Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-16-2014, 11:44 AM   #1
Guru
 
Alaskan Sea-Duction's Avatar
 
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,147
Cool My First Time!

Well this last weekend I had my first fog adventure and man was it nerve wrecking. We left St. Helens, OR as the fog appeared to be lifting. It didn’t take long to be in the thick of things. Couldn’t see 10 feet in front of the bow. I attempted to steer IAW the GPS and radar, but not knowing what was out there in the shipping channels made it more of a pucker factor.

Lessons learned:

1. I will be getting AIS next month at the boat show.
2. Steering by GPS or radar is at best difficult. Should have plotted a course on the GPS and stuck to it. Should have increased radar range to at least a mile on the river. I was running mile.
3. Stay out of the shipping channel! I actually had two ships making their way up the creek and all we could hear was their horn. I did see them on radar later and we were out of the shipping channel.
4. Slowing downed helped.
5. Second set of eyes was a good thing and the help from the Admiral helped me gain some confidence back.
6. Could have sat at the dock longer. Not got in a hurry.
7. Crap I forgot about the dredge work going on down river how the hell am I going to get around the pipes????

The fog bank was about 7 miles in length so we ended up in nice blue skies and no issues down river. I will be practicing more on a clear day. I am glad we went through this ordeal as it proved to me I and the admiral have to work as a team and gain more experience.

Anyone want to share thier first time?
__________________
Advertisement

__________________
1988 M/Y Camargue Yacht Fisher
Alaskan Sea-Duction
MMSI: 338131469
Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/
Alaskan Sea-Duction is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 02:07 PM   #2
Guru
 
BandB's Avatar
 
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: USA
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 13,146
Sounds like the main thing to do is practice using radar and GPS in good conditions. Our tendency is to not work with them much until they're really needed.

My first time ever in a situation like you described was on the lake we lived on. I really felt silly having radar on a 30' runabout on a lake. We'd played around with it some. But one day we were out and there was a torrential downpour accompanied by terrible fog. None of the danger of open water that you faced, but could not see either bank of the lake. Just a small inland lake but we happened to be at the widest part when this happened. Fortunately it was winter so not many boats on the water. I knew by the end of that day I'd never own another boat without radar.
__________________

BandB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 02:31 PM   #3
Guru
 
Alaskan Sea-Duction's Avatar
 
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,147
One item I forgot was to plot a course line with your GPS to help.
__________________
1988 M/Y Camargue Yacht Fisher
Alaskan Sea-Duction
MMSI: 338131469
Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/
Alaskan Sea-Duction is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 02:42 PM   #4
Guru
 
siestakey's Avatar
 
City: Sarasota,FL/Thomasville,GA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Steppin Stone IV
Vessel Model: Marine Trader Kelly Trawler 46
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,271
Send a message via Skype™ to siestakey
Thanks for sharing
siestakey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 02:42 PM   #5
Guru
 
No Mast's Avatar
 
City: Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Country: US
Vessel Name: Moana Huaka'i
Vessel Model: Selene 53
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 816
Random thoughts from reading your post:

1. AIS is nice, but don't be too reliant on it, too many boats don't have it
2. Yes, using radar while traveling through fog is highly advisable but be knowledgable of limitations. If you're picking up large freighters, tankers, or cruiseships a smaller target can go unseen.
3. We will, whenever possible, let the autopilot steer a heading allowing us more time monitoring position with head and ears out of the pilothouse (if possible). You should be able to do this without plotting a course.

All technology is helpful, but not at the expense of eyes and ears on the lookout. Lastly, I think you're 100% right that slowing down is very helpful. Not only does it increase your reaction distance but it also makes it quieter enabling you to hear others better.
No Mast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 02:53 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Richard W's Avatar
 
City: Florida USA and Ontario Canada
Country: The 3rd Rock from the Sun
Vessel Name: anytime
Vessel Model: 2007 Chaparral 270 Signature LOA 29'
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 303
Quote:
Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Sounds like the main thing to do is practice using radar and GPS in good conditions. Our tendency is to not work with them much until they're really needed.
Can't agree more. It was my first season with the radar and dispite a few practice runs in good daytime conditions there is plenty to learn by experience for me.
__________________
Best ... Richard
Richard W is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 03:35 PM   #7
TF Site Team
 
ksanders's Avatar
 
City: SEWARD ALASKA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: LISAS WAY
Vessel Model: BAYLINER 4788
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 3,954
The key is practice, and more practice.

Run your RADAR during the day and learn to correlate returns with various types of targets. Dont just do it once or twice, run your RADAR every time your boat is underway.

