Originally Posted by jameswilson29
Good and timely post, given the discussions about safety at sea.
It's dangerous out there. Just as in driving a car, you have to assume anyone who can hit you, will hit you. Assume every other vessel is on auto-pilot with no one on watch. The key is to avoid those situations long before they get to that point. Take evasive action early, regardless of the rules of the road. The obligation to "Stand On" does not mean you can't change course early to avoid any kind of crossing situation. I keep a hand-bearing compass in the cockpit and draw a bead on vessels as soon as I can see them - if the bearing is not changing, you better change your course early as possible.
To some of the other posters, a commercial fishing vessel engaged in fishing has right of way over a sailing vessel. Some of the fishing captains ACT as if they are always engaged in fishing, whether they are dragging a net or lines, or not. Give them a wide berth and stay out of their way at all costs!
Fishing boats are dangerous specially when they come to port after a hard night of work.
Some years ago I was at just some miles out of Peniche almost at the end of a 1500nm voyage sailing close against the wind. Nice wind, maybe 10k with the boat having 13K apparent and making 6,5K. I was paying attention to a fishing boat coming probably on collision course and in a course that would take them directly to port. I was not worried, 10 in the morning on a beautiful sunny day, they surely were seeing me.
When the boats come to 200 m of distance I sounded my horn, just to be sure and keep sounding it till at 50m someone showed at the bridge and I thought... finally!!!! But the guy disappeared on the interior of the boat again without any change course and the boats were really close now. I turned my boat around hard given him space to pass at very short distance, just some meters and at that time when the boast were almost side by side it appeared the Captain of the fishing boat yelling with the guy that had appeared previously at the bridge, turning his boat hard on the opposite side.
I guess he was sleeping and the sailor that appeared first instead of changing course went to awake him to know what to do
If I had not changed course we would have collided. I never imagined that in such a nice day they would be all asleep on that fishing boat.
That was a lesson for me. I got a lot more suspicious after that.