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Thread: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

  1. #1
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    Default Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    The good wife and I spent a few days on Long Island and were returning to Vermont today. We boarded the Port Jefferson ferry for the 15 mile trip across Long Island Sound. There was a stiff on-shore breeze blowing in from the north, a lee shore.
    First, the vessel: 300 feet long with five decks. Hold (engines, etc.), two car decks, an enclosed passenger deck and an open sun deck which also has a large bridge structure. It's a big slab-sided beast with a huge sail area when hit from the side. It's got two engines, two rudders and a bow-thruster.
    Backing out of the slip and attempting to turn around to head out of the harbor, the wind caught the side of boat and pushed it into a bunch of pilings driven into the harbor bottom to protect the adjacent marina. The ferry totally broke two of them and knocked another way out of vertical. These pilings are each three pilings strapped together with steel cable: pretty tough stuff. This ferry run over them like they weren't even there.
    Anyway, the pilot gets the boat turned around and heads out. Once past the breakwater, he opens up the engines and realizes something is very wrong. The pilings that were driven under the boat either hit the prop or the rudder. So, we limp back to port and have to unload.
    This is the fun part. These boats are designed as drive-on-the-bow and drive-off-the-stern vessels. The docks and ramps are designed only for this and not the reverse meaning that every car had to back off the ferry. All one hundred of them. Luckily, I was one of the first but it must have taken them an hour to get everyone off.
    Once home (we were able to take the one remaining ferry), I called the ferry office to see when the boat would return to service. At least a week, they said. That means they'll only be running one boat instead of two. They have a third vessel, but it's at the shipyard for routine work.
    Methinks that pilot will be looking for a new job in the morning...
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    I've been on this ferry hundreds of times over the past twenty five years and it's always amazed me how the pilots maneuver in a very tight space. On the Port Jefferson side, the harbor is crowded with an anchorage and barge traffic. On the Conn. side, they have to go about a mile up a river and spin the boat on a dime since the river is only about 500' wide at best. They all seem to do it in all conditions, summer and winter. Today was different and I think I know why.
    The dock is a large bulkheaded pier which is the parking area for cars waiting to board. Ferries can dock and load on either side. However, 99.9% of the time, they dock on one side only. Today, because of work being done on the primary dock, they used the other side. This results in the pilot not being able to safely turn around in the normal area, they have to back out much further into the harbor. This pilot either wasn't aware of this or simply made a mistake. Either way, his boss and possible the Coast Guard is going to have a long talk with him. Having that boat out of service for a week is going to cost the company a bundle of money plus the repair cost to the boat.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    The Spirit of Tasmania, big ferry that does overnight crossings of Bass Straight from Melbourne to Devonport, got blown off the pier a year or two ago. Big gust of wind and her mooring lines snapped like guitar strings. This while loading was underway. The loading ramp got torn off. Amazing no one died. She ended up on the nearby beach, and was then out of service for a month or three. Much disruption to freight and passenger traffic to and from our Island state.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Well, I guess it could have been worse, and I sympathize with the pilot.
    Do you think it was his inability to recognize the problems or was it really blowing? What would you estimate the wind speed?
    Glad all are well.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    An insurance company will foot the bill, don't sweat over the cost of repairs.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Well, I guess it could have been worse, and I sympathize with the pilot.
    Do you think it was his inability to recognize the problems or was it really blowing? What would you estimate the wind speed?
    Glad all are well.
    The wind was perhaps a steady 15 mph. They operate in much higher winds. I've been on that boat when the captain comes on the speaker and tells everyone to take a seat and don't try to walk around because the seas are running 6-8 feet.
    I believe it was the fact that he left from the second, very seldom used dock and he either wasn't familiar with it or he botched up.
    The second ferry that I got on, the pilot backed that thing halfway across the harbor before doing his turn-around!
    Although just a nautical fender-bender, I think I'll embellish things a bit and write a ballad. The ferry's name is the PT Barnum, named after PT Barnum, the showmen, who was an original investor in the steamship company way back when. I shall entitle the ballad, "The Wreck of the PT Barnum"
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by navydog View Post
    An insurance company will foot the bill, don't sweat over the cost of repairs.
    The pilot will be the one doing the sweating! I wonder if insurance will cover the cost of lost revenue also?
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    50 years ago as a teenager bombing around in his 12 foot tinnie from Connecticut, I used to get scared passing through the PeeJay breakwater. I cannot imagine how nutty it is today!

