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Old 05-21-2015, 06:38 AM   #1
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Saying hello with your whistle

On the Great Lakes, freighters often salute each other with a prolonged followed by two short blasts on the whistle. It's how the boat essentially says 'yo, what up homes?' to passing fleetmates, pleasure boaters who are generous with their cleavage, and children waving on shore.

It's outside the rules, and I'm guessing something of a regional thing. Is there a local equivalent in your area? How do you say hello with your whistle?
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Old 05-21-2015, 06:54 AM   #2
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http://youtu.be/ve6fOR9-g4g

Here's the first ship I sailed on commercially. She's picking up mail in Detroit for the last time. She was retired in 2008 at the ripe old age of 79. Doesn't look a year older than 77, does she??

She did have a great whistle though. It always made my day when I got to use it. Rest in pieces, ol' gal!
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:53 AM   #3
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Around here, I am pretty sure it is all done on vhf channel 13.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:33 AM   #4
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Being that our boat is very unique to our area, we often get lots of looks and waves from passing boats and people on shore. We usually reply with a blast of the horn followed by two short blasts of the whistle. Seems to reallly put a smile on the kids faces. I think we have the only whistle on a boat in our area (have never heard another one here).
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Old 05-21-2015, 01:27 PM   #5
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I find that kids either go insane with joy, or they cry immediately. Very few in between.
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Old 05-21-2015, 03:27 PM   #6
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A prolonged signal followed by two shorts usually signifies sailing (not motoring) or towing in fog.


"Hello" signaling is uncommon here. Whenever I've done it: made one prolonged signal (I'm here!).


Responded to this boat's short signal for hello with a prolonged blast:


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Old 05-21-2015, 03:46 PM   #7
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A number of years ago a fellow who had a really nice RCN crew boat about 60 feet long that he lived on with his wife and kid used his very loud horn to announce his departure and arrival through the breakwater in our marina. This is a perfectly legal thing to do.

The Port received so many complaints about this fellow's use of the horn form other marina tenants that they officially told the fellow to knock it off. Which he did.

I can safely say that apart from when we are boating in the fog and the standard single-blast departure whistle of the Washington State ferries during the day (they don't blow them after dark), we will go an entire year without hearing a boat or ship horn here.

In our part of the Sound, train horns are an hourly occurrence over on shore. But nobody I know, nor any of the other boats we see or pass, nor the tankers and bulk carriers we see coming and going from the refineries and aluminum smelter, the tugs assisting them, or the ships passing through on their way to or from Vancouver, BC makes a peep.

Which is great, as far as we're concerned. We test our dual air horns once a year. Otherwise we never use them unless we're in fog.

Thankfully the same can be said of the radio. Other than really busy days during July and August, we can go a whole day on the boat and hear only a handful of short broadcasts on 16, the majority of them BC ferries calling for their Active Pass transition some 30 miles to the north of us. But the radio is very often dead silent for an hour or more on 16. (The commercial traffic channels are a different story).
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Old 05-21-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
A number of years ago a fellow who had a really nice RCN crew boat about 60 feet long that he lived on with his wife and kid used his very loud horn to announce his departure and arrival through the breakwater in our marina. This is a perfectly legal thing to do.

The Port received so many complaints about this fellow's use of the horn form other marina tenants that they officially told the fellow to knock it off. Which he did. ...
He should have asked for that in writing!

Whenever I can't see over the breakwater, I sound a prolonged (four-second) signal. Heard third-hand that one marina resident complained I was "showing off." The complainer was told, however, that the signal was a legal requirement. I was even complemented by a Power Squadron official for making the necessary signal. ... The few other boats who signal when leaving/arriving the marina make only a pipsqueak (half-second) short signal.

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Old 05-21-2015, 06:55 PM   #9
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Different place, different customs. Go to China and you find out what a car horn is really capable of. It's so bad that in some parts of cities they have "no horn honking" traffic signs, a horn in the red circle with a bar across it. And the police are REAL fast to pounce on someone who uses a horn in a no-honking zone.

