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Coast Guard Introduction

Old 01-30-2019, 05:06 PM
  #41  
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Talking Safety Gear Whine

I have a couple of gripes I always wanted to post....

I know these things need to verified on some sort of schedule. We all want them to work when needed but it feels that its just another way to gaff the boating community.
If we want safety gear to be pervasive, we need to ensure you don't have to give up and arm and a leg every few years just to have it.

Why doesn't the Coast Guard actively lobby for:
1.) Flare manufacturers to set realistic expiration dates on flares, safety flare guns etc. It seems like the manufacturers set expiration dates quite short to extract as much money as they can from boaters. This safety gear is the biggest racket going. I've had 20 year old flares that work just fine. What is the plan for expired flares? Seems like nobody accepts them anymore.
2.) EPIRB and PLB manufacturers to price battery replacements fairly. The PLB batteries are in one case uses a clunky (3) CR123 lithium gang cell that they want $100 to replace. EPIRBs are worse.
3.) Raft repacking. Yet another high priced scam by manufacturers to require testing and repacking on extremely short windows.

Just feels like you don't even get kissed anymore with a boat....
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Old 01-30-2019, 08:34 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post
I'll toss out a question. My wife took the CT boating safety course last winter (I sat in). When it came to the definition of "a vessel engaged in fishing" as it pertains to COLREGS, the instructor was insistent that the guy out trolling on a Saturday afternoon was " a vessel engaged in fishing". I tried to explain it to him that was not the definition under COLREGS, but he wasn't having any part of it so I just dropped the subject.
Maybe there are some here who don't know (or were taught incorrectly) who is and who is not "a vessel engaged in fishing" in the context of COLREGS ...could you explain.

Thanks!

Rule 3

  1. The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict manageability.
To put it simply if you can move and get out of the way you are not restricted in maneuverability. If you a trolling you can easily get out of the way of other vessels and are considered the same as any other power driven vessel that it is underway.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:02 AM
  #43  
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It looks like I can fire off a post here again. I guess in an effort to prevent spammers from coming in on a new account and littering the site with multiple posts, new members are restricted in the number of posts they are allowed for the first few days.

I will eventually address all of your questions. Many of you answered my question about where you get your boating information. The reason I asked is that I want to identify those sources and find a way to imbed messages into those sites. Here's an example. I live in Louisiana. I pick up a brochure the state publishes every year on fishing and boating rules and regulations. It's a pretty big brochure. The first safety specific message that appears in that brochure is on page 60 something. I'd like to see if we can do a little bit better than that.

Here's my way of thinking coming into this, and I welcome your thoughts. If us existing boaters are going to get any boating safety information beyond what we already have, we are typically going to get it from two different places. Media or direct communication. Media includes print (magazines, newspaper, brochures etc.) television and internet media (this forum, facebook, etc.) Direct contact would be perhaps a Power Squadron member at the boat show, a member of the Auxiliary at the boat ramp or a law enforcement officer on the water.

My strategic goals focus on doing a better job through all of the above identified avenues. Television is a tough nut to crack. Improving my personal web page is a much easier undertaking, but it is a challenge to draw people to it. I think the internet gives me an avenue to reach more boaters than I practically can through any other medium and Facebook will be one of the better tools for getting my messages networked. I am sure many of you are members of other forums and of Facebook and boating related groups within Facebook. Let's say I drop a quick article here and on the Facebook group I am going to create. Some people will read it and think, that it was pretty useful. They may share it on another forum or on Facebook and then the whole networking thing starts gaining momentum. That's my hope. I may fall flat on my face on this, but I am willing to give it a go.

Go back and look at the above avenues that I have identified for messaging. Tell me if I missed any and tell me if you think there is a way to better exploit any of them.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:19 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Offshoreaddicted View Post
Paul,
I have a question that has been hashed out on here already but would like your opinion. Heading out the inlet a quick call on 16 to Coast Guard station getting a radio check. I have done it for years and the Coast Guard has always been more than willing to accommodate even with them wishing good luck or happy holidays whatever applies.
Channel 16 is designated as hailing and distress only. I have read on this forum that some Coast Guard units are granting them. They probably shouldn't. Let me explain why.

