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PatCassidy
07-17-2008, 09:32 PM
Ian, thanks for the story of the tug and the sailboat.

Here is an interesting one.

Imagine being on an 80-foot sailboat. You are sailing south from Long Beach to Catalina Island. Between the island and the mainland is a traffic separation scheme that runs east-west. Large container ships and tankers stay in their respective lanes through the scheme to keep order in the high-traffic area.

I am about to cross the traffic separation scheme (TSS) at a right angle to the scheme. There is a large tanker, low in the water, steaming west at 12 knots. He is correctly following his outbound lane and I think I will pass ahead of him by 300 yards, if I hold my course and speed.

Do I as a sailboat have the right of way?

What if, just to make sure I can make it, I turn on my engine and put up my "motoring cone" and now can pass a quarter-mile ahead of the tanker, who is right int the middle of his outbound lane. He is on my port bow. Is the tanker or the

Who is the stand-on vessel - the tanker or the sailboat operating its auxiliary power?

JimD
07-17-2008, 09:35 PM
You are one crazy dude if you're prepared to play chicken with a container ship.

PatCassidy
07-17-2008, 09:55 PM
I agree completely about common sense rules. But I'm only talking about the Colreg rules. That's why seamanship (rule 2) is important.

Larks
07-17-2008, 10:12 PM
regardless of day shapes or lights the observation would indicate that the container vessel is constrained by her draught in a TSS and as such will remain the stand on vessel. If in doubt as to the interpretation of any collreg - the skipper of the sailing vessel would also be required to operate under the provision that no Collreg' relieves a vessel from the obligation to avoid a colision.

Kaa
07-17-2008, 10:34 PM
Who is the stand-on vessel - the tanker or the sailboat operating its auxiliary power?

Hm. If the sailboat continues under sails, she falls under Rule 10(j): "...sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel following a traffic lane".

If the sailboat turns on the engine and becomes a power vessel, it can be argued that the tanker is still the stand-on ship because of Rule 9(d) -- "A vessel shall not cross a narrow channel or a fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway". A tanker on approach really has no business outside of the traffic lane and it could be held that it can "safely navigate" only within one.

Kaa

Captain Blight
07-18-2008, 01:48 AM
They're all monitoring channels 13 and 16. Give 'em a hail and work something out.

George Roberts
07-18-2008, 08:17 AM
"They're all monitoring channels 13 and 16. Give 'em a hail and work something out."

Some things re so easy.

Jonathan Kabak
07-18-2008, 08:44 AM
Rule 10-Traffic separation schemes

Paraphrasing, vessels crossing a traffic separation are the give way vessel.

PatCassidy
07-18-2008, 08:59 AM
More information:

These are international waters so inland rules do not apply.

The sailboat does not have a radio.

There are no buoys to mark the boundaries of the traffiic separation scheme.


This is a very real scenario for sailing out of Los Angeles. When I began to get ineterested in I joined a sailing club in LA that gave me access to sailboats up to 42 feet. I sailed to Catalina and did club races to Catalina that went through this traffic separation scheme.

edit: I am pretty sure that neither I nor anyone else in these club races had any idea what the rules were. If anything the racer is likely to say "get out of my way, I'm in a race!"

Saltiguy
07-18-2008, 09:04 AM
Here's Saltiguys Rule Number One . (1) Always give way to working vessels and keep as far away as possible.

SchoonerRat
07-18-2008, 09:17 AM
R = M x V

Where R is a vessel's right of way
M is the vessel's mass
V is the vessel's velocity

So we see that a vessel's right of way is directly proportional to its mass times its velocity.

In other words, if you're an 80 foot sailboat, keep the hell out of the way of a container ship!

ucb4ume
07-18-2008, 10:35 AM
I used to own a Cal-20 and sailed/raced extensively in the waters between Long Beach and Catalina. I always gave right of way to the cargo vessels entering or leaving the port.

I believe that in your scenario, the cargo ship would have the right of way, but if I was in your situation and unsure of who was right, I would give way to the ship unless I had at least a mile of clearance. It would not take much to luff up and pass behind the ship.

My rules of thumb are:

1. The least maneuverable vessel gets right of way.
2. If the two boats approaching each other are equal, (i.e. two sail boats or two runabouts) the starboard boat gets right of way.
3. If the operator of the other boater doesn’t know what “starboard” is, then he gets right of way. (i.e. That includes anyone with a brand new boat)

Kaa
07-18-2008, 11:13 AM
The sailboat does not have a radio.

