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Old 07-12-2011, 06:41 AM   #1
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Capsizing safety?

Yesterday, we*returned on Lake Michigan*from a great weekend on the tug and found ourselves in 3-5 footers on the beam. The tug rolled quite a bit*and occasionally slamed down on the chines shaking the hull. The Admiral grasped a life vest and started asking serious questions.

What would it take for our tug to capsize?

Would it settle upside down?

If so, how would we get out of the pilot house?

Do any of you have*experiences or knowledge or advice about the possiblity*of capsizing*and related*safety aboard trawlers, especially with enclosed navigation stations?*

*
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:08 AM   #2
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Not to shed too much of a humorous light on a serious thread like this, but it sure make a good argument for having and navigating from a flybridge. ;-) I'm just sayin'.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:45 AM   #3
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Contact your manufacturer for the stability data for your boat.* Or 42" Krogen has a range of positive stability to 85 degrees, after that she won't shelf right.* If she did go over, I hope that the windows don't blow out till we can get off the boat.
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:46 AM   #4
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RE: Capsizing safety?

I enjoy the humor,*however might you also have someone else onboard and down below?*Isn't it*still a consideration?
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:13 AM   #5
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Larry

Contact the AT people in Seattle. They are very open on these types of*questions. Unless you are carrying too much weight on the bridge for what she is designed for, I'd not worry. For grins, install an inclinometer. Most*get quite uncomfortable at about 20 degrees, well below capsize potential for your vessel.

On the negative side though, sailboats, full displacement *and many soft chine vessels will skid sideways in a hevy beam sea - this is good. Hard chine vessels like the GB, AT and the NT will skid less (the worst is a cat) and can dig in and capsize. In the big waters of the PNW like Cape Caution or Dixon Entrance heavy beam seas are common. Tacking through the big seas lessens the roll, but it is still a lumpy ride.

I have encountered 3-5 foot seas that were miserable and 10 foot waves that were child's play. It depends on the "period" and wind velocity as to the conditions and discomfort. Listen to the weather forecast and use your AT's 15 knots to get out of the weather before it comes. The Great Lakes are notorious for quick building seas. I have heard many stories, particularly one from a friend whose 26' Searay capsized on Lake Erie quite close to shore. Getting the family out of the boat was challenge.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:28 AM   #6
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Quote:
GonzoF1 wrote:
Not to shed too much of a humorous light on a serious thread like this, but it sure make a good argument for having and navigating from a flybridge. ;-) I'm just sayin'.
You better hold on tight if you're up top in those conditions.* It's violent up there in beam seas. * On my MT I've had to go to the lower station and on my way noticed that the salon door had popped out of its track.* Fortunately it lodged itself behind the ladder to the flybridge and wasn't skidding around the cockpit.

*
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:42 AM   #7
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Sunchaser

Yes, Lake Erie is very shallow and thus the waves build very quickly. Plus the common west winds can traverse the entire length of the lake.

Great Lakes waves are spaced closer together relative to ocean waves and can have a periodicity about equal to the boats roll response. That means as the boat recovers from the first wave, it is hit again and like striking a pendulum it keeps building up the roll angle.*

The waves may also come in sets with the largest about 8 - 10 waves apart.*If they are on the beam, it is safest to steer more into these to reduce impact.

There are many safe harbor ports along Lake MI's eastern shore, about every 10-20 mi. So the opportunity to get into an interior harbor is quite frequent. Since the winds often change direction during the day, you may only be in for a short delay.*
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #8
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Larry M

If a boat can go 85 deg and recover, that suggests that the windows and doors should be closed and sealed to avoid flooding?*That doesn't help a rapid exit...*
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #9
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RE: Capsizing safety?

After just crossing the Yucatan Channel in very big beam seas on my 36' MT, I wondered the same thing for days. There were times I did not think she was going to recover from the roll. I found my safe place sitting at the companionway to the salon with it open and wearing a PFD. Was just about impossible to stay on the fly bridge and besides the pedestal seat had ripped away from the floor. SHE IS A COASTAL CRUISER, I will treat her as such in the future! BB
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:49 AM   #10
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RE: Capsizing safety?

A 37' Nordic tug came into the harbor this past weekend. He had made the trip up to Prince William Sound From Washington. I asked him how the tug handled the Gulf crossing. He told me that the tug had a tendency to skid in a beam sea. (slide sideways)

He also mentioned something about NT requesting him not to photograph the hull. ???

We didn't get into it but what's up with that?

