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Old 03-31-2012, 03:06 AM   #1
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do you use a prologned signal exiting berth/marina?

Recently heard boats signaling leaving their marinas (a somewhat-rare thing -- signaling). The one leaving the Vallejo Municiapal Marina and the two leaving the adjacent Valleyo Yacht Club marina gave very short (less than a second) horn signals while a prolonged (several seconds) signal was called for. Is this due to ignorance or what (don't want to bother the neighbors, my compressed air is limited, clueless, nobody cares, there's never any boat traffic, whatever)?
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:16 AM   #2
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The correct signal is one long blast (leaving berth), and three shorts (engines operating astern). I have never heard yachts using these signals in my area.

In the PNW, commercial ships (including ferrys) do not have to use sound signals if they announce movement on the Traffic Control channel on VHF.
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:36 AM   #3
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Larry, what's your practice when leaving the marina? (From your response, I presume you don't signal.)
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:56 AM   #4
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Mark.

I take a good look up and down the waterway between the slips and try to see if anyone is moving or running engines getting ready to move. I don't normally use horn signals, and I don't think they are needed in my marina. After backing out of the slip, I keep careful watch as I have to make a somewhat blind left turn at the end of the waterway, and another right turn after that to enter the Swinomish Channel. I would not hesitate to use the horn if I saw traffic that might be a conflict. The channel can have several knots of current running either way. Fortunately there is not much traffic and we mostly only leave for the summer and return in the fall.

Horn signals are proper, and if there are folks on the water in kayaks or dingys or where there is traffic, I think they should be used. Running over a small boat can ruin everyone's day!

If a collision should occur, and you haven't given the proper horn signal, it would add to your liability.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:05 AM   #5
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I sometimes use my horn. I know I should use it all of the time because that is what you are supposed to do to avoid a collision. I am prolly the only one in my marina that does and my wife gets embarrassed. I used to be a commercial boat captain in the oilfield industry (crew boats and supply boats) and we always used them.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:21 AM   #6
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In most marina's along the ICW between NJ and FL...I think you would get lynched if you used your horn every time leaving your berth. Some with outer sea walls do have blind spot...there MAY be more appropriate than just your slip.

Sound signals are so misunderstood...as an Instructor for the NJ Safe Boating course...we were told not to even bother teaching most of them ( I did emphasize the fog, danger signals).
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:02 AM   #7
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From my flybridge, I have a very good view of boats entering or leaving the marina.

Boaters don't usually signal when leaving my marina or marinas I have visited. Most boats have such pitifull horns that it wouldn't make a difference anyway.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:39 AM   #8
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Every time.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:29 AM   #9
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Nope- I never sound the horn when departing the slip. Virtually no one does around here. They may get mad at you on the docks as it may startle them into spilling their beverages.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:19 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Woodsong;80932]Nope- I never sound the horn when departing the slip. Virtually no one does around here. They may get mad at you on the docks

Rarely do I hear anyone using sound signals, but as was mentioned earlier, should there be an accident, the failure to sound a signal could be evidence of negligance. We typically walk to the stern for a good look around (including straight down) just prior to departing our slip, then if there is a blind corner we sound three quick blasts to signal astern propulsion. Once underway ahead, one prolonged blast when approaching the breakwater will alert anyone unseen on the other side to our presence. I worry most about kayaks, as they are hard to spot, and we get a lot of them in Juneau. They may not understand the meaning of the signal, but at least they can tell there may be another boat nearby. In most cases though, the site lines are clear enough that we don't feel the need to sound any signals........Arctic Traveller

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Old 03-31-2012, 11:31 AM   #11
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As our berth is in very flat land area, has open expanses between docks that normally have few craft in slips, as well being on a seldom traveled channel: As long as I can see 360 deg off bridge (I only exit dock from bridge, no matter what the weather is) and no other boat is moving or appears to soon begin moving... I provide no horn. If another boat is moving I either wait till boat is gone or provide applicable horn signals. Once in a while there is a large yacht tied at end dock that negates my 360 deg view... I then provide horn blasts and progress slowly as I turn that corner.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:10 PM   #12
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I interpret a single prolonged signal as "here I am, look at/for me." I admit not always signalling when leaving the marina when the tide is high and can see over the breakwater, but what I fear is the unseen/unnoticed vessel. The first time blowing the horns a liveaboard couple's reaction was "what the hell was that?!" but they haven't complained because they like horns' sound. Often signal when approaching the entrance also.

