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It finally happened to me..FOG AT NIGHT
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South of Heaven



Joined: 15 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:48 am    Post subject: It finally happened to me..FOG AT NIGHT Reply with quote

Guys, I had a harrowing experience yesterday but I also learned a lot and in a strange way I'm happy it happened. Because now I have a little bit more knowledge of what to do and NOT to do.

Here's the link to the post that I started on another boating site. Mods I hope you don't mind me posting the link but I thought it was easier than retyping again. Thanks


http://www.thehulltruth.com/northeast/882406-finally-happened-me-fog-night.html

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dotnmarty



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the write-up Jason. Glad you're home safe. Were you and your cousin blasting your horns periodically? The lesson is to always wear the PFD when aboard-everyone, always.
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First a good reason to use Radar, and second a good lesson to use radar when it is nice and clear disability, so you know what if what. To get the most effective use of radar, you need to be able to manually fine tune it--not just hit "auto".

Think what it was like before GPS, Radar, or any electronic nav aids?

What about AIS? If I was in an area of fog and dense traffic--especially high speed traffic --like the ferries, at the least I would have a receiver--For me, it would be AIS B for a minimum.

The only disagreement I would have with what you did: Possible put the lookout on the bow--further away from engine noise--and a little better look out forward. The use of the radio for coms--Do you have a radio that has an intercom function? Also you now are no longer standing a full time watch on channel 16, which I think is essential especially in fog. I keep 2 or 3 hand held on the boat--on larger boats, with separate stations, we had radios with com functions or intercoms. Also we used FRS or similar types of hands talkies--or something like the Eartec. (The old Radio Shack "Space Cadet" radios actually were good for this function and cheap).

Glad you did well. Always lessons to be learned.

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Thataway
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South of Heaven



Joined: 15 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dotnmarty wrote:
Thanks for the write-up Jason. Glad you're home safe. Were you and your cousin blasting your horns periodically? The lesson is to always wear the PFD when aboard-everyone, always.


No, we didnt blast the horns. But I will now! True about the PFDs.
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South of Heaven



Joined: 15 Aug 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thataway wrote:
First a good reason to use Radar, and second a good lesson to use radar when it is nice and clear disability, so you know what if what. To get the most effective use of radar, you need to be able to manually fine tune it--not just hit "auto".

Think what it was like before GPS, Radar, or any electronic nav aids?

What about AIS? If I was in an area of fog and dense traffic--especially high speed traffic --like the ferries, at the least I would have a receiver--For me, it would be AIS B for a minimum.

The only disagreement I would have with what you did: Possible put the lookout on the bow--further away from engine noise--and a little better look out forward. The use of the radio for coms--Do you have a radio that has an intercom function? Also you now are no longer standing a full time watch on channel 16, which I think is essential especially in fog. I keep 2 or 3 hand held on the boat--on larger boats, with separate stations, we had radios with com functions or intercoms. Also we used FRS or similar types of hands talkies--or something like the Eartec. (The old Radio Shack "Space Cadet" radios actually were good for this function and cheap).

Glad you did well. Always lessons to be learned.


Definitely gonna buy a "bridge to helm" intercom now! That would have been perfect. I was still monitoring 16 downstairs but not the same.

Yes, I could see how the bow would be a good lookout spot. But dont you want to be as high as possible to see further. There is very little engine noise on the bridge, especially since we were just barely putting along.

What an experience. Ugghh. But very useful to me because next year I'm gonna be doing some trips to New York from Boston.
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BTDT



Joined: 07 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thataway wrote:
The use of the radio for coms--Do you have a radio that has an intercom function? Also you now are no longer standing a full time watch on channel 16, which I think is essential especially in fog. I keep 2 or 3 hand held on the boat--on larger boats, with separate stations, we had radios with com functions or intercoms. .


