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Old 04-07-2014, 12:19 PM   #21
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As I interpret rule 15, Miss Susan had Summer Wind to starboard and had a duty to avoid and if necessary not cross in front of Summer Wind.

Further rule 9 gives the vessel requiring the channel the right of way.

But why didn't Summer Wind reverse? My mom always taught me that even if I had the right of way not to fight for it.
Yes you are correct....if Summer Wind was to starboard....in open water the Summer Wind would be stand on and Miss Susan the give way.

If you listened to the pilot/captain of the Summer Wind....no matter what he did he was going to end up in that space....certainly at slow/idle and maybe even in reverse...but if he wen to a slower speed...he may not have been able to maneuver to the far side of the channel as well...his call.

Your mom taught you poorly and obviously was not a professional mariner....besides there's no such thing as right of way on the water it's stand on and give way...plus there a rule that says don't be stupid either...

You are expected to conform in most situations no matter who you are or what you drive.

Our boats should RARELY even interface with these guys if you really think about it.
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Old 04-07-2014, 12:25 PM   #22
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Yes...normally in open water rule 15 would have applied and Miss Susan would have been the stand on vessel.

ERROR!!!!!!

But with the Summer Wind requiring the use of the channel and in it...if the Miss Susan is crossing a narrow channel or fairway...she must look both ways before crossing...a vessel crossing can not impede the safe passage of a vessel in and necessarily using that channel

Sorry made the confusing statement here...it's the vessel out to the right (starboard) that is the stand on vessel....
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:12 PM   #23
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Sorry made the confusing statement here...it's the vessel out to the right (starboard) that is the stand on vessel....

In my mom's words even though you are the stand on vessel don't fight for that right.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:23 PM   #24
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In my mom's words even though you are the stand on vessel don't fight for that right.
I really hope you understand it's not a right it's a requirement....when it counts

But as I posted before...it's so rare that a pleasure craft has to stay in a shipping channel or cross it in a certain well travelled spot that it should really never come to either rules 15/9....a large turn early enough should satisfy the big boy you are willing to let them on their way without needing the Colregs .

But if you are in that situation where you feel you must....hold steady until you can contact the ship as he may be maneuvering to pass behind and you are now turning into his turn...they don't like that either.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:55 PM   #25
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I really hope you understand it's not a right it's a requirement....when it counts

But as I posted before...it's so rare that a pleasure craft has to stay in a shipping channel or cross it in a certain well travelled spot that it should really never come to either rules 15/9....a large turn early enough should satisfy the big boy you are willing to let them on their way without needing the Colregs .

But if you are in that situation where you feel you must....hold steady until you can contact the ship as he may be maneuvering to pass behind and you are now turning into his turn...they don't like that either.
Great point! In most cases, the pleasure craft has a lesser water draft and can (In most cases) run outside the canal that is used for the big boys. If I remember right there is even a NAVRULE on this? Also the canal is marked on the chart (Used by only X depth draft vessels) or something like that.

In any case I always give the Big Boys a wide birth. They are working and I only playing and taking my time which lends creed to the unwritten rule "Don't fight for it"

Happy cruising.

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Old 04-07-2014, 03:20 PM   #26
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Let me help put a few things in perspective as it pertains to the intersection in question and the vessels involved. I was the captain (master) of the Miss Susan's sister vessel when they were both owned/operated by Ellis Barge Line in the 1980's. The Miss Susan and her two barges (tow) were approximately 475' long and approximately 8' of draft (2 loads) and probably 35' wide (standard width barge) coming from the west where the intercoastal waterway merges with the Texas City entrance channel and continues easterly across the Houston Ship Channel at beacons 25 and 26 of the HSC. The intercoastal crosses and continue eastward to Bolivar, Tx. The Motor Ship Summer Wind is a Bulk Oil Tanker 585' long, 100' wide and a draft of 30'+ Roughly 46,000 tons moving at about 14knots with a current (inbound).
The pilot of the Summer Wind operating in a restricted by draft channel (there is a dredge spoil area to his N. E) and the channel is maintained for shipping at or was at 40' the depth of the adjacent bay and intercoastal is approximately 10-12'.
Given that the first communications between vessels occurred when they were approximately 1 mile or less apart the following assumptions can be made and are fairly evident in the video:

The Summer Wind is traveling at around 1,325 ft.per min. or around 4 minutes per mile. So less than 4 minutes to "stop" 9,000 tons. Note that a mile is about 10 of her ships length. A ship of that size does not just throw the throttle back and and slap it in R. There are throttle down, shaft breaks, and slow ramp ups that need to be maintained our you will not achieve the Reverse. At any rate a 5-6 mile range would be necessary to stop the ship and at that point the pilot would be at the mercy of the tide.
Note that there were also two additional vessels South Bound in the HSC not just the Summer Wind.
The Miss Susan had no business attempting to cross at that time. Normal routine on Tow Boats are changing watches at 6 & 12 twice a day. Captain stands the "front watch" six-twelve the pilot stands the "back watch" twelve - six. Any foreign flagged vessel (Summer Wind) is required to have a U.S. Pilot when underway inside the "sea bouy"
Rule 15, Rule 9, Common Sense rules all were broken by the Miss Susan.

A question that might be of interested in the forum is "when operating your vessel at Hull Speed, how many vessel lengths do you feel would be required to stop your vessel"?
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:42 PM   #27
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The bigger the boat, the righter the way...

Otherwise known as the Axiom of Gross Tonnage.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:53 PM   #28
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If that were always true...a whole bunch of people have wasted their time writing the Colregs and a whole bunch more by memorizing them at some point.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:02 PM   #29
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If that were always true...a whole bunch of people have wasted their time writing the Colregs and a whole bunch more by memorizing them at some point.

psneeld NO ONE IS DISAGREEING WITH YOU. Lighten up or you will have a heart attack.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:04 PM   #30
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Let me help put a few things in perspective as it pertains to the intersection in question and the vessels involved. I was the captain (master) of the Miss Susan's sister vessel when they were both owned/operated by Ellis Barge Line in the 1980's. The Miss Susan and her two barges (tow) were approximately 475' long and approximately 8' of draft (2 loads) and probably 35' wide (standard width barge) coming from the west where the intercoastal waterway merges with the Texas City entrance channel and continues easterly across the Houston Ship Channel at beacons 25 and 26 of the HSC. The intercoastal crosses and continue eastward to Bolivar, Tx. The Motor Ship Summer Wind is a Bulk Oil Tanker 585' long, 100' wide and a draft of 30'+ Roughly 46,000 tons moving at about 14knots with a current (inbound).
The pilot of the Summer Wind operating in a restricted by draft channel (there is a dredge spoil area to his N. E) and the channel is maintained for shipping at or was at 40' the depth of the adjacent bay and intercoastal is approximately 10-12'.
Given that the first communications between vessels occurred when they were approximately 1 mile or less apart the following assumptions can be made and are fairly evident in the video:

The Summer Wind is traveling at around 1,325 ft.per min. or around 4 minutes per mile. So less than 4 minutes to "stop" 9,000 tons. Note that a mile is about 10 of her ships length. A ship of that size does not just throw the throttle back and and slap it in R. There are throttle down, shaft breaks, and slow ramp ups that need to be maintained our you will not achieve the Reverse. At any rate a 5-6 mile range would be necessary to stop the ship and at that point the pilot would be at the mercy of the tide.
Note that there were also two additional vessels South Bound in the HSC not just the Summer Wind.
The Miss Susan had no business attempting to cross at that time. Normal routine on Tow Boats are changing watches at 6 & 12 twice a day. Captain stands the "front watch" six-twelve the pilot stands the "back watch" twelve - six. Any foreign flagged vessel (Summer Wind) is required to have a U.S. Pilot when underway inside the "sea bouy"
Rule 15, Rule 9, Common Sense rules all were broken by the Miss Susan.

A question that might be of interested in the forum is "when operating your vessel at Hull Speed, how many vessel lengths do you feel would be required to stop your vessel"?

Great Post!

The Common Sense rule seems to be forgotten at times!

Thanks for your post!

Happy cruising to you.

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Old 04-07-2014, 04:17 PM   #31
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psneeld NO ONE IS DISAGREEING WITH YOU. Lighten up or you will have a heart attack.
We all have things that annoy the cra* out of us...that statement is one of mine...can you imagine trying to teach navrules to people that THOUGHT they knew something about boating before they took a captains class????

Heart attack????...no...just chuckling to myself with what I sometimes read here.....It's really hard sometimes to know just how much a person is kidding or overstating the obvious...or not...

