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Old 11-23-2017, 01:54 AM   #1
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First night cruise

Hit the Bay for our first night cruise. Gorgeous out there but boy do you need to pay much closer attention to the environment! Especially the big cargo ship that was coming out of the estuary as we were coming in. Didn't spot it until it was right in front of us. Guess the tug boat that preceded it should have been a clue. Anyways, we never got close enough to warrant warning honks or anything, but still it was a surprise how it was suddenly upon us.

Also weird not to see the water in front of the boat well enough to spot an obstruction such as a log or whatever. Do people typically use more powerful spotlights than the one we have, or do you simply hope you don't hit anything that's in the water. Obviously, I kept a close eye on the radar and the surroundings, but it's doubtful I would have spotted anything half submerged as I would be able to do during the day.

Anyways, here are some pics!
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Old 11-23-2017, 02:07 AM   #2
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Hi, Enjoyed the photo's, we took more or less the same on our visit to San Francisco this week.
Obviously we've no boat here as were just passing through.
On night passages we pilot from the fly bridge and don't use search/spot lights except in an emergency as they destroy the night vision.
Having seen the lights of San Francisco it's easy to see how you could miss a ships lights with all the background lighting unless you had your eyes peeled.
Like many things practice makes perfect.
Happy Thanksgiving.
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Old 11-23-2017, 02:13 AM   #3
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Hi, Enjoyed the photo's, we took more or less the same on our visit to San Francisco this week.
Obviously we've no boat here as were just passing through.
On night passages we pilot from the fly bridge and don't use search/spot lights except in an emergency as they destroy the night vision.
Having seen the lights of San Francisco it's easy to see how you could miss a ships lights with all the background lighting unless you had your eyes peeled.
Like many things practice makes perfect.
Happy Thanksgiving.


Yeah, exactly. Lots of competing lights, and the issue is that it was easy to assume the cargo ship was still tied up with all the other ones. Wasn't until we got closer that we realized it was under way. I did notice it via AIS but I should have done so sooner.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:05 AM   #4
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MichaelB1969,

Great post and great pix! Night running is fun and can be very peaceful and generally not a lot of boats out. However, you're right, one needs to pay attention.

I do a lot of night boating, mostly local stuff to a restaurant, hangout, friends place, etc. Rarely an issue. I pay a bit more attention if it's a weekend night as half of the boaters out then are drunker than I am <g>....

Did one last night, moon shining so that it was easy to see. Dead calm. Motored home at a slow 5 kts. and didn't want the ambiance to end. Even docked from the flybridge. And easy to see crab traps.

Occasionally I'll run in area where I haven't been but requires a bit more planning and a "for sure" place to dock up at the end without hassle. And radar is nice or avoiding stuff.
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Old 11-23-2017, 07:56 AM   #5
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Day light travels for us. Too many hazards at night.
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Old 11-23-2017, 08:18 AM   #6
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On night passages we pilot from the fly bridge and don't use search/spot lights except in an emergency as they destroy the night vision.


And they also prevent other boat to see your running lights and determine your direction.

L
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Old 11-23-2017, 08:59 AM   #7
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I get into enough trouble during the day! Have done two overnight cruises but they were out in big water.
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Old 11-23-2017, 03:05 PM   #8
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Growing up sailing on Puget Sound with fickle winds, currents, and even more fickle outboard auxillary motors, I have spend a LOT of time on the water at night. I donít like to use spotlights as they mess up your night vision. With Kinship, we have run a bit at night it is just a matter of keeping a sharp lookout.
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Old 11-23-2017, 03:54 PM   #9
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Nice pics, Michael.

I also love an evening cruise. We did that a couple nights ago to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. The weather gods co-operated with light winds, a flat sea and 32C (about 85F). We were escorted by dolphins heading up the coast, we anchored for a swim, then a seafood dinner for two on the boat, (prawns, Tommy Ruffs and an avocado salad), champagne while watching the sunset over the water, then cruised back to the marina in the dark.

Being a weeknight, we were the only boat in the water after sunset. No bright lights, No crab pots, or other hazards. I know the local water well so I find it very relaxing at night. I piloted most of the way back to the marina from a beanbag chair on the bow without any instruments other than my autopilot remote.
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Old 11-23-2017, 03:59 PM   #10
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Nice pics, Michael.

I also love an evening cruise. We did that a couple nights ago to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. The weather gods co-operated with light winds, a flat sea and 32C (about 85F). We were escorted by dolphins heading up the coast, we anchored for a swim, then a seafood dinner for two on the boat, (prawns, Tommy Ruffs and an avocado salad), champagne while watching the sunset over the water, then cruised back to the marina in the dark.

