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Full time cruiser
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542 Posts
There is an understanding among pilots, that every safety regulation the FAA has passed is underpinned by serious accidents. The Coast Guard has regulatory authority regarding boating safety. However, hopefully, they will pass a regulation mandating AIS B before any more serious accidents occur.

I guess I would ask a couple of questions. How many "serious accidents" have occurred that would have been prevented if the boats had ais?

Second - why do all boats above a certain size have to have ais when the I would submit most are not really going anywhere - day sail, race, out to anchorage for a night or two. One of our complaints of our ais and we have had it for 11 years, is that as we approach harbors the screen get so full of ais hits that it is becoming useless.

Third and I am not sure of this but the big guys who run class a may have the ability to turn off class b signals - not sure of that.

We have a lot of open ocean miles in a variety of conditions and a variety of different countries and use our ais extensively and communicated with big guys to affect a safe pass and believe in it but everyone have it I do not see a reason.
 

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Full time cruiser
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542 Posts
As far as I know there is no agency that certifies the sea worthiness of recreational vessels... including safety, navigation and communications equipment. Autos have to pass a state inspection. General aviation planes have mandated inspections as well I assume.

I don't oppose either having guidelines and or a periodic inspection. I see only and upside for the minor inconvenience.

Presently this is all left to either the manufacture... and they don't provide this equipment... or the owners and so do and some don't. Maybe sailing associations and schools have a checklist? But not everyone is a member and not everyone has attended and received their literature.

We have sailed to over 47 different countries and had a few inspections - not a lot but a few. Wintering over in Israel we got a 90 day you can stay - but we are wintering over so after 90 days we had to go to the gov't, fill out some papers, given a list of what we had to have, and then a guy came to our boat for an inspection. He was really good and one look and he knew we knew what we were doing and had all the stuff but did a quick let me see this or that. That gave us another 90 days and if we want to stay long we have to have a more complete exam.
All commercial boats - the guy next to us takes paying people for a couple of hour sail - has to have yearly inspections. Other boats have to have an inspection every 2 years.

As for op and masthead tri colors - you can have them in Israel but unless you have the ones on the bow and stern you will not pass inspection.
 

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Crusty Cruiser
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8 Posts
In real life at sea in small boats, in my experience, small gives way to big and slow gives way to fast, day and night, no matter what the means of propulsion. This may not be the international rule of the sea, but break it on a small boat and you may be risking your life and the lives of those along with you.
 

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21,803 Posts
Yes, I will give way to a large ship, but I do so long before there is a risk of collision and the ColReg avoidance rules apply. It's pretty dangerous to find oneself in a real risk of collision and make your own rules. Then again, any action is ultimately allowed, as necessary, to avoid a collision. It's not an exact science.
 
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Yes, I will give way to a large ship, but I do so long before there is a risk of collision and the ColReg avoidance rules apply. It's pretty dangerous to find oneself in a real risk of collision and make your own rules. Then again, any action is ultimately allowed, as necessary, to avoid a collision. It's not an exact science.
Don't depend on COLREGS to save your ass. Stay away from other vessels whenever possible. Kinda like driving... you can't expect other drivers to follow laws and sensible safe driving... and have courtesy.
 

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dadio917
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326 Posts
Real life experience;
Piloting my freighter south through the Anegada Passage on a fairly blustery night (what's new about that?) I was on the bridge, wide awake and taking my watch seriously, not sitting in my helm chair relaxing.
I saw a running light (don't remember if it was red or green) ahead so I walked out onto the bridge wing to look carefully at the disembodied light waving about ahead. Not being able to determine it's distance away, I headed over to the radar to check it out but never made it to the radar, as this light slid by the bridge wing before I got anywhere near the radar. I ran back out to the bridge wing and saw the yacht slide by my hull about 15 feet away!
A masthead tricolor is only a colored light waving madly about somewhere ahead.
Deck mounted running lights shine on the sea, the sails and the spray which gives the observer some idea of the distance away the vessel might be. Add to that the stern light shining on the wake and an observer at 50 to 80 feet off the water even has some idea of how long the vessel is.
Again, a disembodied light wildly waving about gives an observer on a ship none of the information the deck mounted lights can.
In several other instances in harbors, I have been surprised to come across a completely unlit sailboat in my path, only to realize sometime later (after cursing the other captain for being unlit), that he had a masthead tricolor that was completely obscured by my bimini.
As mentioned above perhaps AIS could help with this situation (mine was pre-AIS by many years), if it is functioning on both vessels and if someone is monitoring it.
Personally, I'll not trust my life to an electronic device that may not be installed aboard the other vessel, can be shut off because the operator gets tired of hearing the alarm go off incessantly, or for any other reason. Remember the two navy ship collisions recently?
Ever since that night, I have been vehemently opposed to masthead tricolors, though the vertical red/green sailing lights are an acceptable alternative if one feels their deck mounted running lights aren't sufficient in themselves.
Way too many sailors forget that the majority of the vessels they may encounter are not looking at them from the same vantage point (6 feet or so above sea level) that they are, on their sailboat.

This story is valuable. I have to admit I was thinking offshore in deep swells the tri color 60' above our deck would be visible from father away and preferred for this situation. But after reading the above am not so sure. also have AIS transponder and radar with alarms.
 
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