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Old 08-19-2009, 06:34 PM   #1
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I took this photo from my patio about 10 minutes ago. As the fog rolled in over the ria a container ship left Vigo and headed out to sea. Simultaneously, a yacht was heading into port as quickly as she could; obviously hoping to find a safe haven before she became blanketed by the advancing fog. She made it but only just.

So, how do you cope with fog? What routines do you adopt? What special precautions do you take?

Please share your advice and recommendations with us as well as an anecdote or two.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:25 PM   #2
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Assuming that one has been keeping watch and has seen the build up of fog.

#1a If you have radar installed switch it on. b; take bearings of any ships in the vicinity.

#2 If you have VHF switch it on to Channel 16.

#3 Switch on GPS and mark position - also note boat's heading

#4 Alert crew, all hands to their pre-arranged stations.

#5 If sailing, reduce sail - turn on auxiliary engine, run at minimum RPM

#6 Check sound making equipment (if LOA is over 12 metres - 40ft then make sure you have proper equipment)

#7 Check that all emergency equipment is readily available.

#8 Switch on mast head lights, stern light, steaming light.

Proceed quietly on course - listening! Post a lookout.

If Radar picks up any converging vessels - call on VHF Channel 16 - if you get a response, switch to a working channel and give your position and track .

Make appropriate sound signals at intervals of not less than 2 minutes.

Make sure that you can alter the boat's course quickly to avoid a collision.

Cup of Coffee !!
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:57 PM   #3
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No 1 on the new purchase list for us will be an AIS attachment for our Radar.

A few days out into the Coral Sea in the middle of a white out we detected a large vessel on a collision course with us. We contacted them on both VHF and HF and after a while, were able to negotiate a safe passage for us both. We could have done this a lot sooner if we could have identified them or them us rather than having to radio 'vessel at ......on a course of.......approaching yacht at......on a course of...

As it was, they were great and said that they had been watching us on radar for a while and seeing we were a yacht beating into it, that they would steer around us to make it easier. 15 min later a massive cargo ship passed our stern.

This experience was in great contrast to one a few days earlier when we transited a major trawl fishing ground at night with no moon. Our radar lit up like a christmas tree and we spent many nerve racking hours trying to make contact and steer around their trawl lines. As all Australian fishing vessels must carry AIS radar - having one ourselves would have made it a lot easier identifying particular vessels.

Fair winds
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Old 08-21-2009, 07:16 PM   #4
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MMNETSEA said it well in terms of advice. We don't have a lot of fog experience since we do our best to avoid going out in it, but I remember being in the CA Delta, motoring toward the bay at about 5 AM when our filters clogged. Fortunately that's a quick fix, but in the minutes between recognizing the trouble and flipping the switch to get the engine running again, we were drifting in the channel that often has huge ships plowing up or down river. I tried to control drift toward a sand bar instead of into deeper water, knowing our full keel would bump gracefully on the sand and I could toss over an anchor, whereas nothing would save us if one of the captains was an early riser and we coudn't move out of his way. There's no place for him to go in the narrow channel, so avoidance was up to us. I was so grateful not to hear any responding horns in those minutes. The engine came back to life and we motored quietly with full radar and on the alert, clanging our bell so we wouldn't scare anyone else on the water. It was reassuring to note that the first ship we passed waited until the fog lifted at 10AM.

Another pea soup experience came as we headed into Bahia San Quintin on the Pacific coast of Mexico under radar and gps. Knowing that the charts are a bit off, we often use the radar to determine the true location of land as opposed to the charted position, especially if we can't see it or if there's a submerged rock somewhere within two miles of shore and we want to make sure we stay further off than that. As it was, that morning we could hear the surf crashing a mile away on the beach as we dropped anchor just as the fog began to lift. It was gratifying to note that we were exactly where we wanted to be. We stayed at anchor there for several days, enjoying the calm and the empty bay.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:56 PM   #5
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mmnetsea got it covered... although I always sound in fog even though i'm under 40ft... if it's going to be a long haul I use the manual horn... stupid thing sounds like a loud kazoo but better than nothing I suppose... I'd love to get my hands on one of those old hand crank air sirens!

or another prefered fog coarse of action is to just stand on the bow shouting "OOOOOODIIIIIN!!" every minute or so while fireing flaming brands ahead of the boat.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:00 PM   #6
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Just back from sailing the North Sea for 4 weeks (luckily without fog)

here are some more impressons to create goose bumps:

105_0531_IMG.JPG

Some more pictures from the north spanish rias - here it is the Ria de Muros.

It was a nice sunny morning in August, but then the clouds came "falling" down the hills and half an hour later the sight was zero!

Luckily no trafic in this area, but we needed the GPS to sloooooooooowly proceed under sail back to Muros where we started.

It was hard to decide:

Proceeding quietly on course (with almost no wind)? You hear everything, but cannot react appropiately, if necessary.

Putting engine on and go slow speed? You move but don't hear anything but your engine.

Blowing the horn? The ears fall off.

We don't have Radar but since we have a Radar Target Enhancer at least the commercial shipping knows that we are out there.