Vicki and I use the Zello app on our iphones. We created our own network and use it as 'walkie-talkie'/intercom. It does require minimum cell service but has always worked for us even in very weak reception areas, plus and it doesn't drop calls. Also comes in handy for loading and unloading the boat trailer, or group conversations with friends we are traveling with, versus tieing up channel 68 and not monitoring 16

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starcrafttom



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you made it.This is why I used my radar for 5 years whether is was sunny or not , fog or not, night or not. it was always on so I could learn how to use it. Learn how to tune it. I once used it to pick up the smoke from a house fire on shore. Now I know what that looks like on the radar. Same with rain. Pick out a nice dense thunder cloud pouring rain and see what it looks like on the radar and how you can adjust to see thru it. What else do you make invisible to radar when you adjust for rain???


and here something else to think about, not that you did anything wrong. Why did you continue to port?? Why was it necessary to get back in the FOG at NIGHT across a SHIPPING CHANNEL if you ended up just being on the dock any how?? Why was anchoring not a option? It may not have been but did you consider it? some times the right thing to do is nothing. Was there a anchorage near by that would have been safe and allowed you to wait until better conditions arose?

My father, mother and brother are all pilots. And if you ask them what kill pilots the most its " I got to" I got to get there, I got to get out of here, I got to be there. Its that mentality that leads to running into mountains, running out of fuel, etc. yes it was lack of visibility that killed them but it was " I got to" that put them there. Same goes for boating.

You may not have had a safe place to go. I dont know that area, but did you consider it??

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colbysmith



Joined: 02 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been caught out in serious fog like that twice. Not fun, but manageable. And as for putting a bow lookout on a C-Dory 22... ain't happening! PFD's, yep. Both times, I just reverted to trusting my Chartplotter and radar. Fortunately my VHF radio also has an automatic foghorn feature and I have the bullhorn to go with it. Even though I was probably the only one in the area using it! Local procedure was to just announce position every so often on Ch 16 as a securite call, as I was near Rock and Washington Islands in Lake Michigan. (Mostly fishing boats out and about...and then the Washington Island Ferry on the west side of Washington Island.) But as some have pointed out, it's best to become comfortable with your radar and chartplotter in clear weather where you can see what your "painting". Colby
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JamesTXSD



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

South of Heaven wrote:
thataway wrote:
First a good reason to use Radar, and second a good lesson to use radar when it is nice and clear disability, so you know what if what. To get the most effective use of radar, you need to be able to manually fine tune it--not just hit "auto".

Think what it was like before GPS, Radar, or any electronic nav aids?

What about AIS? If I was in an area of fog and dense traffic--especially high speed traffic --like the ferries, at the least I would have a receiver--For me, it would be AIS B for a minimum.

The only disagreement I would have with what you did: Possible put the lookout on the bow--further away from engine noise--and a little better look out forward. The use of the radio for coms--Do you have a radio that has an intercom function? Also you now are no longer standing a full time watch on channel 16, which I think is essential especially in fog. I keep 2 or 3 hand held on the boat--on larger boats, with separate stations, we had radios with com functions or intercoms. Also we used FRS or similar types of hands talkies--or something like the Eartec. (The old Radio Shack "Space Cadet" radios actually were good for this function and cheap).

Glad you did well. Always lessons to be learned.


Definitely gonna buy a "bridge to helm" intercom now! That would have been perfect. I was still monitoring 16 downstairs but not the same.

Yes, I could see how the bow would be a good lookout spot. But dont you want to be as high as possible to see further. There is very little engine noise on the bridge, especially since we were just barely putting along.

What an experience. Ugghh. But very useful to me because next year I'm gonna be doing some trips to New York from Boston.


Depending on the fog, higher can just put you into where it is thicker. Each situation is different. Put the lookout where they have the best forward visibility. A couple of the commercial boats I've driven the past five years have flybridge helms; one also has a lower, interior helm, but no radar. I'd rather be where I have radar.

