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post #14 of Old 11-09-2013
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

We deal with this kind of situation on nearly every Gulf of Georgia crossing.. that and two shipping lane separation zones leaving our home harbour/bay.

I think it's ludicrous to expect stand-on rights against anything that big, and we've often altered course to 'stay out of their way'.. however I wish that more operators would take the initiative to attempt contact to clarify the nature of an upcoming crossing. Often it became clear in hindsight that our course change was not really necessary.

In 30 plus years of cruising this area it was only last summer that we had our first satisfactory interaction with a tug towing three barges.. we were having a ripping reach in great conditions and had the tug and tow in sight and 'steady' bearing for some time. I tried to radio, and as usual received no response. However Victoria traffic responded to my call, informed me the tug's name and called them on our behalf. Response was immediate and after some observation the skipper came back and said we'd be about a 1/2 mile ahead on cross and that he'd take our stern in any case.

That avoided another half hour of 'should we/shouldn't we' as we observed the closing. What always worries me about taking an avoidance maneuver is that the other guy might do the same and leave us in the same situation again.. good reason to make your intentions clear early on if direct communication isn't happening.

Next time I'll contact Traffic first.. I think hailing "Seaspan Comox" is more effective than "Tug towing barges in Georgia Strait eastbound".


1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)

Last edited by Faster; 11-09-2013 at 11:57 AM.
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