At least I get all spunup in the OTF forum....never even intentionally go there.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:18 PM   #32
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....A question that might be of interested in the forum is "when operating your vessel at Hull Speed, how many vessel lengths do you feel would be required to stop your vessel"?
That is a good question. My answer is, I have no idea.
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Old 04-07-2014, 04:25 PM   #33
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I think at my 6.3 cruising speed it would be around 3-4 boat lengths if I don't cavitate the prop, use more RPMs than I want, and don't panic shift and slam.

I think my 37 sportfish actually came off plane and could stop faster like many planning boats I've run ....I think because they fall into a rbasically a hole surrounded by water and have more hp to stop without going to full throttle.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:22 PM   #34
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psneeld- I would tend to agree with you on the possible breaking force coming "off plane" that the greater contact area with the water may create.
I think my 47 ton full displacement would take about 8 boat lengths without putting the reduction gear into the side of the boat. I will test it sometime.
Another perspective is that the Summer Wind weight wise was more than four fully loaded 100 car trains- without breaks.
Another question arises- " if your anchor was 500 feet away from your wheelhouse and properly dogged down, how quickly could you or your crew deploy it"? Then if you knew you were transporting potentially explosive material in your front hold and that you were about to strike a vessel transporting the same with your bow, would you send a crew out to deploy it? Assume the crew is not your wife.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:40 PM   #35
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psneeld- I would tend to agree with you on the possible breaking force coming "off plane" that the greater contact area with the water may create.
I think my 47 ton full displacement would take about 8 boat lengths without putting the reduction gear into the side of the boat. I will test it sometime.
Another perspective is that the Summer Wind weight wise was more than four fully loaded 100 car trains- without breaks.
Another question arises- " if your anchor was 500 feet away from your wheelhouse and properly dogged down, how quickly could you or your crew deploy it"? Then if you knew you were transporting potentially explosive material in your front hold and that you were about to strike a vessel transporting the same with your bow, would you send a crew out to deploy it? Assume the crew is not your wife.
Hey...I'm with you all the way...a few posts back I said that the law of tonnage DOESN'T work for 2 big boys...the ability to stop either one in that distance was impossible (as we saw)...

I also know the realities of one of these guys making a decision to ground the vessel at speed or run over a rec boat stupid enough to pull in front and stall out.

Of course one could argue that when operating in piloting waters, the anchor should be manned and ready...always was on USCG cutters I was on...but the economic realities for crewing commercial boats hasn't been addressed or supplemented with proper automated systems either.

My personal towing horror stories were one summer with all the "entry level" boaters zipping around and me maneuvering a 120 foot crane barge in a 3 knot current using a single engine, 320hp, 26 foot Shamrock assistance towing vessel. Had more scares there than all the years dealing with ships up to 399 feet all over the world and trying to preform helo ops in busy areas.
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Old 04-07-2014, 06:55 PM   #36
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Ahh...those were the days.
I started out on the last side wheeled steamboat on the western rivers (S.S. President) docked in an Eddie at the foot of Canal St. New Orleans passenger carrier/tourist/day trips. Big Sail area 300' 90' with forty foot height and 5' draft. Engine Telegraph down to the Engine Room took several minutes to stop a wheel and change directions if the chief engineer was awake and responding. Learned never to assume anything.
I often wonder how I dealt with the stress and where is that ability now.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:35 AM   #37
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After Psneel’s post of the NavRule #9 section (b) along with a few other posts on the NavRules as well as some thoughts on this topic, I thought this may help some of us to get a better understanding of what we as Captains are faced with as we cruise.

My Grandfather was the Captain of the Arthur B. Hommer which I also severed on for 3 summers in the early 1980’s with him.

On Oct 5th 1972 The Hommer with a load of Ore was heading downbound on the Detroit River’s Fighting Island Channel. At the time the Hommer was 711’ Long. Beam 75’ and water draft 39’

At the same time a Greek Salty ship the NAVI Shipper was headed upbound unloaded. At about the buoy marker 83, the 2 vessel had a head on collision.

In chats with my Grandfather about this, I remember what he told me some of his actions were after seeing the Greek vessel was on the wrong side of the Channel. He tried to contact the Greek vessel by radio. No reply. He sounded 5 blasts from the horn. (again no reply from the Greek vessel) He also flashed his light 5 times. (again no reply from the Greek vessel.)

