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Old 12-31-2018, 12:47 AM   #121
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I respectfully disagree with your choices but not your right to make them. This is why I've always viewed pleasure boats as potential hazards and have not been disappointed.
I've actually been close to run down many more times by commercial boats than pleasure. Usually fishing boats in the 30 - 180' range. A significant percentage of which do not show up on a small radar set no matter how you twiddle the knobs.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:54 AM   #122
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I've actually been close to run down many more times by commercial boats than pleasure. Usually fishing boats in the 30 - 180' range. A significant percentage of which do not show up on a small radar set no matter how you twiddle the knobs.
It would appear you aren't overly familiar with radar if you can't get a target from a 30 to 180' boat. USCG statistics also don't support your first contention although that may indeed be your personal experience. I apologize for my interest in safety.
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Old 12-31-2018, 07:54 AM   #123
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I've actually been close to run down many more times by commercial boats than pleasure. Usually fishing boats in the 30 - 180' range. A significant percentage of which do not show up on a small radar set no matter how you twiddle the knobs.
Totally agree. Fishing boats are high risk. They rarely call, will run right by and wake you.

They will often go out before sunrise without lights. Ever been caught in the scramble of a fishing tournament? Nightmare!

Another high risk is the Saturday/Sunday afternoon crowd. They hang out at a sand bar all day exchanging their blood for alcohol and find the need to get home at high speed, right at dusk, or later.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:09 AM   #124
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Totally agree. Fishing boats are high risk. They rarely call, will run right by and wake you.

They will often go out before sunrise without lights. Ever been caught in the scramble of a fishing tournament? Nightmare!

Another high risk is the Saturday/Sunday afternoon crowd. They hang out at a sand bar all day exchanging their blood for alcohol and find the need to get home at high speed, right at dusk, or later.
This sounds more like you're referencing sport fishing boats, although there are certainly plenty of small commercial boats that create problems. Here in Maine there are a few lobstermen that at times appear clueless. The vast majority of my experience is on larger offshore vessels such as trawlers and supply boats where most times licenses and training are required.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:14 AM   #125
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Totally agree. Fishing boats are high risk. They rarely call, will run right by and wake you.

They will often go out before sunrise without lights. Ever been caught in the scramble of a fishing tournament? Nightmare!

Another high risk is the Saturday/Sunday afternoon crowd. They hang out at a sand bar all day exchanging their blood for alcohol and find the need to get home at high speed, right at dusk, or later.
That's really misleading. Far more than half of sport fishing boats are just recreational boaters. For a sportfishing boat to be commercial, it needs to be run as a charter boat with a licensed captain. Doubt you will find many charter boats with licensed captains running as you described.

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Old 12-31-2018, 08:21 AM   #126
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In good visibility, staring at the radar screen rather than looking out the window might be called "failure to keep a proper lookout". Radar isn't a magic solution to collision avoidance as several high profile collisions between large ships and ships and yachts have proven. It's another tool, not a magic wand.

I'd rank electronics:

1) Autopilot
2) AIS
3) Radar

I'm not leaving the dock for any length of time with the autopilot out of commission. If the AIS or radar are out and the weather is decent, I'm gone.

Regarding chartplotting vs. radar accuracy, having the ability to overlay on a modern chartplotter resolves that whole question. Blindly following radar marking an out of position buoy is not a good thing either.

On Windows 10 (God help you!) for a start try OpenCPN.org. The software is free, in the US the charts are free, and it does a pretty good job including plotting AIS targets.
It's unfortunate that the concept of keeping a proper lookout and the safe and effective use of common marine electronics have eluded you. I would be happy to clarify some of the basics for you or suggest a number of books and publications that illustrate most of the skills.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:22 AM   #127
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That's really misleading. Far more than half of sport fishing boats are just recreational boaters. For a sportfishing boat to be commercial, it needs to be run as a charter boat with a licensed captain. Doubt you will find many charter boats with licensed captains running as you described.

Ted
Ted,

You're absolutely right. We should have said "fishing boats" not commercial boats. My apology. The licensed captains are clearly a cut above, and these are the guys that I typically get training from.

=====
Wow, guess we've drifted from the OPs original post. Getting back to the radar, now.....
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:23 AM   #128
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Radar isn't a magic solution to collision avoidance as several high profile collisions between large ships and ships and yachts have proven. It's another tool, not a magic wand.