Slow down - you don't want to be going any faster than you can stop the boat should something "pop up" in front of you. Use everything you have to make your position known: horn signal, VHF position reporting, talking with other boaters/captains who are nearby. You have to be able to trust your equipment, especially radar and GPS, but also use your depth-finder to double check bottom contours. AIS is your friend, and if you don't have a receiver/transmitter, you can get a "general idea" from apps like Marine Traffic, understanding that the information may not be up to the minute.

I said it before, but it bears repeating: slow down. In the foggy conditions that are frequent in the PNW, I see boats go blasting by in the fog. VERY dangerous! A log, a deadhead, someone in a kayak - these may not show up on your radar, no matter how much you've fine tuned it.

Tom's suggestion of finding a safe place to stay put should also be a consideration. Years ago, we were out in the Gulf in a sailboat when unforecast fog rolled in; I couldn't see the bow of the boat from the helm. We spent the night at anchor, came back in through the jetties (where the wave action can be snotty) in the morning when we had a bit of visibility. We had a GPS but no radar on that boat. I could hear the waves breaking in the jetties before we could see them.

Glad it all turned out OK for you. Experience gained.
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thataway



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two other issues. One is placement of radar--I believe there was some discussion about this--either forum or PM.. The person on flying bridge is in the beam. (probably on the bow of the trawler also in the beam). Health effects of just a few hours--probably minimal, but...this is one of my objections to putting the radar on the front of the flying bridge.

The other is use of a radar reflector. (one could say I don't need it because I have a larger boat--I heard one report that the navy ship John McCain had a very low radar signature and that may have contributed to its not being recognized for its size prior to the collision.) It is easy to put one of several types of radar reflectors on the boat. We had one on our large cruising boat which we know made us visible at 13 miles to a big ship radar. (advantage of high masts, and the radar reflector being 40 feet above the water).

As to Colby's thoughts about on the bow of a C Dory. It would depend entirely on the conditions. The advantages are that the noise is much less than any where else. Before all of our modern electronics--sound was the most important part--including sounding that fog horn--which you are obligated to do under Nav regs: 35 a: In or near an area of restricted visibility: A power driven vessel shall sound at intervals of not more than 2 minutes one prolonged blast. This is not for the big ferry, but for the small vessel who does not have radar.

Our procedure during heavy fog, is also to proceed at a low displacement speed. and one person is watching on the water full time, usually thru the open front window--the person driving is watching instruments, including radar and chart plotter/depth sounder. Generally have proceeded to destination. I do worry about other craft when one is anchored--especially if there is commercial traffic.

One other advantage of a forward look out, is that they are less likely to be blinded by the back scatter of running lights. At night not only are you blinded by the particulate matter of the fog, but the back scatter off the fog, and any surface on the boat is magnified.
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South of Heaven



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone.

TOM: YES!! Definitely, you read my mind. I so badly wanted to just anchor somewhere and wait it out!! BUT, initially I was in a major East Coast shipping lane. I'm talking about fishing trawlers, ferries, huge fuel tanks, container ships etc. And then after I got out of the South Boston channel I was worried about so many other variables. What if my anchor didn't hold, what if other boats came past me without radar and hit me and other things....I wanted to anchor SO BADLY but I was scared to death!!!! So I just continued on.....

Bob: Good point about the radar reflector. I'll look into that. I can easily mount one on my aft mini-mast.

Thanks James and Colby
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localboy



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crossed the Strait of Georgia once, coming back from Desolation. Visibility about 10' max in early morning darkness. The Admiral was put in charge of watch and I concentrated on the radar/GPS. Thank God for radar and as others have done, I practiced with it in summer sun & perfect weather to get acclimated on it's limitations etc. Happy I did. We crossed, SLOWLY, without incident and upon nearing Nanaimo the screen lit up...small vessels bottom fishing. Could not see them at all. But the screen said they were there. My brother, an avid sailor, has even changed his opinion and bought a unit in the last 3 yrs for his 36' sailboat. Some of it based on our experience. Hawai'i this ain't....


