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1977 Morgan OI 30
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Discussion Starter #1
Well I really did it yesterday...tried a 'shortcut' in the heavy fog. Thought my new radar would help me pick through the back side of the Brewsters [near Graves Light. why do they call it that? :D ] I did fine until my buddy hollered 'rocks!' When I turned my bow hit a submerged rock...It was a horrible thud but glancing so I tried to continue the turn and put us on a big rock. Did some up and down thumping, called the coast guard and dropped sails. Checked the bilge and dropped anchor to try and stay relatively stationary...
Here is where it got interesting and educational. Sea Tow was called by the C.G. and arrived w/i 10 minutes. He did a halyard pull and we were off and guided to safe waters easily. The C.G. showed and stood by. After exchanging paperwork w Sea Tow [I'm a member :D ] we started back and after about a mile the Coasties showed up and tooted. We slowed, they came alongside and requested to come aboard for a 'safety check'. They were professional and courteous. We made small talk and I mentioned how I'd just bought the book "Two Tankers Down; the greatest small boat rescue" 70 foot waves and I was really surprised that the Petty Officer remarked how ''we don't do that anymore" as in 'they don't go out if the seas are too rough. The addage of 'you have to go out, but you don't have to return' no longer applies. I was really surprised. He said they will send helo's if possible. I have to say I was miffed. I felt like they were more just a government administrative office or perhaps law enforcement but no longer the heroic Coastguard I'd come to expect. Am I alone with this thinking?
Next time [no more shortcuts, I learned!]...if there is a next time, I'll just call Sea Tow myself and save the paperwork and notariety.
 

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Well I really did it yesterday...tried a 'shortcut' in the heavy fog. Thought my new radar would help me pick through the back side of the Brewsters [near Graves Light. why do they call it that? :D ] I did fine until my buddy hollered 'rocks!' When I turned my bow hit a submerged rock...It was a horrible thud but glancing so I tried to continue the turn and put us on a big rock.
You have no charts or GPS/chartplotter that would've told you the rocks were there? :confused: Or you did and thought your radar would show you submerged and partially submerged rocks?

Jim
 

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Splashed
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GPS Assisted grounding?

Or the exact opposite, namely a GPS assisted grounding, of which a few has happened as people have blind faith in GPS/Chartplotters.
Joe, I hope your boat is ok?

You have no charts or GPS/chartplotter that would've told you the rocks were there? :confused: Or you did and thought your radar would show you submerged and partially submerged rocks?

Jim
 

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The petty officer was overstating the case. If you're a veteran you remember how much junior personnel gripe about policy. That's probably true in business also. The old motto: "you don't have to come back" was bold, but does not recognize the reality of all rescue. That is the necessity to evaluate the likelihood of successful rescue against the chance of losing your own rescue crew and encouraging more casualties. I am a CG veteran, one of the first things they taught us is that our first responsibility was to remain alive and healthy. A dead coastie rescues no one. Still, if you read reports and news stories, you'll find plenty of brave rescues on the sea.
 

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"The addage of 'you have to go out, but you don't have to return' no longer applies. "
They've finally figured out that the USCG has a budget, a really thin budget, and there's just no sense in sending men and machines out of suicide missions.
You'll find the same philosophy is being taught to all "emergency responders" in the post-9/11 re-examination of emergency response. Your first job, as a responder, is to KEEP YOURSELF SAFE and not to be a hero. That's the official line and since the USCG is under the DHS umbrella now--it has to be applied to them as well. (No one expects it to be applied uniformly or all the time, but that's the "book".)
So you have a boat crew, maybe 4-6 Coasties, lots of money invested in their training and death benefits and the boat itself, and you are gambling the loss of that asset versus what? Three or four folks who decided to go out someplace where they shouldn't have been? Do the math, what's the sense in any way of losing the USCG crew?
They've always done a hard brave job & they have my respect for that. But no, they are far from the first service to figure out that suicide missions are simply beyond their purpose.
 

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The petty officer was overstating the case. If you're a veteran you remember how much junior personnel gripe about policy. That's probably true in business also. The old motto: "you don't have to come back" was bold, but does not recognize the reality of all rescue. That is the necessity to evaluate the likelihood of successful rescue against the chance of losing your own rescue crew and encouraging more casualties. I am a CG veteran, one of the first things they taught us is that our first responsibility was to remain alive and healthy. A dead coastie rescues no one. Still, if you read reports and news stories, you'll find plenty of brave rescues on the sea.
I a vet also and I agree with you, but I do remember the time the order came down to fix bayonets.:D
 

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So what are the two kind of sailors? Those who have run aground and those who lie?
Probably should do a quick haul because if their is damage it would be better to notify the insurance company earlier than later.
Some damage is hard to detect but still has to be fixed.
 

