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Old 12 June 2009, 18:26   #1
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Fog tips....!

Should a novice, such as I, encounter fog - what are the 'top ten' rules?

I can read a chart, use my GPS and my VHF, I have a fog horn too.

I imagine the advice would be something like:

1. Slow down
2. Slowly make your way close to shore (watching depth) to avoid larger vessels
3. Sound fog horn?!
4 Lights on?
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Old 12 June 2009, 18:41   #2
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Should a novice, such as I, encounter fog - what are the 'top ten' rules?
stay out of the shipping lanes.
Also, use whatever aids you have. Like, if you have a radar, turn it on and look at it.
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Old 12 June 2009, 18:55   #3
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If you have to cross a shipping lane to get home?
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Old 12 June 2009, 19:03   #4
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Assuming that the fog hasn't just suddenly appeared and you are slowly loosing visability, you want to get yourself a compass bearing to somewhere. It may be the shore or could be a buoy (ready for next segment of route) - shore may not always be a safe option if there are rocks and even landing on a beach in fog can be somewhat nerve-racking if visibility is really poor.

(It's really important to have a compass as well - GPS can fail, especially in fog where the signal gets a bit degraded!)

In terms of speed - slow if it's thick and yes, the foghorn helps a lot (not sure how many small boats will have one!). It's also really good to throttle back and listen once in a while (stopping engine is good but also makes it harder to suddenly get out the way if necessary). All big ships will use fog horns and most other boats as well in my experience. Normally if it's foggy, it's also quite calm so sound travels really well. I remember one time in fog the lookout on the bow suddenly heard voices and it was people on the sea front - 500m away but could be heard clearly! This also applies to other boats engines!

If you have a Radar reflector then that helps other boats "see" you!

If you have others on board, lookouts all directions are helpful!

GPS (especially a plotter) is a HUGE advantage in Fog but above assumes the worst and it's broken! Pre-planned waypoints are useful so you can either setup a route or just go from waypoint to waypoint to get back to safety.

RE the foghorn - Gloves to operate it are a good thing to have (if it's a gas canister type). If used regualrly, then the unit itself can get really cold with discharge of gas (I've even seen them freeze). You sometimes need to clear out the hooter bit as well as they get wet with the fog and squeek rather than hoot!

One other thing - fog is cold.... especially if it's thick so warm clothes are nice!

I've done various passages in fog before the invent of GPS or even Decca and with a chart, compass, foghorn and keeping eye and ear for other vessels. I would never advocate setting out in fog but sometimes on route you can find yourself in a pea-souper. With some carefuly pre-planning and a bit of basic navigation it need not be a problem. You can obviously pre-empt any likely fog issue by checking the forecast and listening to inshore waters (or shipping forecasts) on VHF as well.

Hope this is of some use! Sorry it's a bit dis-jointed!
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Old 12 June 2009, 19:09   #5
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Another thought - if you are in busy commerical waters, an AIS receiver and AIS capable plotter would be really useful as it would show the movement of all large ships so you gives you another snippet of information.
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Old 12 June 2009, 22:03   #6
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Originally Posted by al40 View Post
Another thought - if you are in busy commerical waters, an AIS receiver and AIS capable plotter would be really useful as it would show the movement of all large ships so you gives you another snippet of information.
AIS is great but remember not all large ships have it switched on!!! also the data is often wrong - 0kts in harbour could actually be 20kts exactly where you are!!!
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Old 13 June 2009, 03:18   #7
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If you have to cross a shipping lane to get home?
then cross it at right angles and dont dawdle.
keep a lookout etc.
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Old 13 June 2009, 04:13   #8
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Very useful thanks....

Certainly the point of taking a compass bearing and recognising that the GPS system may not be functioning at 100% is something I hadn't considered.

I'm out on Sunday and there are possibly fog patches.
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Old 13 June 2009, 04:45   #9
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Rule 19

Make sure your very familiar with rule 19 in the IRPCS. Many people don't realise the way you turn change in restricted visibility. I'm amased how many schools don't teach this on Powerboat Level 2's

Conduct of vessels in restricted visibility
(a) This Rule applies to vessels not in sight of one another when navigating in or near an area of restricted visibility.
(b) Every vessel shall proceed at a safe speed adapted to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility. A power-driven vessel shall have her engines ready for immediate manoeuvre.
(c) Every vessel shall have due regard to the prevailing circumstances and conditions of restricted visibility when complying with the Rules of Section I of this Part.
(d) A vessel which detects by radar alone the presence of another vessel shall determine if a close quarters situation is developing and/or risk of collision exists. If so, she shall take avoiding action in ample time, provided that when such action consists of an alteration of course, so far as possible the following shall be avoided:
(i) an alteration of course to port for a vessel forward of the beam, other than for a vessel being overtaken;
(ii) an alteration of course towards a vessel abeam or abaft the beam.
(e) Except where it has been determined that a risk of collision does not exist, every vessel which hears apparently forward of her beam the fog signal of another vessel, or which cannot avoid a close-quarters situation with another vessel forward of her beam, shall reduce her speed to the minimum at which she can be kept on her course. She shall if necessary take all her way off and in any event navigate with extreme caution until danger of collision is over.

Sound Signals at Intervals of no less than 2 Minutes

Power Moving: _ Power Stopped : _ _ Lame Ducks: _ . .

The diagram below is an easy way to remember which way to turn if you need to turn, imagine you are the blue arrow.

Jono
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Old 13 June 2009, 06:43   #10
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I was aware of this rule - but thanks for the reminder.
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