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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-03-2014 01:10 PM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck


The accuracy of charted water depth is a function of how long ago it was surveyed and what silt has built up in the area or washed away. So give up river and down river ends of shoal areas a wide passage and keep an eye on the depth sounder. I usually make my turn shipping channel to bulkhead shoal close to the green off Newcastle or up river from the green.

Newcastle sailing club uses the green can as a race marker, give them a bit more room and enjoy the show.

The submerged dike is visible as breaking water close to low tide and can be visible at low low tide.

The shipping channel is dredged to 45ft+ so if you are in less than 40ft depth the only thing you have to worry about is their wake. Keep looking behind you and unless crossing stay to the side of the shipping channel.

I don't have AIS but that would let you know speed and course of the ships in the channel, after a while you will be able to guestimate how soon a ship will be close to your position and how much time you have to get to the side of the channel. Try to get out of the way in half the time you guestimate, and watch for traffic from the other direction.

Up river from the C&D it is probably wise to only be in the shipping channel when you need to cross, but on a quiet day without much shipping it can be fun to to go up or down river rounding a green, then a red, then a green...
04-03-2014 09:46 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Ulladh, Take5.


The color just drained from my face when I read your post about the underwater dike T5.
Our initial plan had been to circle pea patch staying "in the white" around the northernmost marker for the dike. My charts and my GPS, while showing the structure, indicated I had 5 feet of water to spare, but I fig'd better safe than sorry.

Anyhoo, as we rounded the northern tip of pp island and were preparing to swing southwest around beacon E, (at the top of the dike) the shattering sound of a cargo vessel's horn hit us. In retrospect, he was doing the long blast to warn other vessels on the blind side of artificial island, but I thought it was directed at us. Like I explained previously, I couldn't really tell his bearing cuz lights weren't on yet and didn't want to cross his bow.

Long story short, in trying (incorrectly) to take him on my port side, I turned inside the hazard beacon. This was mid-tide, so I shouldn't have been dealing w mlt levels. That depthsounder went from 30 to 18 to 11 to 7 faster than should ever be possible motoring against the wind with an atomic4 pushing you.

That's sorta where the trip fell apart/became a good story. I shrieked like a 12yo girl, hard over to starboard about 130 degrees and rounded the outer marker.

So this begs the question, what's the bottom line if the chart shows an acceptable low-tide depth and a hazard? I had thought depth was "water still above any hazard?"
04-03-2014 09:38 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Originally Posted by Ulladh View Post
Stay clear of the submerged dike as TakeFive noted, i should have mentioned that feature.

I was talking with a power boater at my marina yesterday, he crossed the dike once in a boat at high tide and bounced the top of the dike. He was very lucky that day.
Wow, that's dumb luck.

I drove through your parking lot yesterday around 4:30. Looks like you've got new paint above the waterline!
04-03-2014 09:34 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Stay clear of the submerged dike as TakeFive noted, i should have mentioned that feature.

I was talking with a power boater at my marina yesterday, he crossed the dike once in a boat at high tide and bounced the top of the dike. He was very lucky that day.
04-03-2014 09:29 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Wow, you can see that dyke in the Google Maps picture of the Delaware. It's between towers 4 and 5 using Ulladh's definition, above.
04-03-2014 09:19 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Ulladh has suggested a very nice practice area. Lots of tacking space, as rivers go, and you can stay out of the channel and do careful crossings of the channel if you want to use the whole width of the river.

One critically important thing that may be so obvious that nobody has mentioned it: STAY WELL CLEAR OF THE UNDERWATER DIKE! It's well marked on the chart, and there are warning markers on the river, but do not try to cross it between the markers. Many lives have been lost to drunken powerboaters thanks to that dike. The ending marker for the dike is off Deemers Beach, where the huge boatel building is located. 1/2 mile north of there you'll see the moorings for the New Castle Sailing Club's fleet.

Also note that there is a shallow shoal between tower #2 and 3 (using Ulladh's numbering). You can squeeze through hugging the west side (near tower 2), but the best tacking space under the power lines is between #3 and 4. You need to decide early which way you will go, because the shoal will prevent you from changing your mind once you're committed. Make sure your route is lined up properly - I've found that optical illusions can be deceiving around that area.
04-03-2014 08:27 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck


The practice area I would suggest is up river from the overhead power lines that cross Pea Patch Island, to Newcastle and the main channel Green buoy just off Newcastle.

If you have less than 50ft mast height pass under the power lines between tower 3 & 4 (counting from DE side 1 is on land, 2 is in water 3 next 4 is close to the submerged bulkhead, 5 is on green side of main shipping channel, 6 is on red side of channel, 7 is on NJ).

