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  #51  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

"Make your adjustment as early as possible and then maintain course and speed. Be predictable." Yep.
A sailboat was run over here not long ago by a Washington State Ferry. The sailboat wasn't asserting his stand on status (he wasn't watching where he was going and was unaware of the ferry) although according to the rules he could have communicated with the ferry and asked them to alter course. The problem was that a trainee was at the helm and when the captain told her to turn to port she turned to starboard and ran completely over the sailboat (the skipper survived, boat didn't). The moral of the story is that you are responsible for your own self preservation out there, let the big boats know what you are going to do so they don't have to worry about you and give them as much room as possible.
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  #52  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

In general I hate threads like this so I don't post on them. I don't appoint myself the "cop" for the behavior of others. No matter what is said here nothing is going to change - the uneducated are going to remain uneducated and oblivious. For some reason today I am going to break my own rule.

My experience is that large ships on the open seas frequently like to know one's intentions. When crossing from the Azores to Portugal I had to cross the very busy shipping lanes off Lisbon at a 90 degree angle. I picked the closest southbound ship on my AIS and called him on VHF. I said "Hi, I am the sailboat off your starboard bow. I am crossing the shipping lanes on course 090 and wanted to make sure you knew I was here. Is there anything I can do to make this easier?" The ship responded "we have you. Please maintain your course and speed and notify us if you need to change it." Looking off my port side I saw a string of green sidelights (sort of like watching the Friday night traffic coming into LGA!) Blip! The first sidelight turned red. Then the second. Then the third. I watched as the entire string of vessels passed 1 NM behind my stern (that seems to be the common courtesy distance at sea.) Once clear I thanked them all. After crossing the safely zone I did the same with the northbound traffic with the same result.

As Thucydides has been misattributed to say: "A collision at sea can ruin your entire day." True during the Peleponnesian Wars, true today. And today the paperwork is much more extensive not to mention the cost of maritime court. Those guys don't want to hit you, you don't want to be hit by them. That said there are shipping companies I don't trust. In particular Carnival Cruise Line Captains seem to be like the ship in Spaceballs. "We brake for nobody." The MSC guys are a mixed bag - I have been run down by them a couple of times.

In a crowded harbor or bay my rule is stay out of the way of everybody. I have been run down more by powerboats and sailboats then I have ever experienced by commercial ships. In the ocean if the CPA is less than one mile I will call them on the radio. More than that and I leave them alone - but always stand in the cockpit with my Mark I eyeball to see what is going on - even if I have other crew on watch. I also use my tricolor at sea - its 63 feet in the air and is much easier to see then the deck lights. If I am concerned about a collision and can't raise the ship on the radio I just alter course to open the CPA.

I like Hush34's point of view. It mirrors mine.

One last point. I disagree with the notion that "commercial" ships hold recreational boaters in disdain. Perhaps true when close to shore. But I have never had the slightest inkling that I was being held in disdain when talking to commercial vessels 1000 NM offshore. Sometimes I detected a "you must be crazy to single hand out here in a little sailboat." But (with the noted exception of Carnival Cruise Line ships) everyone I have talked to has been friendly and supportive.

Done!

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Last edited by svzephyr44; 08-16-2014 at 05:20 PM. Reason: grammer
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  #53  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
The problem with communicating with large ships in the open ocean is that many of the crews simply DONT SPEAK ENGLISH. So if you attempt to hail such a boat via VHF, etc. the high probability will be that they have no idea what you are saying and therefore will not answer. The american and other english-speaking merchant marine is virtually non-existent in todays world; most ships are crewed by non-english speakers.
Plus, your teeny radar reflector in the rigging may simply be too damn small of a radar return to set off their auto-alarms with the gain settings expecting SHIPS, instead of a paltry few sq. inches of reflector surface area.

The best bet is stay off the waypoint rhumb lines used by the big 'commercial' traffic. Since the advent of GPS, it seems that no one travels 'anything' but these direct route waypoint rhumb lines. ;-)

Actually just about all captains and most all mates on watch on large international ships (especially tankers) do speak english, and pretty well too, especially "navigation english", but it may be in awkward (to us at least) phraseology, and heavily accented. So keep it simple and give enough time to understand each other. AIS is a big help in being able to hail a ship by name.