SD

*
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:52 AM   #11
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Great post Tom. I hate acronyms though. All I can think of is American Tug. Is that what Larry has? If that's so I think they are quite beamy and rather flat on the bottom. Also with the rather low profile and lack of FB (haha) capsizing should be very unlikely. Good point about the chine tripping though. That's about the only thing I have against hard chines. A boat like Larry's should have a very quick righting moment that can feel really bad and gets a bit scary just because of the quickness of the motion. I had a boat w a "snap roll" and hated that aspect of it's stability. VERY uncomfortable. I know over 50 owners of that boat and have never heard of any of them capsizing. Capsizing is a bit like loosing your boat to a bad anchor. It's an extremely rare occurrence. I do feel better w my 2 tons of ballast and soft chines that should give me some ability to slide sideways on a large beam sea. Willy is probably self righting but would sink anyway as the plastic windows would almost surely be gone. But it would be easier to get out of a boat sinking that was right side up. Bad thoughts to be sure but (risking more bad thoughts) what capsizing events of trawlers does anybody know about. Not many I'd guess. I know of none.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:21 AM   #12
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RE: Capsizing safety?

I guess the first thing I would comment is that while it can be a very uncomfortable feeling I have not really heard of any trawlers actually rolling over in a seaway... not that someone hasn't done something really stupid and made it happen.* The issue really becomes one of seamanship, your ability to handle the boat in the conditions at that time... and your decision to alter course to a different port to lessen the effect of the beam seas when you judge that it will become more than a uncomfortable situation.. and actually a dangerous one. Any given boat will have it's motion changed by a number of factors, loading, speed,course, ability of the helmsman or auto pilot. Volunteer would become pretty dam uncomfortable in a beam sea... until I deployed the paravanes.. then she could ride in some pretty scary beam seas in relative safety and comfort.* I did roll her on her side once in a surfing wave situation when i didnt have the fish in the water and I was going too fast... and it was pretty spooky but not really dangerous. Putting the fish in the water, slowing the boat down, and slightly altering course made ALL the difference for the boat and the crew.

HOLLYWOOD
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:28 AM   #13
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RE: Capsizing safety?

I just attended by bi-anual water survival training. The training is conducted in a simluator that replicates a helicopter ditching into the sea. Due to the top heavy design of helicopters, upon entering the water, they capsize nearly 100% of the time, so the simulator rolls over just as soon as it hits the water. Unlike the simulator, an actual aircraft may not fill up full of water quite as rapidly. A boat, I would think, would be a little less water-tight and would probably flood quicker. This is to your advantage. The most important thing to consider is that if the vessel capsizes, you will end up on your feet innitially in an upside-down environment. Your emergency exits will be 180 degrees from where you expect them to be, and toward the ceiling.

In a ditching situation, occupants of the aircraft sort of know what to expect once it enters the water. We remain strapped into our seats throughout the entire inversion process, and only when things stabilize do we exit. A capsizing vessel is different as it happens so quickly. Occupants are likey to be VERY disoriented, and that is step number 1 towards panic. In seas rough enough to capsize your boat, all occupants will most likely be in PFD's. We have inflatable PFD's on the aircraft. We are taught not to inflate them until we are clear from the aircraft. That much bouyancy can trap you against the floor and prevent your escape. I keep inflatable PFD's on my boats. It's certainly much more important to be able to swim out of an elcosed space than it is to have bouyancy, so occupants inside the cabin shouldn't be wearing a PFD other than an inflatable.

It's a pretty scary scenario to imagine. So is fire. Once or twice a year, my family at least discusses our fire escape plan at home. We've practiced it, but we all felt sort of silly standing outside looking at the house in our pajamas! LOL! It's not a far-fetched idea to discuss all emergency procedures with your passengers. Fire, flooding, capsizing, etc. should all be things that each occupant has some idea of what to do. You're the captain. Your emphasis on safety and occasional review of emergency procedures should elliminate arguments, and will also instill some trustworthiness in the captain. Not to imply that your mates don't trust you! This idea just takes that trust to the next level. Assign specific duties too. If its just you and the Admiral on board, instruct her to man the first aid kit. Its something you will want to keep with you, just like a hand held VHF and Epirb. If she's got a job to do in an emergency, other than screaming, she will be more confident and focused on what's important instead of asking, "How did you let us get into this situation"?
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Old 07-12-2011, 10:38 AM   #14
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Eric,

The American Tug is 34' at the water line, is 13'3" at the beam, and the keel is 3'6".*

nehringer,

Your comments on the water survival training seem quite appropriate to this situation.

Hollywood,

I agree about speed as a safety factor. As I sped up, the waves had less affect on the roll.*
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:05 AM   #15
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Capsizing safety?