Perhaps it should get one? For an 80-foot sailboat hanging around LA one itty-bitty handheld marine VHF radio doesn't seem to be an extravagance :D


This is a very real scenario for sailing out of Los Angeles.

In real life (as opposed to lawyering the rules) you certainly get out of the way of the tanker and do NOT expect it to change course or speed. It takes it a few miles to slow down anyway.

Kaa

ron ll
07-18-2008, 11:41 AM
This is a very real and very common situation in Puget Sound where there are traffic lanes all the way down the middle of the Sound, and most pleasure traffic crosses the Sound. In my experience it is VERY easy to tell if you are going to pass in front, collide with, or pass astern of these large visible vessels. It is also very easy in the first two cases to alter course well in advance so that you pass safely astern.

The speed of these vessels can be deceiving because of their size, and they are almost always going faster than you think. But sighting the horizon beyond them will tell you your relative intersecting course. They only change course at the well marked turning bouys, and they will not rapidly alter their speed.

Also, in discussions with an acquaintance who is a Puget Sound pilot, he says the most appreciated thing you can do for him is to make a very obvious change in your course whether you need to or not, just so he knows that you see him.

Unless you are obviously well ahead of them, go for their stern. Why would you do anything else?

PatCassidy
07-18-2008, 11:46 AM
This or a similar example is probably a good way to win a couple of drinks in a bar bet.

One can use the rules to demonstate that, under both circumstances, the sailboat should stay out of the way of the tanker. You can also use the rules to argue that the sailboat crossing the separation scheme in front of the tanker was completely within its rights. You can make a very good argument that the sailboat with its motoring cone has the right of way over the tanker.

I just took a Coast Guard licensing exam two weeks ago. I had been waiting for three months for my application to be evaluated to allow me to test, so I have had a lot of time to re-read the rules of the road recently. Incidentally, the Coast Guard exam is a multiple choice format. Consequently, you would not see this type of question because it does not have an absolute rule you can cite for a correct answer.

This example also points out how easy it is to mis-read the rules or misinterpret the rules. The rules have to be looked at in their entirety. You can't always look at just one part to determine who has the "right of way" - a term that does not even appear in the rules of the road.

There are plenty more arguments to be made on this example.

Ian McColgin
07-18-2008, 05:28 PM
I don't see any argument or circumstances where the rules can be stretched such that the nimble little sailboat should stand on and the large commercial vessel should give way.

But in the TSS it's a true no-brainer.

The TSS is clearly marked on the charts and is not a channel - it's always out from any channels and is a seperation scheme. All mariners should be able to read their charts, maintain their position, and know.

Small vessels change course whimsicly so even if you're visible by sight or radar, the larger vessel will stand-on giving you the initiative to stay clear.

I cross closely ahead of other yachts, especially in a race, but 300' is a bit close to get infront of a heavy.

PatCassidy
07-18-2008, 05:35 PM
Here is a hypothetical situation for which one can make an argument for either party and only 10 sailors have expressed an opinion while 225 people have viewed the thread.

I have presented this one to friends that drive boats for a living and at least half the time get an an absolute "vessel ____ is the stand-on vessel because _____", which I would argue is wrong.

If boaters operate on open waters that are travelled by commercial vessels, do you think it is reasonable that they should be able to argue the pros and cons of this situation? Or is it enough to say: I don't know what the rules are but I am not getting near that guy!" Or should we all hope that the guy who has rented a sailboat and is taking his family to Catalina does not say "sailboats have the right of way over power boats!"

This type of situation shoule be discussed in boating courses. Reading the rules in the abstact is sort of like reading a telephone book. It needs an application to make any sense.

Saltiguy
07-18-2008, 06:20 PM
Saltiguys' rule #2. Always assume that the other boat doesn't see you.