When I was a SAR controller at Sector New Orleans, The radio room was a glass room connected to the primary command center floor. I would pop into the radio room from time to time to chat with the radio watch stander. I hope I am recalling my numbers correctly here. If it's not exact it's close, and it makes the point if if I am off by a little. There are 32 VHF speakers in that radio room covering pretty much the entire Louisiana Coast. A mariner calling for a radio check, even if he is waiting until there is silence on his radio, may step on critical SAR traffic that is coming in on one of the other speakers.

You'd think the likelihood of that is very low, but you'd be surprised how often it happens that pieces of a critical radio transmissions are broken by other radio traffic. Most of the time that other traffic is legitimate, but sometimes it's boats making passing arrangements, sometimes it's people talking fishing, and it has been radio checks in the past.

To summarize, radio checks are not in keeping with the designated use of channel 16 and those radio check may interfere with critical communications.

There's likely a good way to get a radio check wherever you are. Everywhere I have lived or operated has had a VHF frequency that was fairly active with local mariners where I could almost always conduct a quick check. Sea Tow has radio check services on certain frequencies in certain areas. Failing that, if you have the phone number to your local Coast Guard unit and they are willing, you can always call them and ask for a check on the channel of their choice. When I worked at Coast Guard stations, I did that on occasion.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:29 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by ryanbeh.16 View Post

Rule 3

  1. The term "vessel engaged in fishing" means any vessel fishing with nets, lines, trawls, or other fishing apparatus which restrict maneuverability, but does not include a vessel fishing with trolling lines or other fishing apparatus which do not restrict manageability.
To put it simply if you can move and get out of the way you are not restricted in maneuverability. If you a trolling you can easily get out of the way of other vessels and are considered the same as any other power driven vessel that it is underway.
Thank you,.... it is unfortunate that the guy teaching the course just didn’t get it, and that wasn’t the time or place for me to push to try to correct him.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:35 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by jg109 View Post
Great Idea!
I took the NJ Safe Boater required course.

I think Youtube is an excellent source of safety info, west marine, boatUS etc have short videos on various topics.
A short to-the-point video is usually better than a long wandering video.
In a former life (career) we did 5 minute training at lineup. Worked well.

Good Luck!
That touches on another one of my goals. I want to assemble a library of useful boating safety videos. I have had the one minute mark as about the max. That length plays well on social media. There are a ton of videos out there. Some are pretty bad, some are good and some are hall of fame. I want to put together a hall of fame library. I have even talked to my Public Affairs team about shooting some videos designed to drive home a boating safety message. The library is going to take some work on my part. I have to get permission from the video producer to host it. One of the nice things about this forum is that if we are having a boating safety discussion the members here can drop a link to a video and they don't have to get permission.

That touches on the beauty of this forum as it relates to safety. There are some very seasoned professionals here who know their stuff. Their experiences may allow them to answer a question better than I can. For example my knowledge of sailing is limited. I have been thinking of ways we can catalog useful discussions here so that they can be easily searched and referenced in the future. I intend to start a lot of discussions on a specific topic with a quick article. One of the first ones will be VHF/DSC Distress Alerts. That title should be easy to search. Since I'll only be starting threads on recreational boating related topics, the members here can always do a search on topics started by me. I will eventually host those articles on my web page and post them on facebook. I will use the forum here as a sounding board and fully expect you to give me some useful suggestions on them.
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Old 01-31-2019, 04:47 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Gary999 View Post
Paul,

What are the rules for using a spotlight at night?

Also when in a no wake zone what is the operators responsibility as far their wake?
Gary, at some point in the near future I am going to start threads on those subjects so we can have a focused discussion on them. I don't want to bury a lot of detail in this introductory thread. If you haven't seen me start a thread on those in the next month, shoot me a PM to remind me. I mentioned this in the previous post. I want to start threads on some of these common and sometimes contentious topics, so that they will be easier to find and reference in the future.
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post


Thank you,.... it is unfortunate that the guy teaching the course just didn’t get it, and that wasn’t the time or place for me to push to try to correct him.
Ned, let me tell you a little story here. I used to be a commercial fishing vessel safety specialist. My primary function in that job was conducting safety exams on commercial fishing boats. One day I was checking a mackerel boat. Commercial king mackerel are normally harvested with trolling gear. Sometimes a fairly extensive set. Many of the boats are run by one person.