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:
Great post Tom. I hate acronyms though. All I can think of is American Tug. Is that what Larry has? If that's so I think they are quite beamy and rather flat on the bottom. Also with the rather low profile and lack of FB (haha) capsizing should be very unlikely. Good point about the chine tripping though. That's about the only thing I have against hard chines. A boat like Larry's should have a very quick righting moment that can feel really bad and gets a bit scary just because of the quickness of the motion. I had a boat w a "snap roll" and hated that aspect of it's stability. VERY uncomfortable. ...
*Recently experienced a "snap roll" of about*20 degrees when a ship's wake hit me from abeam.* Could imagine being thrown from a flybridge seat...* The Coot's not shy in showing its bottom.




Glad to be piloting a boat closer to the center of rotation.

... And "ditto" regarding Eric's comment on*acronyms.


-- Edited by markpierce on Tuesday 12th of July 2011 11:29:36 AM
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:02 PM   #16
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Button her up, slow down, and change course if you are concerned about the stability. The boat can take more than the crew!
My worries would not be on the stability, but keeping her running. Fuel filters would worry me more than "Roll overs"
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:19 PM   #17
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Quote:
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Button her up, ...
*Yeah.* Close the doors and, if you can,*dog them down tight.

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Old 07-12-2011, 12:43 PM   #18
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RE: Capsizing safety?

"Yeah.* Close the doors and, if you can,*dog them down tight."

Mark, actually the AT PH doors very similar you yours with essentially the same hardware.*Easy to secure.*

Also, I have included a picture of the hull which you can see is not a rounded as yours since this is a semi-displacement hull.*
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:22 PM   #19
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Only a few weeks ago, on a boys fishing trip we had a 12 mile passage to make with 10ft + short breaking beam seas. Wind was 35 to 40kn.
There was no way I could consistently maintain the course as the rolling was so severe. We headed up to bring the seas on to the forward quarter - and everything smoothed out, we may have even had a beer! When we were up-wind of our destination, we made a hard turn to starboard and surfed down the waves - at one point reaching 14kn - in perfect control.

Each vessel handles very differently and I am still finding the best way to manage Pioneer after seven years... But any sea forward of the beam has never been a problem. No slamming, minimal pitching - through the waves like a submarine. The wipers work very hard!


Pioneer rolls outward in a turn - just like a destroyer, I like to think.
Some other boats do this also - the Selene 53 for one.

This has some beneficial effect when in aft quartering seas:

1) The sea lifts the stern and pushes it sideways, say to starboard, and the bow turns to port and the vessel rolls to starboard
2) Applying starboard rudder quickly reverses the roll and brings the bow back on course.

Steering in this situation is much easier than on a vessel which rolls inward. However, it can be alarming to newbies and I certainly found it so when we first got the boat.
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Old 07-12-2011, 06:28 PM   #20
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RE: Capsizing safety?

Let's say it happens and you are unfortunate enough to be inside the wheelhouse or cabin. We've all seen it on TV and in the movies, and having been through the "dunker", I'd have to say that the scene depicted on the screen ain't too far off the point. Supposing glass on the rolling side of the boat doesn't blow out, as stated, you'll be right-side up in an upside-down world. It won't happen slow, it will likely SNAP over tossing you about along with all sorts of loose projectiles inside. Not a good place to be. But, to this point, since the glass didn't blow out, you'll be dry. THIS isn't the time to attempt an escape, but rather a time to assess your injuries and those of your passengers/crew, gather survival equipment, PFD's and a hammer...yes, a hammer. You can't stay in there forever. Once on her back, she will eventually downflood. You're also going to be draining the fuel tanks into the cabin. You need to leave! Instead of waiting for the cabin to downflood on it's own terms, standing in a pool of fuel, you need to open up an exit. Sliding windows and exits are designed that way on a boat for a reason. The outside water pressure won't keep sliding exits from opening. However, if you were listening, you have a hammer in your hand just in case. The water will be in as much of a hurry to get in as you will be to get out. The water has the right of way! You need to wait until your EXIT is submerged. Exit head-first, reaching both hands to the frame of your exit and pull yourself through, then push away...swim up. Wait until you get to the surface to inflate your PFD. I doubt by now the vessel has sunk deep enough to have any concern about ascending too rapidly...that's one reason to wait until you get to the surface to blow the vest. Another reason is there maybe debris, or snags on the way from the boat to the surface. Inflatable vests don't like snags. If you have another type of PFD, you need to get the hell out of the boat before water reaches the floor, (now the ceiling).

Like Mike says though, its pretty likely not to happen but it sure can.
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