What Merchant Mariners See In You

That article had me laughing.

“Conversely, Navy ships often are unnecessarily rigid in their adherence to ColRegs. They hold fast to rules such as “stand on vessel”—the privileged ship with regard to right of way—and sometimes will maintain course and speed until in extremis.” - Bullshit. ‘Unnecessarily rigid in their adherence to ColRegs’ my ass. They do what the fuck, whenever the fuck for no fucking reason at all. I’d bet they see disregarding the RoR as a force protection measure.

“ColRegs do not apply until a risk of collision exists.” - Huh? That’s not quite right.

“U.S. merchant mariners try to give one another a wide berth well before a risk develops.” - If you call a few cables ‘a wide berth’ then I guess so! Its always the USS demanding a few miles CPA while the merchant is okay with a fraction of that.

"Compare the following two Navy security calls: “This is USS Virgo…”- I can’t recall the last time a USS called herself by her name. Its usually ‘Warship ##’ or ‘Coalition Ship ##.’ If they’re going to give an example, make it a reasonable one.

The purpose of the article is good. Its a shame its execution wasn’t.


Well thank you sir, I helped write it myself :slight_smile:

1 Like

They can only be rigid in relation to ColRegs if they actually know the regulations.

The only time I was hailed by the US Navy, they identified as “US Navy Warship” quite clearly and in the circumstances was quite sufficient for me to know what ship.

It’s the Fleet Oiler at night (enough moonlight so that I could tell, they do have a pretty distinctive look) that refuses to answer the radio and instead insists on communicating solely by means of a signal lamp when all I wanted them to do was alter course to starboard and pass well clear astern of me.

That’s one of the attitudes I’ve heard from several comments over the last five months or so that helped get the US Navy to the place they are today. And it’s not a good place.

Well before that the article states " Is this a point-to- point transit or an operation that will result in sudden and unpredictable course and speed changes?"

The problem is the Navy works in two modes 1) operational - do what they what, when they want 2) transit - get “nervous” about following the rules.

Well this got a bit simplified. Of course the colregs always apply but you don’t need to be maneuvering and calling up ships on the VHF and doing a dozen other things (or holding steady on a course and speed if you are the stand on vessel) if there is no risk of collision.

The point is you have to use common sense and intuition to avoid a situation before the rules force your hand.

Yes, I do… if that’s what the Master is comfortable with and depending on the situation. How wide are the berths you dock your ship in??

The point is that whatever they call themselves on the VHF has to match what’s painted on the hull and displayed on the AIS. They have to have consistency. And yes, sometimes they call themselves by name and sometimes they even use a number other than the one painted on their hull (I’m not saying it’s a frequent problem… but it does happen).

I’d also be skeptical on this quote from the article.

“Motor Vessel Patriot, we are coming right to 092. Meet you on one whistle, over,”

The “one whistle” is a parlance/slang used in the US amongst tugs and pilots mainly. It does not translate to a Chinese or otherwise non American vessel very well. If we are talking about improving comms with the Navy, let’s consider who the majority of the other vessels will be on the other side of that radio call. Non native English speakers who understand “port to port” or “red to red” a whole lot better than “one whistle.”

Good point. A lot of tug guys just say “see ya on the one”. Might confuse the hell out of a furriner.

Maybe American mariners are as much in need of mandatory training in proper Maritime English communication as them furriners??

Wtf? Even when we are being critical of our own shortcomings you can’t resist making an attempt at “sweeping the leg”! You are truly a troll

1 Like

My post was in reference to the article and furriners but It’s not an issue for us. Verbose passing arrangements with unintelligible ESL speakers in open water and light traffic are one thing but the shorthand works fine between tug guys and pilots in places like the Houston ship channel where there’s heavy traffic and a lot of people are on the same frequency. The Bolivar intersection is probably the busiest in the country and passing arrangements need to be kept short.

Sorry, I was actually intending to reply to DamnYankee.
I agree that when operating in international or foreign waters, it is imperative that standard Maritime English terms are used and spoken clearly.

Isn’t it a STCW requirement that all Mariners have an understanding and knowledge of the English language?
It is certainly one of the main items on any standard Vessel Inspection Form in use in the Offshore Industry worldwide. (OVID, CMID etc.)

Reading the article, it seemed a little short sided. I whole heartedly agree with the premise of it, but it could have been written much better and should have been reviewed more before being thrown out to the public.

Pretty much every American deck officer, even inland ones, have a knowledge and understanding of the English language…


1 Like

As someone that’s worked around Fourchon around Bo-Truc boats, I’ll beg to differ. :rofl:

Considering that one whistle to signal for port to port passage is an inland rule and not for use on the high seas, I’d imagine so. Granted, on execution it means pretty much the same, but still, it’s not in the international vernacular as such.

1 Like

STCW '95 mandates the use and understanding of English for commercial mariners.
IMO named English the official maritime language worldwide in 2001.

Did you notice the author? It’s a sponsored post meaning the Navy paid gCaptain to post it. I think you guys are nitpicking but I really doubt they published it without blue suits throwing their two cents in first.

I for one appreciate their efforts

1 Like

When I’m inside the demarcation lines or just off the coast talking to what I know is another tug I’ll say 1 whistle but if I’m out in open waters or talking to a ship I’ll say port to port.

1 Like

I’m not being funny, or trolling here. It should be compulsory for ANY nationality, native English speaker or not, to know and use standard Maritime English term when communicating with other ships, VTS or Pilots.
Such terms should be part of what is taught by Maritime Schools/Academies anywhere in the world.

It is a known fact that there are many different dialects spoken in English speaking countries, not all easily understood, especially by non-native English speakers.

Add to that the different slangs used (as in the example in post # 5) and the “broken English” used by many seafarers of non-English speaking origin, and the scope for misunderstanding is immense.

A standardized vocabulary for commonly used term in communication between ships would help in reducing the risk of misunderstanding, as would use of standard metric measurements to communicate distances etc. (Nautical miles and decimals of miles are metric measurements)

I’ll post a question on this subject in a different thread soon.

U.S. issued deck officer endorsements now require completion of a course for “Standard Marine Communication Phrases.” See 46 CFR 11.309(a)(4)(ix)

It’s already been done: http://www.segeln.co.at/media/pdf/smcp.pdf