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Or the exact opposite, namely a GPS assisted grounding, of which a few has happened as people have blind faith in GPS/Chartplotters.
Well, yeah, there's that, too. But do GPS/Chartplotters often show rocks where there are none? Without putting too fine a point on it (I hope): It seems to me unwise to venture into an area where the charts show (submerged) rocks, or other hazards, that is unfamiliar to the skipper and crew, in the fog, radar or no radar. Radar certainly won't reveal submerged hazards.

Joe, I hope your boat is ok?
Likewise!

Jim
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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First, sorry to hear about the damage to your boat. Second, there's a couple of lessons provided here.
"Short cut", "thick fog", "NEW radar": any one of these is an accident waiting to happen, when you combine them all it's a wonder that you got off as easily as you did. I'm not beating you while you are down, I'm sure you have learned a lot of things from this experience, but others can benefit from the mistakes you made as well. When in reduced visibility you need to stay in established channels and allow extra distance to any possible obstruction. Choosing to head out in thick fog should always be avoided if possible. Thick fog is not the place to cut your teeth on radar, practice in good visibility so you can get a feel for it.
The USCG regularly goes out in "suicide" conditions around here to rescue people in need, not sure about anywhere else.
 

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So what are the two kind of sailors? Those who have run aground and those who lie?
One imagines that's the reference.

We've run aground twice, on our first two or three outings. (I believe I already described them here, in the past.) The first time: I was at the helm. The second time: The Admiral was. Both times under motor. Both times getting too close to in "island" in the middle of a lagoon we transit to/from the lake. The depth goes rapidly from eight feet to three or four. (We draw five.) Both times it was little powerboats that got us off. It was sand/mud/muck, and we'd been going slow (3 kts or so), and we weren't grounded hard--we'd just kind of ground to a slow halt. We probably could've kedged ourselves off, if we'd had to.

Ever since, we give that thing wide berth :p

Jim
 

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Jim,
I agree, whether it's radar or other electronics - We've all put too much faith in the data from those nice devices. CN and/or DR taught us about uncertainty, where the numbers on a display leads us to believe that everything is certain?

Well, yeah, there's that, too. But do GPS/Chartplotters often show rocks where there are none? Without putting too fine a point on it (I hope): It seems to me unwise to venture into an area where the charts show (submerged) rocks, or other hazards, that is unfamiliar to the skipper and crew, in the fog, radar or no radar. Radar certainly won't reveal submerged hazards.

Likewise!

Jim
 

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Hi all

Even with lots of due diligence and watching - we can never 100% rely on charts, radar, GPS or chart plotters. We have to "be careful out there". Here are the first three paragraphs from a letter I received from a graduate student in the Ocean Mapping Group in the Department of Geodesy & Geomatics Engineering at The University of New Brunswick. A very interesting read - he also came an did a super talk to our boating club.

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On September 28, 2003, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship (CCGS) Gordon Reid ran aground on an uncharted rock in Estavan Sound, off the western coast of British Columbia. The best scale chart for this area is Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) Chart 3724, the data for which was collected in 1923 by leadline survey on an unknown datum, with line spacing of more than 400 metres, and horizontal positioning provided by sextant.

Ideally, the CHS would want to replace this type of “legacy” data with the current standard of high-quality, full-coverage multibeam sonar surveys, using differential GPS for positioning, when printing their charts. Due to limited monetary and time resources, however, this is not a realistic expectation. Of necessity, legacy data that do not meet modern standards will continue to be the basis for many nautical charts. Attention, then, has been focused in the past twenty years or so on presenting the users of hydrographic products, such as paper and electronic charts, with a measure of data quality.

In the past few years, the CHS has made a practice of putting source class diagrams on their nautical charts, a small box in the corner of the chart showing some details of the survey performed in the area depicted on the particular. But this is a slow and expensive process with the CHS’s dwindling resources, and the diagrams found today on charts are of varying quality, or non-existent.

Source Classification Diagram

Date of Survey Sources Line Spacing
a 1979-86 CHS 10 mteres
a 1959 CHS 12 mteres
a 1983 CHS 40 mteres
a 1970-81 CHS 50 mteres
a 1986 CHS 150 mteres

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He concludes with:

My topic of research in all this is how this affects recreational boaters. Our class has written a paper on this subject, and one of our recommendations to hydrographic offices is that if they are going to provide uncertainty communication, then all users of their charts should have a form of education available to them so that they are actually able to use them correctly. The harsh reality of this situation is that there are a lot of charts for sale in Canada that were surveyed decades ago with ancient technologies. This is not going to change without a total turnaround within the government to buy entire fleets of new ships to re-survey all Canadian waters (and you can guess what the chances are of that happening). What the CHS can do, and is doing, is putting these source diagrams on its charts to communicate this information to boaters. I believe that it is fair to say that someone’s use of a chart would drastically change if they knew whether the survey took place before they were born by a man with a leadline, or if it was done the previous summer using state-of-the-art sonar and GPS survey equipment. And with safety in mind, this kind of education is certainly warranted to help boaters decide where they feel is safe to go, and which areas they should avoid if possible.