I had one this afternoon. I did a 3-hour charter; a lovely family from Scotland. We saw dolphins, manatees, lots of nice birds and caught a few fish. My marina is quite large (Florida) and one begins entering from the ICW into a narrow channel dredged through the shallows and leading to an opening barely 50 feet wide. As soon as you enter the marina, you must make a 90 degree turn to the right, which leads to another narrow channel with loads of finger piers to port. I have to go to the 4th opening on the left to get to my slip. Today, I came in the outside channel, turned right and almost immediatly a huge trawler came from the left and turned directly towards me. He was at idle speed, but did not slow, and was coming straight at me so that the only choice I had was to dump it in reverse, and back out around the corner, all the time with him pressing me, barely 30 feet away. I stayed cool so my customers wouldn't freak out, but it had now become evident that the trawler didn't even see me. By the way the trawler was one of those "little ship" types, probably a Krogen, and was all of 60 feet, conned from a wheelhouse (no fly bridge). I only have single screw, and had to do some fancy backing to stay ahead of this trawler. The dockmaster saw what was happening and was yelling at the other operator, trying to tell him there was a boat in front of him. I goosed it, got around the corner and went another 50 yards (all in reverse)before I could exit the channel and get into shallow water. Fortunately, it was high tide, and I didn't go aground. Apparently, when I backed out of the channel and was out of the way, the other vessel saw me for the first time. What did he do? He sounded his air horns, worried, I suppose that I would now try to enter the channel. Then he chugged slowly by. As he passed, there was a 60ish woman in the aft cockpit coiling a line. She hollered over, smiling and very friendly, - "Sorry, he was on the phone"

The dockmaster was watching the whole thing, arms out to the side, shrugging, "what are you going to do?". It was a close one, and the man was a plueperfect fool with a 2 million(?) dollar boat, and I had every right to be angry or indignent. What did I do? I laughed, because I was not in the least surprised. I really do always assume that the other boater doesn't even see me. He can be making a sandwich, reading a cruising guide, picking his feet, watching TV or even be on auto-pilot. I stay far away from ALL OTHER BOATS and take nothing for granted. I could tell a thousand stories like this one, many even worse, but THIS one happened today.

Saltiguy
07-18-2008, 07:06 PM
[quote=PatCassidy;

If boaters operate on open waters that are travelled by commercial vessels, do you think it is reasonable that they should be able to argue the pros and cons of this situation? Or is it enough to say: I don't know what the rules are but I am not getting near that guy!"

The only time the "rules" are important is when you are in a courtroom. It's good to know the rules, but you must assume that (1) the other guy doesn't know the rules (2) He knows the rules but doesn't care . or (3) He's drunk, sleeping, crazy, having a fight with his wife, a homicidal maniac, or not even at the helm.
Some of the dopiest guys out there are the ones who "know the rules", and press their position or course against all common sense. Too often these are blow-boaters who got the idea somewhere that they always have the precious right of way. The fact is that recreational boaters have no reason to be in a hurry. It's not important to get there "first". Recreational boating is supposed to be about having fun on the water, not about getting there first, and especially not about placing your vessel and passengers in harms' way.
Stay away from ALL other boaters, and always assume that they don't even see you.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
07-18-2008, 08:00 PM
Hm. If the sailboat continues under sails, she falls under Rule 10(j): "...sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a power-driven vessel following a traffic lane".

If the sailboat turns on the engine and becomes a power vessel, it can be argued that the tanker is still the stand-on ship because of Rule 9(d) -- "A vessel shall not cross a narrow channel or a fairway if such crossing impedes the passage of a vessel which can safely navigate only within such channel or fairway". A tanker on approach really has no business outside of the traffic lane and it could be held that it can "safely navigate" only within one.

Kaa

Completely correct answer; take a gold star.

Lew Barrett
07-18-2008, 09:23 PM
I cross closely ahead of other yachts, especially in a race, but 300' is a bit close to get infront of a heavy.

I don't as a rule, or at least much prefer to avoid such behavior, but I don't race. In respect to the latter comment all that can be said is Boy Howdy. In our waters tankers and warships routinely reach 900 or 1000 feet. Cross one third of a ship length in front of such a thing traveling at 20 plus knots? No thanks.

This discussion is academic, relying on Cap't Blight's math is the only sensible approach.

willmarsh3
07-18-2008, 10:02 PM
To answer PatCassidy's question - I wouldn't do it. What if the motor quits or the wind dies? I'd wait until the ship passes and pass at least one ship length behind the stern.

lil stinkpot
07-19-2008, 12:43 AM
"What if the motor quits or the wind dies?"

On THAT note, may I add a story (http://potter-yachters.org/members/May2008PotterNewsletter.pdf)?

This happened in May. Not *quite* relevant, but you CAN run into trouble with them tankers.