I'd rank electronics:

1) Autopilot
2) AIS
3) Radar

I'm not leaving the dock for any length of time with the autopilot out of commission. If the AIS or radar are out and the weather is decent, I'm gone.

Regarding chartplotting vs. radar accuracy, having the ability to overlay on a modern chartplotter resolves that whole question. Blindly following radar marking an out of position buoy is not a good thing either.

Interesting ranking. Using that as a springboard...

I suspect a recreational user's ranking is (should be?) influenced by regional issues. For us, here, the AIS is useful but no way no how ever gonna be more useful than radar... simply because most boats around here (I usually guess about 98-99%) don't transmit AIS. OTOH, in a busy river with tugs, tows, barges... yep, I can see AIS trumping radar, at least in good daylight weather. And AIS was useful on the AICW for arranging passes, etc.

FWIW, and for Boilermaker's benefit (YMMV), these days I'd probably rank stuff like this:

Depth finder
VHF (DSC, with GPS source)
Chartplotter (with GPS)
Autopilot
Radar
AIS
Redundant depth finder (we use a fish finder for this)
Redundant VHF (DSC, with GPS source)
Back-up plotter/GPS (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.)

Some of that ranking is pretty fluid, even in my own mind, though. A decent nav app on a tablet is so cheap, in the grand scheme of things, that it could very likely happen before AIS bubbles to the top of somebody's wallet... or a back-up VHF might not have to be fitted and a handheld VHF (for example) doesn't really cost an arm or a leg, so ditto...

And it incorporates my own preferences, too, biased by conditions in our normal cruising grounds... and without strict regard to whether Loop- or AICW-related. (or elsewhere).

And the wallet gets a vote. Making a choice between actually going cruising... or spending that cruise money on an AIS earlier rather than later... hmmm....

I think if I were buying another boat today, I'd concentrate my shopping more on the boat, less on the electronics. Fitted electronics might eventually become a tie-breaker, but I'd also assume that whatever's there may or may not be useful in the long run, may or may not be networked (a nice to have), may or may not allow flexibility for growth, etc etc etc...

So I'd plan on using whatever's there for a while, maybe a year or so, while studying what I'd really like to have. Then do that shopping and eventually... get 'er done. Even if the installation phase has to be incremental from that point.

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Old 12-31-2018, 08:29 AM   #129
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Slow Hand, I liked your canal pics, my mother still lives in Spencerport, NY and we used to farm right up to the towpath. I remember well planting corn while a tug and barge went by appearing as though we were sharing the same field.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:36 AM   #130
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I would like to suggest that a radar training course may be of some utility. I go to Maine Maritime for my five year renewals and they have a wonderful radar lab as I assume many other schools do also. An alternative may be to find someone with that training and experience to get some advice from. Just buying and installing equipment is only half of the issue.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:55 AM   #131
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Slow Hand, I liked your canal pics, my mother still lives in Spencerport, NY and we used to farm right up to the towpath. I remember well planting corn while a tug and barge went by appearing as though we were sharing to same field.
Thanks!

Really wished I'd kept the blog up on my trip, but doing the loop solo and then spending evenings posting just proved to be too much.

I stopped in Spencerport on the afternoon of their Firemen's parade and carnival. Truly an amazing afternoon / evening! Had no idea how big the parade would be with all the surrounding towns participating. Heartland small town America at its very best! Would go back for the parade and the Texas Bar-B-Que Joint, excellent brisket!

Really enjoyed going through the fields and orchards. In many parts of that area, the canal is above the fields. Very picturesque with the farm fields and all the wildflowers blooming. Not very often that you can cruise in your boat and smell wildflowers as you motor along.

Ted
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:35 AM   #132
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Ted... Fish...
Absolutely agree on the TX BBQ. It's the second best behind Coopers in Llano Tx.
The S'port firemen have quite the set up for chicken BBQ as well. We were there for Canal days 2018.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:37 AM   #133
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Thanks!

Really wished I'd kept the blog up on my trip, but doing the loop solo and then spending evenings posting just proved to be too much.

I stopped in Spencerport on the afternoon of their Firemen's parade and carnival. Truly an amazing afternoon / evening! Had no idea how big the parade would be with all the surrounding towns participating. Heartland small town America at its very best! Would go back for the parade and the Texas Bar-B-Que Joint, excellent brisket!

Really enjoyed going through the fields and orchards. In many parts of that area, the canal is above the fields. Very picturesque with the farm fields and all the wildflowers blooming. Not very often that you can cruise in your boat and smell wildflowers as you motor along.

