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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation > Run down by a Tug or Barge
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Thread: Run down by a Tug or Barge Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-06-2013 11:14 AM
mad_machine
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

I know this is huffpost.. but they seem to give the clearest account of what happened in Philia 2 years ago when a "duckboat" that had been disabled by an engine fire was run down by a tug/barge where the pilot had been away from the controls.

Duck Boat Crash: Matt Devlin Faces Wrongful Death Trial Over 2010 Philadelphia Wreck

01-30-2013 02:11 PM
Faster
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

I guess there's lots of similar stories.. another one of ours:

Again in fog, we were inching/sailing slowly along the Bowen Island shore (no radar) within visible range of the rocks... over time we too heard the steady low rumbling develop, but were unable to pinpoint the source. As we were so close in, I had near convinced myself it was a generator running ashore.

We reached the last point of the island and struck across the channel, now with nothing visible, still sailing slowly, waiting for the generator noise to fade away... Suddenly my wife shouts "rocks or something to port!" but I knew there was nothing between us and Nanaimo at that point. What it was, though, was a log boom, inching across our path as the unseen tug rumbled in the distance. There had been no warning from the tug, and we were VERY fortunate to have come up against the boom rather than between the tug and tow - we'd never have know what we'd caught.

Again, under power we'd likely not have heard anything and been perhaps less aware.. Anyhow discretion took over, we did a 180 and popped out of the fog bank a mile or so back along our track breathing a sigh of relief.
01-30-2013 01:45 PM
dabnis
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Some years ago while salmon fishing at the mouth of Rivers Inlet in BC the fog was very thick and we were staying pretty close to shore. Right away we hooked a big fish which we had to chase to keep from being spooled. Long story short, we ended up in the middle of the inlet with maybe 50 to 100 yards visibility and after about an hour, lost the fish. As we were sitting there with the motor off, kind of in shock about losing the biggest fish we have ever had on, I heard a low frequency rumbling sound coming right at us. I no more than started the motor when a big black tug came out of the fog right at us. We got out of the way by about 50 yards and watched it go by us with a tow cable off the back indicating that something else was coming. After what seemed like a long time a huge self dumping log barge came out of the fog quite close to us.

As we were in a small fiberglass boat I doubt we showed on their radar, however I thought there was some kind of rule that says you are supposed to sound a horn every so many seconds when it is foggy? We heard nothing until we were almost run down. If we had the motor running we may not have heard it coming at all? Good by us.

Paul T
01-30-2013 01:38 PM
Faster
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Quite a number of years ago I remember racing on a light air day at West Van, and a tug and tow came through the race course.. not an unusual event, at least not then when the forest industry was thriving.

A racer was on a tack to intercept the tow line... believe it or not, the towboat operator actually slowed down to let the coasting barge sink the tow line to 'let the guy through'.. I couldn't believe it. The boat did not take up the offer, but it was something I'd never seen before, nor since.
01-30-2013 01:04 PM
nolatom
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Yeah, and have we discussed the "stop for you? - nuh-uh, my barge will run me over" rule? Not in the COLREGS but it's a big one to the tug crew and they like to obey it so please let them ;-)
01-30-2013 12:25 PM
capttb
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Don't have radar but like John, I once avoided this situation because when I saw the tug I assumed it had a barge under tow. The towline and barge were invisible against the island behind them. The white line of foam at the bow of the barge was the only part visible in the dark. A barge painted black can disappear on a dark sea, doesn't seem to be a visibility issue in this case.
Made my heart go pitter-pat when I thought about what the result of not recognizing the tug could have been.
01-30-2013 12:12 PM
jrd22
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

I always assume it's a tug towing a barge when I see two targets on the radar a short distance apart traveling the same direction and speed, but at night with background lights from shore it would be pretty easy to not see the barge (without radar). Scares the bejeebers out of me thinking about getting between them! Most of the commercial traffic around here does not monitor ch. 16, they are on the vessel traffic channel and 13. It always amazes me when a (relatively) small pleasure boat appears to be oblivious to the fact that there is a HUGE ship/tug/barge/ferry bearing down on them, and then they are indignant when the danger signal is blown at them. Happens all the time during the summer here with the ferries that run through the islands.
01-30-2013 11:52 AM
dabnis
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolatom View Post
rule 3 definition says a tow is "restricted in ability to maneuver" when (see subsec. (g)(vi) "engaged in a towing operation such as severely restrict the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course".

So, if there's deep water around and hence no channel or TSS to restrict the tow, it's got to be VERY un-maneuverable to have the right of way over all other vessels under Rule 18; and, is required to show ball-diamond-ball by day and red over white over red by night (though don't count on this, some don't show the signals).

Just having a big barge on a wire isn't *necessarily* "restricted" legally under Rule 18. But that said, it is still a slow maneuvering flotilla and a judgement call whether Rule 18 (b)(2) applies, so don't assume the tow doesn't have the right of way, and you do. You may indeed be right legally when the admiralty judge says so long after the collision, but "dead right" so it's your heirs in court, which lessens the personal satisfaction of being right considerably. Discretion by small vessels is the better part of valor, and giving him the right of way is never the wrong choice provided you don't confuse him in the process.

So I'm being picky about the "restricted" rule here. I'd rather sail with you any day and be possibly "alive wrong" about who's privileged, than correct but no longer around to type about it ashore ;-)
If I am reading the sketchy report properly the area where it happened leaves little to no room for the tug to try to change course, that being just inside the GG Bridge, no affiliation with the tug company

Chart 18649

Paul T
01-30-2013 11:43 AM
nolatom
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enhydras View Post
you guys do realise that a vessel under tow is limited in its ability to maneuver and has right of way over a sailing vessel?
rule 3 definition says a tow is "restricted in ability to maneuver" when (see subsec. (g)(vi) "engaged in a towing operation such as severely restrict the towing vessel and her tow in their ability to deviate from their course".

So, if there's deep water around and hence no channel or TSS to restrict the tow, it's got to be VERY un-maneuverable to have the right of way over all other vessels under Rule 18; and, is required to show ball-diamond-ball by day and red over white over red by night (though don't count on this, some don't show the signals).

Just having a big barge on a wire isn't *necessarily* "restricted" legally under Rule 18. But that said, it is still a slow maneuvering flotilla and a judgement call whether Rule 18 (b)(2) applies, so don't assume the tow doesn't have the right of way, and you do. You may indeed be right legally when the admiralty judge says so long after the collision, but "dead right" so it's your heirs in court, which lessens the personal satisfaction of being right considerably. Discretion by small vessels is the better part of valor, and giving him the right of way is never the wrong choice provided you don't confuse him in the process.

So I'm being picky about the "restricted" rule here. I'd rather sail with you any day and be possibly "alive wrong" about who's privileged, than correct but no longer around to type about it ashore ;-)
01-29-2013 10:08 PM
PaulinVictoria
Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

As when driving, I assume everyone is an idiot and out to kill me in some fashion. Seems to have stood me well on both land and water.
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