Water depth under power line is 15ft + then water all the way to Newcastle is 20ft+ to 9ft+ with shallow water on the DE side.

A good place to practice with chart, depth sounder and compass, many reference structures; radio towers, water tanks, bulkhead lights and features in Newcastle for charting using a compass. Space for tacking and features to practice holding a course on a bearing.
04-03-2014 08:16 AM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Originally Posted by capt vimes View Post
Where does this "5 shorts means i am in trouble" comes from?
I never heard of that and cannot find any reference either...
Sound Signals -
COLREGS - Rule 34. Since I said (euphemistically) "I am in trouble" I take responsibility for any confusion. Technically it means "I disagree with your intentions." It is also used by many bridges when they are closing as a warning. The appropriate signals for "I am in trouble" are contained in Rule 37.

Perhaps I should have quoted Rule 36 instead...

Rule 36 - Signals to Attract Attention

If necessary to attract the attention of another vessel, any vessel may make light or sound signals that cannot be mistaken for any signal authorized elsewhere in these Rules, or may direct the beam of her searchlight in the direction of the danger, in such a way as not to embarrass any vessel. Any light to attract the attention of another vessel shall be such that it cannot be mistaken for any aid to navigation. For the purpose of this Rule the use of high intensity intermittent or revolving lights, such as strobe lights, shall be avoided

Since 5 blasts is a warning signal it usually "can not be mistaken for any signal authorized."

{An aside}
Drawbridge Opening Signals: The operator of a vessel requesting a drawbridge to open
shall signal the bridge tender, and the bridge tender shall acknowledge that signal. The
following are the most common types of signals a vessel operator should use to request an
1) Radiotelephone Communications - Most bridges monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16 with
the exception of bridges in Florida. In June 1996, the FCC published a notice stating that all
boaters throughout the State of Florida should hail bridge tenders on VHF-FM channel 9 to
reduce the high amount of traffic on channel 13. Boaters operating in Georgia and South
Carolina are encouraged to follow the same procedures.
Note: Boaters should always use “low power (1 watt) output” on their VHF-FM marine radio
when hailing a bridge tender.
2) Sound Signals - These signals shall be made by whistle, horn, megaphone, or hailer. To
request an opening, the vessel operator shall give the “opening signal” consisting of one
prolonged blast (4 to 6 seconds duration) followed by one short blast (about 1 second
duration). The draw tender shall reply with the same sound signal (one prolonged followed by
one short) acknowledging that the draw can be opened immediately. When a vessel
approaches a drawbridge with the draw in the open position, the vessel shall give the opening
signal. If no acknowledgment is received within 30 seconds, the vessel may proceed, with
caution, through the open draw. When a draw cannot be opened immediately, or is open and
must be closed promptly, the draw tender shall give five short blasts sounded in rapid
succession after the vessel’s opening signal request.

Fair winds and following seas
04-03-2014 02:50 AM
capt vimes
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Where does this "5 shorts means i am in trouble" comes from?
I never heard of that and cannot find any reference either...
Sound Signals -
04-02-2014 10:06 PM
Re: Maiden Voyage Newbie Trainwreck

Originally Posted by SimonV View Post
LOL. I agree with your faultless description. In my original post I was lax in my approach to the original advice given, not wishing to offend the poster of this onerous advice.....2. Carry a couple of cheap air horns and don't be afraid to use them. 5 short blasts means "I am in trouble." You don't have to be sinking, burning etc. to warn that BFS that you don't have things under control.
OK you want to go all sea lawyer on me. "Five to stay alive" will be understood by most (but not all) other (commercial) vessels underway. Recreational, well, I watched a guy set off SOLAS parachute flares to celebrate the Forth of July. He didn't understand why about 15 vessels in the north end of Lake Michigan began reporting a Mayday.

Note that the rule states "or is in doubt whether sufficient action is being taken by the other to avoid collision," I humbly suggest that when a BFS (big frigging ship) is bearing down on me because he doesn't understand that I am "not under command" (since in the case in point our author felt that he could not get out of the way in time) he would rather I gave him 5 then hit me. As I said before - the paperwork is a bitch. (Rule 3 - definitions - not under command: The term "vessel not under command" means a vessel which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.)

Note also that rule 2 says:

2. Responsibility
(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.
(b) In construing and complying with these rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.

So perhaps you are correct that "5 to stay alive" is not technically correct. But just as I doubt anyone would give you grief for saying MAYDAY when you could have used PAN I doubt the master of a BFS would complain if you gave him 5 to avoid a collision. Of course you could argue it out in Admiralty Court if you survive the collision.

Fair winds and following seas.

PS I think you meant "erroneous" rather than "onerous."
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