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Old 05-08-2016, 09:31 AM   #1
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Working Boats & Pleasure Boats Using the Same Water

My off-the-beaten-track travels have put me in waters sometimes not much used by ďPleasureĒ boats. During last summerís cruise of the Baltic and North Seas, for every pleasure boat we encountered, we probably saw 10 working boats of all sizes and types.

Before I got Dauntless, I spent hundreds of hours in NYC harbor on USCG Aux boats, which were anywhere from 22 to 44 feet. For every pleasure boat, there are hundreds of working boats. So I learned boating in a harbor that was all about working. Maybe Iím biased, but also practical and I see what I see.

If I have learned anything these last few years is that working boats are working.

WORKING.

They are not going for spin because the weather is nice. They are not trying to impress the ladies or friends with how well they can handle the boat or their knowledge of the COLREGS.

They are WORKING.

And thatís the rub, working means all sorts of things. That skipper has more on his mind than what to have for dinner or what his next drink will be. He is WORKING.

If he doesnít appear to you to be WORKING, get over it. He is doing a job. He may not be towing, fishing, trawling, hauling, now, but he is certainly thinking about what he does need to do and how to do it. Thatís his job, WORKING.

Also, 999 out of 1000 times, his boat will be more massive than yours, maybe by a few fold, maybe by thousands. In any case, the Laws of Physics dictate that the pleasure boat can maneuver better than the working boat.

So just do it.

Yes, I know you know the COLREGS by heart, but Iíll bet any skipper of a WORKING boat knows them better.

So move on and give the guy a break and stay out of his/her way.

They are WORKING.
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:30 AM   #2
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Thumbs up, excellent post!
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Old 05-08-2016, 10:55 AM   #3
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I concur! Respect them and in most cases they will respect you. Especially when they are 10 times ( or more) your size.
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Old 05-08-2016, 11:16 AM   #4
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If you question their intentions and can not raise them on the radio make your course change for avoidance of collision, if necessary, early and very evident. Believe me they know their whistle signals also don't be scared to use them.
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
My off-the-beaten-track travels have put me in waters sometimes not much used by ďPleasureĒ boats. During last summerís cruise of the Baltic and North Seas, for every pleasure boat we encountered, we probably saw 10 working boats of all sizes and types.

Before I got Dauntless, I spent hundreds of hours in NYC harbor on USCG Aux boats, which were anywhere from 22 to 44 feet. For every pleasure boat, there are hundreds of working boats. So I learned boating in a harbor that was all about working. Maybe Iím biased, but also practical and I see what I see.

If I have learned anything these last few years is that working boats are working.

WORKING.

They are not going for spin because the weather is nice. They are not trying to impress the ladies or friends with how well they can handle the boat or their knowledge of the COLREGS.

They are WORKING.

And thatís the rub, working means all sorts of things. That skipper has more on his mind than what to have for dinner or what his next drink will be. He is WORKING.

If he doesnít appear to you to be WORKING, get over it. He is doing a job. He may not be towing, fishing, trawling, hauling, now, but he is certainly thinking about what he does need to do and how to do it. Thatís his job, WORKING.

Also, 999 out of 1000 times, his boat will be more massive than yours, maybe by a few fold, maybe by thousands. In any case, the Laws of Physics dictate that the pleasure boat can maneuver better than the working boat.

So just do it.

Yes, I know you know the COLREGS by heart, but Iíll bet any skipper of a WORKING boat knows them better.

So move on and give the guy a break and stay out of his/her way.

They are WORKING.
And while you're at it get off the highway and let those trucks get on with their work !
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Old 05-08-2016, 02:31 PM   #6
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And while you're at it get off the highway and let those trucks get on with their work !

Don't know the difference or was that a joke?

And it pays to respect the land based big rigs too......
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Old 05-08-2016, 03:05 PM   #7
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Not to belabor the point, but we have all had "interesting" interactions with working boats that I would not like to repeat, but I want to be cognizant that I don't understand what their limitations or situation and therefore it's almost always easier for me to act.

Also, I have had a number of really positive interactions. Once on the ICW coming north towards Norfolk, with all those bridges, a tug called me to tell me to go as fast as my little legs would carry me to follow him as bridges opened. He even called one of last RR bridges to tell them I was behind and to hold it for me. They did.

i think having send AIS also helps them as it makes it easy to call you. Since I've gotten the transceiver I have much more contact with working boats than before.
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Old 05-08-2016, 04:03 PM   #8
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This is what we usually run into (figuratively speaking, of course) and it seems like it's always on a narrow channel stretch of the river. The tug is about as far to his starboard side of the channel as he can go and the same for us.


