Originally Posted by Channel Ribs
The COLREGS don't say it in as many words, but I want to sound my fog horn as frequently as my speed and the vis dictate. If I can see yay-far and am going to cover that distance in less than 2 mins I need to change something.
But you can. The rules say not greater than 2 mins. You are allowed to sound your horn more frequently. I don't think the rules need changing, they just need reading properly. (not suggesting anyone on here is incompetent). I was told when I was at sea that the rules are written in such a way that they mean the same in every language they are translated into. Apparently, this is not an easy thing to do.
I also remember days of dense fog, when one couldn't see the foc's'le from the bridge. Watchkeeping outside on the bridge wings, lookouts right for'ard, the old man or the mate with his head glued to the radar, fog signal on auto every two minutes. Engine ready to manoeuvre and at half ahead (circa 10 knts). If we heard another fog signal we answered immediately. If it appeared to be forward of the beam we slowed down further. As the other vessel got nearer the frequency of whistle blasts increased and our speed was slowed.
I can remember the beautiful lilac colour of a Union Castle steamer materialise out of the greyness as I pulled the engine telegraph to full astern. He must have done the same, for we stopped less than a cable apart. Our VHF, the size of a two drawer filing cabinet, finally warmed up and we called - but no response.
Both ships backed off slightly, each turned to starboard and I watched as the other ship vanished into the greyness. I learned a lot on that watch.
That was in the western approaches when I was a cadet, learning my craft and art by soaking up the experience of sea time. In four years, six months college time was all that was thought necessary to consolidate that experience of a very practical, hands on occupation. I understand now that three years is spent in college and only one year spent at sea. That lack of experience, it seems, is showing these days.
Shipping companies are run by accountants, ships by mariners. No accountant would have ever dared to tell the masters of ships I sailed in to hurry up and to hell with the fog. The master would not be fired because any replacement would do the same.
Now it seems, learning seamanship is an academic exercise, punctuated by the odd cruise. No wonder they can't tell the accountants to sod off.
Lubricated rant over - back to retirement.