Ted
Thank you,
It is a pleasant trip, I hope to do the Saguenay soon. Many years ago I briefly ran a dinner boat out of Spencerport and had the unusual experience of being pulled over by the Monroe County Sheriff for exceeding noise limits at night, it was a Karaoke cruise. He pulled up on the towpath with his flashing lights on and hailed me with his PA. I like your boat, I wish health would allow me such a nice ride but 26' is more my speed these days. Jim
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:38 AM   #134
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I've actually been close to run down many more times by commercial boats than pleasure. Usually fishing boats in the 30 - 180' range. A significant percentage of which do not show up on a small radar set no matter how you twiddle the knobs.
I agree with this except for the radar part (you should be able to tune your radar - if precisely tuned you can pick up pot markers/buoys - not easy but possible). I only run radar in limited visibility conditions (fog, dusk, dawn, night, storms, sea state that does not allow me to clearly see from lower helm if in lower helm, etc). Need to keep a proper lookout and situational awareness. I can see 360 degrees from my upper helm and almost a full 360 from my lower helm.

Let me preface the below comments on that I traveled 4,000 miles this year, passed thousands of boats, and there were no issues most of the time.

When there were issues, it seemed that commercial fishing boats were the issue most of the time there was an issue. No regard for right of way or anything. They think they own the waters. Second to that was large yacht owners that thought its OK to run cruise/WOT in a channel or no wake zone within feet of another vessel. My dog almost got ejected from the fly bridge this summer by a 100 foot yacht running 25 knots in a small-ish channel and then it happened a week later in a no wake zone with a 50+ foot yacht running 25-30 knots within 15 feet of my vessel (I actually got the owner's info from the documentation website and was thinking of writing them a letter!).

I was taught to slow down for EVERY passing boat unless your wake will not cause harm, you agree on radio not to slow down, etc. People are a lot more courteous down south. Up North there is little to no respect or regard for navigational rules. Good luck trying to hail a boat via VHF that you see coming right at you or throwing a huge wake. 9.9 times out of 10 they will not respond and continue on-ward. This is true for large commercial boats, yachts, smaller boats, etc. Down south it was the opposite and 9.9 times out of 10 someone would respond via radio (or hail me first). There was a large commercial ferry in NYC coming straight at me, in a skinny-ish channel, on the wrong side of the channel, did not respond to vhf, my horn, etc, until they were right in front of me and finally realized they need to move (I had pulled all the way off to the side as far as I could go without running aground). Down south there was an interesting interaction after a bridge opening. There were probably 2 dozen boats in queue (bridge opened on a schedule), once we made it through the bridge, a few of us faster boats wanted to pass some slower boats. We all tried hailing these two boats in the way multiple times, on multiple channels, tried the horn, etc. They were running 7-10mph in the middle of the channel. After about 20 minutes trying to pass them, we each started making our way around the slow boats. Going ~15 mph. Well, for many boats, 15 mph is not a sweet spot and will throw a wake. We had no choice and then they finally got on the radio screaming and cursing but we all said we've been trying to hail you for 20 minutes to pass, tried our horns, etc. They were not keeping a proper lookout and for most of us we had another 6-8 hours of cruising left to make it to our destination and going half our cruising speed would not have worked.

I thought it was funny when I was running in a water way that was 1+ miles wide and I'd get a call from someone freaking out that I was going too fast (not a no wake zone) and they would be calling from a dock. Only happened a few times but I know how my wake is at different speeds and how much room I need for it to fizzle out. If I had slowed down I would've thrown a huge wake. By the time my wake made it to the docks/shore, there was no energy left. I was very lucky that many had their docks stored for winter as I made my way north which allowed me to go faster in some areas I would've had to slow down if there was a boat / dock in the water. I can only imagine how much longer my trip would've taken via the ICW in summer when you factor in having to pass a ton more boats...
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:49 AM   #135
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How about east coast and west coast, which one of them is worse? And how about the Mississippi and Great Lakes are they just mediocre rude?
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Old 12-31-2018, 10:51 AM   #136
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I've actually been close to run down many more times by commercial boats than pleasure. Usually fishing boats in the 30 - 180' range. A significant percentage of which do not show up on a small radar set no matter how you twiddle the knobs.
You need to do more than "twiddle knobs". Radar is a complicated tool and requires a solid understanding of STC, FTC, Tune and Gain to make it perform at it's best. On top of that one must also learn to interpret what is on the screen.

