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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 10-05-2007
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What to do in a collision?

I have noticed a lot of information available on how to PREVENT a collision, or causes, but can someone educate me as to what do I do if I am in one? Many thanks!
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Old 10-05-2007
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First thing - account for your crew. Is everyone still on board? Are there any injuries? Next, account for your boat - is it compromised? Do you need to take immediate action to keep her afloat?

Then, account for the other boat's crew and condition. If you need to render first aid, prepare to do so.

Call the CG as soon as possible. Give them lat/long, describe the incident, the boats involved, the number of crew on each boat, and the injuries.

Make a note of what happened. Who was on port/stbd, who was windward/leward, who was under power/sail, what is the weather/sea state like, are you in confined waters, etc. Photo document if possible, assuming it doesn't interfere with safely extracating the boats and keeping them afloat or with rendering first aid.

If the damage is minimal, file a report with the CG when you get back to the slip. If there are any injuries or major damage, you'll need to address it where you are, probably with CG assistance.
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Old 10-05-2007
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Also if one boat T-boned the other. Don't back out. One boat may be plugging a huge hole in the other. So lash the two boats together.
Note: When the Stockhom backed away from the Andrea Doria, she had been plugging a huge hole in the Andrea Doria. Now without the Stockhom there to plug that hole, the Andrea Doria sank rapidly.
The Stockhom went to the yards and had a new bow put on. The A. Doria is a deep diver's paradise.
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Old 10-05-2007
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ladyv

This may or may not be of interest to you. But it is my account of the boat collision I was involved in a few years ago.
It can happen
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Old 10-05-2007
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Just FYI, in addition to what they've said above, generally each state will have requirements similar to the below... which is for the state of Hawaii—


Quote:
By law, all recreational boating accident reports have to be completed on form LNR 3-027 by the operator, and in case of operator incapacity, the owner of each and every pleasure craft involved in a marine casualty. For recreational vessels, the statute, HRS Section 200-29 and Hawaii Administrative Rules, Section 13-242-5 makes the Boating Accident Report and accompanying investigations confidential and not public record for use in litigation.
Quote:


All commercial vessels must report casualties to the Coast Guard per Federal regulations applicable to the vessel on form CO-2652. Commercial vessel casualty reports are not confidential and may be released after they are completed and approved by competent authority.


A boating accident report has to be filed with the State if the vessel is used for recreational purposes in the following instances:
1. Loss of life or the disappearance of any person;
2. injury, causing any person to require medical treatment beyond first aid;

3. actual damage to any vessel or to any other property is in excess of $200.
A marine casualty may include: capsizing, flooding, grounding, falls overboard or onboard, other injuries incurred while aboard a vessel.


For loss of life or disappearance, the notification and report is to be submitted within (48) hours. For all other accidents, within (7) days.


Commercial vessel casualties must be reported to the Coast Guard as soon as possible after the occurrence on form CG-2652 and within (5) days of the occurrence. The casualties that must be reported are described in the Federal regulations applicable to the type of commercial operations.
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Old 10-05-2007
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If you listen to racers, just before impact you yell "STARBOARD!!!!" Whether you were on starboard tack at the time is irrelevant.

Or so they say.
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Old 10-05-2007
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A collision at sea can ruin your whole day.

With no attempt at flippancy intended, the best thing to do is not have a collision. The level of awareness to achieve this in a congested port with widely varying vessel speeds is substantial. Not for nothing do merchant ships have the ship's Master, the Mate on Watch, and the harbor pilot all on the Bridge at the same time navigating the vessel in such cases. If visibility is at all a concern, another Mate will be called out just to observe the radar. And these vessels are moving at slow speeds in these cases, too.

