Loss of confidence - gCaptain Post

Having heard the pilots perspective on this incident, I’d be curious as to what lessons
the writer learned from this incident.

What incident? You didn’t post a link to let us know what you’re talking about

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I will assume mbrd is referring to the sunday story about the army LSV.

Not sure if mariners are telling this michael carr guy their personal experiences for his writing or if they are all his own personal experiences, or all fiction? I like how a lot of his articles make references to a sailors coffee addiction and dropping f- bombs.
I used to work out of port hueneme and have seen those large army landing crafts come and go, and they do have to use some tight spots.

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Thanks DSD.

Lessons learned? Aside from gauging the wind better if that’s what caused the contact with the pilings, I don’t really see any. Though putting the pilot in a corner with a gag might be one to consider next time he boards.

Pulling a power trip like that on a Captain in front of the crew isn’t going to win him any friends, and my response probably would not have been quite so positive for the Master/Pilot relationship. The pilot is there for local knowledge and an advisement role. Huaneme isn’t the ditch and he’s not in command.


Can’t blame the pilot for being nervous if the skipper whacked some pilings 30 seconds after the guy gets on board, but the pilot could have used a tact lesson or two.
Isn’t this the same guy that attacked the boat show?

I was kind of thinking the same thing. He seems to have a lot of near misses and incidents to write about. If I had that kind of record I might consider a career change. Successful operational seafaring in my experience is actually quite boring. When people ask me if anything interesting happened on my last hitch I usually smile when answering “no”.

Sea stories are great, but I’ll happily take no damage or injuries and a good nights sleep.


Not sure my last post made it through, so I’ll try again.
As per usual, there was more to this incident than mentioned in the writers post.
Rather than backing out of the 400’ wide " slip" into the 1400X1200’ turning basin, the writer
decided to turn 180deg within the slip area to return to his dock.
Ignoring the pilot’s comment and concentrating on the maneuver itself, I have some serious concerns with the writer’s decision making and performance. Hence the question as to whether he learned anything.

Uh huh? I do that fairly often much like this… (not me, my vessel, or my video though…)

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Well we are talking about an army craftmaster, not a veteran osv/tug operator.
Port hueneme can be tight for larger vessels depending on how many vessels are in port, and the wind can crank something fierce in there. Southerly conditions can create a helluva surge as well.

In most cases it would be hard to find a more user friendly harbor in california, let alone the ’ lower 48’ for non deep draft vessels.

Why was a pilot on board?

It’s my understanding that public vessels are exempted from Federal pilotage requirements, with the exception of RRF and MARAD ships which are not exempted from pilotage requirements.

Fair enough, and TBH, it always was a little exciting turning the Eastern Spirit around inside Halliburton (bow thruster and twin screw high lift rudders - probably fairly similar to the ship in the story), so I understand the pilot’s agitation a bit. Just not how he handled addressing it.

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Some pilots are just… easily agitated.
With all due respect to our military, its unlikely that an army craftmaster will have the small boat handling experience of someone in the commercial sector.

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Anything foreign flagged OR over 300 grt requires a pilot in port hueneme.

Most states have similar tonnage requirements for compulsory pilotage, however government vessels are universally exempt as a matter of federal law. Otherwise you would see pilots on CG buoy tenders, cutters, etc. While not required the Navy will use pilots for ports they don’t routinely call. From what I understand Navy vessels making routine port calls will pilot themselves but use docking pilots for berthing.
The story seems odd as I’ve seen several of these Army LSVs on the east coast never using a pilot. Anyway it sounds like the pilot had poor tact, but if the LSV did damage to a commercial pier I can see how the pilot would be irritated that future commerce could be effected by the captains shiphandeling error. IMO the pilot should of been watching the captains earlier maneuvering and stepped in to prevent the earlier damage. If the captain was advised not to do what he did and then he put himself in the jackpot its difficult to sympathize for him. Of course nothing good will ever come from being rude and insulting in any situation.

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We had done some damage to the pilings, but none to the vessel. More noise and splinters than physical damage.We had done some damage to the pilings, but none to the vessel. More noise and splinters than physical damage

Shit happens.



This is Third Port, Fort Eustis, VA where Army Warrant Officers train on everything from LCM-8 landing craft to the LSV.

I’ve been aboard an LCU (2000 class) when the skipper has turned the vessel (174’ long) around in the area towards the bottom of the photo at low tide. It’s amazing how a capable skipper can spin a vessel that long around in such a tight place.

As for the pilot insulting the skipper of the LSV in question: his opinion won’t matter much. The opinion of a crew won’t be swayed by a civilian; either the crew loves the skipper or hates him. It takes more than bumping a piling and being insulted by a civilian to affect the opinion of the crew.


I agree. But there is another point here as well.

Sometimes during mooring ops it takes a lot to keep track of engine, wheel, bow thruster, bow crew, stern crew, pilot, tugs. Sometimes i can can feel my brain start to cook, like it’s still under max rating but over max continuous. If the operation drags out… At that point it might be hard to handle anything additional, for example the pilot’s commentary.

That’s what I took, need to stay cool, it’s not just the technical aspects.

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Yes to this, and I’d also add that fatigue only makes this much worse. I have a couple pilotages that are all night affairs and by the time we are docking I am running on fumes. Processing information verbally, monitoring the motion of the vessel, and keeping track of the mooring stations become way more difficult when you are very tired. I can feel the difference and am not a fan.


I get the impression that Army vessels had just started operation in that port, as in his vessel was the first, so maybe they were taking pilots by choice until they had recency.

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