Yachters Guide to Avoiding Ships

Ya’ll ain’t gonna believe this chit!

Some retired ships master wrote a book on how yachties can avoid colliding with big ships. AND IT’S GOING FOR $500.00 A COPY!!

http://www.samsmarine.com/forums/showthread.php?22636-How-To-Avoid-Huge-Ships

Anybody want to get into book publishing?

There is a bit of a back story behind that book. The book, [I]How to Avoid Huge Ships[/I] was written by Capt. Trimmer, a Puget Sound pilot and is now out of print. In 1992 it won a book sellers prize, the Diagram prize for most implausible title. In 2008 a book about the prize was written called "How to Avoid Huge Ships And Other Implausibly Titled Books.

The reviews for the original book at Amazon is filled with reviews from non-mariners. Here is an example:

Captain Trimmer presents a rather novel technique for avoiding huge ships - move your boat out of the path of the huge ship. I know what you’re thinking, this goes against conventional wisdom, but Trimmer presents significant empirical evidence to support his theory. Indeed, over the long run, moving out of the way will dramatically decrease the number of huge ship collisions you will have to endure in your daily life.

The Wikipedia articlehas some details about the back story

I have a copy here at the house. The book is aimed at pleasure boaters and explains the maneuvering limitations of large ocean-going ships with low-speed diesel engines. Bottom line was stay out of the way.

My local VTS publishes a guide for recreational boaters. It will never reach the morons but the morons wouldn’t read it anyway.

The problem is almost any idiot with a wad of money can go buy a boat and drive it with very little–if any–training. I know some states are implementing these “boater education cards” but from what I’ve noticed they seem to focus mainly on boating under the influence laws, trailering, and stuff like that. Very little service is paid to the Rules. It’s amazing the number of sailboaters who think that, merely because they’re a sailboat, they automatically have the right-of-way over any power vessel–they seem very shocked when you point out to them that Rules 9 and 10 supersede that.

In order to drive a motor vehicle, a person needs to have a driver license, which means the driver must have completed a written and a road test. Many drivers have even completed a drivers education course. Maybe it’s time for similar requirements for boaters.

You know it is very hard for a professional mariner to be able to be in the head of a complete amateur when he takes his boat out. For us, it is a smaller version of what we do for our living but imagine being a divorce lawyer with a 75’ Hatteras even getting underway must be a major anxiety inducing experience? I see these little tiny vessels with bow thrusters and chuckle to myself. 26’ and you can’t dock it without help?

I agree completely that all boaters should have to have a formal boater’s license to allow them to operate their vessel size and type on the water. Who would administer the exams though is what I fear…THE US POWER SQUADRON!

[QUOTE=c.captain;118860]You know it is very hard for a professional mariner to be able to be in the head of a complete amateur when he takes his boat out. For us, it is a smaller version of what we do for our living but imagine being a divorce lawyer with a 75’ Hatteras even getting underway must be a major anxiety inducing experience? I see these little tiny vessels with bow thrusters and chuckle to myself. 26’ and you can’t dock it without help?

I agree completely that all boaters should have to have a formal boater’s license to allow them to operate their vessel size and type on the water. Who would administer the exams though is what I fear…THE US POWER SQUADRON![/QUOTE]

Oh dear, I hadn’t thought of that. The other options would either be the Coast Guard (and they seem to be overworked just dealing with “professional” mariner credentials) or setting up some form of DMV for boats. Neither of which are much more palatable than the Power Squadron.

[QUOTE=awulfclark;118861]Oh dear, I hadn’t thought of that. The other options would either be the Coast Guard (and they seem to be overworked just dealing with “professional” mariner credentials) or setting up some form of DMV for boats. Neither of which are much more palatable than the Power Squadron.[/QUOTE]

The saddest thing is that the teachers of seamanship, navigation and rules in the Power Squadron are also complete amateurs (my ex mother-in-law is one). If they might possibly be retired professionals then any training they offer might be worth a shit but the members are for the most part idiots who keep businesses like SeaTow in clover!

[QUOTE=c.captain;118863]The saddest thing is that the teachers of seamanship, navigation and rules in the Power Squadron are also complete amateurs (my ex mother-in-law is one). If they might possibly be retired professionals then any training they offer might be worth a shit but the members are for the most part idiots who keep businesses like SeaTow in clover![/QUOTE]

You know, I’ve actually thought about looking into being an instructor. Not that I’m hugely experienced, but I at least have a knowledge of the rules. I’m just not sure if I could deal with the aggravation.

But it does amaze me that people driving vessels with a horsepower-to-tonnage ratio of something like 100:1 need thrusters.

How is it possible that this guy charges 500 bucks for a book? http://www.amazon.com/Avoid-Huge-Ships-John-Trimmer/dp/0870334336

Are yachties really that rich and stupid?

[QUOTE=Mikey;118865]How is it possible that this guy charges 500 bucks for a book?

