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

If the barge is being pushed ahead as part of a composite unit then it's considered to be just a powerboat according to COLREGS. That being said, since I'm a recreational vessel usually with no particular destination or schedule in mind and he's a commercial vessel trying to get their job done. I'm happy to get out of the way. I don't mind tacking/gybing/heaving-to.
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Old 11-09-2013
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Found this on a sailing quotes page:

"When you are sailing your piece of tupperware across the bay, and the ships are coming from one way and the tugs with barges are coming from another, just remember what a frog looks like in a blender. GET OUT OF THE WAY!" - from Susan-Marie Hagen
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Old 11-09-2013
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoatyardBoy View Post
Though not qualified as a ship, tug and barges can easily be big enough to qualify as a ship in their length and breadth. That being said, they can't turn or stop like a normal power boat. They may take a half of a mile to come to an stop, and may take an 1/8 of a mile for the bow to respond to rudder commands.
Although not strictly relevant to COLREGS it does relate directly to common sense. See below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skelmir View Post
since I'm a recreational vessel usually with no particular destination or schedule in mind and he's a commercial vessel trying to get their job done. I'm happy to get out of the way. I don't mind tacking/gybing/heaving-to.
+1.

Janet and I were coming South from NY Harbor a couple of years ago rounding Cape May planning to anchor in the Cape Henlopen Harbor of Refuge. See https://activecaptain.com/X.php?lat=...30282&t=n&z=12 . Northbound from well offshore was an ocean-going tug with a long tow. There was lots of time and space so I fire up the radar and tracked him with MARPA. CPA was really close and TCPA was about 45 minutes. I picked up the VHF mic to call when he called me. Golly. I was stand-on both as under sail and on his starboard. The Master was a real gentleman, asked my intentions, and offered to slow down and change course to give way. I told him I was on holiday, in no particular hurry, and respected that he was working for a living; if he would hold course and speed I would be happy to harden up (traveler up, trim jib), slow down (vang on), and take the stern of his tow. There wasn't any other traffic around so we chatted a bit--a nice break for both of us--and both (I think) felt the better for the encounter. We saved him five minutes or so and some fuel, and cost me fifteen minutes at most to anchor down behind the breakwater.

It's good to know the rules and operate within them. There is no substitute for communication and being polite, especially to commercial traffic.
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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".
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Last edited by Faster; 11-09-2013 at 11:57 AM.
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
...
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. 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".
Yes, normally if the ship does not maneuver son enough to take avoiding action I will take it but only at the minimum safe distance otherwise I can have the risk of both vessels altering courses and as you say, become again on a collision course much nearer.

When I do not understand what they are doing I call by the radio asking about their intentions. The funniest story was last year where at night a big cruising ship seemed to stay on a collision course for a long time. I did not really understand their course so I call them. It turned out that it was a big cruising ship and they were almost making no way, killing time to arrive at their destination in the morning. That was what was confusing me, I assumed the boat was moving at a cruising speed. They said they were "seeing me" and that I need not to worry and they altered course to pass way ahead of me.

Regards

Paulo
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

It does not make sense to find out if a tug & barge lacks maneuverability by making your boat into a test-case each time you come across one. Communicate. Stand on if you can keep clear, or give way. We're all in this together, and you'd like them to help you if you needed it sometime.
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Quote:
Originally Posted by capecodda View Post
IMHO the law of tonnage trumps COLREGs. Rules don't matter if you're dead.
Totally agree.

I came to the realization many years ago that graveyards are full of people that had the right of way. I always keep that in mind whether I'm in a car or on a boat.
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
I don't see what is the point. It is obvious that a tugboat with a barge is a vessel “restricted in her ability to maneuver" the same way a trawler with a net out is.
A trawler with its nets out would have to give way tug and barge that were displaying RAM.

They are not the same (Rule 18)
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
and offered to slow down and change course to give way. I told him I was on holiday, in no particular hurry, and respected that he was working for a living; if he would hold course and speed I would be happy to harden up (traveler up, trim jib),
It's good to know the rules and operate within them. There is no substitute for communication and being polite, especially to commercial traffic.
That's exactly the way I look at it. 90 percent of the time when I'm on the water I'm there for the fun of it.
If someone is working and has a boss checking his transit time or otherwise has things to think about rather than what is obvious to me, why not make his/her life a little easier.
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

I would also add that recreational boaters need to be aware of and stay clear of any local Traffic Separation Schemes. Since San Francisco has a large one, it probably didn't matter much to the article. Commercial vessels even if they can navigate outside a scheme can be prohibited from exiting, much like if they were in a narrow channel surrounded by shallow water.

They are still the give way vessel, however a vessel transiting across a TSS always gives way.
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