If I am mistaken correct me, but last time I checked my rules of the road a vessel engaged in towing has the right of way over a power driven vessel no matter how large that power driven vessel may be. Yes?
[SIZE=3][FONT=Calibri]Also in an overtaking situation it is the stand on vessel’s duty to maintain course and speed and the overtaking vessel’s duty to stay clear of the stand on vessel.
Overtaking another vessel is a privilege and not a right.
If the stand on vessel does not think it is safe for you to overtake, it is your duty to remain behind that vessel until the stand on vessel grants you permission to overtake.
If you say “piss on him” and overtake without permission, if anything happens it’s on you bro. Not to mention the fact that you are breaking a federal law.
On any given day or night if you listen to channel 13 you will hear Houston ship pilots not only driving their boat but trying to drive your boat for you also.
By this I mean you will hear, "Cap., I need you to tighten up on those greens (or reds) so I can overtake you."
All the towboats and smaller vessels that run the ship channel stay on the very edge of the channel as it is and some are even forced out of the channel by bully ship pilots and the bow cushion that they throw.
When the current is flooding on the HSC if you are inbound it will set you on the reds.If the tide is ebbing and you are outbound it will set you on the greens.
I made the mistake once of letting a ship bully me over on to the reds while the current was flooding and when he passed me his bow cushion pushed my tow right over the top of one of those $17,000 solar powered day boards.
Yes, that is how much they billed our insurance company.I would venture to say that the newer ones with the “knock down sensors” on them are probably in excess of $20 grand.
The ship pilot just kept on trucking.No skin off his nose, right?Meanwhile it cost me a CG 2692 and damn near cost me my job.
A towboat or any other vessel has just as much right to stay in the center of “his lane” as a ship.“Tightening up” on the day boards is a courtesy that we grant you because tow boaters in general are not just boat trash but are pretty good fellas that are more than willing to try and accommodate anybody.
The Houston ship channel, even in its narrowest parts, is more than wide enough for 1 ship to overtake 1 tow no matter how wide they both are and no matter what the draft of the ship is.
Having enough space to overtake only becomes an issue when pushy ship pilots want to meet another ship that is overtaking tows running the edge of that ship’s side of the channel while the same pushy ship pilot is overtaking tows on his side of the channel.
You guys have a throttle too, right?That means you can slow down if I am not mistaken.
How about slowing down and letting traffic clear up a little bit instead of pressuring us to take risks that we are not required to take?
You might say "I can’t slow down and maintain steerage!"
Then it is your duty to have assist tugs escort you; the whole way in or out if necessary.
If you are a “Deep and Wide Bodied Ship” then you should be in the middle of the channel; or in your lane running close to the center of the channel anyway.
This being the case you should not need a tow or any other vessel to “tighten up” on anything.
Last night I was outbound HSC with the tide on the ebb.
I was running the very edge of the ship channel and at times even getting set outside the channel where there was good water.
As usual I was dodging every damn day board the whole way out because I don’t like to listen to the bitching by the ship pilots when I am not on the very edge of the channel.
An outbound ship was approaching me from astern at 15 knots.
I saw him back there and I was maintaining about a 25’ lateral distance on every green for him.
There was also an inbound ship approaching me at about 13 knots.
Instead of either one of these ship pilots slowing down their way to allow for a safe meeting situation, they both kept steaming to create a situation in which the outbound ship would be overtaking me at the same time he met the inbound ship and my tow on the 1.
From 3 miles astern the outbound ship tells me I need to “tighten up” on the greens as if I was in the wrong.
I politely told him that I was already passing the greens “danger close” at a distance of about 25’ abeam of my tow.
He takes a look at his chart plotter (which is never inaccurate, right?) and tells me that there is no way I am 25’ off those greens.
I used my Xeon to light up the day board and yes it was about 25’ off my starboard side.
From 3 miles away he could not see this but there was no way his chart plotter could be wrong, right?
He kept steaming and never asked permission to overtake but rather told me that he was going to overtake me on the 2 regardless because he was" tired of arguing with me".
I politely told him that I was going to maintain course and speed and that if he felt he did not have enough room to overtake me safely that he needed to stay behind me until the inbound ship cleared us both.
Is “whatever” a nautical term I am not familiar with?
Because that was his response as he proceeded to overtake me while meeting the other ship on the 1.
His bow cushion and 3’ wake pushed me over on to my next green and I just barely missed it by putting a hard steer to starboard on.
I missed it by about 2’.
This hard steer took me outside the channel into 7’ of water while I was pushing a red flag barge that was loaded with 30k bbls of Benzene to a draft of 9’ 6".
My barge started rubbing bottom and my wheels started talking to me.
They were saying, “You are in 7’ of water dumbass and I draft 8’6”.
After the aforementioned asshole passed me I had to put a hard steer to port on (that my rudders did not appreciate because they were already dragging bottom) to try and get back into the ship channel to miss the next green day board; or option two was keep running outside the greens and run fully aground.
aid asshole just kept on trucking and could care less about what he just did to me or the situation he put me into.
One pilot to the other…“Hey, Bob, how’s the wife and kids?”
“Doin’ good. Man, I don’t know what that guy’s problem was.The chart shows plenty of water outside those greens.”
After all charts are never wrong either are they?
And as if I am expected to run outside the fucking charted channel with a red flag tow to make room for you?
Next time you are gonna be cussing me because I stayed in the center of my lane and you had to slow down or run your ship aground to keep from hitting me.
Thinking you will just run me over?
Make my day.
I can jump pretty far and swim pretty well.
I am ready for early retirement from a nice multimillion dollar settlement paid out to me by your pilot’s association because you think the size of the boat dictates right of way.
Are you that stupid that you would kill an entire boat crew and destroy your several hundred thousand dollar a year job just because you think you have the right of way when you legally don’t?
And instead of using first names why don’t you guys act like the professionals you are supposed to be and use your pilot number so I can write them down next time and file a formal complaint with the USCG and your pilot’s association.
Believe me if I didn’t have my hands full I would have called traffic and got your number, buddy.
But then I would have had to fill out a 2692 for running my tow aground.It wasn’t worth it.
My company would fire me for costing them another “incident” on the “email wall of shame”.
In summary, we have the right of way over you.Start acting like it.
You drive your boat and I’ll drive mine.
And next time (you can bet there will be a next time) you can kiss my ass, Bob, Joe, Chuck, or whatever your name is.