Are yachties really that rich and stupid?[/QUOTE]

as mentioned, it has something to do with it having received a dubious award and a few owners of copies who feel that fact warrants charging thru the ass for one. One cretin on Amazon has a copy listed for…get this…

[B][I]$3420.10[/I][/B]

and has the balls to also ask for $3.99 to ship it!

none of these idiots can be serious but if someone actually pays more than $20 for copy then they are the idiots and not the sellers

if I had access to a copy, I’d scan it and put in on Torrentz for free just to FUCK these assholes!

[QUOTE=Mikey;118865]How is it possible that this guy charges 500 bucks for a book? http://www.amazon.com/Avoid-Huge-Ships-John-Trimmer/dp/0870334336

Are yachties really that rich and stupid?[/QUOTE]

They may charge that, but the real question is does anyone pay that? I can list whatever I want on Amazon for any price I want, but unless someone actually ponies up, that’s all academic.

I have pics of some morons to post when i get home. We were shitting bricks.

[QUOTE=catherder;118882]I have pics of some morons to post when i get home. We were shitting bricks.[/QUOTE]

Sweet, this should be good.

It was a fishing boat that very abruptly turned and crossed our bow as soon as we left the locks at Ballard, wish I took video. I tried to load the pics from my iPhone but no dice. You could see the features on their faces, they were that close…hope they saw us flipping the bird. N0A.A corp, always on the ball, blew the whistle after they’d crossed.

[QUOTE=catherder;118886]It was a fishing boat that very abruptly turned and crossed our bow as soon as we left the locks at Ballard, wish I took video. I tried to load the pics from my iPhone but no dice. You could see the features on their faces, they were that close…hope they saw us flipping the bird. N0A.A corp, always on the ball, blew the whistle after they’d crossed.[/QUOTE]

Yikes. Hopefully they at least realized their error. I’ve seen a couple uncomfortable situations where the “little” guys actually called us up on the radio to berate us. It’s one thing to miscalculate, underestimate the ship’s speed (we do 22 knots normally), it’s quite another to be so absolutely clueless that they have no idea that they even screwed up.

Many states are moving toward some form of mandatory boater ed, but it’s a slow process. Texas, where I was a boater ed instructor, recently grandfathered.everyone over 18 - the age limit increases by one year every year. It will be a while …

Each state also has a state boating law administrator who, usually, is part of the fish and game or natural resources agency that titles or registers vessels and enforces state marine safety laws. Those state laws may be more onerous, but not less so, than the applicable CFRs.

Bottom line, the model course used by most states is woefully inadequate (and can be completed online), and most places does not apply to small human powered and windblown craft if recall correctly.

Recreational boat manufacturers and dealers are the folks who keep meaningful training and licensing from being implemented.

They believe (wrongly, if Harley Davidson is a good anologue) that requiring training will interfere with their narrative of the freedom of the open water.

In the book Trimmer writes about one of the reasons boaters get too close to ships which I thought was interesting. From the view point of a small boat a large ship seems further away then then the opposite view, that of from the ship to the boat.

This might seem counter-intuitive but it can be confirmed in a crowded anchorage by comparing the perception of how close the other ships are as seen from the bridge as compared to from a small launch. From the ship there doesn’t seem to be much water between the ships but from the launch the ships seem further apart.

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;118919]In the book Trimmer writes about one of the reasons boaters get too close to ships which I thought was interesting. From the view point of a small boat a large ship seems further away then then the opposite view, that of from the ship to the boat.

This might seem counter-intuitive but it can be confirmed in a crowded anchorage by comparing the perception of how close the other ships are as seen from the bridge as compared to from a small launch. From the ship there doesn’t seem to be much water between the ships but from the launch the ships seem further apart.[/QUOTE]

Not just that, but often these little guys don’t realize just how fast the ships can close that distance. I’m not sure if it’s just a matter of scale, or if it’s something in people’s brains that says, “No way that massive ship can move that fast.” But yes, to us on the large vessels, a boat 2000 feet away seems rather close–that’s only 2.5 ship lengths to me–while to them, that’s almost an eternity, something around plus or minus 50 boat lengths.

This video from my old hometown says it all …

No one killed, but really, not smart.

[QUOTE=+A465B;118926]This video from my old hometown says it all …

No one killed, but really, not smart.[/QUOTE]

The guy in the sailboat was our client (his insurance company paid our bills) in the first case I tried as a new lawyer. He insisted on going to trial and theb case was so hopeless, even the new guy rifght out of law school couldn’t make it any worse than it already was, so they gave it to me. Almost as soon as it started, he came back to reality and took the ridiculously low settlement the other side was offering. We had a minor victory in pre-trial when we got the Judge to rule that the audio would be turned off when this video was shown so no one would be prejudiced by the comments from the videographer (i.e. “what an idiot”)

This version is edited. The full version shows the helmsman onn the sailboat jumping overboard right before the collision, and later his fiance hanging onto the mast of the sinking sailboat.