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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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  #21  
Old 01-29-2013
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Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Lots of rule apply.

My guess - the sailing vessel messed up big time.

The courts usually apply some sort of joint responsibility.

Did the tug meet the obligations of rule 5 and maintain a watch? Did they sound the 5 or more blasts? Did they take any action to avoid the collision under that latter parts of rule 8?
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  #22  
Old 01-29-2013
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Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

We were once struck by a barge the size of a department store. Just had the boat a few months when we (wife,father in law,friends) when I had too much sail up and our cable jumped the shives for the steering quradent sawed right through the cable and we lost stearage in the middle of the North bound shipping lane outside Channel Islands CA. The wind was blowing 20/25 kts when it broke. Full sail on a reach,did I say we were over canvased? I went for the emergency tiller that came with the boat and it didnt fit (did I say new to sailing) must have been from another boat that somehow ended up on our new to me boat. A little shaken up but mostly still enjoying the adventure. After a call to the coast guard and the seatow we just rocked from side to side when I noticed in the distance a rather small boat(tug) with what looked like a dept. store right behind it(barge). After realizing we were in its path we called to the coast guard to warn them of our position(ya wrong guy to call on the VHF) after much panic the tug capt. gets on to tell us to commit to a tack and sail out of the shipping lane. Yes we made many mistakes that day but the tug operator was not monitoring channel 16 or he would have heard our conversation with the coast guard. Long story short the tug motors by at 6/8 kts with this building in tow which just glances of our port bow and scares the **** out of all of us. Maybe 10/15 feet and it would have been a direct hit,and we may have been pulled under the barge and killed. Welcome to ocean sailing? That was 13 years ago and I have learned much from this and other adventures. Funny thing about that day,some of us look back and go* wow that was a close one *but others look back like it was the worst thing ever and wont talk about it at all.

Brad
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  #23  
Old 01-29-2013
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Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Been in this situation more times than i care to remember. No Colregs or International Rules of the Road are more relevant than the one an early mentor told me -GET THE HELL OUT OF HIS WAY!!!!!
He can't turn, he can't stop and there's a pretty good chance nobody is at the helm anyway.
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  #24  
Old 01-29-2013
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Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiberglass1 View Post
Been in this situation more times than i care to remember. No Colregs or International Rules of the Road are more relevant than the one an early mentor told me -GET THE HELL OUT OF HIS WAY!!!!!
He can't turn, he can't stop and there's a pretty good chance nobody is at the helm anyway.
Well said!! If you are lucky he might get on the whistle just before he runs you down, for liability purposes. I have always considered vessels bigger than me to have the right of way, maybe not actually correct, but I am still alive.

Paul T
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Old 01-29-2013
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Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

Fiberglass1 (and there is a pretty good chance nobody is at the helm anyway) I have always wondered about that.
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Old 01-29-2013
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Re: Run down by a Tug or Barge

We very often alter course, or put in a short hitch, or slow down to avoid creating an "issue" with commercial traffic.. It seems necessary more often than you'd think. This goes for tugs and tows (we get some HUGE Alaska tows going by), ferries, cruise ships and freighters.

While in most cases we know which way they are going, making an early, obvious move to get out of their way seems prudent. We have, on occasion, attempted to hail a tug but have never had a response..
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  #27  
Old 01-29-2013
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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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  #28  
Old 01-30-2013
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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 ;-)
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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
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Old 01-30-2013
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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.
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