My horns echo off the surrounding hills and buildings. It's unlikely they will be unheard.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:18 PM   #13
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I was at the fuel dock with one of the 87' Coast Guard patrol boats last fall and I notice he backed out without much fanfare. Proceeded down the channel and out throught the breakwater without so much as a beep. It would appear the sounding of horns is a thing of the past.
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:29 PM   #14
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I was at the fuel dock with one of the 87' Coast Guard patrol boats last fall and I notice he backed out without much fanfare. Proceeded down the channel and out throught the breakwater without so much as a beep. It would appear the sounding of horns is a thing of the past.
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I've found that the USCG, and other law enforcement personnel as well, do their own thing regardless of the rules applying to the rest of us.
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Old 03-31-2012, 01:43 PM   #15
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I've found that the USCG, and other law enforcement personnel as well, do their own thing regardless of the rules applying to the rest of us.
A friend was running a charter fishing trip off the California coast and drifting in the fog while bottom fishing. The fog had been coming and going while he assisted his customers. Suddenly, out of the fog a boat was headed right at them with no one at the helm.(it was on autopilot), and he was hit in the Stbd aft corner. There were injury's, and the C/G responded quickly. When they arrived, one of the first things they asked him was if he had been using sound signals. When he replied "no" and they asked why, he said for the same reason they had arrived without sounding fog signals themselves, that the fog was coming and going. Despite their not using using them, my friend was cited for not sounding the proper sound signals. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but the highest respect for the Coast Guard, but just because they might not always follow the Col Regs doesn't mean we don't need to either. If there is a accident, lack of proper signals could be a contributing factor that increases your degree of responsibility. I think it's best to use them if you are in doubt................Arctic Traveller

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:26 PM   #16
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I've found that the USCG, and other law enforcement personnel as well, do their own thing regardless of the rules applying to the rest of us.
Not sure if that is so much true as they have adapted with time to more "customs and courtesies" philosophy more than a strict interpretation of the rules.

Back in the East...if you followed the inland rule that you must sound a signal or communicate on the radio with every vessel within 1/2 statute mile to agree on maneuvering signals...you would drive yourself and everyone else crazy. So it just isn't done and I suspect that it's the case for smaller vessels everywhere where manuevering signal are just not needed most of the time between vessels that can start, stop and turn n a dime.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:29 PM   #17
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A friend was running a charter fishing trip off the California coast and drifting in the fog while bottom fishing. The fog had been coming and going while he assisted his customers. Suddenly, out of the fog a boat was headed right at them with no one at the helm.(it was on autopilot), and he was hit in the Stbd aft corner. There were injury's, and the C/G responded quickly. When they arrived, one of the first things they asked him was if he had been using sound signals. When he replied "no" and they asked why, he said for the same reason they had arrived without sounding fog signals themselves, that the fog was coming and going. Despite their not using using them, my friend was cited for not sounding the proper sound signals. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but the highest respect for the Coast Guard, but just because they might not always follow the Col Regs doesn't mean we don't need to either. If there is a accident, lack of proper signals could be a contributing factor that increases your degree of responsibility. I think it's best to use them if you are in doubt................Arctic Traveller

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Huge difference between using restricted visibility signals and manuevering signals when talking small craft (although I'll be the first to agree that sound signals on most small vessels or ANY vessel without an outside lookout) are rarely heard.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:42 PM   #18
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Back in the East...if you followed the inland rule that you must sound a signal or communicate on the radio with every vessel within 1/2 statute mile to agree on maneuvering signals...you would drive yourself and everyone else crazy. So it just isn't done and I suspect that it's the case for smaller vessels everywhere where manuevering signal are just not needed most of the time between vessels that can start, stop and turn n a dime.
That's not how I interpret the rules (e.g. signal to every vessel within half a mile). Signal only if there is a risk of collision. Judgment required!
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:47 PM   #19
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Huge difference between using restricted visibility signals and manuevering signals when talking small craft (although I'll be the first to agree that sound signals on most small vessels or ANY vessel without an outside lookout) are rarely heard.
For horn signals and other visual/hearing needs: My personal practice and recommendation is to pilot from flybridge... when at all possible... no matter the weather conditions. As Captain you are then the 360 degree visibility outside lookout. Each boat I've owned had flybridge... one of my prime requirements!
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:58 PM   #20
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Huge difference between using restricted visibility signals and manuevering signals when talking small craft (although I'll be the first to agree that sound signals on most small vessels or ANY vessel without an outside lookout) are rarely heard.
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Agreed!! But one group that makes liberal use of their horn and rightfully so is our Washington State Ferries and I DO appreciate that. Especially when boating in the San Juans. It's good to know when they depart their slips as they come straight out and accelerate rather quickly to close to 20 knots and they're between 300' and 450' long. The audio signal gives you warning when they are departing and you can get out of their way a lot easier.

Like everything else, there is a time and place for everything!!

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