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Old 12-01-2012, 02:59 AM   #1
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Low visibility

Why don't some boaters display lights and make proper sounds in low visibility? Wouldn't you think yacht club members would do it right? No, not when they exited Benicia harbor the 2011 Thanksgiving. Sent a message to the club's commodore about his member's relapse, but received no response. The Richmond Yacht Club may be a fine organization (my father was a member fifty years ago in order to race his sailboat), but I would not count on them.

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Old 12-03-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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Why don't some boaters display lights and make proper sounds in low visibility?
From your photo, the lights most likely not be visible in the daytime and inside your pilothouse you would never hear the sailboat's little handheld horn.

And while that's not the greatest visibility I would not consider it low visibility.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:46 PM   #3
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Why don't some boaters display lights and make proper sounds in low visibility?
Because they don't know they are supposed to or because they've overlooked it. All you need to boat is the money to buy a boat. Or a friend who will loan you his.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:26 PM   #4
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You call that low visibility? Low visibility is not being able to see a 100 ft. I like to leave the dock early in the morning, 6:00 AM, and fog does not lift until 10:00 AM, so have to run using instruments. I would take radar over all other electronics, especially close to shore. Shoot that is better than many PNW winter days!
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:40 PM   #5
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As we left one morning a few weeks ago.

Last photo was a mile or so out and you could barely see the bow rail.

I love my radar.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:58 PM   #6
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Your'e like my wife Mark. She frequently wants me to turn on the running lights if the sun isn't out.

In your picture Id just be vigilant of a fast boat surprising me from an odd angle like aft on a blind spot.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:33 PM   #7
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From your photo, the lights most likely not be visible in the daytime and inside your pilothouse you would never hear the sailboat's little handheld horn.

And while that's not the greatest visibility I would not consider it low visibility.
My anchor light (was anchored when the photo was taken) was readily visible.

Reminds me of some drivers in the Philippines operating without car lights at night ("in order to save the battery") unless they sense another vehicle.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:44 PM   #8
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And while that's not the greatest visibility I would not consider it low visibility.
'Specially for a workboat captain.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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'Specially for a workboat captain.
Common here for tugboats to display their running lights night and day.
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:16 PM   #10
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Mark

Like the others said, that is good visibility and use your radar. Use your vessel as it was intended, turn right just beyond the Golden Gate and motor north for a few days. Then we will show you some real poor visibility.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:20 PM   #11
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Maine is well known for its "pea soupers". Gives us lots of radar practice while dodging the pots. Before radar it was even more fun.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:41 PM   #12
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I'm with the others. Those conditions aren't great but they're certainly not horrible. Take a look at these pics. The first one is what I could see out the windshield as I was coming to an inlet into a bay. At this point I was about 150' from the opening and crabbing across the current to reach the opening......


The next one is the radar image (overlaid on top of the GPS screen) I could see. The black line is my lubber line, the red line is the course over ground. The length of the line represents about 3 minutes travel at my speed of about 2kts. The reason the radar overlay (shown in purple) is not exactly lined up with the GPS display is that the radar image is offset by the time between radar sweeps while the GPS continually updates....

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Old 12-03-2012, 06:41 PM   #13
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It doesn't cost anything to turn on your running lights so if it makes your boat easier for others to see, why not turn them on even if you don't classify it as "poor visability" ?
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:48 PM   #14
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Mark's original picture clearly warrants "low vis" requirements as per NOAA/USCG (LESS THAN 10nm visibility)

Not everyone would turn things on but if anything went wrong...NOT having running lights on and sounding fog signals would weigh heavily against you.

The only time I ignore the 10NM vis rule is when the body of water is so small you can see clearly across it even though vis is less than 10NM.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:06 PM   #15
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The captain of the cruise ship we were on declined to leave Stephens Passage to enter Holkham Bay for the scheduled visit to Tracy Arm when the visibility was no worse than pictured in post #1. Risk perspective can change when one is responsible for 3000 lives rather than just your own. (It was not a Costa ship/captain.)
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:14 PM   #16
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Our pleasure boats' required running-light range typically varies from 1 to 3 miles in clear weather. I wouldn't think to turn on my boat's lights during the day unless visibility was reduced to close to 3 or 4 miles.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #17
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Also wouldn't think I'd sound a horn unless visibility was reduced to nearly 1 mile as that's the theoretical range of my horn. Most pleasure boats' horns have a range of half a mile. ... Presume the "canned" horns have a similar range as that's minimum range for small boats. Have little doubt I would have heard his horn, if sounded. My engine was not running, as I was anchored.

The boat pictured on post #1 was about an eighth of a mile away. I'm saying its captain wasn't operating prudently.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:17 PM   #18
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Doesn't matter what you think...the definition of reduced visibility is less than 10 NM...so less than that lights and horn is required by the USCG.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:58 PM   #19
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Doesn't matter what you think...the definition of reduced visibility is less than 10 NM...so less than that lights and horn is required by the USCG.
Haven't been able to locate that definition on an official site. Please help.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:04 PM   #20
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Haven't been able to locate that definition on an official site. Please help.
When I was teaching captains licensing I was in the same situation...couldn't refer to the exact definition. Then I found it one day...7 computers later and I'm doubtful I have the link. If I find it I'll post it...but my professional rep stands on that's what i saw....it comes from a NOAA meterorology setup as much for aircraft as ships....
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