Sunday, July 22, 2012

The View From the Tugboat Bridge

Demonstrating one of the real issues kayaks pose for large commercial vessels. You do see the kayaks, right? But they look kind of miniscule, right? It's aggravating that the Chicago incident may have been misreported in a way that overblew the situation and made the outfitters in the area look far less responsible than they actually were, but the WSJ article still had points. Capt. Brucato sent this along as a demonstration on Facebook - I thought it was pretty good shot. If you're kayaking urban waterways, you should always assume you're invisible - 'cause you pretty much are.


O Docker said...

It's not just kayaks that are invisible.

Even typical cruising sailboats fall into a blind spot that can extend hundreds of yards in front of a tanker or cargo ship.

And if they're constrained by a channel - like they are in most harbors - there's nothing ships can do to avoid you anyway.

Be careful out there, kids.

bonnie said...

Capt. Brucato sent me another on Facebook - I'll add that tonight if it's good, work computer won't always let me look at FB messages (and this is hardly something I can complain to the IT division about!).

I've been doing my best to share the additional information that CASKA posted - it's aggravating to see the outfitters and guides there depicted in such a pathetic light, when it really sounds like they handled most of the work of getting people off the water themselves - but at the same time, I feel like the more there is on the internet about the risks involved in paddling congested waterways, the more chance there is that the people who need to know more than they do are likely to stumble across it.

It's easy for a safety-conscious recreational boater to get defensive when the commercial set complain about the recreational set - but unfortunately, all it takes is one person who doesn't know what they're doing to give the skipper of one of these restricted-to-channel, needs-a-mile-to-stop-if-they-can-afford-to-stop-at-all (which they really can't in a strong current - stopped, they can't steer, and then it's not just the paddler or sailor who's endangered, it's everyone on board AND the local evironment) big commercial vessels a very bad scare. We know it happens - what experienced recreational boater hasn't got a story about seeing somebody else do something idiotic, or even a story about making mistakes of our own at one point or another?

O Docker said...

It's rare to sail on the main part of SF Bay without playing dodge'em with at least one or two ships the size of a city block. They usually do about 15 knots, which doesn't seem that fast unless you're in a boat that does six knots.

When they're headed straight at you - which is most of the time - it's hard to tell from a distance which way to go to avoid them. If you wait until you're really sure, you end up seeing them from much closer than you really want to.

Sometimes they'll play a song for you as they pass, but those horns must be expensive to sound as the songs are usually just five notes.

Be careful out there kids.

bonnie said...

Yep, very similar story (and songs) for recreational boaters in New York Harbor! That's one thing I don't miss from the days when I was keeping my boats at Pier 63, in the "North River" section of the Hudson. I do miss paddling to New Jersey for Japanese goodies, but there are decent cheeseburgers to be gotten and it is SO much more relaxing. You still can't be asleep at the switch (especially in the summertime, when there are a million motorboats out there), but the giants mostly don't come in there.