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Thread: A Close Call Is A Free Lesson

  1. #1
    Member fishmaster's Avatar
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    Default A Close Call Is A Free Lesson

    I donít want to dog the many charter operators out there, as 99% of them are very competent and are very safety conscious. But the other 1% of them are an accident waiting to happen. On Monday 6/25 I was anchored approx. 5 miles off of point pogbshi with my wife and 2 kids. I saw a charter boat headed toward me at approximately 30kts. I called them on the radio when they were approx 1/2 mile away and again at approx. 300í and headed directly for me. I started the motor and was ready to cut the anchor rope when he altered his course a few degrees and passed by about 40í off of my bow at full speed. His wake put water over the bow of my 22í Hewes craft and knocked my kids to the deck. I am getting a little tired of this as last year we had pretty much the same scenario with a Tour boat out of Seward. I consider this an eminent threat to the lives of everyone on board my boat. In the future I will take appropriate measures to insure the safety of myself and my family. Perhaps a parachute flair across the bow?

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Did you get the name and # of the vessel? If it seemed intentional, I imagine that this is something the Coast Guard and Troopers would like to hear about. At the very least, you could call the owner of the charter service and express your displeasure. It all may come to nothing, but it's worth a shot.

    When I took my flight exam to get my private pilot's license 6 years ago we had a float plane pass us directly overhead at about 50' when approaching Anch Int'l (he was going to Lake Hood). Unfortunately for the other pilot, my examiner was the head FAA safety inspector for the state, so....needless to say that pilot got a rude welcoming over at the lake a few minutes later. Maybe the Coast Guard keeps a record of unsafe charter operations? Might be worth a call.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Marine Safety Office

    Report him to the Marine Safety Office of the USCG. The captain of a vessel is responsible for the wake of his boat and any damage caused by the wake, either on a vessel or on shore.

    The USCG will do something. I was waked the other day while the USCG was doing a vessel inspection of my boat. They were not happy.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Member fishmaster's Avatar
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    Yes I got the name and I called the Coast Guard M.S.O. but they have not called me back yet. Last year when we had pretty much the same scenario in Seward w/ a Tour boat, I contacted the Coast Guard and they said thay would talk to the boat operator. I also went to the office of the tour company and voiced my opinion of the operators seamanship skills but No one ever called me back and i don't think that the Coast Guard really cares unless there is an accident ir serious injury. I have to say that in both cases I feared for our lives. I would hate to think that anyone would do something like this on purpose. I think that it's a case of an incompent operator not looking out the window.

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    Call the charter service and let them have it with both barrels. Seriously, who knows.... maybe the irresponsible twerp that was driving that vessel has had complaints against him/her before. I assure you, I'd bend somebody's ear over that.

    Glad to hear everybody was okay and you didn't suffer any damages.

  6. #6
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    Yes I think that i will call the Coast Guard again on monday and contact the charter co. After my encounter with the tour Boat in Seward last year, I learned not to wait too long to take action. I started the engine, my wife was at the helm and I was on the bow ready to cut the anchor rope. The only thing that I could have done different is to fire a parachute flair over his bow and have the video camera running.

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    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    A video camera could provide the offender with some unwanted press. Might be worth having one along if only for the scenery....then, the bonus footage!

  8. #8

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    To correct course at the last minute/second and pass 40' of another boat's bow is incompetence and reckless. Video camera and flares sound good to me. Next time I saw that boat at the dock, there would be a confrontation.

  9. #9
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    Wow that was close! I wonder if the guy had it on autopilot and the radar was warning him of obstacles or something. at least he was on step, last year out of seward while i was against the rocks catching rockfish a tour boat went by at "sightseeing speed" with a huge wake and luckily i saw it and turned my bow to it and throttled into the wake or it would have put me on the rocks in no time.
    You really have to be aware of the bigger boats out there and not take it for granted that they care about your safety. sad but true.
    William

  10. #10
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    I did call the Coast Guard M.S.O again today. I was told that they know this vessel very well and I am not the first one to report an incident with them. The investigator told me that she was very glad that I reported this and that they would go down to talk to the operator. It sounds like the skipper was already on thin ice. I also brought up the encounter with the tour boat in Seward that I reported last year. The Coast Guard investigator said that they also knew of that particullar vessel and have had several complaints about it also.
    I have to say that 99% of the Charter and Tour boat operators are very safety minded and provide a great service for Alaskans and the many Tourists that come to our state every year but we have a few out there that are very dangerous.
    I think that the best advice I can give to anyone is DON'T WAIT TOO LONG TO TAKE ACTION. Never assume that they see you and don't be affraid to call them on the radio very early. These are all things that I did wrong last year with the tour boat encounter but I did right with the charter boat encounter this year. I think that the only thing that I will do different is to fire a flair over their bow before I cut the anchor and be sure to have the video camera running.

  11. #11
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    If you monitor the radio around Juneau you often hear the Coast Guard trying to raise the commercial ops. The outfit (s) don't always respond.

    They get called on pressing whales, cutting commercial fishing sets, and the like, but in the end, it is a bit like watching an episode of COPS. The guy with the stolen TV on his shoulder claims to not have known he had a TV, didn't know the TV was stolen, and blames the owner for having left the TV in view. Then, he gets his hand slapped.

    Bring your camera and humiliate them!

  12. #12
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    The sad part is that the Coast Guard can talk and warn the few irresponsable opperators until they are blue in the face, but I don't think that anything will happen to them unless they cause an accident or kill someone. a video of a near miss may persuade the USCG to take stronger acton, I am sure that the operators insurance company would be very interested in seeing it also. a video camera will be standard equipment on my boat.

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