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Old 07-25-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Honking ferries in NYC

Hi,

We started a discussion in NYC recently, because at the beginning of June the ferries from a pretty near ferry station started to use their horns expressively.

We have approximately 1,000 horn blasts a day, which is really disturbing!

I would like to ask if ferries in your town also use their horns (4 times) when leaving the dock...
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:23 AM   #2
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There are USCG rules about horn soundings when approaching or departing a dock/wharf/pier and entering into a channel. Perhaps someone in the ferry system realized they were doing it and instituted a new "mandatory" horn rule to reduce liability.

Or maybe the accident already happened and they go their butts sued because they hadn't sounded the proper horn signals.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:36 AM   #3
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That's NYC.

In Memphis there was a law against honking one's car horn. I have no idea if it still holds but noise pollution is largely ignored these days.

In the 50s (and perhaps the 60s) there was a law against loud pipes on cars here in Washington State.. The "fuzz" had meters that measured the noise levels whey you rev'ed up your engine. If you made about 1/3 the noise of a typical Harley (now) you got a ticket. Sometimes the "good old days" were actually good.

But if Harleys were made to sound like a new Toyota Corolla there would be very few harleys. And that would be VERY good.
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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Here in Campbell River BC the local ferry gives one short blast just as it is about to depart from the terminal. Also from time to time we hear a series of short blasts which of course causes everyone to run to see which sailboat is now impeding the flow of our public transportation system.
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:14 PM   #5
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USCG rules require that a commercial vessel of a certain size or greater sound one long blast and three short ones before moving astern. It is the law.

There was an interesting article in the New Yorker recently about how a kayaker complained to the ferry officials that they were violating the law by not sounding. They started sounding as required by law and now many, many more are complaining about it.

You can't win!!!

David
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Old 07-26-2013, 12:17 PM   #6
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Here in Campbell River BC the local ferry gives one short blast just as it is about to depart from the terminal
Same in Powell River.

Quote:
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Also from time to time we hear a series of short blasts which of course causes everyone to run to see which sailboat is now impeding the flow of our public transportation system.
I call that the "Sound of Summer".
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:11 PM   #7
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First time I heard the Vallejo ferry blow its horn was earlier this month although I have been boating in the area for over two years. I was nearing the ferry building (running parallel to shore) when the ferry started to back up (to head for its berth across the strait, thus the passenger-less departure was not in the published schedule). The ferry gave only one short blast, not the required three short or one prolonged blast. That was better than the usual practice of nothing but not very seaman -like.

In Victoria, the two tugs towing/pushing the fuel barge each made three short blasts as each approached the end of the docks even though the small, assisting tug was going forward and the main tug was pushing with its stern:

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Old 07-26-2013, 03:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
Hi,

We started a discussion in NYC recently, because at the beginning of June the ferries from a pretty near ferry station started to use their horns expressively.

We have approximately 1,000 horn blasts a day, which is really disturbing!

I would like to ask if ferries in your town also use their horns (4 times) when leaving the dock...
The answer is yes..they do.

I prolonged blast leaving the dock...3 short meaning operating astern propulsion. Mandated by Rules of the Road and if something happened they would be found at fault for not sounding unless the Captain Of the Port (USCG) mandates (may even need Secretary level approval) for "community reasons" it doesn't have to be done.

Could be worse...you could live near one of the airports or heliports...
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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I'm a little surprised at the amount of discussion. It's all spelled out clearly in the NavRules:

Rule 34 (Inland):

(a) When power-driven vessels are in sight of one another and
meeting or crossing at a distance within half a mile of each other,
each vessel underway, when maneuvering as authorized or required
by these Rules:
(i) shall indicate that maneuver by the following signals on her
whistle: one short blast to mean “I intend to leave you on my
port side”; two short blasts to mean “I intend to leave you on my
starboard side”; and three short blasts to mean “I am operating
astern propulsion”.

