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Old 04-20-2012, 04:54 PM   #1
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How best to handle strange behavior?

So we've taken Polly P. all the way down to Melbourne, half-way back to Brunswick GA, and finally home to NC last week. In all that time I think I encountered maybe two boats who gave us a rude pass, and maybe a handful of sailboats who refused to slow down as I tried to pass. We just ignore the sailboats since they always seem to be in a world all their own, and my wife screamed at one of the rude passes on VHF 16, using profanity no less.

After all that time, and maybe 5 miles from home we encountered another trawler. I knew he was coming because I heard the dockmaster from the marina we just left telling him to slow down over the VHF. As we approached the Little River swing bridge, I called the tender on VHF 09 to ask for an opening and he instructed me to wait for the trawler behind me. As the trawler behind approached the bridge I heard him call out to the bridge on VHF 16, and I replied "South Carolina bridges monitor 09 cap.." As we proceeded through the bridge the other trawler came steaming right up to my transom, and I heard some folks at the boat ramp nearby call him a Jackass as his wake hit their boats. This area of Little River is congested and I go slowly here (and I don't get yelled at either). Meanwhile the other trawler is right behind me. Very close behind me. As I leave the no wake zone and there are no boats around or anything my wake might hurt I push up my speed to a normal 7.5 knots, and still the trawler behind me is right off my transom, maybe 1.5 or two boat lengths at most. So I say over the VHF:

"Buddy if you want to pass, just give me a shout and I'll be happy to let you go right on by"

The reply comes back "Yes we would like to pass" and I reply "OK well I'm going to slow down so don't run over me, OK?" The other trawler was so close that there might have been a collision had I slowed abruptly.

I slow to idle and he steams on past. And finally I'd like your input as to what you would have done next. Here is what I did:

I said again over the radio "if you do much cruising up and down the ICW, then you need to learn how to pass. Use the radio in the future and it will work out much easier. It is known as a slow pass, look into it..."

The reply came back "what did I do wrong?" And to add insult to injury, an anonymous third party added this comment "I saw him pass and it didn't look like he did anything wrong"

Uhh, other than to steam through two no wake zones and then nearly drive up my transom forcing me to make radio contact to gather his intentions.

Well I nearly lost it. My wife made me cut off the radio. I didn't need to be chattering on 16 anyway (I was on low power though) and I just let it drop from there. After this whole exchange, and after one dockmaster and one bystander yelling at this guy repeatedly, and then I lecture him about passing, I don't think he heard any of it.

Do VHF lectures help idiots like this?
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Old 04-20-2012, 04:58 PM   #2
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as soon as they make something idoit proof they invent A better idoit Really not much one can do
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Old 04-20-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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as soon as they make something idoit proof they invent A better idoit Really not much one can do
Boating is hardly idiot proof!

But I like the saying.. In my business I always say "to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of
complete fools."
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:11 PM   #4
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Do VHF lectures help idiots like this?
No. And around here that much chatter on 16 will earn you a lecture from the CG as well.

There's no cure for stupid.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:34 PM   #5
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I let the USCG notify boaters who mis-use channel 16. Usuallly the calls are for radio checks.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:51 PM   #6
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[QUOTE In all that time I think I encountered maybe two boats who gave us a rude pass, and maybe a handful of sailboats who refused to slow down as I tried to pass. We just ignore the sailboats since they always seem to be in a world all their own

The other trawler was so close that there might have been a collision had I slowed abruptly.QUOTE]

The sailboats you were passing were required to maintain their course and speed (stand-on vessels).
You (agian, stand-on vessel) were not required to slow down for the hot-dogger behind you. KJ
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:14 PM   #7
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Just stay out of their way and stay off the radio. it doesn't do any good!! After over 42 years working in public service I am absolutely positive I have not successfully changed one member of the public behavior or attitude.

In some cultures they consider it gene pool cleansing and in public service its called job security.

I always like to look at the bright side, if it wasn't for fools, idiots and morons, we wouldn't have jobs!!
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:52 PM   #8
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Do VHF lectures help idiots like this?
Rarely. If a boater behaves like this it's his nature to do so. Very rarely is it total ignorance because most of the time common sense and courtesy would cause the person to assess the situation with those two attributes in mind even if they were new to boating.