As I was checking this particular boat the captain pointed to his fishing day shapes and said "how do you like those?" He had built them himself and had done a great job. I told him that they were some of the best homemade shapes I had seen, but they weren't required. I asked him if his gear restricted his ability to maneuver. He told me that it didn't really, but he liked them for several reasons. His lines extended pretty far aft of his boat and he wanted the shapes as a warning to other boats since he often fished where there was a good bit of recreational fishing activity. Most of the mackerel boats have a steering and control station on the back deck so that they can maneuver while they are fighting fish. This is particularly important when there is only one person on the boat. They will often leave their boats in gear as they pull fish in on one of their lines. This captain told me that while he may not be restricted in his ability to maneuver, if he was flipping a fish on board, he wasn't going to maneuver.

Obviously from a safety standpoint there's a lot to cause concern in that picture, but from his perspective it made perfect sense that he wanted to display the day shapes. In some cases the captain of the boat will have to make a judgement call on lights and shapes. In this captain's case, I think it was a good decision.
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:59 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
Ned, let me tell you a little story here. I used to be a commercial fishing vessel safety specialist. My primary function in that job was conducting safety exams on commercial fishing boats. One day I was checking a mackerel boat. Commercial king mackerel are normally harvested with trolling gear. Sometimes a fairly extensive set. Many of the boats are run by one person.

As I was checking this particular boat the captain pointed to his fishing day shapes and said "how do you like those?" He had built them himself and had done a great job. I told him that they were some of the best homemade shapes I had seen, but they weren't required. I asked him if his gear restricted his ability to maneuver. He told me that it didn't really, but he liked them for several reasons. His lines extended pretty far aft of his boat and he wanted the shapes as a warning to other boats since he often fished where there was a good bit of recreational fishing activity. Most of the mackerel boats have a steering and control station on the back deck so that they can maneuver while they are fighting fish. This is particularly important when there is only one person on the boat. They will often leave their boats in gear as they pull fish in on one of their lines. This captain told me that while he may not be restricted in his ability to maneuver, if he was flipping a fish on board, he wasn't going to maneuver.

Obviously from a safety standpoint there's a lot to cause concern in that picture, but from his perspective it made perfect sense that he wanted to display the day shapes. In some cases the captain of the boat will have to make a judgement call on lights and shapes. In this captain's case, I think it was a good decision.
Very well stated, thank you. I can understand that captain’s decision.
The concern I had was this instructor telling inexperienced people that as soon as they dropped a line over the side they were the prívilaged vessel regardless.
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:53 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by dannyroche View Post
I have a couple of gripes I always wanted to post....

I know these things need to verified on some sort of schedule. We all want them to work when needed but it feels that its just another way to gaff the boating community.
If we want safety gear to be pervasive, we need to ensure you don't have to give up and arm and a leg every few years just to have it.

Why doesn't the Coast Guard actively lobby for:
1.) Flare manufacturers to set realistic expiration dates on flares, safety flare guns etc. It seems like the manufacturers set expiration dates quite short to extract as much money as they can from boaters. This safety gear is the biggest racket going. I've had 20 year old flares that work just fine. What is the plan for expired flares? Seems like nobody accepts them anymore.
2.) EPIRB and PLB manufacturers to price battery replacements fairly. The PLB batteries are in one case uses a clunky (3) CR123 lithium gang cell that they want $100 to replace. EPIRBs are worse.
3.) Raft repacking. Yet another high priced scam by manufacturers to require testing and repacking on extremely short windows.

Just feels like you don't even get kissed anymore with a boat....

Look at you opening a can of worms on me! I understand your frustration. The decisions affecting your concern take place in a part of the Coast Guard where I have no experience. I can confidently say that the expiration dates are not arbitrary. There was a lot of research and science that went into that. I have a hunch that the dates are based on a worse case scenario, but don't hold me to that.

Battery technology is improving. Many EPIRB batteries have a ten year life now. I don't know if improvements have been made in PLB battery life. Maybe one of the members here can shed light on that.

When I was stationed in Gulfport in the 2000's someone contacted me and asked if I would take a box of old flares from them. Some of the flares were from the 80's. I am a curious sort, so I took them. I made the necessary arrangements to do a live flare shoot with some of my crew. I was surprised at how many of the really old flares worked. But then one or two of the newer ones failed.