With time you'll get to the point where when something shows up on the screen you know its real, and when, there's nothing on the screen you'll know there is really nothing there.
__________________
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
www.mvlisasway.com
ksanders is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 03:40 PM   #8
Guru
 
Alaskan Sea-Duction's Avatar
 
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,147
Good Posts! No Mast the only auto pilot I have is me! Hands on the wheel. Yep it's on my list. I also had my fog horn on although it wasn't as loud as the big boys... Kevin couldn't agree more and i will be practicing a lot more.
__________________
1988 M/Y Camargue Yacht Fisher
Alaskan Sea-Duction
MMSI: 338131469
Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/
Alaskan Sea-Duction is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 04:21 PM   #9
Veteran Member
 
Rsysol's Avatar
 
City: Cruising the West Coast
Vessel Name: Antipodes
Vessel Model: Yachtsmiths
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 61
Our first time in Fog was many years ago on a new to me boat. While diving off Point Loma in San Diego a thick fog bank came in. Still new to my limited electronics I simply fired up the radar and set the GPS to the point marked "Mission Bay" set by the prior owner.

Well, the radar didn't work worth a damn, we nearly ran over a couple other dive boats on the way back. As we approached the Mission Bay jetty the surf seemed a bit loud. It was about 20 yards off the jetty when we noticed we were heading straight for the rocks, the prior owner had set the waypoint for a 1/2 mile inside the harbor.

Needless to say, the waypoints were deleted, the crappy electronics were pulled and a new Furuno system installed with GPS, Chartplotter and Radar. We, like others here, ran it every time out on the water from then on.
Rsysol is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 04:33 PM   #10
Guru
 
Moonstruck's Avatar
 
City: Hailing Port: Charleston, SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Moonstruck
Vessel Model: Sabre 42 Hardtop Express
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 7,848
If you can overlay the radar onto the chart it will do a couple of things. It will confirm that returns from markers actually are markers and not boats. It will allow you to look at both at the same time

Plotting a course line, and letting the auto pilot navigate it frees up attention needed elsewhere. A lookout with good ears on the bow is desirable.
__________________
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
http://moonstruckblog.wordpress.com/
Moonstruck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 04:35 PM   #11
Guru
 
Alaskan Sea-Duction's Avatar
 
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,147
Agree Don, but I still have the old Ratheon radar. I will be upgrading with Ray marine later this spring.
__________________
1988 M/Y Camargue Yacht Fisher
Alaskan Sea-Duction
MMSI: 338131469
Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/
Alaskan Sea-Duction is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 04:49 PM   #12
Guru
 
JDCAVE's Avatar
 
City: Lions Bay, BC
Country: Canada
Vessel Name: Phoenix Hunter
Vessel Model: Kadey Krogen 42 (1985)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,606
As with all of the above comments, working with your radar in calm and clear conditions is critical. The Radar Book: Effective Navigation and Collision Avoidance, by Kevin Monahan is an excellent guide on how to get the best from your radar to avoid collisions.

I now spend considerable time when steaming about looking at landmarks, ships and the radar and I am constantly changing the range to look at how things change, adjusting gain, etc. A couple of things I have learned:

1) Set a course down on your plotter of your intended journey if you must travel in fog.
2) When in the fog, use the autopilot all the time, switching it to standby only when avoiding collisions.
3) When changing headings, look at the next waypoint to see the course heading, steer the boat until the heading on the autopilot matches the course heading and lock in the autopilot and make small adjustments as necessary. That way, you won't grossly under or over steer the vessel, which is the tendency in fog.
4) Switch between close range (0.25-1NM) and mid range (2-4 nm) on your radar regularly. This is really important in areas where there are sport fishing vessels--they seldom have radar, are ignorant of collision rules and those around them and are really out of it!
5) When entering channels or constricted waterways, announce your presence with a "Securitie" on Channel 16. Commercial and other traffic can contact you to discuss collision avoidance if necessary.
6) Contact "Vessel Traffic Services" when in channels or constricted waterways. Ferries and other commercial traffic will learn of your presence. I have actually had VTS contact me out of the blue one day when entering Active Pass, so they could pass the information on to commercial traffic in the area.
7) Use your horn, long blast every minute.
8) Reduce Speed.
9) Have someone else as a look out while your head is in the instruments.


While I haven't gone through Active Pass in the fog, there can be up to 4 BC ferries running through this Pass during a 10-15 passage through the area. I regularly contact them on the Victoria Traffic Channel (11) now to confirm safe passes.


Jim
JDCAVE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 05:43 PM   #13
TF Site Team
 
FlyWright's Avatar
 
City: California Delta and SF Bay
Country: Sacramento, CA, USA (boat in Vallejo)
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: Marshall Californian 34 LRC
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10,178
All good advice. I run my radar at all times for the reasons already stated.