We get this problem all the time out here with semi-planing crusers plowing past a group of sportfishermen who are trolling or drifiting while mooching for salmon or jigging for bottom fish. Some of these plowing cruisers put out horrendous wakes--- our boat weighs 30,000 pounds and we have to turn into them or anything not tied down in the cabins will end up on the floor.

Every time one of these bozos plows throgh a popular fishing area the VHF lights up with all sorts of curses. But the wake-maker never shows any sign of slowing down or acknowledging his mistake or appologizing. They just blithely plow on their way knocking everything and everybody anywhere near them on their beam-ends. And you know they have their radios on--- most of these boats are festooned with a forest of antennas, GPS mushrooms, Tracvision, etc. The operators of these boat love to brag about their electronics--- they usually have their heads buried in their screens as the plow by--- so you know they're running everything on the boat that has an on-off switch.

And they either never look behind them to see what their wake is like, or if they do they don't care what it may do to other boaters. It's an "it's all about me world" these days and this is just one more symptom of it.

Bottom line is don't bother about an offense, verbal or otherwise. Just make sure you have a good defense for what they're going to do because in most cases they're going to do it no matter what. And if you do try to correct them you will find that they will make you the villain, not them. It's your fault your boat got rocked around by their wake. It's not their fault for putting one out.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:55 PM   #9
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He did ask what did he do wrong. Why not switch to another channel and discuss it. Maybe you could have done some good.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:31 PM   #10
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[QUOTE In all that time I think I encountered maybe two boats who gave us a rude pass, and maybe a handful of sailboats who refused to slow down as I tried to pass. We just ignore the sailboats since they always seem to be in a world all their own

The other trawler was so close that there might have been a collision had I slowed abruptly.QUOTE]

The sailboats you were passing were required to maintain their course and speed (stand-on vessels).
You (agian, stand-on vessel) were not required to slow down for the hot-dogger behind you. KJ
It is very nice that the stand-on vessel has the right of way, but in scores of passings, both being passed and passing another vessel in a channel, it makes things very easy if the vessel being passed is contacted, slows down, and the passing vessel can get it over with. That is the slow pass, and many times I've done it there was not even any communication necessary via VHF. A sportsfisherman approaches my stern at 22 knots and I see him coming. As he is almost on top of me I see him back off. At that point I slow to 3.5 knots or so, idle speed but still in gear, and he passes me without rocking my world. I wave as he passes, and we're all happy.

With two vessels that are travelling maybe 1/2 knot or less difference in speed then it really becomes important for the stand-on vessel to slow to get it over with, otherwise you're two abreast in a sometimes narrow channel. This is life in the ICW, and this is how we behave, most of us anyway.

So, should I have held my speed and had this guy crawl up my ass for however long, even though I have the right of way? I prefer to look forward, not back.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:11 PM   #11
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There is no "right of way" in boating. You're either the stand-on vessel or you're the give-way vessel. But being either one does not absolve you of any fault if there is a collision. That is why, I believe, the rules were written to deliberately avoid the use of the word "right" or "right of way." I suspect that this is because the use of the word "right" has legal implications. And with vessels--- as with cars--- the stand-on vessel can still cause a collision.

So your statement "the stand-on vessel has the right of way" is incorrect because the two terms are not linked. You may have been the stand-on vessel, but that did not give you the right of way because there is no such thing as right of way in the Colregs.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:19 PM   #12
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I plead guilty to being unaware of your “slow pass” arrangement. Perhaps others transiting the ICW are unaware of this also. If I were cruising at a safe 7.5 knots, I would have held my course and speed. If the guy following me crawled up my ass enough to cause damage to my boat, then he would need to get his checkbook out (of course I would have tried to get out of his way if a collision seemed imminent).

As GarryP suggests, if you were in radio contact with him, why not ask him why he was following you so closely? It may have been a good opportunity for you to make him aware of the "slow pass" thing. Also, if he steamed through two “no wake” zones, perhaps he is new to boating and you could have “enlightened” him, or maybe even tactfully suggested a boating class. You might have done the next skipper he runs up on or docked boaters he runs past a favor. IMHO.