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Old 05-08-2016, 05:28 PM   #9
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I love taking photos of them as we travel on the St John's - those car carriers are friggin' humongous! And wait until they open the new Panama Canal - which they are preparing the St John's for.
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Old 05-08-2016, 05:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
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So move on and give the guy a break and stay out of his/her way.

They are WORKING.
My tug/tow boat son's comment on this:

"Yup. I prefer if everyone would just stay out of the way. The middle of the shipping channel, that's not for the guy in the 40' power/sailboat.

Seth D. Hawkins
Mate - Kirby Offshore"
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:48 AM   #11
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The "middle' of the shipping channel shouldn't be the place for the working boats either...

What about the case where a working ship is coming down the wrong side of a shipping channel (with shoals both sides) at night, is attempted to reach on vhf with no response, and therefore pleasure craft adjusts course to very edge of channel to give safe passage. Is that cool for working boats too?
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Old 05-09-2016, 12:16 PM   #12
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What is the "wrong side of a shipping channel " ? And yes, that is cool for any vessel to make course changes as to avoid collision.
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:22 PM   #13
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Just to clarify, you're saying they are WORKING?

Only kidding! I totally agree with you Wxx3. I always cede to working boats if there's ever any question. And even if they don't say it, I know they appreciate it. One time we were crossing the ferry route between Mukilteo and Whidbey Island. Of course, we were doing our standard 7 knots. For a few minutes I was trying to determine whether I would cross in front of the ferry or not. I finally decided it would be too close (within a couple hundred yards or less) so I made a major course correction and paralleled his course to pass him astern. Soon I heard a hail on channel 16 for the "skipper of the beige powerboat off the Mukilteo ferry terminal". I answered, and he replied "Just want to thank you for adjusting your course. You actually had right of way and we were going to go behind you. But thanks, and have a great day." My response was basically "hey, you're on a time schedule, we're not."
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:32 PM   #14
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The wrong side of the channel is to your port.

You should always attempt to pass port to port where possible. If you cannot you best be well tucked in or out of the channel altogether. To enable this you should stay to starboard as you go, so hailing and maneuvering is minimized.
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:10 PM   #15
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This may be a gross generalization but:

While we have these discussions occasionally here on TF, seems to me I read more of these types of discussions on some sailing sites. Most often on those sites, those complaints about right of way are directed at us power boaters, but there always seems to be several posts directed at commercial ships. It usually seems to go like this: "I was under sail in my 26' sailboat, coming into X port. I was in the channel and clearly had the right-of-way per Colregs X.xx. There was a 985' RORO car carrier hogging the entire channel. He made no effort to change course even though I signaled with my little handheld airhorn. He almost ran over me but I changed course just in time. Then his bow wave almost swamped me! I clearly had the right-of-way, what is wrong with those captains?"
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:42 PM   #16
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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
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Old 05-09-2016, 03:47 PM   #17
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Menzies: "The wrong side of the channel is to your port ". Very dangerous generalization. The largest shipping channel is the U.S. is the Port of Southern La. New Orleans to Baton Rouge. I believe that I would be fairly correct in saying one half of the meeting situations are on a one whistle with the other half are on two whistle meetings. Weather, current,channel characteristics, and even ships own manuevering capabilities all will influence the preferred side of the channel for the ship's pilot.

While the rules do state small vessels should try and stay to their Starboard of a "narrow" channel the definition of "narrow" is lacking and is considered based upon the situation. My point is that trying to operate a vessel on a "general rule" or preconceived notion of what side a meeting situation is going to take place on may very well get one in trouble. There is little substitute for good communications whether VHF or whistle.
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Old 05-09-2016, 04:41 PM   #18
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The "middle' of the shipping channel shouldn't be the place for the working boats either...

What about the case where a working ship is coming down the wrong side of a shipping channel (with shoals both sides) at night, is attempted to reach on vhf with no response, and therefore pleasure craft adjusts course to very edge of channel to give safe passage. Is that cool for working boats too?
Raising working boats on the VHF is always interesting. As pleasure boaters we are trained to listen and hail on 16 and then switch to another channel for the conversation. However, WORKING vessels are using their WORKING channels which often do not include 16. Here in the SF Bay they would likely be listening on 13 (bridge to bridge) and 14 (Vessel Traffic Service). Hailing them on 16 is may well be met with dead air!

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Old 05-09-2016, 05:07 PM   #19
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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.
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Old 05-09-2016, 06:09 PM   #20
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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.
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