All of my Grandfather actions were taken within 5 minutes or so with the understanding that his vessel and crew were in danger.

His last action was to try reversing his vessel, while at the same time still trying to contact the Greek vessel.

In his words he told me this. “I knew the SOB was going to hit us. I knew I could not power aft in time to stop, but I knew I could slow enough to lessen the impact. I had the mate sound the collision alarm and told the boys in the wheel house to hang on.”

At the USCG hearing, it was found that there was NO Licensed pilot aboard the Greek vessel at the time. Also the unlicensed pilot did not have a full understanding the U.S. NavRules.

What we call RED- RIGHT- RETURN is backwards to the rest of the world. So we as skippers of our vessels need to remember that as well just in case we come across a pleasure craft being skippered by a person from another country. Not to say they would not know the NavRules, but they could get confused.

To Ulysses point of how many boat lengths does it take to stop the Vessel is a great question, which I feel every Skipper should know.

My Grandfather knew he could not stop his vessel in time, so he had to know the how long it would have taken to stop the vessel at the speed they were moving which I believe was 7 or 8 knots.

The point of all of this that even a good Captain of a vessel can be faced with bad situation. How that Captain handles that situation is the key for the safety of the vessel and its crew. In my Grandfather case, no was hurt.

The NavRules are in place for a reason and learning and understanding those NavRules is a big part of being a good Captain or even a good unlicensed Captain of your pleasure craft and the best part is, the NavRules are free.

Happy and Safe cruising to all of you.

H. Foster.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:18 AM   #38
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The bigger the boat, the righter the way...

Otherwise known as the Axiom of Gross Tonnage.
Hey that was a joke. I'm not a big fan of cutesy smileys but perhaps I should have used one.

Actually there's a story that is funny to me... I was in the Virgin Islands and I was discussing with the locals how the local ferry captains could be quite aggressive, and it is common knowledge to give a wide berth even if you have the "right of way" (OK stand on vessel).

He replies, "Da bigger da boat, da righta da way mon!"

I thought that funny because I grew up boating around barges in the ICW and we learned at an early age to stay out of their way because they cannot stop even if they are far away, and they cannot always see you either. We called it "the axiom of gross tonnage."

Just sayin' the first rule is to avoid a collision in the first place, that's all.
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Old 04-08-2014, 11:49 AM   #39
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Hey that was a joke. I'm not a big fan of cutesy smileys but perhaps I should have used one.

Actually there's a story that is funny to me... I was in the Virgin Islands and I was discussing with the locals how the local ferry captains could be quite aggressive, and it is common knowledge to give a wide berth even if you have the "right of way" (OK stand on vessel).

He replies, "Da bigger da boat, da righta da way mon!"

I thought that funny because I grew up boating around barges in the ICW and we learned at an early age to stay out of their way because they cannot stop even if they are far away, and they cannot always see you either. We called it "the axiom of gross tonnage."

Just sayin' the first rule is to avoid a collision in the first place, that's all.

I agree with you, It is common sense rule in my book. As I stated before, I always give the Big Boys a wide Berth. They are working am I am out playing. But in those times when I come across a Ore boat, I also radio the Master and tell him what my plans are. He may have me do something else which he feels is safer for both of our vessels.

Many of times come into the Cuyahoga River (going to Shooter) Ore boats will be heading out. It can get really tight at times. I always call them and tell them my plans.

Pic of coming into the River. To the right side is where Ore boats will come out by the white stacks.

Happy cruising.

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Old 04-08-2014, 02:02 PM   #40
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Check it out: I'm heading North on the ICW behind Myrtle Beach. Some consider this "the RockPile" but that is another discussion. What do I see coming but a barge loaded with wood chips. What did I do? I called him on the VHF and turned my ass around. He stated quite clearly "I must stay center channel, do you copy?" and later "I cannot see you so please keep me apprised of your position."

I kept in constant radio contact until we came to a wider section where I pulled over to let him pass.

Not the same as the OP subject, but still the kind of crap I'm used to running into where my first response is not "who has the right of way?" but more "how can I stay out of this guy's way?"

[Edit] Some boats make a Security call when entering this stretch of the ICW, but I heard not a peep from this fellow. I guess either way the result is the same -- I do what ever is necessary to let him pass.

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