My radar/ARPA/MARPA course almost 25yrs ago was 11 weeks and it took every one of those weeks to feel comfortable with it. A quick look through the Users Manual is not going to make you proficient.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:13 AM   #137
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In the commercial world, where I'm from it's not a "false tale". Radar is an integral part of maintaining a proper lookout regardless of conditions and obviously if you run into something you needed it. If you've ever been on the bridge of a large commercial vessel the radars are always on and someone is always plotting other vessels, buoys or other objects of navigational significance regardless of conditions.
I never said they shouldn't be on. Simply said whether that was held as a problem in an accident depends on the nature of the accident. Running into something, it would be unless that was caused by failure of mechanical systems or something. Getting run into it may or may not. If you saw the other ship and contacted them and they came on into you, then lack of radar would be irrelevant.

In the recreational world it would be the same. Most accidents are not caused by lack of radar being on. Some are. Recreational world is what this site discusses.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:31 AM   #138
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All radar experts I know operate with the radar on at all times while underway...regardless of the weather.
I always have my radar on & practice with it constantly. Why? As posted by another TF member who said his radar sees around bends, mine doesn't! I kinda depend on my AIS transceiver for that.

When cruising just for fun in a unknown area, this is what I'm looking at on my panel. Radar, chart & depth. if something looks strange, I look at it on a full screen. As was posted earlier, it makes a great rear view mirror as well!
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:35 AM   #139
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In the commercial world, where I'm from it's not a "false tale". Radar is an integral part of maintaining a proper lookout regardless of conditions and obviously if you run into something you needed it. If you've ever been on the bridge of a large commercial vessel the radars are always on and someone is always plotting other vessels, buoys or other objects of navigational significance regardless of conditions.
Believe me I wish this were true. I actually thought it was at one point. I watched as the NYC ferries (dozens of them) did not consistently use radar. I'd say 50/50. I actually questioned the ferry company and they came back and said there is no requirement to run radar when conditions are clear and its up to each individual captain. It was funny because I saw them running without radar in some foggy conditions and when there was terrible sun glare when anyone with common sense would want to run it. As a side note, these captains also have a habit of going full throttle to dock, then reverse hard to slow impact, which is a terrible idea as you should not approach something faster than you want to hit it. Yes they had strong currents to content with but I was actually on a boat where it took TEN tries for the captain to dock. I was about to go to the wheelhouse and offer some guidance. They also have run aground a few times... in areas that are clearly plotted as dangerous... You think some more care would be given because of the potentially hundreds of souls on-board but no. Now one company's boats are falling apart. I think some major corrosion issues. They had to take so many boats out of service they ended up having to pay other ferry companies to come in and run boats in place. Interesting enough, I saw one of the ferries all the way down in NOLA at a shipyard. No clue if it was going to be crushed or what but it had only been in service for a couple of years...

Here was the ferry company's initial response:

Quote:
We have several radar systems operating at all times. The radar on top of the ferry is not our only means of radar. Using that radar is only used during inclement weather where the other radar systems are less accurate. Safety is our prime objective. I can assure you that we would not jeopardize the safety of our riders this way for any reason.
And then their official response once I raised a few red flags and called them out to explain "other radar systems":
Quote:
Our captains are licensed by the USCG and have passed a Rules of the Road test and demonstrated the proper judgment in order to hold a Coast Guard license. Additionally, as an organization we undergo an audited training and job qualifications program, that meet ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 international standards.

Our management team is made up of seasoned mariners and former senior USCG personnel. We have reviewed our operating procedures and discussed this topic in detail and are confident we’re operating to the highest standard, which is also consistent with all USCG navigational requirements.

Rule 7 and Rule 5 have consistent themes, regarding the requirement for vessels to,"..use all available means appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions." Rule 7 also requires that the systems be functional and operational. All our navigational equipment is functional and operational. Rule 7 does not mandate for radar be run continuously, but rather left to the captain’s discretion based on "prevailing circumstances". Our captains have multiple tools available to them in order to deliver safe service. Radar is one of them. Additionally, we have chart plotters, AIS tracking systems, dispatch and vessel tracking systems.
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Old 12-31-2018, 11:39 AM   #140
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Well, as a commercial captain, especially in the last decade and dealing with hundreds of commercial captains.... I have never heard that.

Commercial fishermen I installed electronics for and amfriends with would never have given up their Lorans or GPS because of pinpointing spots.

They may love their radars too... but not as a primary nav tool.
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