Or else, as has been ably stated before, stay far enough away that you don't need to understand, much less talk to, each other.

And in pilot waters (and it's good if you know where they are, around the larger ports and river entrances) there will be a local pilot conning the ship, who speaks wonderful English. He (she) may refer to self by a pilot number rather than the ship's name so pay attention and monitor your radio, knowing of course what the local bridge-to-bridge channel is.

But I think you all know this already. Everyone's concern is with the folks who don't.
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  #54  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackdale View Post
Huh?

Not according to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
My rules of survival say biggest boat wins. ais is great to identify potential issues before they become problems big ships are not easily maneuvers your small boat is. I don't need to talk to them to know I want to avoid scratching their paint with my sinking boat
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  #55  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Over long stretches of water, a large vessel is V E R Y able to alter course and abide by the rules. The issue is not with small, slow moving sailboats but with fast, maneuverable large ships who are too damned lazy or unwilling to abide by the safety rules.
You shouldn't make generalized and unsupported comments like "too lazy or unwilling to abide by the safety rules". Would be like me saying sailors are "too arrogant and unwilling to follow prudence and courtesy" when it's clear it's the easier choice in open water.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
I will always alter course to avoid larger ships when at all possible but there are frequent circumstances where the large ship MUST alter course in open water simply because a small, slow vessel cannot get out of the way. To suggest that large ships do not have to abide by the rules is total nonsense.
If we are talking open water here, please tell me what circumstances where they MUST alter course if one or both of you can't do small alterations early to avoid a close situation. And no one has yet to suggest that they don't have to abide by rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
I have nearly been run down by a large tanker who was apparently oblivious and unresponsive to radio contact in open water.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
I totally agree that long distance situational awareness is the key to avoiding crossing problems. Almost all of these situations can be extinguished immediately by early, decisive and obvious course changes whether the stand-on vessel or burdened vessel.
You contradict yourself here, if you agree that early long distance awareness is key to avoiding problems whether stand on or give way then what were you doing in "open water"? If they were unresponsive or oblivious, why didn't you make a course change just to be safe you wouldn't be put in a situation early on?
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  #56  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

In regards to language, every licensed officer of navigational watch is required to speak the language of the sea, which is English. Now I know it's not always the best but they do know English, more accurately navigation English. I hear the foreign officers on the radio all the time working near the Mississippi River entrance calling for pilots or having to make arrangements with them.

Just thought I'd share the requirement..
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  #57  
Old 08-16-2014
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No one is saying the Rules don't matter and shouldn't be followed or abided by. The original post was stating that we have people that are using their new found tech to exercise their power of the Rules. It's a friendly world out here and no one likes an *******. If you can change course(the earlier it is, the smaller the change needs to be) for commercial traffic then, I feel it's easier for the sailboat to do. If you are in open water and you do it early, you can change course within 5-10 degrees even with preventers, poles out, etc. And if you are in close quarters in Port, you shouldn't be impeding traffic in channels, TSS, or intersections. Also, when in close proximity you should be ready to maneuver and tack with ease or you aren't being prudent.

You can do as you will but if/when a collision happens it's not just the give way vessels fault. Go look at every admiralty case, fault is placed on all parties involved. The court will find fault in you just as much as them.
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  #58  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoatyardBoy View Post
You shouldn't make generalized and unsupported comments like "too lazy or unwilling to abide by the safety rules". Would be like me saying sailors are "too arrogant and unwilling to follow prudence and courtesy" when it's clear it's the easier choice in open water.



If we are talking open water here, please tell me what circumstances where they MUST alter course if one or both of you can't do small alterations early to avoid a close situation. And no one has yet to suggest that they don't have to abide by rules.





