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post #21 of 37 Old 01-23-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

Sometimes the tugs are lit up like a Christmas tree with deck lights and the like, making the two whites more difficult to make out. And the barge, with its typically fewer lights by comparison, can trick you into thinking it's a separate contact much more distant, and not of concern. Even though both are in reality "steady bearing, decreasing range".
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post #22 of 37 Old 01-23-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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How would this look on radar? Would you see the tug and the barge separately, together, not at all?
Depends on rage and scale.

But generally speaking yes they would appear separately and if you are familiar with what they look like it’s quite clear. There again if you are familiar with what a tug and tow looks like. You wouldn’t go between the tug and the tow.
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post #23 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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Depends on rage and scale.

But generally speaking yes they would appear separately and if you are familiar with what they look like it’s quite clear. There again if you are familiar with what a tug and tow looks like. You wouldn’t go between the tug and the tow.
In the Long Island Sound incident in 1981 the powerboat skipper, who had lost one of his 330hp engines and was in a panic in the dark, came alongside the tug as the local accounts had it. He supposedly asked the tug to stop and somehow help him, but the tug would need about a mile to come to a stop and that was not going to happen. The 36 ft powerboat then tried to cut behind the tug and ran into the towline, which caused his boat to sink. IFIRC, there were 5 family and friends who drowned, but the skipper managed to swim, without a PFD, for quite a while before reaching shore.
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post #24 of 37 Old 01-24-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

While crossing oceans I have 3 fears which never go away and generally keep me safe: 1) Falling overboard 2) Being run down by a ship 3) Getting hung up in the tow line of a tugboat. Only with the permission of the owner of this boat did I put up this post and pictures. I thought it would be a good learning experience for others and a reminder for myself to stay far away from tugboats. Certainly there are more details to this situation but I don't want to post information then have anyone come back and say I was not accurate. So, this morning I asked the boat owner to do an on camera interview so he can tell exactly what happened between him and the tug. I interrupted his grinding of fiberglass, not a convenient moment, to ask him about the interview and he sounds receptive but the interview will have to happen today or tomorrow as we will be leaving Tanga, Tanzania for Zanzabar day after tomorrow. Then it would take a week or so to organize the video.
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post #25 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

I am not familiar with the Long Island incident. 1981 was a while ago.
There have been a couple of tragic incidents of the west coast.
Fireworks in English bay is popular summer event every year. There was an incident in English bay on fireworks night about a decade or so ago. involving a power boat attempting to pass between a tug and its tow resulting in several fatalities. The TSB doesn’t blame however the tug was also criticized even though it attempted to warn the boat with its search light.
If I recall the boater was relatively inexperienced and probably did not recognize the lights of the tug and tow.
Another series of incidents involve barges being pushed by a tug. Some of which have happened in day light.
Where small boats have tried to cross close ahead of tug and barge combos.
A friend of mine has suggested, the possibility the boater recognized it as a barge but thought they were passing astern.
I know one local tug which I believe has had three incidents.

There have also been a couple of tragic incidents involving small fast boats hitting log tows.
Local rules still allow for some older tows to be light according to the old rules. White all round lights which can be hard to see. I almost ran into an unlit log tow one night. Turns out the tug had gone into town for crew change. Leaving the tow drifting. I will be nice and assume his lanterns had been blown out. Fortunately I spotted the waves breaking against it and turned away just in time. I also wasn’t going very fast.
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post #26 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

and then there's this:

https://www.facebook.com/ifyouhigh/v...185010209/?t=0

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #27 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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A lot going on there in that 30 second clip. Did the blue vessel nudge the stern of the following tug on the sailboat at about the 14 second mark?
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post #28 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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A lot going on there in that 30 second clip. Did the blue vessel nudge the stern of the following tug on the sailboat at about the 14 second mark?
Don't know, but that is one helluva crowded harbor.

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post #29 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

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Originally Posted by fallard View Post
In the Long Island Sound incident in 1981 the powerboat skipper, who had lost one of his 330hp engines and was in a panic in the dark, came alongside the tug as the local accounts had it. He supposedly asked the tug to stop and somehow help him, but the tug would need about a mile to come to a stop and that was not going to happen. The 36 ft powerboat then tried to cut behind the tug and ran into the towline, which caused his boat to sink. IFIRC, there were 5 family and friends who drowned, but the skipper managed to swim, without a PFD, for quite a while before reaching shore.
I read a couple of those articles. I'd say "in a panic" is generous; "a real jerk" might be accurate.

He was able to make way, but was slowed by mechanical issues. It sounds like he was asking everyone around him for help (like a 25' sailboat is going to tow a 36' powerboat) and was mad that people weren't responding faster. If I'm reading the articles right they pulled alongside the tug (?), then got pulled behind it.

Anyway.

I think the take home message is to stay a long ways away from tugs and tows and barges.
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post #30 of 37 Old 01-24-2019
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Re: Sailboat creamed by tugboat and tow

Small boats too often get sucked under moored barges on the river so I stay clear of them everywhere. They're bigger than you are and do not have to be moving to get you.
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