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post #1 of 71 Old 08-10-2012 Thread Starter
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Nuclear s(n)ubs

Sailing back from Block Island I encountered a submarine heading northwest into Croton. It was far to my port but since I was heading west to The Race meant we were on a converging but not collision course. I tried hailing them as I would any other large and potentially dangerous vessel in my vicinity/path to make sure we were ok but I got back silence.

As it got closer I slowed but I didn’t have an accurate means of judging my range to it but I know we would never in danger. Then I got a radio message that sounded like a taped recording about the law requiring that all vessels needing to keep a x distance (I forgot what it is) from US Naval vessels.

Since I was the only boat anywhere near it I know who the message was being directed to. I then got back on the radio to acknowledge the warning and to ask how far in or away I was from the required distance. If I needed to do a 180 I would have. My thought was that this multi $100 mil. boat just might have one or two instruments that could tell me my position to it. What did I get back? Nothing. All I heard was the sound of the water lapping on my hull. I came to a complete stop and luffed until it passed way in front of me.

Aside from the cool factor of seeing this, my question to any former submariners and/or Navy vets is, what is with the silent treatment? Did they think that by staying off the radio no one would notice them?

I am interested in what the protocol is for any future encounters
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post #2 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:

Naval Vessel Protection Zones

One thing you must contend with if you boat in certain areas of the country are Naval Vessel Protection Zones.
These zones are designed to prevent attacks against our navy by placing restrictions on how closely you may
come to a naval vessel.

The requirements are:

You may not approach within 100 yards of any U.S. naval vessel. Sometimes this is an impossible thing
to accomplish. If you need to pass within 100 yards of a U.S. naval vessel in order to ensure a safe passage
in accordance with the Navigation Rules, you must contact the U.S. naval vessel or the Coast Guard escort
vessel on your VHF radio. (Channel 16).
You must operate at minimum speed within 500 yards of any U.S. naval vessel. You must proceed as
directed by the vessels' commanding officer, or the official patrol.
Violations of the Naval Vessel Protection Zone are a felony offense, punishable by up to 6 years in prison
and/or up to $250,000 in fines.

And don't forget, both the Navy and the Coast Guard are authorized to use deadly force to protect themselves...

Last edited by olddog60; 08-10-2012 at 03:14 PM.
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post #3 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

I sail in an area with frequent sub and other military traffic. I have zero expectations that they will resopond to comunication from a pleasure craft. They do not show up on AIS, do not anounce their course on VHF like other big ships, and are almost always surounded by armed CG boats. I have had the CG alter their course to match mine if I am any where close to heading on a closing course, even one time when I was a mile away. I am sure they know I am there, and I fully understand that staying well away and altering my heading is my job, not theirs.
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post #4 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

I guess they're just trying to live up to their reputation of being the " Silent Service"

I got to speak to the USS Enterprise once about 100 miles off of Norfolk, Va.

" Tempest this is The USS Enterprise, We are a Naval Warship" Tempest: " Roger that Enterprise" the next morning they appeared on the horizon, Launched their helicopters and buzzed by, before beginning their maneuvers.

We had every piece of clothing, cushions, towels etc hanging all over the place by then trying to dry things out. Probably looked like a refugee boat. I was embarrassed to be looking so un ship shape. But we got a great private air show.

Last summer, coming back from Block there was a Large DEP vessel taking soundings right at the entrance to the Race.. They hailed me and suggested I alter course, as they were displaying a RAM dayshape and towing a sonar.

Last edited by tempest; 08-14-2012 at 09:28 PM.
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post #5 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

There is a lot going on in the people tank on a sub when they are on the surface. They're more comfortable punching holes in the water, not wallowing around on the surface

As far as not responding they are the "Silent Service"
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post #6 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

this is yet another thing that pizzes me off about terrorists. Before their actions, and our reactions, I remember being a stupid teenager in a jonboat running around Baytown and out to the ship channel and waving at naval ships as they went by. Heck, we even had one dip the ensign at us when we stood on our casting platform and saluted as they went by! Now we'd probably catch some rounds out of a Phalanx if we did that.

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post #7 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

My father & I have been ordered by the Navy to stay away from their boats before. We had tried to get close enough to snap a few cool photos of our toys at work or training as it were. Evidently we got too close because they instructed us to remain 500 yards away and we happily complied. One thing though, they actually hailed us specifically although not by name. We merely replied that we were sorry and would leave the area immediately. We made no effort to chat with them beyond what was necessary.

Pretty cool to see our boys & girls at work!


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"Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester while loading his boat with gin.
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post #8 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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That's Groton and they rarely will speak to you unless you're eyeball to eyeball. Anytime you're in the Thames River channel you need to have your radio on to listen for pans.
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post #9 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Nuclear s(n)ubs

I have overheard subs calling small boats on VHF near New London Ledge. Cool.
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post #10 of 71 Old 08-10-2012
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Re: Nuclear s(n)ubs

We have a huge sub testing base straddling Georgia Strait. One even sunk a classic yacht, leaving a fiend clinging to a propane bottle. They rescued him, and the sub crew were thoroughly drunk.
I remember campaigning in a federal election, when the range had not been used for a long time. When I went home, I found the nuclear sub crew getting drunk in a local bar. They only docked as soon as the polls closed, so it wouldnt become an election issue.
Next day I headed out across the range , got to the edge of it, and slowed right down. I saw a large fishboat enter the range from the south, and he slowed down, to take as long as possible to cross the range. The sub surfaced, gave up, and headed home.
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