Quote:
My father, mother and brother are all pilots. And if you ask them what kill pilots the most its " I got to" I got to get there, I got to get out of here, I got to be there
.

Ask JFK Jr. how that worked out for him, his wife and her sister. Oh, wait. You can't.

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beermanPDX



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One cheap solution to the intercom is using apps on your phones. With the right setup, it does not require any cell service or internet connection.

I have wifi on my boat (no internet). Connect both phones to the boat wifi and then use an app such as this:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.remaller.android.wifitalkie_lite&hl=en

-or-

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.loudtalks&hl=en

Add in cell phone bluetooth headsets and you have a wireless handsfree intercom.

FYI - If you don't have wifi on your boat, you can add it cheaply. Linksys N300 router is $24. Snip off the plug (it steps down 120v to 12v) and wire it in to your boat like any other piece of 12v marine electronics. Obviously you won't have internet since the router is only used to allow devices to communicate with each other.

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NewMoon



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another fog technique we used in our CD22 (without radar, unfortunately):

We had a VHF radio with a hailer function. In hailer mode, when the transmit button was not pressed, it was a listener. It was very good at picking up noises out ahead - such as the quiet lapping of a boat headed toward us.

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Aiviq



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:24 pm    Post subject: Fog Reply with quote

When I was a teenager - probably between my junior and senior year in high school (this was a bit more than 40 years ago), my Dad had a commercial fishing boat that we used for drift net salmon fishing in Cook Inlet (Alaska). We moored the boat in the Kasilof river during the fishing season, and at the end of the season we took it down to Homer where we had it pulled out and stored on shore during the off season.

This particular year my dad had me ferry the boat from Kasilof to Homer by myself. I piloted the boat all the time, but this was probably the first time I soloed it on a longish trip like that (probably about 75 miles or so. Our boat was a 37 foot displacement hull stern picker with a hull speed of probably 7 or 8 knots, so it was a 9 or 10 hour trip).

Since this was 40 years ago, there was no such thing as GPS or chart plotters. Some boats our size did have radar (with cathode ray tube screens) and loran (which would give you either LOP or Lat/ Lon, but we didn't have either on our boat - just paper charts and a compass. We didn't even have an accurate way of telling our speed, other than the rule of thumb I had worked out that we did 7 knots at x rpms.

So I was cruising down Cook Inlet, and about 2/3 of the way there I suddenly ran into a thick fog bank maybe 10 miles before Anchor Point. I laid the chart out on the dinette table, and with the dividers and parallel ruler I laid out a course and calculated out the compass course and the time I should run at my current heading before making a slight eastward dog leg turn to clear anchor point and head towards Homer. I made that turn OK, but although I had a decent grasp of dead reckoning navigation, I always worried if I had the magnetic deviation and variation factored in correctly. I tried to calculate the time on my new heading until I would near Homer, and settled in for a couple hours of peering out into the pea soup hoping I wouldn't suddenly see something (since I could barely see 20 feet).

About a half hour before I calculated I would reach Homer, I suddenly started hearing surf out to port. I adjusted my course a little bit to the right and kept going, and about a half hour later I suddenly started to smell freshly cut spruce. I happened to know that at that time there was a saw mill or lumber yard or something like that out at the end of the Homer spit, so I figured I must be nearing the Homer small boat harbor. I had my head out the window, navigating by listening for surf, and by sense of smell, and when I figured the time was right, I made a turn towards what I hoped was the entrance to the small boat harbor. Sure enough, i soon picked out a can buoy marking the entrance Chanel, and kept it on my port side until I could see a nun buoy on my right, followed them into the marina, located an empty stretch of the transient dock and managed to come along side and tie up. I was completely drenched in cold sweat, and that was the day I decided I didn't want to be a commercial fisherman the rest of my life, and I needed to study a little harder during my senior year of high school so I could maybe get into college. I still fished with my dad for several years after that, but when my dad finally sold the boat it was a few decades before I started getting the boating bug again.
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