But outside of that, the horn is something to be used almost constantly.

Walk through downtown Seattle--- not that I recommend that, it's a sucky city--- but you almost never hear a horn even though the traffic can be as bad as it is in downtown Beijing or Shanghai. Same thing seems to be true in Vancouver, BC.

The folks up here--- and this is s major generatity--- seem to place a lot more value on natural quiet than people in other places. Hence the flood of complaints about the horn-user in our harbor and the speed at which the Port shut his horn blowing down, legal requirement or not.

It's been my observation over the 36 years I've been living here that the population is, for the most part, very intolerant of noise they deem overly loud or annoying (except in Century Link stadium when the Seahawks are playing). As I say, even the ferries stop blowing their departure warning signal after sundown. I guess if a boater doesn't see the ferry backing out, they'll get run over. But so far, the absence of the loud signal after dark is deemed to be more important than the risk of someone not seeing the ferry back out.

All of which is great as far as I'm concerned. I much prefer hearing the whoosh of the air going around the gulls' wings as they skim our boat than somebody's horn at the harbor entrance. When we depart or enter our harbor, we simply anticiapte there will be a boat on the other side of the breakwater and plan accordingly. Much nicer for the karma in the harbor than blasting away on our loud, annoying air horn.
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Old 05-21-2015, 07:19 PM   #10
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no? none else does this?

(I'm kidding)
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Old 05-21-2015, 08:19 PM   #11
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When we were in Piraeus Dec. 6, 2014, all ships in the port blew their horns at a given time in Saint Christopher's honor.


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Old 05-21-2015, 08:32 PM   #12
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The first time I went to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show, I was there at the end of the last day. All the yachts in the harbor sounded off together for a few minutes. It was a pretty impressive thing to behold.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:09 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=Carolena;334773]Being that our boat is very unique to our area, we often get lots of looks and waves from passing boats and people on shore. We usually reply with a blast of the horn followed by two short blasts of the whistle. Seems to reallly put a smile on the kids faces. I think we have the only whistle on a boat in our area (have never heard another one here).[/QUOTE

We can relate to this, need to fix that tug whistle this summer.
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Old 05-21-2015, 09:44 PM   #14
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fortunately or unfortunately the sounding of horn or whistle has navigational significance as outlined in the USCG rules and probably by international treaties. Blasting horns on a regular social basis may lead to confusion and potential danger maybe a flag dip is a safer alternative if you don't have to leave the helm unattended to preform the dip.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:02 PM   #15
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I was down on the Melbourne docks (FL, not AU) at midnight on new years eve on 1999 and I never heard such a ruckus from all the boat horns.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:03 PM   #16
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You could get a taller boat then the 4 second rule would be out the window...
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
He should have asked for that in writing!

Whenever I can't see over the breakwater, I sound a prolonged (four-second) signal. Heard third-hand that one marina resident complained I was "showing off." The complainer was told, however, that the signal was a legal requirement. I was even complemented by a Power Squadron official for making the necessary signal. ... The few other boats who signal when leaving/arriving the marina make only a pipsqueak (half-second) short signal.

Shoulda had a FB....
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:17 PM   #18
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Hi Stubones99.

I am sure that the boats in Melbourne here have horns too.

Regards.

David. Brisbane A U not C A L.
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Old 05-21-2015, 10:50 PM   #19
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You could get a taller boat then the 4 second rule would be out the window...
Nah ... I need to amortize the horn, compressor, tank, and controller costs regardless. And I sure don't need a stinkin' flying bridge and more windage!
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Old 05-22-2015, 02:21 AM   #20
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Our uscg aux meetings are held at the cg office at the Battery in N.Y..

A few years ago, the ferries, Staten Island ferry plus others, only rarely signaled leaving dock with the one long blast.

Some resident of battery park city complained even at that minimal use.

You can guess the results.

And there are a lot of ferries!
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