What Merchant Mariners See In You

With what exactly?

No joke. What’s your point?

Sorry, I hit the wrong reply button. That was in reply to Lee Shore Post #33

BTW; The use of radio to communicate allow you to not use whistle signal per the below (h):

What? Everything @Lee_Shore said applies ONLY to communicating by whistle signals.

Brush up on your COLREGS…

NO NO NO. Nothing to do with territorial limits.
The demarcation lines are clearly described in 33 CFR 80. In general terms, they are drawn across river mouths and bay openings where they meet the sea.
The actual whistles or horns are rarely used. The communication is done over the VHF as in: "Hey cap, I see you’re getting pushed toward the bank by the current, how about I see you on two whistles."
Answer: “Roger I’ll see you on two.”.
You’re making this way more complicated than it is.
A foreign ship is likely to have a pilot on board before they get to such an area.


Mr. Bugge you are missing the intent of why I brought this up in the first place. It was that if the Navy is operating in foreign waters, the use of a coastwise slang like “one whistle” would be ill advised.

It exists in American waters and American inland mariners understand it just fine. I liken it to the casual vernacular American truck drivers use. It gets the point across and works for guys in a harbor or river that work around each other quite frequently.

Those of us that trade internationally know to use the internationally accepted terms and do so regularly. When I have a foreign pilot onboard and he is talking to another pilot or a local barge, not knowing the language, for all I know he could be using local slang. Once the passing agreement is made I ask for clarification in English and all is well.

As to why America has to have its own COLREGS. That’s above my pay grade.


This section of the COLREGS, Rule 34 (i) Maneuvering and Warning Signals: INLAND: is a proposal which requires an agreement by way of a signal (or a verbal agreement via VHF raido.) The same relevant section of the INTERNATIONAL COLREGS, Rule 34 (a) Maneuvering and Warning Signals the whistle signals indicate the execution rudder and /or propulsion commands. This difference, and the delineating circumstances must be clearly understood by mariners who navigate in both areas.

A speed change might be the way to change the CPA (Rule 8 (e) but is impractical on today’s ubiquitous slow speed diesel propulsion units. I am a big proponent of Rule 16’s admonition of “take early and substantial action” and if in open waters and traffic allows it make a decisive 40 degree turn to make one’s intentions understood (Rule 8 (b). In this case all rules are International but the intent should be clear. regardless of International or Inland rules.

Roger that. Not what I would do transiting the Straits of Gibraltar, eh…

Never heard anybody use those terms. Just port and starboard. And yes, tugs… maybe there are regional differences

If you sail out of Long Beach you probably never will.

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Long Beach, Los Angeles (San Pedro) is my home port. Yeah. But I’ve sailed with tug guys with a whole lot more experience on tugs etc than I will ever have and I’ve never heard them use that. What’s the region where this is common?

Gulf of Mexico and most of the east coast. Interesting to me to find out it doesn’t jump over to the west coast but the example lee shore gave is about as accurate as it gets in my opinion.

Do your tug guys over there use terms like “hook it up” when they’re pushing full ahead?

Now I’m interested in the different regional US maritime dialects.

A post was split to a new topic: Different regional US maritime dialects

That sounds more like U.S. inland type situation, a confirmation of a obvious passing situation.

“What are your intentions” would be more applicable to a pre- RULE 34 situation: (d) When vessels in sight of one another are approaching each other and from any cause either vessel fails to understand the intentions or actions of the other.

I’ve heard it used offshore on a regular basis in the Gulf too. Show of hands, how many of you OSV guys have heard something along the lines of “M/V Coullion, outbound at the candlesticks, see all inbounders on the one.” Rabbit field and hole-in-the-wall are outside the demarcation line, but they’re still using it there… I’ve heard it used well offshore (50+ miles) too.

That’s a product of the lack of professionalism you see among a lot of the OSV operators. “I’m just a boat driver, no college degree here.”

Using colloquialisms are a purely situation thing, or at least they should be. Dealing with another vessel from your AOR, who is going to understand you? Sure, that’s fine. Dealing with a foreign ship? Clear, consicse and by the book. It’s not that hard. You don’t have to be Norwegian to get it.


The world would be a better place if we could all be Norwegian. No more ship collisions, wars, poverty, or famine.


Amen to that.



All language is local. Most of us travel the world beyond our homes. We hear English spoken as a first language we can hardly understand. (Ever been north of London?) That doesn’t mean those speakers are unprofessional or uneducated.

The trick to communication is to speak in a way that communicates your ideas, not peppering your speech with highfalutin gobbledygook.

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