What if my near miss was discussed on this forum?

A sea story (this ain’t no shit)

My first mate’s job was on an Aleutian freighter, one night I was alone, in the wheelhouse northbound, crossing the WSF route from Anacortes.

It wasn’t my first trip but I wasn’t very familiar with that stretch, just using visual ard radar, nothing else available, loran not suitable for piloting.

I just made a turn, I knew the new course so I set the iron mike on that course but when I looked out the window / radar it didn’t match. After a moment of confusion I realized the gyro had developed a big error. So when I reached the next turn I shaped up on the next course with accounting for the error. But again, something was catawampus. I later figured out that the gyro had gone completely haywire and after each course change the error changed.

So I’m going back and forth between the chart, the radar and the window. I’m busy but I’m doing ok, there’s no traffic, I’m figuring it out, but then one of the ferries calls me and asks “what are your intentions? Would you like me to take your stern?” But there’s nothing in sight. WTF? So I figure the ferry’s got the wrong ship, he means to call someone else.

So I call him back, where are you? Well, there’s a long pause, then the ferry says I’m on your starboard bow.

The ship I was on had two big fat cargo booms that laid on the corners of the wheelhouse that blocked the view to both port and stbd unless you were in the right spot in the wheelhouse. So I ducked down so I could see under the boom and there, close on my starboard, was a WSF all lite up, bigger than shit.

I’d been too busy running from chart to radar to take more than a quick glance forward. I’m sure the watch on the ferry must have been wondering how on earth another watchstander could miss a big ole lite up ferry.

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Do you mean to say that a WSF acted prudently and didn’t intentionally ram your vessel due to arrogance and ingrained company flaws?

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If this near-miss was discussed here someone would be sure to post this - in all caps.

Rule 5 (Look-out)
Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper look-out by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and or the risk of collision.

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SCREW YOU! I use all caps for emphasis and if you don’t like it then TOUGH!

I do applaud you though for describing you moment of erring…I think more of us should be willing to because others can learn how such errors occur and be better able to avoid making them themselves. Nobody operates vessel without making errors because we are human but the important thing is all of us to realize that it can happen to us and pledge to not do what the other guy did if that be to look under the booms, to pull back a throttle when the first inkling of doubt enters our mind or to not use webstraps when they should have used chain.

I don’t know much about navigation equipment, but what went wrong with the gyro? Isn’t there a local magnetic disturbance near Anacortes?

I don’t know, it was an uninspected ship, over 40 years old. Don’t know for sure if the gyro was original but I think it was original. It was a lot bigger than modern gyros.It never got any maintenance.

A magnetic disturbance should not affect the gyro. We did have a magnetic compass but it had a huge error and we didn’t use it for heading info.

The captain was a long time fisherman and didn’t want pencil marks on the chart so no track-lines, DRs or fixes. . We never did get the compass fixed, I got used to working without one.

Here’s Captain Doug.

Here’s the ship alongside in Dutch.