..
(g) When a power-driven vessel is leaving a dock or berth, she
shall sound one prolonged blast.

No need to guess or rely on what you heard somewhere. You can download the NavRules book for free. It's written in (relatively) plain English.

This section is pretty basic; everyone piloting anything as substantial as a trawler ought to at least know Rule 34. I'm not sure how you can even make passing and crossing arrangements with commercial vessels unless you know what they mean when they say "one whistle" or "two whistles".

BTW, there is no (g) in International rules. So I assume the discussion about a ferry issuing one prolonged and three short on leaving the dock was in US inland waters.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:42 PM   #10
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Hi,

We have approximately 1,000 horn blasts a day, which is really disturbing!
That's part of the ambiance of a marine environment. Enjoy!
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:12 PM   #11
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Most ferries I've seen are double ended. So which direction uses "astern propulsion"?

Bob
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Old 07-26-2013, 05:23 PM   #12
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The ones with a "stern". This is the difference in either a long single blast or 3 short ones.
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #13
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The ones with a "stern". This is the difference in either a long single blast or 3 short ones.

Not true...I can be One prolonged for leaving bow first, Or one prolonged and 3 short short for leaving stern first. It's never one or the other...
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Old 07-26-2013, 10:45 PM   #14
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Most ferries I've seen are double ended. So which direction uses "astern propulsion"?

Bob
Neither. They leave going forward. Swap nav lights, propulsion units, and whistle signals.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:51 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
USCG rules require that a commercial vessel of a certain size or greater sound one long blast and three short ones before moving astern. It is the law.

There was an interesting article in the New Yorker recently about how a kayaker complained to the ferry officials that they were violating the law by not sounding. They started sounding as required by law and now many, many more are complaining about it.

You can't win!!!

David
I really hope that you aren't right... I was also mentioned in that article as one of the complainers... ;-)
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:58 AM   #16
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That's part of the ambiance of a marine environment. Enjoy!
10 blasts a day would be enjoyable, but 1000 a day are way too much! ;-)
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:48 AM   #17
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I'm a little surprised at the amount of discussion. It's all spelled out clearly...
No need to be surprised. There are those who think doing a crazy Ivan when burdened is perfectly acceptable "seamanship" yet criticize a tug master for using standard sound signals for the operation they are engaged. Shouldn't be surprised at all.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:51 AM   #18
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I've noticed little consistency among professional mariners regarding sound signals when leaving the berth/dock. Recent examples:

1. See post #7 about the two Victoria tugs pushing/guiding a barge each giving three shorts each.

2. Post #7 about Vallejo ferries making no signals going stern first except once giving one short when I was approaching.

3. Richmond tugboat going stern first making no signal and popping out 50 yards in front of me.

4. Passenger ship leaving San Francisco giving one prolonged signal, and then repeating the signal after a couple of minutes after it started making headway, going stern first.



The above are observations.

I'd do a "crazy Ivan" anytime it's safe and otherwise reduces the possibility of damage or injury. Ever been forced to make a sudden course change as when other boats aren't following Colregs?
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:41 PM   #19
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The posts which cite USCG rules are correct and due to litigious liability I believe you will see less of the "sheel be right" mentality and more of the "the book says" mentality.

Not that I am standing for one more than the other but as a former County Sheriff we had rules in place when deputies should use their siren and flashing lights and when they shouldnt based upon their reponse code. However their was always a line at the bottom of the p and p's that allowed for officer discretion based upon special circumstances.

I just hope the waterways dont become as noisy as the roadways.
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Old 07-27-2013, 12:52 PM   #20
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Naval Shiphandler's Guide pp 154 - 155

"It is always prudent to have sound signals as a backup if radio communication fails."

"Three very short blasts tells the tug to increase to full speed in the direction it is already going."

NAVAL SHIPHANDLER'S GUIDE | U.S. Naval Institute

It's difficult to make headway going astern.
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