I will probably start a thread on flares at some point. We'll get into a more focused discussion there.
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:40 AM
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FWIW I went back and added a disclaimer to my OP. It will appear as my sig from here on out.
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Old 01-31-2019, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by HuntersDad View Post
great introduction Paul and congratulations on the new Job..
I have found that the easiest place to find information on what is required is the Big Box store (WM).. they have the checklist right at the fire extinguisher, flare area and its super simple. yes I can look up whats required online but that takes work time and I have to write the list down. every year I check flares, flotation devices, radio, first aid kit, etc.. going to WM for the quick things and having that checklist there is super simple.
if you could provide an easily printable version of the USCG required items that would be greatly appreciated. it could be printed, laminated and stored onboard.
It's not really easily printable, but once you read it and determine what's required for your boat it would be pretty easy to make a laminated check sheet. Here are a few ways to get the federal requirements.

Federal Requirements For Recreational Boaters
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Old 01-31-2019, 10:44 AM
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Paul, this is a great idea.

To answer your question regarding where I get my safety info from:

1 - NJ safe boating course (with certificate)
2 - Chapman's Piloting book
3 - Boat US publications, website
4 - THT forum (with confirmation of important issues from other sources)

Anything you post is appreciated!
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:02 PM
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THE COAST GUARD INFO HAS BEEN READ AND SAVED MANY TIMES IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD AS WELL . In times when been building and developing new products information mostly floatation guidelines were very very helpful ! and after reading other sections pertaining to fuel things then the decision was made by the company to save for a rainy day !
Thank you !
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:37 PM
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Default A Boaters guide to the federal requirements for Recreational boats

Originally Posted by Indyspecracer View Post
Search for "A Boaters guide to the federal requirements for Recreational boats" This is a pretty good document. Page 42 is a grid that shows what is required by size of vessel. I don't know if it is what the USCG uses.
I do not have enough posts to include the URL
Here's the link - good little .pdf
https://www.uscgboating.org/images/420.PDF
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:45 PM
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Default Love this forum

thanl you for everyone’s help. Just trying to get my 10 posts in for photos
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by USCG Safe Boating D8 View Post
Ned, let me tell you a little story here. I used to be a commercial fishing vessel safety specialist. My primary function in that job was conducting safety exams on commercial fishing boats. One day I was checking a mackerel boat. Commercial king mackerel are normally harvested with trolling gear. Sometimes a fairly extensive set. Many of the boats are run by one person.

As I was checking this particular boat the captain pointed to his fishing day shapes and said "how do you like those?" He had built them himself and had done a great job. I told him that they were some of the best homemade shapes I had seen, but they weren't required. I asked him if his gear restricted his ability to maneuver. He told me that it didn't really, but he liked them for several reasons. His lines extended pretty far aft of his boat and he wanted the shapes as a warning to other boats since he often fished where there was a good bit of recreational fishing activity. Most of the mackerel boats have a steering and control station on the back deck so that they can maneuver while they are fighting fish. This is particularly important when there is only one person on the boat. They will often leave their boats in gear as they pull fish in on one of their lines. This captain told me that while he may not be restricted in his ability to maneuver, if he was flipping a fish on board, he wasn't going to maneuver.

Obviously from a safety standpoint there's a lot to cause concern in that picture, but from his perspective it made perfect sense that he wanted to display the day shapes. In some cases the captain of the boat will have to make a judgement call on lights and shapes. In this captain's case, I think it was a good decision.

I don't want to derail this thread from the original topic, but while this may be a very good decision that in real world makes perfect sense if this captain were to run over another boat that wasn't restricted i'm sure that he would be in the wrong. Lawyers will easily look at the rules and say he wasn't restricted because as the rules read he was "trolling". Also he is breaking rule 5 of having a proper look out to assess avoid collision.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by proaudioguy View Post
Take this as constructive criticism. I took the Boat US safety course online. I didn't have to. I've been boating since I was a kid and I'm grandfathered in but my boys have to take it so I figured I would lead by example. Well I feel like 90% of the course is don't drink and drive and don't be a dick. I don't even drink. The eldest was an LEO for 6 years (I raised a cop). Mom was CGA for several years, has commendation letters from Obummer, and we have worked with the band several times. I took the course to learn more than don't drink and don't be a dick. In my local area when I was looking for classes, I can't find any other than the mandatory safe boater course. I'm not driving to Spring Hill, FL for a class when I'm closer to Daytona Beach.

Here is a topic I consider important. How to determine what is safe as far as weather and water conditions. Everyone says just go go go, you'll figure it out, but when you come from the Gulf coast your whole life to the Atlantic, its totally different. I can't even find a way on the internet to convert period to wavelength in regards to ocean waves, so how can I use the rule of wavelength needing to be more than 7 times the height? None of the sites seem to forecast the wavelength!

