Put the "ing" in your Boating

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smashWe have all watched internet videos of two objects approaching each other in slow motion ahead of the anticipated collision.

This past weekend, Brenda and I were aboard Windy the other side of the harbour and witnessed a large boat back out of his slip right in the path of an approaching boat in the fairway.

Everything was right for one to smash into the other.

The Captain backing out of his slip couldn't see down the fairway because his vision was blocked by all the vertical  canvas on the two boats beside him. The Captain of the boat in the fairway was distracted as he was busy turning on his electronics and his First Mate was raising fenders.

Fortunately for these two yacht captains, there was an observant third party within ear shot, who yelled loudly and caught their attention. Both instantly took evasive action and were able to avoid the collision. (Unlike cars in a parking lot, boaters don't use horns in this situation and there wasn't time for the observer to run to his helm anyway.)

Here are a couple of tips to reversing collisions in the harbour:

 

* When reye guy looking afteversing out of your slip, or pulling away from a dock look before you leave the dock.

If your vision is blocked, ask your First Mate or a crew member to go to the transom, then ask “Is the fairway clear?”

 

eye guy forward* When idling along the fairway, headed either for your slip or for the harbor exit, be prepared to stop or take evasive action if a boat is backing out of his slip into your path.

Don't be distracted.

  As when passing a row of parked vehicles on the side of a street or in a parking lot, you watch for telltale signs of movement, like tail lights, doors opening, rolling tires, etc. Similarly, anticipate a potential problem by watching for a boat moving out of sync with all the other boats tied in that row of slips. Be prepared for a kayak or dinghy to dart into the fairway.

As the old saying goes, “A collision at sea can ruin your whole day”. Sometimes, collisions jump out of a slip at you, right in your very own harbor.

Keep an eye out and be prepared!

 

For more boating tips, go to more free articles

 

Comments (5)

  1. Steve R

I am concerned about your comment about boaters not using their horns. "Unlike cars in a parking lot, boaters don't use horns in this situation". It is imperative that when leaving a slip in a situation like above that a horn is used. I always...

I am concerned about your comment about boaters not using their horns. "Unlike cars in a parking lot, boaters don't use horns in this situation". It is imperative that when leaving a slip in a situation like above that a horn is used. I always sound my horn when leaving my slip. One blast for going forward and 3 for engines in reverse.

Boating Navigation: Sounding Off - When and How to Use Sound Signals

When two power-driven vessels encounter each other within one half mile, sound signals must be used. The initiating vessel indicates a maneuver, and the responding vessel agrees or disagrees.

SOUND SIGNALS:
1 short blast (1 second) I want to pass you on my port side (Hint: PORT = 1 syllable = 1 short blast)
2 short blasts I want to pass you on my starboard side (Hint: STARBOARD = 2 syllables = 2 short blasts)
3 short blasts Engine is in reverse
5 short blasts Danger, or do not understand approaching boat's intentions
1 prolonged blast (4-6 seconds) Warning: Entering or exiting a blind turn. Nearing an obstructed area. Leaving a dock or a berth
1 prolonged blast every 2 minutes Power-driven vessel operating in low or restricted visibility
1 prolonged blast + 2 short blasts every 2 minutes Sailing vessel operating in low or restricted visibility

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  1. Bruce Stott    Steve R

Hi Steve R.

You are correct, 1 prolonged blast when leaving a berth. However, the Regulations state "at intervals not exceeding 2 minutes", not every two minutes. This means if I want to sound the signals every 1 minute, that is legal. It is...

Hi Steve R.

You are correct, 1 prolonged blast when leaving a berth. However, the Regulations state "at intervals not exceeding 2 minutes", not every two minutes. This means if I want to sound the signals every 1 minute, that is legal. It is good practise to vary the intervals.

Also for the Great Lakes Basin:
Notwithstanding paragraph (a), in the waters of the Great Lakes Basin, when power-driven vessels are in sight of one another and meeting or crossing at a distance within half a mile of each other, each vessel underway, when manoeuvring as authorized or required by these Rules

(i) shall indicate that manoeuvre by the following signals on her whistle:

— one short blast to mean “I intend to leave you on my port side”,

— two short blasts to mean “I intend to leave you on my starboard side”, and

— three short blasts to mean “I am operating astern propulsion”,

Notwithstanding paragraph (c), in the waters of the Great Lakes Basin, when power-driven vessels are in sight of one another in a narrow channel or fairway,

(i) the vessel intending to overtake another shall, in compliance with Rule 9(i), indicate her intention by the following signals on her whistle:

— one short blast to mean “I intend to overtake you on your starboard side”,

— two short blasts to mean “I intend to overtake you on your port side”,

(ii) the vessel about to be overtaken when acting in accordance with Rule 9(i) shall, if in agreement, sound the same signal as given by the other vessel. If in doubt, she shall sound the signal prescribed in paragraph (d).

Note the above rules do not apply in coastal waters, slightly different meaning.

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  1. Rick

What about 3 short blasts on the horn before you back up... I know almost no one does that today, but it is a valid backup signal, especially in busy marinas around Penetanguishene and Midland

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  1. Bruce Stott

Two factors:
1. Electronics should be turned on after engine start and before getting underway. This gives you time to ensure everything is working correctly.
2. Fenders should be left in place until clear of the marina. In case of engine...

Two factors:
1. Electronics should be turned on after engine start and before getting underway. This gives you time to ensure everything is working correctly.
2. Fenders should be left in place until clear of the marina. In case of engine failure or other emergency, your fenders will be ready for an emergency landing.

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  1. ang montante    Bruce Stott

Just got my first big boat -36 Doral , I have been boating since I was 10 , now 65!
Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay never hear a horn? I think it is a great way to play it safe!

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