PatCassidy
07-19-2008, 01:39 AM
Here is my take on the situation - and a little story as a preview:

Last year I went out to the west end of Catalina to watch the start of the Transpac race - the big boat class. There was virtually no wind and we were motor sailing at just a couple of knots to help keep the sails full. There was no rush as the Transpac boats had no wind and could not motor because they were racing.

There were lazy swells that kept the boat rolling a bit so we set the staysails as we were crossing the outbound lane which was the closest lane in the scheme. We had twelve sails set and were only making way because of the engine.

So now we are in the separation zone. And then the engine died. The swell had stirred up sediment in our starboard tank that had clogged the fuel line. But there was enough time to bleed the fuel line, switch to a different primary filter, and prime the the fuel line again. No problem. I was in the separation zone with nobody around me.


Now - if that had happend a quarter of a mile in front of an outbound tanker, rather than in the separation zone, we would all been screwed! At twelve knots, which is the maximum speed in the TSS , that tanker would have closed a quarter-mile in 75 seconds. I would not have had time to get my engine started. I could not have altered course because I had no wind, and the tanker would probably have watched me bounce down his side with his rudder hard over.

In a NARROW interpretation of the rules, who is the stand-on vessel? Me! I am the stand on vessel - even though I have 12 sails set. Let's look at some of the issues:

1. I am motoring with a motoring cone which makes me a power driven vessel and I am greater than 20 meters in length;

2. The other vessel is on my port bow. Power vessel to starboard is the stand-on vessel in a crossing situation.

3. Even if the tanker is drawing 50 feet he is not contrained by his draft. The water is hundreds of feet deep.

4. A traffic separation scheme is neither a narrow channel nor a fairway. Its just a piece of ocean marked by funny lines on a chart. The first line of Rule 10 - Traffic Separation Schemes is "(a) This rule applies to traffic separation schemes adopted by the Organization and does not relieve any vessel of her obligation under any other rule."

A later part of the same rule states : "(j) A vessel of less than 20 meters in length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the safe passage of a power driven vessel following a traffic lane." But I am greater than 20 meters in length and my cone makes me a motor boat;

5. My hypothetical tanker is big and hard to maneuver but he as not "restricted in his ability to maneuver". Why?

From the Colreg definitions: The term "vessel restricted in her ability to maneuver" means a vessel which from the nature of her work is restricted in her ability to maneuver as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.

Key term - nature of her work. Buoy tenders at work are restricted in their ability to maneuver. Same with minesweepers sweeping and cable layers laying. Big cumbersome tankers at full speed or tall ships with all sails set are not "restricted in their ability to maneuver" because of the requirement of "from the nature of her work..."

So, I am the power driven vessel to starboard in a crossing situation. The traffic separtation scheme does not relieve any vessel of her obligation under any other rule. The tanker is not contrained by its draft. It is not restricted in its ability to maneuver. It is not operating in a narrow channel or fairway. (Webster's defines fairway as a navigable part of a river, bay, or harbor. The Colregs does not define "fairway")

Up to this point I am the stand-on vessel at a dead-stop in front of a supertanker steaming down on me. One could make the argument that I am no longer motoring and I am not "not under command" because we have sails - even if we have time to put up the day shape to say we are Not Under Command. Either way I am scattered upon the water.

The tanker's principle argument is Rule 2 - Responsibility

(a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master, or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

(b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger.

It is not in the ordinary practice of seamen to try to outrun a tanker - anywhere. Or to ignore the special circumstances of the case. To do so would be to ignore the limitations of the tanker and the TSS. Consequently, paragraph b says I should depart from these Rules as necessary to avoid imediate danger.

Rule 2 ties all of the other rules together. It screams for the use of common sense. It recognizes that there are too many variables for a simple set of black and white rules to apply to a million different situations.

Like others have said here, the final decision of liability will be by a judge after you are dead! The rules are intended to keep everybody safe. Whether they work or not is another issue.

And if this example does stump them in the bar, ask them what is the mass of the bell clapper!

Larks
07-19-2008, 03:43 AM
More information:

These are international waters so inland rules do not apply.

The sailboat does not have a radio.

There are no buoys to mark the boundaries of the traffiic separation scheme.


This is a very real scenario for sailing out of Los Angeles. When I began to get ineterested in I joined a sailing club in LA that gave me access to sailboats up to 42 feet. I sailed to Catalina and did club races to Catalina that went through this traffic separation scheme.

edit: I am pretty sure that neither I nor anyone else in these club races had any idea what the rules were. If anything the racer is likely to say "get out of my way, I'm in a race!"


