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post #16 of Old 03-07-2019 Thread Starter
capta
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Re: Masthead tricolors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I have to admit, while I agree with the premise of the OP, I think deck lighting is very old fashioned and fairly ineffective technology. It does require electricity, after all, so it isn't like it's a natural solution. When studying for my Captain license, I found it arcane to have to memorize the light patterns. Ridiculous really.

Personally, any good light on a ship at night is appreciated, so I can tell they are there, if I had no other solution. I get annoyed at folks not following the rules, because I worry there are others they don't know or don't care about too. Admittedly, however, we all make unwitting mistakes too.

However, a modern digital radar can identify lobster pots in the water, so there is no reason to think it can't identify a recreational sailboat. That wasn't always the case. Add AIS, and I'm a supporter of making it mandatory for night ops, anything offshore, or in a shipping channel, and this problem is solved.
I see dozens of vessels a week down here that I would bet the farm on, that don't have AIS. From the 40 odd foot longliners who are almost all improperly lit to the 70-90 foot ex-shrimpers carrying cargo between the islands and even larger cargo vessels that are certainly not IMO compliant, expecting them to have a modern bit of gear like AIS is foolhardy, IMO.
Just a few years ago I watched a ferry leaving Bequia for St Vincent one evening and saw a huge fireball rise 20 feet out of the aft car deck. The ferry, an old European car ferry somewhere around 100 feet, carrying something like 70 people, went completely dark but managed to turn around and anchor in the outer harbor. Not one light, no backup batteries on the bridge for the VHF radio nor a backup generator on the upper decks as is common commercial shipping today.
Anyway, with a fire aft, the passengers and crew had to disembark from the 20+ high foredeck on a rope (can you imagine all those big West Indian women sliding down a rope to an inflatable below?) as they hadn't even a ladder for this eventuality. Or lifeboats and the rescue was carried out by yachties in their inflatables.
So, as I said above, everyone has a choice, to either rely on the other guy doing the legal, correct or even sensible thing or take responsibility for their own safety and expecting nothing intelligent from the other vessels around them.
How quickly we forget incidents like the Costa Concordia and believe that just because it's a big fancy, expensive vessel, it is manned by halfway intelligent human beings?

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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