Portland Spirit

It’s hard to believe there hasn’t been any discussion of this incident.


It looks like the master of the Spirit was making a video for a job interview at Washington State Ferries.

The CG kids don’t come out of this looking much better than the idiot driving the Spirit.

I was a relief Captain on the Spirit of Norfolk from 1990-1992, while still in the Navy. Mostly good fun on the river, but lousy pay. We had some events that could be challenging (e.g. Harborfest every June, and July 4th fireworks), but the USCG did a pretty good job of keeping the river navigable and we always had some path for entering or leaving our berth. Same part-time role on the 135-ft schooner American Rover 1992-1997. A bit more challenging in a crowd due to maneuverability limitations.

BTW, time did not count for license renewal on either vessel. :grinning:

Hard to watch those videos without wondering what the Captain was thinking. Agree that the “escorts” didn’t do much to help the situation.

His CG escorts should have been severely reprimanded.

The dinner boat captain was in a no win situation. He has to get back to his dock and if his escort abandons him what is he supposed to do? He has a schedule to keep and passengers who need to be disembarked so they can go about their day as well as other passengers who have paid for their cruise to depart at a certain time.

I’m sure the CG suspended his license with glee.

I will try and be civil in my response but it not going to be easy.

That is about the lamest and most bullshit excuse for reckless and negligent operation I think I have ever read! I can’t believe it is posted here.

That idiot was not delivering cholera vaccine to Salem or transporting a load of heart attack victims to the nearest hospital dock, he was driving a dinner and drink cruise up the friggin river with a load of tourists for Christ’s sake.

He didn’t “have” to be anywhere for any reason much less enough reason to drive through a bunch of other morons - see the guy playing hand fender off the bow - while the CG idiots just watch. If there were ever a more shameful video to show the arrogance and incompetence of a dinner boat driver and a boat full of CG kids I don’t think it has been made yet and will probably have to include some sinkings and a fatality or two.


You are right it is a piss poor excuse, but having worked on dinner boats before I know that the office does not like late dockings or pissed off passengers who will demand refunds or comp’d bar tabs and such. They will pressure the captain (just like any other maritime office) to make things happen.

No he shouldn’t have done it. I would be curious to find out how far along he was in that mess when his escort abandoned him.

Call me cold and heartless but it is a shame some little old lady on one of those little boats didn’t break her ankle or something and retained a lawyer who advertises on billboards and buses to promise huge settlements.

It’s not too late for injuries to show up from being bounced around in all the confusion and panic caused by that idiot boat driver and very well documented as a CG condoned passage. The CG didn’t do anything to stop the idiot. I wonder if the local ambulance chasers are advertising for “victims” of the Spirit?

I wonder what “the office” will have to say about that?

They were filming an episode of Portlandia. It’s in the next season.

I think the CG was distracted by the topless lady at 1:25

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Fuck. The. Office.

Real piss poor excuse for a Coast Guard escort / planning . No Port Captain / Port Authority in the area that could have remanded the Spirits Route ? Thankfully there were no Emergency’s with any of the crowd . Imagine trying to get a heart attack victim out of that mess . Or worse , a Terrorist attempt .
Everyone is bitchin at the Master of the Spirit , when it was the crowd that put his cargo in jeopardy by blocking the traveled channel . And he get’s the suspension ? Ignorant .

All parties concerned showed poor judgment: the pleasure boaters for blocking a navigation channel, the CG for sitting on their hands, and the dinner boat captain for plowing through. A better decision for him would have been to request from the CG that they do their job. Stopping while the path was cleared would have been the right thing to do and he would not have jeopardized anyone’s safety with his impatience. He made a bad decision and was lucky no one got hurt.

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I am not even going to attempt to reply nicely … your post is not even a lame attempt, it is an idiotic ramble.

The moron dinner boat driver saw what was ahead and he chose to keep motoring on into the crowd. His actions were negligent and really f’ing stupid. The toy boaters are idiots but they didn’t know any better and the CG completely failed to manage the navigational hazard those morons presented. They did not stop a bigger moron from continuing on what was an obviously unsafe passage. The negligence and failure to act on the part of the CG kids does not excuse the incompetence and negligence of the dinner boat driver. His choice to continue as he did should have earned him a license revocation, not just a WSF variety wrist slap.

An idiotic ramble ? Thanks for your input as one sided as it may be . You do notice in the video that the CG is leading him into the group of boats . Once an escort is commenced it is to be seen thru to the completion unless some one else deemed qualified takes over the responsibility . I guess you also have spoken with the master involved ? and the coast guard as well ? so you know all of the details right ?
More than likely you have done nothing but venture out on to this site that you belong to and call some one that you know nothing about , nor have any information on , idiot .
It is a fact that every party involved is in the wrong .
As far as my post being an idiotic ramble , I did not call any one names , or point to the guilty parties . I only stated that the situation was Ignorant .
You sir can kiss my ass .

Thanks, I missed that. LOL

As for the CG escort, WTF happened to them??? Sorry, I have been on vessels that have had to deal with crap like this where the CG or Local PD dropped the ball big time and left us out to hang!

One time we had a Kid on a Wind Surf Board shoot out right in front of us. Luckily we had a really good Mate and the barge was up tight on Gate Lines. He backed it down and not only missed him but some how didn’t any on the Multi Million Dollar Yachts that lined the channel on both sides.

The Owner of the company came down when we got back and said next time hit the kid as it would be cheaper in the end than wiping out a couple Million Dollars worth of Yachts! We thought he was kidding, he wasn’t!

Rule 2. Special circumstance. Steering and sailing rules don’t apply. EVERYONE is obliged to avoid collision.

Captain of the Portland Spirit should have complied with the rule by not proceeding. Since he did proceed, all the drunk assholes on the other vessels were OBLIGED BY THE RULES to avoid collision as well.

I won’t comment on the presence of the USCG.

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More people need to comment on the CG actions and inactions. They actually contributed to this debacle by not demanding the dinner boat stop until the channel was cleared.

I think the reason they idiot dinner boat driver only got a wrist slap is because the CG needed to keep a low profile because their own complicity.

This is a great opportunity for an ambulance chasing lawyer to make a big stink.


The USCG has very little maritime competence these days. It has become a bunch of short-time farm boys who want to be paramilitary or cops.

The helicopter rescue guys are highly accomplished professionals, but they are aviators, not mariners.


Coast Guard assisted multiple collisions are a good indicator of “very little maritime competence” on their part.

Notice that the videos show the CG escort didn’t use flashing lights or siren. It looks like the CG crew was just out for a jaunt on the river and their lack of competent action actually gave the dinner boat driver “permission” to continue.


Another indication of the poor decision making by the Portland Spirit captain. Never, ever rely on another vessel to “show you the way” if it is obviously carrying you into danger.

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