Being a weeknight, we were the only boat in the water after sunset. No bright lights, No crab pots, or other hazards. I know the local water well so I find it very relaxing at night. I piloted most of the way back to the marina from a beanbag chair on the bow without any instruments other than my autopilot remote.


Sounds like a great day (and night)! Happy Anniversary!
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:58 AM   #11
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Good comments about night boating.

There's goods and bads with both night and day boating.

The downside of day boating is on a nice weekend afternoon is that is crowded with everyone. But if one is careful, it works. Just gets scary when 15 boats are negotiating going under the bridge at the same time.

Weekend nights can be tricky, because often that's when the people who have been drinking all day long are going home, I tend to avoid weekend nights for the most part, but when seeing an oncoming boat I assume he's drunk and maneuver accordingly.

Logs, flotsam and jetsam is not much of an issue unless a big storm just came through. (depending on area).

During the week is great both day and night.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:19 PM   #12
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Two words, "Night Vision." If you're going to do nighttime boating, it will make it so much more pleasant. Once was very expensive but today quite reasonable.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:38 PM   #13
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Good comments about night boating.

There's goods and bads with both night and day boating.
Minor disagreement on your comment about bads with night and day boating.

Any time we're on the boat it's good. Some times are "gooder" than others, and some are "less gooders", but they're all good.

I love night boating. It's quiet, there's usually nobody else out there, the view from the fly bridge is terrific and a good time is had by all. We do keep a very close eye on the radar and I have a hand held 1 million cp rechargeable spotlight that I can use to light up an approaching boat if they don't veer as we get within about 1/2 mile of each other. I'm usually the first one to veer off, but it's nice to see a similar course change from the other boat. Just let's me know he's awake, not too drunk, and he's aware that I'm out there too.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:58 PM   #14
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Day light travels for us. Too many hazards at night.
Actually less... cause you cant see most.

With training and experience, plus all the new gadgets....not sure hazards is the correct term.

It is more difficult, but mitigate the difficulties/hazards and it shouldnt be crossed off the list for most, just those that want to....which is understandable.

The assistance towing job forced me out at all hours...most times by the time I got home, I was happy to experience the change of pace.
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Old 11-24-2017, 04:51 PM   #15
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After a night time trip down the ICW between Haul Over and down to my slip.... if it weren't for a younger set of eyes, I think I would have missed many unlighted nav aids. The light pollution from the adjacent 'establishments' did have a way of messing with the night vision.
I installed a fixed Flir IR camera facing aft and a Flir IR swiveling camera on the pilot house..... never miss an unlighted nav aid, any more. Yup, they are expensive but cheaper than repairing the boat or buying a new boat.
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:27 PM   #16
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I seldom operate my boat in the dark. The exceptions are if I need to leave before sunrise or if we don't make it to our destination before sunset. Both of these are pretty rare.

I may be the exception, but my policy is to not go any faster than the speed where I can stop within the distance I can see and react. No spotlights or "headlights".
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:52 PM   #17
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Recreational boating is about fun.

Commercial vessels ply the same wayers as us 24 hrs a day.

Sure their vessels may be larger and stronger, but ultimately, in all the hours of night operation as a commercial captain I have, I have hit little or nothing.

While boating should be relaxing, fear of the dark shouldn't be oppresive either.

Take your time and don't exceed your abilities and enjoy the night if you wsh.
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:59 PM   #18
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I seldom ".
Well, I don't know your definition of seldom as we try to never enter a marina or inlet after dark (except for Fort Everglades and Lake Worth). However, we do cruise at night and occasionally find ourselves leaving before daylight. If seldom is once every 5 years, then I'd not spend on night vision. If it's 4 times a year, I probably would. It's a very good extra tool. You can even just go for a hand held.
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Old 11-24-2017, 08:28 PM   #19
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Even if you don't like it, its a good idea to do it once in a while. You don't want to be in a situation where the conditions have slowed you down, and you are forced to run faster than you are comfortable, or you have to beat up your passengers, because you have to reach your destination by sundown. I'm not condoning recklessness, but an occaisional run in bigger seas, fog, or the dark will give you more options when things don't go as planned.
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Old 11-24-2017, 09:00 PM   #20
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Even if you don't like it, its a good idea to do it once in a while. You don't want to be in a situation where the conditions have slowed you down, and you are forced to run faster than you are comfortable, or you have to beat up your passengers, because you have to reach your destination by sundown. I'm not condoning recklessness, but an occaisional run in bigger seas, fog, or the dark will give you more options when things don't go as planned.
You don't every have to reach your destination by sundown. There is always an alternative and you have to determine which is best for you. Now I do agree to occasionally learning how to handle other than ideal conditions.
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