'new normal'. With my sociology hat on I am seen numerous parallels to the cultural **** in Europe post second world war where people wanted the 'land fit for heroes' and to create new ways to do things. The dislocation of the war created a climate where people believed they could do that. To early to tell but the experience of COVID may have similar results. In Europe the 'wartime spirit' and sense of a community coming together in difficult times lead to the creation of national health services, universal access to education at all levels and the welfare state. Going to be interesting to see what comes out of this crisis. (not suggesting that we are anywhere near 'out of it yet, we are not)
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:38   #12
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karanga View Post
Interesting photo, presumably showing a power boat apparently ignoring (passing on the wrong side of) a green channel marker. Power boaties are often oblivious to the normal rules of seamanship. Sometimes dangerously so.

However, I wonder if in this case they are actually breaking a rule, or if they are choosing to ignore a suggested/recommended route?

The lack of visible bio-fouling on the post would suggest that the tide is at or nearly full. There may therefore be sufficient water depth outside the channel for their draught, and they knew this and elected to travel outside of a possibly busy waterway.

I have occasionally sailed into a harbour, keeping outside the channel markers, so as to remain clear of the big ships coming and going in the designated shipping channels.

Am I breaking rules? Being prudent? Displaying bad seamanship? A genuine query...

Tim
You are correct, and one picture does not tell a story. This particular moment was not the worst. It was the whole pattern of behavior. If not for the kid in the boat and and that it was noon, I would have assumed he was falling down drunk. And I honestly believe he had no idea what the markers mean.

This was about the 6th time I had watched this guy enter severe shoal areas, including one that is marked with two sunken boats; he could have ripped the drive out. He was weaving back and forth across the channel, entering and leaving every 50-100 yards with no pattern or warning.

There was enough water outside the channel, true enough. However, he was not doing this to avoid crowding: there was no line and he was only going 3-4 knots. I would have passed him, but his course was too erratic. I was also with my wife and we were enjoying the show. Because this channel narrows a short distance ahead, what he is doing is also rude, imprudent, and potentially dangerous.

Yes, I will skip part of channel as well--I draw less then he does boards up. But I do NOT zig in and out and my movements are deliberate.


I watched several mo boats go right beside an red/green channel divide marker, into the same sunk-boat area, not understanding that it marks a split.

---

None of this was crazy dangerous because they were all going 3-4 knots. It was almost fun to watch. But the impression was weird. Ordinarily this harbor is home to many professional watermen and experienced boaters. What I am noting is the change post COVID lockdown. It's not usually like this.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:41   #13
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

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Absolutely not. On the contrary, you should always stay out of channels and stay out of the way of shipping when you have enough water outside them. Read Rule 9.

This is a recreational channel. There is no shipping in this harbor and no water deep enough within 5 miles. The center is about 7'. Regarding ship channels, you are correct and I hope this fellow never sees one. He would cross close in front.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:44   #14
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

Are you seeing more boats in the popular anchorages? Or are you simply seeing less rafting. 4 boats rafted take up 3x less space.

As for day sailors.....it's a way to get outside and still remain social distances, or at least limiting it to your household. When you can do it anytime you want and life (BBQ's, birthdays, graduations) get in the way, people tend to take it for granted more (We can do that next weekend). With all social functions closed, there are no conflicts. Add in that many people have been cooped up for over 2 months. People just want to get out. If it's a beautiful day and there's nothing else to do, why sit around the house or do MORE chores?? How much bread can you bake??
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:03   #15
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Re: Is the level of crowding up and the level of seamanship down post COVID lockdown?

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There's nothing wrong with running outside of a channel if you have the local knowledge to know that you can do it safely under the current conditions. I see people do it regularly, and there are places where I've done it to save distance over the "correct" route.
Yeah, I'm sure there are clueless folks out there but that particular boat draws about 2 ft and doesn't have any need to be strictly in the channel, and it appears he is obeying the speed limit. He has removed his fenders and there is nobody forward of the helm to obstruct vision. He has given you room to stay in the channel. I suppose you were motoring at the time, but his distance looks respectful. All good.

We regularly see young people and kids bowriding (straddling the bow of a speedboat) at high speed, bouncing over wakes, and the parents at the helm just enjoying their liquid refreshment. And the locals speeding through anchorages at night with no lights.
My own pet peeve is the guy in the powerboat speeding at about 30 knots, with the bow in the air so high the driver can't see me in my dinghy. This is typical of an unloaded panga with big outboard and the driver has to sit in the stern to control it. I have an oar handy at all times and have been known to stand up and wave the oar over my head to be sure he can see me. It can be terrifying.
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