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Old 04-30-2014, 10:34 AM   #1
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Inconsiderate boaters... its definitely getting worse on the ICW

I will try to avoid beating the proverbial dead horse but I had a few "experiences" on the Florida ICW last weekend. I've said before that, having been away from boating for over a decade, I can definitely identify a few major changes: (1) very few boaters seem to be monitoring VHF, (2) slow passes seem to be a rarity, (3) no one uses their horn, and (4) boaters are becoming extremely inconsiderate.

Anyway, let me share two experiences from last Saturday that got the adrenaline pumping.

I was traveling south down the Florida Sunshine Skyway channel and dealt with a large amount of traffic--normal for the area and not a big deal as Sherpa can handle the large wakes very well. Unfortunately, a large number of boats were passing on my starboard side and their port when I was already close to the edge of the channel. I was nearly forced out of the channel several times as I turned starboard into some large wakes. They could of easily passed my port to their starboard, which would have given me room to turn into their wake. No slow passes and no one cared that I had a four year old sitting with her mom on deck!

My next unfortunate experience... I was going through Tierra Verde and a small rental runabout/ski-boat approached my stern and followed closely (10 to 15 feet) down the channel for about 2000 feet. They soon came within three feet until I yelled "back off" as I quickly changed course. I thought a collision was imminent. The rental boat was being operated by a bunch of inexperienced teenagers or 20 somethings. They seemed to be "fumbling around" and simply not paying attention--my wife swears the operator was texting.

We need to be careful out there and stay on alert! I'm now keeping my cell phone by my side at all times to collect video evidence in the event of an accident!
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Old 04-30-2014, 10:56 AM   #2
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Re second incident ... maybe blasting the five from handheld horn pointed in their direction would get their attention and wits up. Does it seem too extreme?
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:01 AM   #3
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Ah... another lesson I learned! I didn't have my hand held horn in reach!
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:11 AM   #4
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What does 5 horn blasts mean? "Hello, I'm having a good time too?"

I'm pretty sure that 90% of the people at the helm of a boat have zero knowledge of the rules, let along practical experience. 5% may have taken a basic boater safety course, and forgotten most of it. And the boater safety course that I took many, many years ago focused on life jacket and other safety gear, lights for small boats, the most basic red/green buoy rules, and yield to anyone to your forward starboard. That's about it. Nothing about larger boat lighting like that barge that's coming down on you, nothing about signalling, none of the fine points about right of way, etc ,etc. It's equivalent to taking someone to a go-kart park and giving them a drivers license afterwards.

Maybe it's time to start lobbying for operator licensing. It's really bad anywhere there are a lot of boats.
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:38 AM   #5
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No where in the Nav Rules is the term "right of way" used. A vessel is either "stand on" or "give way."
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:45 AM   #6
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I am glad you brought this up. Let me start this by saying that i am still learning and i am not criticizing anyone...my purpose is to understand what if anything i did wrong.

My encounter was with a 87' USCG patrol boat. I was outside of the channel, outbound, green to port about a mile north of the Key bridge. The cutter had been tucked up in Curtis Bay for at least several hours. As i passed he got in line behind me and starts closing. I, assuming that I was going to get boarded maintained course and speed. a few mins later, after passing under the bridge, still closing and closing faster at less than 1/4 mile. I am going estimate his speed at 14knts and accelerating...i was 7.5

about then he turned to port and got in the channel. I am still running outside of the channel by about 100yds. The cutter passes to my port (Close!) by this point i am hanging on and trying to clear the wife and 4 year old from the bow.

As he passes and clear the bow of the family, i turned hard to port to take his wake head on. Long story short, the first wave passed but the second was too close and we took about half of it over the bow.

The cutter made no attempt to sound a warning, hail or otherwise engage me.

Now i am still hanging on so the next part is a bit of speculation but there were 3 people on the stern who appeared to be taking pleasure of my situation.

There as one other small sail boat to my starboard, he was the only other boat around us...so traffic was not a factor.

So is this just something that as a small boat in a working harbor i am going to have to deal with? what could i have done differently?
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Old 04-30-2014, 11:55 AM   #7
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I agree a lot of kids are totally unaware of the rules and how to actually properly run a boat. It's quite sad.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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I agree a lot of kids are totally unaware of the rules and how to actually properly run a boat. It's quite sad.
Unaware, uncaring, and intoxicated. You haven't experienced anything until you've tried a crowded lake in a large metropolitan area on the fourth of July.

Now auto drivers also are discourteous and unsafe often but in boat operation we don't even have the same level of requirements. Most states still require no operator licensing of any sort. Alcohol consumption is a huge issue for the weekend warrior as often their entire use is tailored around drinking and having a good time. And not they're on bodies of water which to them have no lines like roads, no traffic signs or rules, all simply because they don't know them.