Not many recreational boaters give much thought to having a lookout. after all, the helmsman can see everything can he not? bubb2's tragic story illustrates just how quickly benign conditions can change, through no fault of one's own-other than not having perhaps an additional pair of available eyes working as lookout. This does not imply that this was an issue in that specific collision, the exact details of which I am unfamiliar. What it does mean is that the value of a lookout, unencumbered by duties that distract him from looking out, is inestimable. Most collisions can be avoided by the actions of a single vessel providing, in Colregese, the action is early and substantial.

The results of collision are so varied that the plan of action must suit each individual situation. The advise given above is all sound. I would emphasize that once the absence of immediate life threatening injuries has been ascertained, the seaworthiness of the vessel takes preeminence. Mere broken arms take a back seat to remaining afloat or fire. And for those serious injuries such as arterial bleeding, the first aid gear must be ready to hand, as the rest of what crew there is, may well be involved in ship saving. As with so many things, planning ahead the availability of medical gear and damage control equipment may make the difference between survival or greater than necessary losses. Another thread just recently discussed having tether releases on the human end of the tether; there may be no time to release the tether from the afixed end! Bolt cutters for cutting away rigging that may be responsible for holding the ship down as she fills with water, do little good if they are stowed in the bilge which already has three feet of water in it. If you are in confined and congested waters, will your life rings or buoys float free from the ship as she sinks? If they are lashed securely to their racks they'll sink with the ship to what effect? Stripping off a velcro strap, only to replace it an hour later seems like needless work, until you're in the water watching the boat sink alongside you.

Most likely what will save you in a collision is the preperation work you did anticipating a collision. Robert Ganier posts here frequently and he emphasizes the use of the imagination. Imagine, ahead of time, "circumstance X", and what you would do, what you have, and what can serve a dual purpose in extremis. Thusly employed, the human imagination coupled with common sense can anticipate worst possible scenarios without having experienced them previously, and plan accordingly.

I'll conclude with what I consider to be a seemingly trivial example of seamanship. The time to make the coffee is well in advance of the fog and fatigue rolling in. Every boat should have a thermos of hot coffee or tea available when sailing keeping watches. Two hours after the fog has rolled in and the helmsman is feeling fatigued is not the time to send the only other lookout below to make the coffee. You will have just reduced your lookout by fifty percent just when you need it most. If the thermos is restocked with the change of watch there is less chance that there will be no coffee when all hands are needed on deck. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. The alternative is God's answer to a reluctant Noah; "how long can you tread water?"
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Last edited by sailaway21; 10-05-2007 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 10-06-2007
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The bit I would add is to specify...Check the crew, check the hull FOR FLOATATION (preferably at the same time. delegation is why you have crew)...and then CHECK THE RIG. There are a number of boats that have swiped each-other failry lightly, moved apart got their sails back into gear only to have one of them lose the mast a moment later because the impact had damaged a turnbuckle on a shroud or twisted a spreader awry.

When you have a moment of breathing room, go down below and check that the major ribs (usually alos the bulkheads) are still properly adhered to the hull. If there are big gaps, then your hull is now very flexible and vulnerable to stresses from the rig, even if it is not actually leaking water from below.

Even if it is a calm day on the harbour and you are looking at a quiet half hour sail back to home, get the crew into PFDs for the trip. If something decides to give way, it will be sudden.

Depending on the nature of the impact, get someone to check the engine alignment before starting the motor, if it has been knocked off its mounts or scewed, then starting it is going to cause a lot of problems, including possible ingress of large amounts of nearly unstoppable water through a side-stressed and ruptured stern gland.

The best way I know to think of a boat is as a drawn longbow. The mast is the arrow and the hull is the curved limbs of the bow. When you have a fully drawn bow in your hands and someone comes over and whacks it with a big stick...a lot of random stress is introduced and surprising things can go BANG, CRACK and GROAN.

Sasha
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Why does the Coast Guard allow 48 hours to report a death? Seems kind of odd. "Well, it's been a day and a half since we lost Bob. I guess we better call the Coast Guard."
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Before the advent of satcom's it might have taken that long to get a hold of them from, say, the southern Indian ocean.
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