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Old 05-09-2016, 06:12 PM   #21
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For the last ten years, I've spent the majority of my days aboard a fairly large working vessel, wiggling my way into ports using channels as small as twice my beam. I can definitely say that I personally appreciate those recreational seafarers that give my big beast a wide berth. I'm happy to move out of your way when I can, but often, I can't.
As others have noted, it is really about common sense and courtesy. If I can move to avoid a conflict with a commercial vessel, I will.
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:21 PM   #22
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The law of gross tonnage (while not actually a law) = common sense.
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Old 05-09-2016, 07:50 PM   #23
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I've got to say that, in spite of all the war stories regarding commercial traffic versus rec boats, I have personally never had or seen a working craft hassling or endangering a rec boat. Quite the contrary, I've benefitted from friendly warnings ("hey skipper - that area you're headed into is a lot skinnier water than the chart says") and seen several serious assists from commercial craft (real trawlers) to rec boats.

The only real traffic conflicts I've seen have been rookie mistakes with added pseudo knowledge of the rules - saw a sailboat challenging a 150,000 DWT freighter in a ship channel crossing once - it worked out by a hair's breadth but I wouldn't have bet on it.

I think a lot of rec boaters lack an appreciation for the relative low maneuverability of the big iron. And no brakes.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:04 PM   #24
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Believe me...there's a percentage of commercial guys of all sizes and shapes that push past where they should because they aren't that good at what they do.


I have had tugs run me aground towing dredge pipe because they didn't think to call or little harbor ferries who think they are so important they cut you off yet they even more maneuverable than may pleasure guys...


yep...the big iron deserves a wide berth...early on...but there are plenty of commercial guys with their heads somewhere dark and after teaching 100 ton master courses...there's plenty of skippers out there that don't know the rules any better than seasoned cruisers.


I agree that working boats need a break much of the time...but act like a seasoned skipper, following the rules and most importantly clearly communicating when appropriate...and fitting in is really no big deal.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:51 PM   #25
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One other small note on being knowledgeable about conditions. If you see a barge tow with all empties barges and the wind is blowing he is more than likely going to want the windward side. He will be pointing up into the wind and actually kind of crabbing sideways down the channel. Talk to him and take the other side. He will appreciate it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:07 PM   #26
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THD,

As John Prine wrote:
"A question ain't really a question, if you know the answer too".

http://youtu.be/M_hCDPIjT6k
He must have been a lawyer!!!
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:10 PM   #27
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Britannia: Agreed you should know what channels to call the vessels on. Just like bridges are on different channels and A.C.E. monitors different channels. It is easy to ask on 16 what channel you might find traffic on in such and such a waterway. As for the Gulf Coast and rivers you will find traffic standing by on 16 east of the Miss. and 13 west of the Miss. I think 67 or 68 on the Miss. Locks on 14. If you don't ask you won't know.
Back to CH16 west of Bolivar Roads(Houston Ship Channel intersection).
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:23 PM   #28
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As far as US waters are concerned, I do not think there are busier waters than the ones from NOLA to Houston. Especially the intersection of the ICW with the Houston Ship Channel with the Galveston Harbor Channel with the Texas City Channel....did I miss a channel??? Communication is always always ALWAYS key!!! Can you do without it???....sure you can. But talking it all out with concerned parties makes everyone feel better about it. A VHF group hug if you will.

One of the things I try to preach to the boaters around here is that you do NOT have to travel the Houston Ship Channel to get enough water under your keel. Many people just go out to the ship channel because they are too lazy to navigate other waters that keeps them out of the HSC and keeps them in water that is at least 10 feet deep. Sailboaters think that just because they have a 4 foot keel that they need to be in 50 feet of water. Anyway, my point here is that you can take measures to minimize your exposure to commercial traffic...and in many cases you shorten your trip while doing it.
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:32 PM   #29
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Per a thread elsewhere, here is the likely conversation on the bridge of a tug encountering a small pleasure vessel approaching on a stbd to stbd course, but the pleasure boat makes a large correction to attempt to pass port to port when there is no real reason to do so other than being correct. It would go like this. (helmsman) "hey skipper/mate, look at this jerkwater in the Bayliner over there and he just HAS to go port to port!" "He is way the hell over there, why don't he just stay over there and go on his way!?". (skipper/mate) "ignore him, maintain course and speed". I have seen this so many times I cant count them, while working in the NW on tugs. As a pleasure boater only now, I ALWAYS try to stay out of commercial traffics way. Most of those boats draw 3-5 times my depth and cannot maneuver the way we can especially in close quarters. Also by and large they are much superior seamen than most yachtsman. They are professionals, we are hobbyists, (mostly).
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:48 PM   #30
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Why would the Bayliner try to go port to port when he is already hugging the port side of the channel?