You contradict yourself here, if you agree that early long distance awareness is key to avoiding problems whether stand on or give way then what were you doing in "open water"? If they were unresponsive or oblivious, why didn't you make a course change just to be safe you wouldn't be put in a situation early on?
There has been the underlying premise in many posts on this subject that small boats just have to give way to larger boats. This makes no sense and is a tacit approval of the idea that big boats do not need to follow the rules of the road just because they are bigger. Perhaps some enforcement of the rules would remedy this issue.

As to your last point, there is no contradiction whatsoever. When a large ship overtakes you in completely open water, seen miles away, not responding to any communication, not indicating its intention by legal sound signals, changing course, and proceeding at three times your speed, overtaking you rapidly, I challenge any sailboat to avoid being run down. You simply cannot tell where they are heading to maneuver out of the way. THEY NEED TO AVOID YOU!! The only thing you can do is try to figure out which side he MAY pass you on and turn at the last minute to avoid being hit. I had this exact thing happen a couple of years back. The ship was a foreign tanker and could have just as well hit me as not as he passed within 50 meters. I was simply lucky.

There has been plenty of evidence of hideous seamanship by commercial captains around the globe. Of course I did not intend to generalize but I've seen way too many cowboy acts from the local high speed ferry operators to tankers. Somebody needs to rein these types in.
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  #59  
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Re: Give AIS a rest

When it comes to collision avoidance my father used to say there is right and then there is dead right. It doesnt matter if you have the right of way if you end up dead. Take action to avoid a collision long before it becomes a possibility. If i'm that close to a freighter that a collision is possible I know I am going to have to take action to avoid the collision as at that range he isnt going anywhere. Colregs dont trump the laws of physics!

The other night after the celebration of lights there must have been 5000 boats (300,000 people on shore) going every which way. Even with a spotter on the bow it was a little scary making my way into False Creek and I'd bet less than half of them had any clue about the colregs.
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  #60  
Old 08-16-2014
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Re: Give AIS a rest

Quote:
Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
There has been the underlying premise in many posts on this subject that small boats just have to give way to larger boats. This makes no sense and is a tacit approval of the idea that big boats do not need to follow the rules of the road just because they are bigger. Perhaps some enforcement of the rules would remedy this issue.

As to your last point, there is no contradiction whatsoever. When a large ship overtakes you in completely open water, seen miles away, not responding to any communication, not indicating its intention by legal sound signals, changing course, and proceeding at three times your speed, overtaking you rapidly, I challenge any sailboat to avoid being run down. You simply cannot tell where they are heading to maneuver out of the way. THEY NEED TO AVOID YOU!! The only thing you can do is try to figure out which side he MAY pass you on and turn at the last minute to avoid being hit. I had this exact thing happen a couple of years back. The ship was a foreign tanker and could have just as well hit me as not as he passed within 50 meters. I was simply lucky.

There has been plenty of evidence of hideous seamanship by commercial captains around the globe. Of course I did not intend to generalize but I've seen way too many cowboy acts from the local high speed ferry operators to tankers. Somebody needs to rein these types in.
you, me and many other may have had these same situations...its part of cruising...

there is one thing that I can agree with on and that is visibility the watchmen should have on tankers and big ships...our problem on most sailboat less than 100 feet is that we simply are at sea level and often cant make the same long distance early manuevers to avoid collision as easily as someone 21 stories up high

(moitessier for example had a "watchtower" on his main mast to scout the horizons and would climb night or day while sailing around the world

how many of us do that these days? of course not...we expect some gizmo to do it for us.)

thats the reason there are different rules regarding nav lights depending on length and design of boat.

rules aside..I still think it goes against COMMON SENSE to expect someone to give way or avoid you...and not you in return all the time. how fun is it to always be on starboard tack? jajaja

thats where courtesy and in my opinion simple prudent seamanship plays a more important role than whatever rule is written.

simply put, like someone else mentioned fault is usually shared in collision cases and not solely the fault of one side.

so think about that too when expecting everyone but you to ceade and or give away or avoid you...

just sayin

hideous seamanship and bad calls:

cocobusan in san fran
costa concordia
titanic

we all know them yet humans are still humans so act above and beyond and cover your bases
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