I would like a way to be able to file a float plan online using the systems we already use. The navionics site has plotting. There should be a way to do this easily with Garmin, but I have not figured that out yet, so not so easy. I'm sure the other players could make something work. At very least there should be an app to do this easily. I don't want to have to do anything TWICE.

The comment above about the batteries is dead on. My batteries are expired but I didn't test my 7 yo PLB every month and so its been off. Well I just tested it for the first time and its fine. Last boat I had got parked and never used again right after I bought the thing. I should be able to change the batteries myself. I've built tube amps from scratch, I think I can manage.

When I wear my mom's old CGA Type 5, I would like to not get harassed as if I was a criminal stealing it off an LEO boat. That would be great! She took the patches off after she retired. She offered to give it back and Clearwater said no thanks, it's yours. I've had LEO boats go by and make a U turn at a high rate of speed to check us out over it. I told her I'm carrying a pic of her in her uniform from now on!

Thanks

You gave me quite a bit there. Some of it is beyond the scope of what I do. I'll do my best to give you a useful response.

Let me start by mentioning the courses. For courses to meet NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) standards, there is a very detailed list of items that must be included and taught. Boat US is a NASBLA approved course. It takes an incredible amount of time, effort and cooperation to launch an approved course. Condensing a sea of vital information down into a short course is a daunting task alone. Getting a group of people with diverse boating backgrounds to agree on how to do that condensing is more difficult yet. Think about Navigation Rules. An eight hour navigation rules course would just begin to scratch the surface, yet these basic boater courses have to condense the rules down to fit within their short course. The courses are designed to introduce new boaters to the basics of safe boating. I would say to anyone that has taken a course, share your thoughts with the organization or instructor that provided the course. I will do a little research and see what's out there for a "Beyond the Basics" type course.

The weather question is an important one. When to go out will always be a judgement call. There are obviously weather warnings like a small craft advisory that would make the decision to stay at home an easy one. At some point I will write a weather article here on THT so that we can get into a focused discussion on weather. For right now I will tell you how I make my decision whether to go into open water on my 19.5 foot dual console. I look at the local weather forecast on the net. I look at NOAA's marine weather forecast. I look at wind speeds and wave heights from the National Data Buoy Center. https://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/?lat=31.970804 I have a radar app on my phone that I check before I go and throughout the day. I also watch the clouds to see if they start developing into thunderstorms. I am always ready to run. Even with all the effort I put into getting a handle on the weather, sometimes mother nature just doesn't cooperate. Sometimes I trailer my boat from New Orleans down to Venice. It's close to a two hour trip. Then I motor about 45 minutes to the mouth of the Mississippi River at South Pass. There have been times that I have gone through all that effort to be greeted by 5 footers at the pass. It is very disappointing to have to make a no go decision, but at the same time it is easily the right decision. I have learned to take some inshore fishing gear with me as a back-up plan.

You mentioned float plans. I am going to be doing a little work on improving our resources there. These things can be very time consuming, so you'll have to bear with me on that one.

I could literally spend days responding to your post typing with my two typing fingers. I don't want to tackle that with this introductory thread. Over time I hope to built a useful repository of safety related discussions that ultimately can be accessed with a key word search or by searching threads that I have created.

Anyone who wants can always call me in the office at 504-671-2148. I much prefer a phone call since I type so slowly!

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Old 02-01-2019, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by ryanbeh.16 View Post
I don't want to derail this thread from the original topic, but while this may be a very good decision that in real world makes perfect sense if this captain were to run over another boat that wasn't restricted i'm sure that he would be in the wrong. Lawyers will easily look at the rules and say he wasn't restricted because as the rules read he was "trolling". Also he is breaking rule 5 of having a proper look out to assess avoid collision.

That's why I noted in my post that from a safety standpoint there was cause for concern. I understood the thought process that delivered him to his decision, but had a conversation with him about my safety concerns.

This is a question to you on the rules, and it trends into a gray area. Can trolling gear restrict a vessel's maneuverability?
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Old 02-01-2019, 01:14 PM
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Paul, this is an excellent thread and I am convinced it will become an excellent resource for boaters. I would suggest you check out the video library from the United States Power Squadron : https://americasboatingchannel.com.
Also, check out their boating education resources starting here: https://americasboatingclub.org
I am a member of the organization.
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