I woudn't go in the fog without the following:

1. Autopilot. The workload is just too high to hand steer a course and watch radar, chartplotter and windows while listening for other foghorns.

2. Chartplotter - I slew out with a course to a waypoint at 1 mile or less range to keep me on course and within my narrow waterways/channels.

3. Radar - at a range allowing me to see boats 1 1/2-2 miles away for adequate warning

4. Foghorn. I have FogMate which uses my boat's horn to automatically sound at the required intervals.

5. VHF Comm on Ch 16 and the area working channel for commercial vessels.

AIS is nice to have as early warning, but there are too many vessels without AIS transmitters (like me) who won't show up. Radar is the source for all boats if properly adjusted and operated.

Also remember that the lights on freighters can be 30 feet in the air, not at water level like we're used to seeing on our smaller vessels. I had a close call one dark, moonless night when a dark-hulled freighter showed up on our bow while we were approaching the Antioch Bridge from the west. I was new to the boat and not yet well versed in using the radar. The ship's lights were visually lost in the car lights crossing the bridge in the background. The ship's horn was unmistakable, though!!
__________________
Al

Custom Google Trawler Forum Search
FlyWright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 07:24 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Rebel112r's Avatar
 
City: Birch bay wa
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Rogue
Vessel Model: North Pacific 42
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 391
Hard to steer a steady course, when dealing with chartplotter and radar. If you have another aboard, have them steer concentrating on compass, while you deal with the electronics. Before I had the autopilot, my course line in fog, especially when dealing with traffic was not to good. Autopilot is a real stress reliever.
Rebel112r is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 07:37 PM   #15
Guru
 
Sailor of Fortune's Avatar
 
City: Saint Augustine, Fl.
Country: Port of St Augustine ,FL
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,959
Don't forget, one of your options is to "stay put". Anchor if it is safe to do so(and depth appropriate). Before GPS/chartplotters etc , it was common to "anchor up". It screwed up your Monday morning back at work, but you made it alive. Hand steering by compass alone (no autopilot) sucks. You can't multi task this and pay attention to nav duties/radar etc with any real situation awareness. Stay out of the shipping channels if your draft allows. Common sense prevails here folks.
Sailor of Fortune is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 07:46 PM   #16
Guru
 
drb1025's Avatar
 
City: Bellevue, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Fiddler
Vessel Model: DeFever 46
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 501
My first time in fog was crossing Rosario Strait heading to Deception Pass. It was very thick but i had a course plotted and made it through the shipping lanes with no problem. What stands out from this experience is the number of boaters that would come on the VHF radio and warn the other boaters to watch out for them when they come through the pass because they have no radar. There were continuous reports of fog on the radio so they weren't surprised by it. Rather, they chose to take their chances and put others in danger as well. Don't assume the other boaters know what they are doing.
drb1025 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2014, 08:59 PM   #17
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
We have never not gone anywhere because of fog. If it's foggy, we run in the fog. We made a three-hour run once through the islands and never saw much farther than a few boat lengths around us. We've run narrow, dog-leg passes between islands that are a hundred yards or less wide and not once seen either shore. Both my wife and I actually quite like running in the fog. Probably me more than her.

My point is not to say how great we are at running on instruments, it's to say that we treat virtually every run we make as though we have zero visibility. Like FlyWright, we have our radar on at all times, and whoever is driving refers to it frequently.

This means that we are totally familiar with what the display looks like under different conditions, and we know what different target returns look like, and we are used to using the radar's features and adjustments to get the best display at every range we use as well as to track other targets (Furuno NavNet VX2).

We also have--- or we enter if it's a new one-- every course we follow into the two plotters. And then we follow those courses. Regardless of the visibility. Which means that we're totally comfortable using the steering directions screens as well as the map screens, and holding a heading with the magnetic compass and using the plotters to confirm the heading we're holding is the right one (the currents around here force heading changes every few minutes most of the time, to track a course).

Why hold our headings with the magnetic compass and not the plotters? Because the compass reacts instantly to the tiniest change. With the plotters, you have to wait a bit to see the change. So yes, you can hold a heading with a plotter but your wake will look a bit like a snake as you chase the corrections back and forth.

All of which means that if we're cruising along in nice visibility and we come around a point to be confronted with a fog bank right down to the surface in the middle of the channel ahead of us-- a very common situation at certain times of the year around here---- it's a totally smooth and seamless transition from running with miles of visibility to running wth yards of visibility.

We've been doing this for the 16 years we've had this boat.