And may I add two more points to MMNSEAs great list:

#9 go for shallow water to avoid the big ships, if possible.

#10 even when sailing unter clear conditions but close to fog banks (as in the picture) work down the checklist.

Wishing us all a season of clear skies

Uwe

SY Aquaria
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:24 PM   #7
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I assume that even with AIS one must sound your horn at regular intervals. I've heard of a recorded fog horn sound for small boats but I can't find one - anybody know more?
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
I assume that even with AIS one must sound your horn at regular intervals. I've heard of a recorded fog horn sound for small boats but I can't find one - anybody know more?
One of our HAM radios, (not a marine radio, but we have it also installed in the boat because of numerous features...) a Yaesu FTM10R (link)

has the ability to play MP3 files from any MP3 player and has an output for external loudspeaker. So, one could simply record whatever foghorn at whatever interval desired and then put the MP3 player on repeat.

The same radio has the nice feature of a bluetooth intercom so two people can use bluetooth headseats around the boat and talk thru the radio WITHOUT being "on" the VHF radio--it is simply an intercom in that mode. Further, you can have it play music or a radio station and simply cut in with the intercom (voice activated). Nice set up.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
I assume that even with AIS one must sound your horn at regular intervals. I've heard of a recorded fog horn sound for small boats but I can't find one - anybody know more?
Hi Jeanne,

Sound must be given irrespective of AIS, probably because most pleasure vessels do not have, including those without radar especially in coastal areas.

Have a look at defender's site for sound equipment - the mini horns and the portables HERE

Here is a photo of 2 mini horns I fitted to my motorcycle - REALLY LOUD !

and not expensive when compared to the same type sold by chandlers

Mini_Horns_with_12v_relay.JPG
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
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#9 go for shallow water to avoid the big ships, if possible.

#10 even when sailing unter clear conditions but close to fog banks (as in the picture) work down the checklist.

Wishing us all a season of clear skies

Uwe

SY Aquaria
Thanks Uwe, excellent additions to the check list

"#9 go for shallow water to avoid the big ships, if possible.

#10 even when sailing unter clear conditions but close to fog banks (as in the picture) work down the checklist"

Richard
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:11 AM   #11
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I'm not looking for an air horn, we've got one. *The boat also has an electric horn. *But those require that someone sound them on *regular basis. *I'm looking for a recording that will sound the horn at the required intervals leaving the helmsman free to concentrate on all the other things needed to proceed in fog conditions.

Brenda's bluetooth headsets sound great. Must look for them!
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I'm not looking for an air horn, we've got one. *The boat also has an electric horn. *But those require that someone sound them on *regular basis. *I'm looking for a recording that will sound the horn at the required intervals leaving the helmsman free to concentrate on all the other things needed to proceed in fog conditions.

Brenda's bluetooth headsets sound great. Must look for them!
Positive is listening to the radio or MP3's in stereo and talking to each other at the same time

There are weaknesses of the headset use with the radio--mostly that bluetooth is limited distance of approx 30 ft and depending on headset that can be shorter or longer. We purchased two stereo headsets for use with this radio. Our Motorola headset works great, our Plantronics one does not. We need to pick up another Motorola. We have yet to use the duo successfully when anchoring or doing anything "important" because the Plantronics typically drops the connection at just the wrong moment.

The 30' limit is something you have to work with. Our boat is 54' on deck and when you're working with the anchor roller, you can also end up several feet further forward on the bowsprit. So, we had to be a little creative to ensure we could communicate in most places on the boat. The particular radio was designed for ATV/motorcycles, etc, so has 2 parts, each has the ability to run one headset, so we put one part inside forward near the galley which is about 20 ft aft of the stem and the other part is in the charthouse about 15 ft forward of the helm. The person in the back part of the boat sinc's with the charthouse part of the radio, the other person sinc's with the galley part.

When the engine is running, sometimes we have interference with the Plantronics headset but not the Motorola. Sometimes the bluetooth works a much greater distance--we've used the headsets within about 50 ft of the radios.

Fair winds,
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:13 AM   #13
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Not really understanding the reason for wearing a headset when trying to listen for fog warnings and other sounds. Is this another noun that has undergone evolution : Earphones = Headset ?

Think it preferable to keep the sound equipment and operation thereof, Simple. Also preferable that that it is operated by the lookout/s - if single handing then the helmsman/woman operate it from the helm, by pressing a button.

If the boat already has dc voltage electric horns, there is a very simple electronic device which can be assembled - it can be made to operate the existing horns for say 3 seconds every 2 minutes.

Here is the schematic with the components needed. It is in German - perhaps Uwe might like to assist ?

FlipFlop.jpg

Kemo's Website - in English, does have a kit (the B0150) which will provide the sound of a fog Horn for the princely sum of €3.8 euros ($5.44 US) :- KLIK HERE

Fog_horn_Kit.jpg
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:34 AM   #14
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So, five miles offshore heading into port, sudden thick fog, gentle breeze against a strongish tide, plenty of traffic around young children on board, everybody on deck properly dressed lifejackets etc and all adults aware and prepared for the situation etc etc. Would you advise clipping on or not?
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