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Although just a nautical fender-bender, I think I'll embellish things a bit and write a ballad. The ferry's name is the PT Barnum, named after PT Barnum, the showmen, who was an original investor in the steamship company way back when. I shall entitle the ballad, "The Wreck of the PT Barnum"
    My sympathy for the hapless pilot increases.
    He will be haunted by a tune you can't get out of your head!!

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Bluedog making an appearance for the defendant your honor. Due to inadequate design, maintenance, or inspection, the steering mechanism, propulsion system, and/or other critical equipment were not functioning properly upon departure. This failure prevented my client from being able to properly maneuver the ship. Much like Captain Sully, only through his exceptional skill, years of experience, and heroic efforts was he able to safely bring the ship back to the dock and unload passengers with no loss of life.

    My client is a hero. We welcome the results of the NTSB inquiry and expect them to fully support our position.
    Last edited by bluedog225; 04-07-2018 at 05:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    And what is more, he was faithfully following SOPs in accordance with his Employers direction at the time. Those SOPs as we understand it, were developed in a long series of meetings held at the company's head office, with input from Finance, Safety, HR, Maintenance, Catering, Customer Relations, Public Relations and various others. We are aware of a number of employees who have been disciplined or even dismissed for departure from Company SOPs. The Captain, unfortunately on this occasion, was relegated to acting as a conduit for a shore based committee of experts, and was not at liberty to excercise his judgement, developed over several decades of experience at sea in a wide variety of conditions.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    Bluedog making an appearance for the defendant your honor. Due to inadequate design, maintenance, or inspection, the steering mechanism, propulsion system, and/or other critical equipment were not functioning properly upon departure. This failure prevented my client from being able to properly maneuver the ship. Much like Captain Sully, only through his exceptional skill, years of experience, and heroic efforts was he able to safely bring the ship back to the dock and unload passengers with no loss of life.

    My client is a hero. We welcome the results of the NTSB inquiry and expect them to fully support our position.
    Ah, the sea lawyers start to make their appearance!
    I imagine the pilot/captain of that boat is rehearsing his lines tonight as to why it's not his fault.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    C'mon, men. It's boats. Stuff happens.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    The Washington State Ferries here don't have to back up. They switch the helm from one end to another, so they're always heading forward. They also don't have to use mooring lines. They just snug into the docking chute and keep the props turning just enough to keep the ship pressed onto the loading ramp.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    C'mon, men. It's boats. Stuff happens.

    Kevin
    If co-counsel agrees, the defense has no objection to this juror.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Glad you were OK Rich. We took that ferry last summer after a visit to my son in Stoney Brook. No issues that day.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    C'mon, men. It's boats. Stuff happens.

    Kevin
    As a resident of Long Island who earns his keep in the boating industry, we'll be relying on you for any scuttlebutt you come across in this case.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    50 years ago as a teenager bombing around in his 12 foot tinnie from Connecticut, I used to get scared passing through the PeeJay breakwater. I cannot imagine how nutty it is today!
    On a summer day, the narrow entrance through that breakwater can be a doozy. Ferries, oil barges headed for the power plant plus tons of recreational boats, most of whom having no idea of the rules of the road, make for some interesting times.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    I just checked the company website this morning and they have a revised one-vessel schedule "until further notice and apologize for any inconvenience". Guess the rudder/and or prop really got tangled up in that broken piling.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    The Washington State Ferries here don't have to back up. They switch the helm from one end to another, so they're always heading forward. They also don't have to use mooring lines. They just snug into the docking chute and keep the props turning just enough to keep the ship pressed onto the loading ramp.