Of course if he is just a dumbass boater like we’ve all encountered who really doesn’t know his ass from his elbow about boating, and doesn’t care to take the time to learn, then all bets are off.

Which brings up the prickly subject of a mandatory boating test/license like you have to take to drive your vehicle. KJ
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:55 PM   #13
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I plead guilty to being unaware of your “slow pass” arrangement. Perhaps others transiting the ICW are unaware of this also. If I were cruising at a safe 7.5 knots, I would have held my course and speed. If the guy following me crawled up my ass enough to cause damage to my boat, then he would need to get his checkbook out (of course I would have tried to get out of his way if a collision seemed eminent).

As GarryP suggests, if you were in radio contact with him, why not ask him why he was following you so closely? It may have been a good opportunity for you to make him aware of the "slow pass" thing. Also, if he steamed through two “no wake” zones, perhaps he is new to boating and you could have “enlightened” him, or maybe even tactfully suggested a boating class. You might have done the next skipper he runs up on or docked boaters he runs past a favor. IMHO.

Of course if he is just a dumbass boater like we’ve all encountered who really doesn’t know his ass from his elbow about boating, and doesn’t care to take the time to learn, then all bets are off.

Which brings up the prickly subject of a mandatory boating test/license like you have to take to drive you vehicle. KJ
I did contact him, and I instead of asking him "why are you crawling up my ass?" I said "if you want to pass why don't you ask like every other boater on this stretch of 1000 miles of waterway does?"

If you haven't been in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, then perhaps you don't know that it can be a "ditch" at times and we have developed ways to pass and be passed so as to cause no trouble for everyone involved.

It is customary to give a shout-out to the vessel you intend to pass, and ask them in a nice way, how the pass should take place. Also the vessel being passed usually slows down to enable the passing vessel to go by with a minimum of trouble. It has gone like this countless times. Maybe on the West Coast there is more room so that isn't necessary, but here we are mostly confined to "the ditch" unless you're in Pamlico Sound or Mosquito Lagoon or something like that.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:05 AM   #14
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He may have been ignorant of the courtesies either because he was temporarily oblivious or because he is new and still learning. Hopefully he learns faster.

I can still remember doing something similar a couple [???] of times and getting yelled at. I did figure it out but still I annoyed a few other folk before I did.

Of course there are some people who will never get it and simply don't give a darn.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:24 AM   #15
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On Sydney Harbour in Australia, we are beset most outings by at least one "40ft speedboat" (aka a planing cruiser) passing close, sometimes within 10 meters, usually not quite on the plane, dragging the stern creating deep wake waves,despite there being ample water to pass at a safe distance. Sometimes other vessels hamper evasive safety responses.
I`m not convinced any of these people, are open to reason. I suspect they live their lives interacting with others the same way they operate their boat.Reluctant to do it, but sending a photo of the offending boat to the authorities seems the only available action.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:08 AM   #16
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I think you are right Bruce. These people must be aware of the wake their boat makes, if for no other reason they must also occasionally be at anchor when one of their own passes on the plane. They must be able to put two and two together. But when they are up there - always on the fly-bridge, so they can hardly hear their engines - they get on some sort of speed high, and just can't bear to throttle off and return to normal mundane displacement speeds, and they don't think to give you a wider birth, because..well...that wouldn't show them off so well - the look at me - watch me now fantasy...they are in a world of their own. Later when off their 'high', if appraised of the devastation they have caused, they would probably be sort of shocked and unbelieving...after all, how come something that feels so sweetly smooooth to them, could be so rough to others...?
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:43 AM   #17
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So we've taken Polly P. all the way down to Melbourne, half-way back to Brunswick GA, and finally home to NC last week. In all that time I think I encountered maybe two boats who gave us a rude pass, and maybe a handful of sailboats who refused to slow down as I tried to pass. We just ignore the sailboats since they always seem to be in a world all their own, and my wife screamed at one of the rude passes on VHF 16, using profanity no less. And you get upset with another boater?