So yes, it's all about practice and getting totally familiar and comfortable with and confident in the navigation equipment on the boat. So when we do come around the corner and drive into the fog bank, the only thing that happens is the person not driving at the time comes forward to stand beside the driver and run the radar, as well as provide another pair of eyes and ears. We have an outside PA that also functions as an intercom, so we can turn that up to hear any horns that might be sounding around us.

It's reached the point where we have practiced operating the boat this way for so long that we're actually a bit disappointed if we go on a run during the fog-prone seasons and we don't get a chance to run for at least a little while in the fog.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2014, 10:47 AM   #18
Guru
 
RCook's Avatar


 
City: Holladay, UT
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Dream Catcher
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37-065
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 503
Quote:
Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
My first time in fog was crossing Rosario Strait heading to Deception Pass. It was very thick but i had a course plotted and made it through the shipping lanes with no problem. What stands out from this experience is the number of boaters that would come on the VHF radio and warn the other boaters to watch out for them when they come through the pass because they have no radar. There were continuous reports of fog on the radio so they weren't surprised by it. Rather, they chose to take their chances and put others in danger as well. Don't assume the other boaters know what they are doing.
One of our most adrenaline-producing fog experiences was crossing Rosario Strait on the last day of a 3.5 month trip through BC and SE AK. We were heading from Thatcher Pass to Deception Pass when it got very thick. Saw ~2 dozen! other boats on the radar. From the radio chatter, it seemed that it was closing in on the time to be back to the charter base in Anacortes, and some were concerned that if they didn't hurry on through the fog they'd miss the slack at the pass, and then miss their check-in time at the base.

Our guess was that some also had little fog experience, as several were moving fast, and in all sorts of directions. Seriously nerve-wracking. No sooner would we steer away from one approaching vessel than we would find ourselves on course to get way too close to another.

We decided that discretion was the better part of valor. We didn't want to be in the middle of such a dogfight, and turned away to anchor for a while until the fog and crowd dissipated. Just as we were turning, a ~40-footer came blasting out of the fog about 100 yards away, turning as she went. Would have been on pretty much of a collision course, at 15-20 knots. Thanks very much to our Furuno 4kw, we made it safely to a temporary anchorage. We missed the slack, but got through 6 hours later, unscathed.
__________________
Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tug 37)
New Moon (Bounty 257) - FOR SALE
"Cruising in a Big Way"
RCook is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2014, 11:10 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
City: Anacortes
Country: USA
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 301
Advice here has been very good. I'd start by agreeing most particularly on the use of an auto pilot. For me without one, I tend to sense turns that are not happening and try to correct. That or I'm so glued to the compass I can't see anything else. Fog is about consulting multiple sources of information while keeping things as simple as possible. That strongly favors an autopilot.

I'll add some quirks of radar, especially since you were on the river. One of the hardest places to run radar is where you are close to large hills. The reflections will sometimes bleed back and appear to crowd out what is real. Usually that's pretty distinctive that it is happening, but finding the edge of the channel when things choke down is harder and it is most likely to happen in the spots you have the least channel to navigate if the banks are high. It's also the kind of thing if not watched that can easily hide a large target like a ship. The tendency to push up power is wrong in this situation. You instead want to decrease power, to reduce the reflected returns allowing the radar to be more selective. All of this is simply a strong suggestion to always use your radar on nice days so these artifacts just become second nature. Also a good reason to be frequently changing range so you are looking both near and far, also helps with these effects.

I personally like to have my radar separated from my gps as I don't want anything cluttering the interpretation of the radar, but that is a preference.

There is one chief advantage of AIS other than seeing around corners, and that is quick access to the names of vessels. Nothing beats making contact and passing arrangements for safety.

Lastly, never trust a marked traffic channel. I imagine that the river does not allow a lot of margin room, but here in Puget Sound, I've noticed occasionally a ship that was outside of a marked lane by a significant distance that you might otherwise ignore because your gps tells you that you are outside the line. If you are monitoring vessel traffic, sometimes you may pick up a clue to what is going on. It's not a huge factor, but some have been surprised thinking they could safely ignore approaching vessels under the belief that traffic lanes acted as some kind of guard rail.
ghost is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-17-2014, 03:44 PM   #20
Guru
 
Alaskan Sea-Duction's Avatar
 
City: Inside Passage Summer/Columbia River Winter
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Alaskan Sea-Duction
Vessel Model: 1988 M/Y Camargue YachtFisher
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,147
Wow great read thanks everyone. I will take a lot of this to heart. I do need more practice...
__________________

__________________
1988 M/Y Camargue Yacht Fisher
Alaskan Sea-Duction
MMSI: 338131469
Blog: http://alaskanseaduction.blogspot.com/
Alaskan Sea-Duction is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:11 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012