And while we've rented boats when cruising in other areas for use as day boats, the rental boat business has opened up boating more to these type boaters. On a lake it's pretty obvious when you see 12 people renting a pontoon boat, all wearing bathing suits and carrying two ice chests of beer and liquor plus a keg on board. Does anyone doubt what they intend to do? On the ICW recently saw a nice couple with their two kids renting for a nice family day out, a young couple renting just to enjoy the water, and a group of frat brothers renting with their coolers and clearly potential trouble there. I remember that day vividly as later we saw the frat brothers run aground in a clearly marked shoaled area. Sea Tow pulled them off but then towed them back rather than letting them proceed on their own. The entire trip back the passengers seemed unfazed and continued their party. By the time they reached the marina they were all quite drunk including the "operator" who of course made it clear that was ok as he wasn't driving but was being towed.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
the Florida ICW last weekend.
Once you've said that, the rest of the post becomes redundant!
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:57 PM   #10
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No where in the Nav Rules is the term "right of way" used. A vessel is either "stand on" or "give way."
Yes, you are correct about the terminology. And both captains, regardless of who's the stand-on and who's the give-way, are both responsible for making sure they don't crash.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:17 PM   #11
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You all; will just have to move North West. North of Campbell River your main problem is wind-fog- current -rocks-bear- and whales. Hard to find boats out for a joy ride and if you really don't know what you are doing you might not last long.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:29 PM   #12
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You all; will just have to move North West. North of Campbell River your main problem is wind-fog- current -rocks-bear- and whales. Hard to find boats out for a joy ride and if you really don't know what you are doing you might not last long.
You're right. It's cold up here....sorry, we're not use to 50's and even 60's. But it is warming up. And swells. Yesterday from Gray's Harbor to Neah Bay we saw no other pleasure boats. A few fishermen. While I find this an incredible place to visit and do look forward to the next few months, I'll continue to live in warmer climate.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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Mr EseYoung,
Call the nearest Coast Guard Base and ask to speak with the Officer of the Deck. Relay to that person the incident, they know where thier cutter are operating, you will be ask if anyone was injured or if your vessel was damaged. The United States Coast Guard is very concerned with safety on the water and I'm sure the person in charge of the cutter will get some feed back from the OOD.
The type of conduct you described is not in keeping with the training they receive and should be reported.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:43 PM   #14
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a few mins later, after passing under the bridge, still closing and closing faster at less than 1/4 mile. I am going estimate his speed at 14knts and accelerating...i was 7.5

about then he turned to port and got in the channel. I am still running outside of the channel by about 100yds. The cutter passes to my port (Close!) by this point i am hanging on and trying to clear the wife and 4 year old from the bow.

The cutter made no attempt to sound a warning, hail or otherwise engage me.

So is this just something that as a small boat in a working harbor i am going to have to deal with? what could i have done differently?

Hard to second guess.

The water is actually deep enough well to the southwest of the marked channel along there. Example, from G3 to the nearest part of Hawkins Point Shoal is about 345 yards, and even there it's still about 6' deep. (Too thin for my taste, right there on the shoal, but there's some latitude.) Anyway, maybe you could have moved further away from the channel...

Did you try hailing him?

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Old 04-30-2014, 01:50 PM   #15
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Once you've said that, the rest of the post becomes redundant!
Yep! Also reminds me of the Columbia River in the summertime...
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:59 PM   #16
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I have heard them call "Credit Card Captains". 'nuff said
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:22 PM   #17
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Have to admit I have seen just as bad behavior on the Connecticut River the first nice weekends of boating season. And Jersey is just a satellite of FL, boater-wise.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:25 PM   #18
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You all; will just have to move North West. North of Campbell River your main problem is wind-fog- current -rocks-bear- and whales. Hard to find boats out for a joy ride and if you really don't know what you are doing you might not last long.

Shhhh....But you're right; the tidal passes are a great filter and give some comfort that the guy anchored next to you in the Octopus Islands probably knows what he is doing.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:29 PM   #19
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Hard to second guess.

The water is actually deep enough well to the southwest of the marked channel along there. Example, from G3 to the nearest part of Hawkins Point Shoal is about 345 yards, and even there it's still about 6' deep. (Too thin for my taste, right there on the shoal, but there's some latitude.) Anyway, maybe you could have moved further away from the channel...

Did you try hailing him?

-Chris
Didn't try hailing. Someone once told me that if you didn't have anything nice to say you shouldn't say anything.

we were just a bit south of G3 when he actually passed. He ducked around to make it on the inside of G3. i went between G3 the green for the shoal. perhaps the shoal was why he turned to port?

Either way it was unnerving to say the least. Usually if you stay out of the channel you don't have to worry much about boats of that size running up on you. I considered turning to starboard to give him more room but i was already out of the channel and didn't want to run the risk of not being able to get back around quick enough to get his wake on the nose.
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Old 04-30-2014, 02:50 PM   #20
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Any of you driven a car lately? Walked into a store? Rudeness, lack of consideration is everywhere. I was in a grocery store Sunday and a very elderly lady was checking out ahead of us. They didn't help her empty her basket. They didn't offer to help her out. Finally, my wife asked as she left, "No one is going to help her to her car?" Their answer was, "She didn't ask for help." Meanwhile I went to her car with her and unloaded her cart for her. I missed the action inside as we were getting provisions and had five full carts. My wife had asked for the manager and then said, "We decided not to buy anything. You can put this all back on the shelves." Needless to say lot's of apologies then and we did buy it all but I doubt it changed a thing. We're probably just known to them now by various unprintable names.

Cars pull in front of you everywhere. People fight for spaces in parking lots. Something as simple as holding a door for others often not done. But fortunately most people are kind and considerate and we can only control ourselves and be the same.
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