After all that time, and maybe 5 miles from home we encountered another trawler. I knew he was coming because I heard the dockmaster from the marina we just left telling him to slow down over the VHF. As we approached the Little River swing bridge, I called the tender on VHF 09 to ask for an opening and he instructed me to wait for the trawler behind me. As the trawler behind approached the bridge I heard him call out to the bridge on VHF 16, and I replied "South Carolina bridges monitor 09 cap.." As we proceeded through the bridge the other trawler came steaming right up to my transom, and I heard some folks at the boat ramp nearby call him a Jackass as his wake hit their boats. Not uncommon to speed up a little and throw a wake trying to catch a bridge...though you still have to watch your wake...but too many "marina boaters" scream at the slightest ripples...I say don't use an ICW marina is my thought...This area of Little River is congested and I go slowly here (and I don't get yelled at either). Meanwhile the other trawler is right behind me. Very close behind me. As I leave the no wake zone and there are no boats around or anything my wake might hurt I push up my speed to a normal 7.5 knots, and still the trawler behind me is right off my transom, maybe 1.5 or two boat lengths at most. So I say over the VHF:

"Buddy if you want to pass, just give me a shout and I'll be happy to let you go right on by" OK..maybe a bit close but not really if he's trying to pass and just waiting to call TILL he gets all the way up to you if he can...

The reply comes back "Yes we would like to pass" and I reply "OK well I'm going to slow down so don't run over me, OK?" The other trawler was so close that there might have been a collision had I slowed abruptly. BIG assumprion with boats moving 7-8 knots

I slow to idle and he steams on past. And finally I'd like your input as to what you would have done next. Here is what I did:

I said again over the radio "if you do much cruising up and down the ICW, then you need to learn how to pass. Use the radio in the future and it will work out much easier. It is known as a slow pass, look into it..." Maybe he does and you just didn't wait long enough for the call

The reply came back "what did I do wrong?" And to add insult to injury, an anonymous third party added this comment "I saw him pass and it didn't look like he did anything wrong" That could have been me..

Uhh, other than to steam through two no wake zones and then nearly drive up my transom forcing me to make radio contact to gather his intentions.

Well I nearly lost it. My wife made me cut off the radio. I didn't need to be chattering on 16 anyway (I was on low power though) and I just let it drop from there. After this whole exchange, and after one dockmaster and one bystander yelling at this guy repeatedly, and then I lecture him about passing, I don't think he heard any of it.

Do VHF lectures help idiots like this?
No lectures usually don't...most often the boater is clueless that their wake is there or they don't care.

If I posted every time I had a boater do something stupid around me...well let's just say I've grown a thicker skin through the years...

Having travelled the ICW many, many times...I think people forget that it's a superhighway for boaters. Just like a limted access highway for cars...it's designed to move traffic up and down the coast. Like locals using the interstates...it jambs them up and makes travellers trying to get places jumpy. The probem with boats is we all tend to move at different speeds and that by it self causes some issues.

Sure I think the guys racing along only to get stuck at the next closed bridge are fools...especially while pissing off everyone else thats adjusted their speed to make the bridge on time........but as I said...it's pleasure boating so enjoy it!

Leave the rants for the pros who have to deal with all the amatuers.....
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:40 AM   #18
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There is very little that an individual can do to control the behavior of other people, in boating or in life. Remember, the other person thinks he (or she) is doing the right thing and is annoyed by your attempts tp change their behavior to suit your expectations.

If you think someone is following you too closely (in a boat or in a car), you can slow down in an attempt to convince them to pass you and get away from you. Speeding up will only allow him to speed up and still be a danger and it may put you in the wrong.

You can try to embarrass the other party with your radio or horn, but that pretty much only makes you feel better and in some cases, the other party may escalate the confrontation.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:45 AM   #19
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I did contact him, and I instead of asking him "why are you crawling up my ass?" I said "if you want to pass why don't you ask like every other boater on this stretch of 1000 miles of waterway does?" .
You were being confrontational. That language may make you feel better, but it's not likely to produce the results you desire from the other party. Better language:

"Boat following (insert the name of your boat here)"

"Captain, if you would like to pass me, I'll slow down and you can pass on my (insert choicehere) side."
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:50 AM   #20
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................
Which brings up the prickly subject of a mandatory boating test/license like you have to take to drive you vehicle. KJ
While I am in favor of mandatory boating classes and licensing, the "slow pass" arrangement on the Atlantic ICW and possibly other places is a bending of the rules at best. The "rules" require the boat being overtaken to maintain course and speed.
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