Pat, the Colregs are "International Collosion Regulations for the prevention of Collisions at Sea", not just related to inland waterways, also the TSS's are charted - no buoys needed - please don't tell us that the vessels were sailing these waters without charts or that the skippers had no nav' experience on such a vesel?.
cheers
Greg

Bernadette
07-19-2008, 05:00 AM
surely the original post is a joke? no prudent master in charge of an 80' vessel of any description should even be considering what their options are. simpy run behind the tanker or risk a mighty big CRUNCH!

Dave Davis
07-19-2008, 05:45 PM
[QUOTE=PatCassidy;1895644]

"Key term - nature of her work. Buoy tenders at work are restricted in their ability to maneuver. Same with minesweepers sweeping and cable layers laying. Big cumbersome tankers at full speed or tall ships with all sails set are not "restricted in their ability to maneuver" because of the requirement of "from the nature of her work..."

Actually the rules re vessels engaged in minesweeping are somewhat different and require different shapes/lights and that other vessels should avoid close approaches (to be exact, these shapes indicate that it's dangerous for other vessels to approach closer than 1k meters).

Bob Triggs
07-26-2008, 12:03 AM
One word: "ASTERN!"

Rational Root
07-26-2008, 05:08 PM
R = M x V
<snip>
In other words, if you're an 80 foot sailboat, keep the hell out of the way of a container ship!

Yup. As my father told me when I was learning to drive. "There's no good in being dead right"


D

dreyer
07-26-2008, 10:10 PM
"They're all monitoring channels 13 and 16. Give 'em a hail and work something out."

Some things re so easy.

Colregs have been refined over the years for a reason...

VHF calling is VERY bad practice for intership navigation.

Please folks, DO NOT call up a vessel to discuss port to port etc.

If you follow the colregs then there is no need to hail a vessel on vhf.

All it achieves is to decrease CPA's & TCPA's, consumes radio bandwidth and increases the possibility of a risk of collision deeming to exist.

The first sign of a poor seamanship to a professional mariner is intership navigation via VHF.

David Tabor (sailordave)
07-27-2008, 02:31 AM
The first sign of a poor seamanship to a professional mariner is intership navigation via VHF.


Well, I generally don't ring up other boats/ships b/c it is pretty easy to follow the rules. And I definitely subscribe to the Law of MASS!

But this comment is pretty ridiculous. There are many times/places it may not be readily apparent what a ship or tug towing is GOING to do. We have a lot of traffic that passes under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge by Annapolis. The ship traffic and MOST of the tug/barge traffic stay in the channel. Heading south you make a slight turn to the east to stay in the channel.
HOWEVER, there are tugs that just truck right on down the west side of the Bay. In fact further south there are alternate marks for just that purpose.
Hailing a southbound tug to find out his intentions is just prudent sometimes. And shows situational awareness.

This is just ONE instance I can think of.

Bernadette
07-27-2008, 02:59 AM
I recall hailing a ship's captain once when there was a potential "crossing" of the outbound track of a tanker leaving port near Bowen in North Queensland. I was heading due north and the tanker was headed off in an easterly direction. I was unsure if it was going to swing northward or southward. I wanted the exact outbound track for the ship so I could ascertain from a long way off, if I needed to slow up or if I could continue to proceed along my intended course. Just being cautious.

Ian McColgin
07-27-2008, 07:50 AM
It is professional to use all available equipment professionally. That especially means intelligent use of the low-range VHF channel 13 in US waters.

In the busy ports where I've tugged - New York to Boston - and where I've sailed - east coast USA and Pacific Northwest - commercial traffic uses 13 (and 16) for security calls like leaving the dock and points along the route where other traffic might loom suddenly. Sailing a tight channel in fog or at night I absolutely make routine security calls and listen with care.

In daylight a call to crossing or on-coming traffic may well save stress and confusion. For example, when tacking and under sail only out our little channel I'll always let the ferrys know where I expect to be and whether we'll pass on one whistle or two. And you'll always hear ferrys, tugs etc communicating this way well out from where sound signals are needed.

I do this because too many yachties gave me angina as I wondered just how they expected me to keep the loaded oil can on my head from grinding them under.

I monitor 16, 13 & 9 anyway but in high traffic areas at least listen to 16 & 13. You'll learn the language if you pay attention.