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To see what the US charts are like I just grabbed "Long Island Sound & East River" #12366 and I see in the corner that data was tabulated from surveys by the Corps of Engineers - report of August 1994 and surveys to May 1994"

That sounds good and then it says:

"Charted hydrography may originate from these and prior surveys" and lists the sources as:

"1986-90. 1957 and 1949-93"

You can hide a lot of surprises when the lead line was thrown in parallel paths 150 feet a apart or farther.

So - "Be careful out there"!

Rik
 

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1977 Morgan OI 30
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438 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Radar doen't show submerged rock ?

You have no charts or GPS/chartplotter that would've told you the rocks were there? :confused: Or you did and thought your radar would show you submerged and partially submerged rocks?

Jim
I trust the older paper over the newer gps cards anyday.

I have and use my paper charts, I know the area well and simply made the mistake [albiet a dumb one] of going thru it in some dense fog. It was plain foolish to try and negotiate it in fog. I've been on the water for over 30 yrs and this is a first. [though I have found sandbars and mussel shoals in the past]

I'm diving on it to check the hull. Its a shoal draft so I remain opptomistic and hopeful.

'I remain happily, one of those who admit to having run aground'

I know the CG has many people who would gladly risk their life to save someone. But when you put a lot of bureaucrats in the mix...it stifles the very idea of 'heroics'. IMHO Its a syndrome derived from the 'thinkers' at the top, many of whom would never do the actual job...It leading to a society where men will be told to sit on their hands 'so no one will get hurt'.

Give a couple brave men a 26' inflatable and a 100hp and they would get the life saving job done.

I mention the story below because I believe it explains first hand though on a much smaller scale what is really taking place at the national level today.

I was in a firefight once and 6 men were medivacked. A new Lt .Col. [former finance officer] sitting in a chopper at 5,000 feet told those of us on the ground to get on line and assault a small bunker that contanied a machine gun that had wounded those men...he was going 'by the book'... a guy with me holding an M-60 was ready to open up on him. My conviction along with other men's protest that the pilot is innocent probably saved some grief for us all. We ducked down and rained 155mm howitzers on the bunker for a bit, then did the assault.
I know the US is loaded w brave men who can think and function without that top heavy system thats in place.
 

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Owner, Green Bay Packers
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First, sorry to hear about the damage to your boat. Second, there's a couple of lessons provided here.
"Short cut", "thick fog", "NEW radar": any one of these is an accident waiting to happen, when you combine them all it's a wonder that you got off as easily as you did. I'm not beating you while you are down, I'm sure you have learned a lot of things from this experience, but others can benefit from the mistakes you made as well. When in reduced visibility you need to stay in established channels and allow extra distance to any possible obstruction. Choosing to head out in thick fog should always be avoided if possible. Thick fog is not the place to cut your teeth on radar, practice in good visibility so you can get a feel for it.
The USCG regularly goes out in "suicide" conditions around here to rescue people in need, not sure about anywhere else.

just bumping some good advise.
 

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I have been looking at quite a few boats... and it seems that most of them have their Radar repeater at the Nav. station instead of where the helm could make better use of it. With it at the Nav station you need two people on watch and working in unison. It works but isn't ideal when you are short crewed. Which ever boat i acquire I will move the repeater to where I can put it to good use.
Also If you just acquired a radar, I recommend that you attend radar school for edification, or at least get together with someone who is skilled an can train you in the use of it.
The radar is an excellent tool, but isn't a cure all for sailing in fog or other conditions. The Mark One Eyeball is still the prime tool for lookouts.
 

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1977 Morgan OI 30
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Discussion Starter #18
All is well..

Just did an underwater sweep of the bottom and noticed two scratches about 9" long and some minor roughness on the keel near the kedge. This boat is built like a tank! Good Idea on the radar school. But, I have used multiple radars and attending a class would not have made any difference. Staying to known routes would :mad: As they say in Topeka...duh!
 

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I think I know the area where you tried to make the shortcut... Pretty tricky even at high tide. There's at least one guy at the club who's had to be pulled off out there.

You must have made it out early, Quincy Bay was fogged in just about all day, so it was a fun filled day sitting at the mooring cleaning the cabin:rolleyes:

Glad to know there was no huge issue with your boat though...



-Mike
 
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