    Jeff
    Not only that, you have affordable ferries. I took the ferry Rich is talking about a few years ago & when I went to pay the prices I thought was round trip turned out to be one way. This ferry travels for 30-40 minutes & costs at least double what the Anacortes-San Juan ferry costs.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    The pilot will be the one doing the sweating! I wonder if insurance will cover the cost of lost revenue also?
    It could, business interruption insurance is available. Could be they are self insured as well.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Not only that, you have affordable ferries. I took the ferry Rich is talking about a few years ago & when I went to pay the prices I thought was round trip turned out to be one way. This ferry travels for 30-40 minutes & costs at least double what the Anacortes-San Juan ferry costs.
    ETA: the Anacortes to San Juan ferry is 1 hr 15 min or so.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    These pilings are each three pilings strapped together with steel cable: pretty tough stuff. This ferry run over them like they weren't even there.
    ...
    Pilings tied together like that are called "dolphins".

    My dear ladyfriend was single handing into a harbor (she's more competent than me). After she got moored up, she called me on the phone and said "there was a notation for dolphins on he chart, and sure enough, when I came in there were dolphins frolicking at the bow....how did they know that?".

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Not only that, you have affordable ferries. I took the ferry Rich is talking about a few years ago & when I went to pay the prices I thought was round trip turned out to be one way. This ferry travels for 30-40 minutes & costs at least double what the Anacortes-San Juan ferry costs.
    The Port Jeff ferry is getting very expensive. It's $65 for the car and driver and another $18 for additional passengers. So, for my wife and I, it's $83 one way for a one hour boat ride! But, the alternative is a more then two hour drive (with good traffic) through some of the most congested traffic in the world. Getting through NYC can be a real pain. I really hate that place. For most of my adult life, NYC was nothing but a big obstacle to getting off Long Island. I'm a country boy at heart and am very uncomfortable in crowded cities.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Not only that, you have affordable ferries. I took the ferry Rich is talking about a few years ago & when I went to pay the prices I thought was round trip turned out to be one way. This ferry travels for 30-40 minutes & costs at least double what the Anacortes-San Juan ferry costs.

    And, we seniors get a reduced fare. Sometimes it pays to get older. (but I'd rather not...)

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    The Port Jeff ferry is getting very expensive. It's $65 for the car and driver and another $18 for additional passengers. So, for my wife and I, it's $83 one way for a one hour boat ride! But, the alternative is a more then two hour drive (with good traffic) through some of the most congested traffic in the world. Getting through NYC can be a real pain. I really hate that place. For most of my adult life, NYC was nothing but a big obstacle to getting off Long Island. I'm a country boy at heart and am very uncomfortable in crowded cities.
    Oh I get it - which is why I took it

    Still expensive. Wonder if some competition might not help? The WA ferries are state run, so I'm thinking that makes a difference.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    The good wife and I spent a few days on Long Island and were returning to Vermont today. We boarded the Port Jefferson ferry for the 15 mile trip across Long Island Sound. There was a stiff on-shore breeze blowing in from the north, a lee shore.
    First, the vessel: 300 feet long with five decks. Hold (engines, etc.), two car decks, an enclosed passenger deck and an open sun deck which also has a large bridge structure. It's a big slab-sided beast with a huge sail area when hit from the side. It's got two engines, two rudders and a bow-thruster.
    Backing out of the slip and attempting to turn around to head out of the harbor, the wind caught the side of boat and pushed it into a bunch of pilings driven into the harbor bottom to protect the adjacent marina. The ferry totally broke two of them and knocked another way out of vertical. These pilings are each three pilings strapped together with steel cable: pretty tough stuff. This ferry run over them like they weren't even there.
    Anyway, the pilot gets the boat turned around and heads out. Once past the breakwater, he opens up the engines and realizes something is very wrong. The pilings that were driven under the boat either hit the prop or the rudder. So, we limp back to port and have to unload.
    This is the fun part. These boats are designed as drive-on-the-bow and drive-off-the-stern vessels. The docks and ramps are designed only for this and not the reverse meaning that every car had to back off the ferry. All one hundred of them. Luckily, I was one of the first but it must have taken them an hour to get everyone off.
    Once home (we were able to take the one remaining ferry), I called the ferry office to see when the boat would return to service. At least a week, they said. That means they'll only be running one boat instead of two. They have a third vessel, but it's at the shipyard for routine work.
    Methinks that pilot will be looking for a new job in the morning...
    That's too bad.
    Do they ever call for a tug?