He either knows or doesn't know. Doubt that scenario happens that often.

He either stays on the port side of the channel and is prudent and goes to idle on the edge of the channel, or is on the starboard side to start with.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:00 PM   #31
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Why would the Bayliner try to go port to port when he is already hugging the starboard side of the channel?.
That would never be a Bayliner. You sure it wasn't a Sea Ray?
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:16 PM   #32
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Why would the Bayliner try to go port to port when he is already hugging the port side of the channel?

He either knows or doesn't know. Doubt that scenario happens that often.

He either stays on the port side of the channel and is prudent and goes to idle on the edge of the channel, or is on the starboard side to start with.
I struggle with your reference to "port side of the channel". Port is usually relative to a boat.
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Old 05-09-2016, 11:53 PM   #33
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menzies, In my scenario I did not mention "hugging the port side of the channel", you came up with that. My point was that boaters often think they HAVE to go port to port, even when they don't, and will then go to no small trouble to get there. I have seen it often, doubt that you may. And no offense to Bayliner owners, just a random boat pick for the scenario.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:41 AM   #34
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menzies, In my scenario I did not mention "hugging the port side of the channel", you came up with that. My point was that boaters often think they HAVE to go port to port, even when they don't, and will then go to no small trouble to get there. I have seen it often, doubt that you may. And no offense to Bayliner owners, just a random boat pick for the scenario.
I have yet to travel the Swinomish channel. When I do, I am sure that I will be hugging the starboard side of the channel hoping like crazy that I don't encounter any large boats, commercial or otherwise. I will also be very paranoid about the amount of water underneath me. Even so, that is a trip that I can't wait to take.
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:13 AM   #35
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You will enjoy it Dave. It is much less imposing in reality than it looks on the chart. At the south end is whats locally called the Hole in the Wall. Two places actually use the name. One is a very small hole in the breakwater between the channel headed west towards Goat Is. and the entrance to the Skagit River side, and the other is the passage thru the rock cliffs at the south end of the channel headed north into the channel itself. About a month ago I was headed towards Latitude near the south end of the channel and a tug with logs was northbound having just come thru the Hole and was pretty much blocking the whole thing. I had no option but to slow down to nothing and wait for him to come north enough for me to fall in behind and make the turn into the yard for haulout. But that is a fairly rare situation. Mostly its other small boats you run into, and most have been thru before. Its an easy passage and quite enjoyable.
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:16 AM   #36
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BTW, there is ample water for tugs that draw over 10' so no worries, its dredged often enough to maintain good depth.
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:46 AM   #37
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Thats funny, I stay as far out of the way when I'm pushing to keep the wave action down. I know my limits on my little waterways and stay on the edge of canals and rivers to keep out of everyones way that may not know where they are.
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:49 AM   #38
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Thats funny, I stay as far out of the way when I'm pushing to keep the wave action down. I know my limits on my little waterways and stay on the edge of canals and rivers to keep out of everyones way that may not know where they are.

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Old 05-10-2016, 06:56 AM   #39
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Greetings,
AHA! I think Mr. s has hit upon the situation. "...that may not know where they are." Watermen that ply their home waters DO know, or at least should know where they are. Compare this with the transient who, as Mr. s says may NOT know where they are, where they should be or where they CAN be.

Rightly or wrongly, I always try to stay out of most everyone's way and will avoid a collision at all costs.
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Old 05-10-2016, 07:12 AM   #40
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I struggle with your reference to "port side of the channel". Port is usually relative to a boat.
Exactly. The port side as the vessel is traveling. If he already does not know to stay to starboard, then why would he know he should go port to port is my thought?
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