Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See more at - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 109 Old 12-08-2013
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

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Originally Posted by paulk View Post
Fishing boats don't want to give away their positions --- it would tell their competitors where the fish are. Because of this their radios are often suddenly broken or inoperative.
Besides, they told everybody they were heading out to go fishing yesterday, on channel 68, when they left Gloucester. Weren't you listening? Pay attention!
During the time my Dad & I had a commercial salmon troller out of San Francisco, our fishing was all done in the open ocean and ships & barges were our primary concern. We made it a point to stay away from areas where the recreational fishing fleets used to concentrate. Most of the trawler activity was done fairly far off shore.

This trawler, however did have an "Incident":

Tanker Owners Admit Evidence Indicates Ship Hit Fishing Boat - Los Angeles Times

The "commercial" fleet at the time consisted of mostly Italian descent fishermen. We were considered "outsiders" and they rarely ever spoke to us.
Almost all of their radio traffic was in Italian.

In any event, ships always win.

Paul T
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post #52 of 109 Old 01-02-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

As a ITB Captain for 13 years now as well as a live aboard sailor I'd like to chime in here if I could.

Many of the comments on this thread are encouraging and spot on. In the commercial industry it is understood that you have to worry less about the rag boats than power recreational vessels and fishing boats as sailors tend to be more professional and carry a little more power in the wheelhouse.

With that being said, here are some tips to help the tug barges relax during a meeting situation.

1. Call them. These guys spend weeks and months at sea so they are more than happy to chat about the crossing situation unless of course it is a special circumstance. Most tugs will have you plotted more than 12 miles out in open water. If you are meeting them in a VTS then kindly understand that they are somewhat restricted even though they may not have a christmas tree lit up.

2. Find your course and hold it. We are required to take action much further out than you might think. Erratic and continuous course changes can cause panic in the WH of a tug. Especially if they have a barge on a wire.

3. Invest in an AIS Transceiver. Many of my cruising friends have strong opinions about transmitting their position on AIS. They feel they only need to receive to avoid. But I can tell you that having an AIS transmitter is the safest thing you can do for your crew and your yacht. An AIS signal lights up everything in our wheelhouse. It can't be dismissed as an ARPA false echo as your position is automatically plotted on our ECPINS and ARPA with all associated information and close approach alarms. It also makes it easier for less experienced tug mates in confined situations to plot and avoid you. I consider AIS more valuable than radar in collision avoidance.

Modern tug officers are highly professional people. (For the most part). They will do everything within the scope of their capabilities to arrange a safe meeting. Whenever possible try to keep at least a half me CPA. This allows the TBU somewhat ample time to maneuver or check down as necessary. When sailing in a VTS area just be aware of up and down bound traffic and try to cross the lane at a 90* rather than lesser angles.

G
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post #53 of 109 Old 01-22-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

With the exception of high speed ferries in open water, my view with any large commercial vessel is: He's working, I'm not. He shouldn't even have to think about me. Especially if he's pulling a frigging barge! I mean...what's it take, an extra tack? Big deal!
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post #54 of 109 Old 01-22-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

For all encounters, I tend to think in terms of...
(1) open water or confined area?
(2) solo encounter or multiple potential encounters?
(3) time to point of closest approach vs. maneuverability of vessels?
(4) things that may change or be revealed? (likely maneuvers or steering changes, vessels that may be hidden behind other vessels, docks or marinas that may hide traffic),
THEN apply the appropriate rules in a manner that gives me the most safety and utility, and minimizes heartburn, unpredictability, effort, and unnecessary maneuvering for all concerned.
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post #55 of 109 Old 01-22-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

I liked Luhtag's post.

AIS is extremely helpful. I'd go as far to say should be mandatory more the 2 nms to sea like EPIRBs are in some countries.

I would also ban receive only units.

Barges should have AIS on them as well because if the tow is 500 meters its very difficult at night to see where it is. That long gap is a killer. Most barges are unlit too.

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post #56 of 109 Old 01-23-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

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Most barges are unlit too.
Mark

Where do you see unlit barges?

Colregs requires sidelights and a stern light.


As well - the number of lights on the tug will give you an indication the length of the tow. That way you can look for the barge(s).

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post #57 of 109 Old 01-23-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

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For all encounters, I tend to think in terms of...
(1) open water or confined area?
(2) solo encounter or multiple potential encounters?
(3) time to point of closest approach vs. maneuverability of vessels?
(4) things that may change or be revealed? (likely maneuvers or steering changes, vessels that may be hidden behind other vessels, docks or marinas that may hide traffic),
THEN apply the appropriate rules in a manner that gives me the most safety and utility, and minimizes heartburn, unpredictability, effort, and unnecessary maneuvering for all concerned.
Yikes! I got "heartburn" just reading the list!
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post #58 of 109 Old 01-23-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

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Mark
Where do you see unlit barges?
Colregs requires sidelights and a stern light.
As well - the number of lights on the tug will give you an indication the length of the tow. That way you can look for the barge(s).
Unlit or not, barges (and large ships for that matter) can be very difficult to see at night.
I stay far away from any tug at night, and won't cross his course until he is long gone. There is a picture of a sailboat hanging off the bow of a barge on page 82 in this months Latitude 38. http://www.latitude38.com/ebooks.html#.UuFclDbTnIU
BTW, unlit moored barges are common in certain parts of the SF and San Pablo bays.

Last edited by L124C; 01-23-2014 at 01:50 PM.
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post #59 of 109 Old 01-26-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

I see this tug/barge most every week and without question this tug/barge falls under simple common sense right of way due to its lack of maneuverability and the restriction of the channel width.

To question that right of way simply because you're under sail is a wee bit scary

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post #60 of 109 Old 01-27-2014
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Re: Recreational Sailboat vs. Tugboat with Barge: Who Has the Right of Way? - See mor

Regardless of what "the book" may say, I am surprised that the question even comes up. Considering to "take on" a ship or tug is like looking at the bore of a 12 gauge shotgun held by the skipper who is politely asking you not to get in his way. "You can think about it, but don't do it".

Paul T
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