    The COHO ferry does, on occasion, here in Victoria Harbour, BC, Canada.
    It's been navigating the small harbour since 1959 with few mishaps.
    West winds are the problem winds.
    No bow thruster.
    Twin screw though.

    Yes indeed, beware the lee shore... and the failed telegraph when calling for a gear change from reverse to forward...

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Oh I get it - which is why I took it

    Still expensive. Wonder if some competition might not help?.
    I have an FB friend/client who lives in the upmarket part of LI. He regularly complains about this, and seems to think it's imminent.

    https://www.newsday.com/business/lon...nel-1.16008261

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    I have an FB friend/client who lives in the upmarket part of LI. He regularly complains about this, and seems to think it's imminent.

    https://www.newsday.com/business/lon...nel-1.16008261
    It'll never happen. I lived on Long Island for over 30 years and they've been talking about this long before then.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Originally Posted by Hwyl

    I have an FB friend/client who lives in the upmarket part of LI. He regularly complains about this, and seems to think it's imminent.

    https://www.newsday.com/business/lon...nel-1.16008261
    There's another ferry further east.

    As Rich said, they've been talking about a bridge for many years. One hurdle would be declaring the private property of some very wealthy individuals on both sides of the sound as eminent domain.Then there's the environmental impact. Then there's the practical aspect: building a bridge doesn't eliminate the rush hour traffic on Long Island. So, now you'd be getting here from north and east without waiting on a ferry only to sit in traffic anyway. Might as well sit in the traffic on 95 in Western Connecticut.Its the same difference.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    I think I would have preferred that they had found the problem with the ferry before it headed out in to deep water.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Port Jeff is a nightmare in the summertime. Northports not much better....

    I have always admired the way the ferry pilots can spin those beasts around in the river at Bridgeport; six knots of tide, fiften knots of wind....
    Better men than I!

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    There's another ferry further east.

    As Rich said, they've been talking about a bridge for many years. One hurdle would be declaring the private property of some very wealthy individuals on both sides of the sound as eminent domain.Then there's the environmental impact. Then there's the practical aspect: building a bridge doesn't eliminate the rush hour traffic on Long Island. So, now you'd be getting here from north and east without waiting on a ferry only to sit in traffic anyway. Might as well sit in the traffic on 95 in Western Connecticut.Its the same difference.

    Kevin
    Didn’t Robert Moses design one many years ago? I remember reading about it in college.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    I have an FB friend/client who lives in the upmarket part of LI. He regularly complains about this, and seems to think it's imminent.

    https://www.newsday.com/business/lon...nel-1.16008261
    Speaking only from the connecticut perspective; No way.

    Something connecting the north fork to Old Saybrook or New London.... maybe. maaaaaaaybe, but connecting PJ to bridgeport benefits CT not at all.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

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    Default Re: Beware the lee shore! Port Jefferson ferry incident this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard38 View Post
    Didn’t Robert Moses design one many years ago? I remember reading about it in college.
    Indeed he did. He designed and built a parkway that runs north and south across Long Island. Starting on Fire Island in the south, it crosses the great South Bay over the Robert Moses Causeway bridge. The southern half of the road is named the Sagtikos Parkway and the northern half the Sunken Meadow Parkway. It terminates at a state park on the north shore of L.I. and it was Mose's intention to build a bridge to Conn. from there. It never happened and probably never will. Back in his day in the 1940's, L.I. was still very rural and it was a lot easier to obtain/condemn land to build all the parkways and state parks. Now, every square inch of that portion of L.I. is covered in houses or commercial properties.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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