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Old 12 August 2002, 08:51   #1
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Sailing around a diving flag !!

Hi

This might not be the right forum, but I'm trying anyway.

This Sunday I was aou diving with some frinds just north of Copenhagen, by a little island called Ven.

We lay a anchor a had our diving flag up. The first divers had just left the surface, when we noticed a sailing yacht heading directly for us. We dumped the anchor (there wasn't time the get it back in the boat) and put the RIB directly between where the divers went down and the yacht. Despite our diving flag, and the RIB, and our yelling at him, he didn't change his heading. The yacht missed us by about 1 meter only because we moved. With the result of the yacht running directly over our divers (they where close to the bottom at this time, they didn't here the sailing yacht, but they did here my RIB. So they knew something was the matter, and stayed close to the buttom).
What can you do at a time like this......

Fire a flare directly into his cockpit, we did talk about this. (but kept to talking about it).

Any sugestions....

Regards
Rene
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Old 12 August 2002, 09:01   #2
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A SCUD missile might do the trick!
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Old 12 August 2002, 09:05   #3
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Rene

I had something similar a few years ago when I was in a spearfishing comp over here in the UK. A speedboat went through about 20 divers even though we each had a "A" flags on our floats.

The land-lubber then threatened me with his prop at which point the other spear fisherman raised their spear guns and offered a different viewpoint.

One of my friends was hit by a speedboat a couple of years ago outside Poole harbour while spearfishing.

I guess if you had any white "collision" flares then you could have fired one of those off but I bet he wouldn’t know what they were for. My preferred choice would have been a parachute flare into the sails !

Mark
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Old 12 August 2002, 09:52   #4
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I think you have to start from the viewpoint that the opposing skipper is not (let me choose my words carefully here), "a professional". He is a lot of other things, but a competant sailor, NO.
So, how about blowing one of those aerosol airhorns at him and when you have his attention, jab your finger repeatedly at your Divers Down flag.
Even assuming he appears to ignore you, surely, even a complete dimmo will go home and out of curiosity, look up the meaning of the flag........and, maybe.......even recognise it, and take the correct action next time.
I personally would not take any, erm, intemporate action myself, unless my divers were on the surface and going to be hit, in which case.....watch out Mr. Bonehead.
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Old 12 August 2002, 13:30   #5
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Yes - I reckon that although 5 short blasts on the horn would be the correct signal, it's unlikely that someone who had so far ignored the A flag would realise the meaning of this. Both signals are covered in RYA courses, but it's surprising how ignorant some people are IRO such matters.

A few months ago the Salcombe Island Cruising Club launch overtook me in in The Bag at sunset, then cut across my bows from L to R. Despite me pointing at my illuminated port nav light, he didn't accept that I was the stand-on vessel, and passed within about two feet (no exaggeration!) of Janina's bow. Now, given that he's operating a commercial boat, there's a guy who should have known better - so much for "Professionals"!

I guess that a call on channel 16 would also be a good idea, I'm a non-diver so I certainly wouldn't take umbridge at being asked to give more space to dive boats and their divers. Whether this would be effective to the ignorant skipper is another matter altogether...
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Old 12 August 2002, 13:58   #6
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Hi Pepper

I'm sure that your right about him not knowing the 5 blast signals.

But I really do like your adwise on using the VHF channel 16.

He might not be listening, or he might not have a VHF onboard. But it certainly would bring some attention to the situation, from some of the other boats in the area. And just maybe someone in the harbor where he will be docking later on, have heard this and will bring it to his attention.

I will deffently be using this advise the next time (I'm sad to say but I think that there might be a few more insidents like this).

Thanks
Rene
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Old 16 August 2002, 16:32   #7
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Yachts always worried me when we were working down among the shallow water moorings. You can see the grooves on the bottom where a keel or two has only just made it. Makes you look over your shoulder all the time for a silent lump of metal creeping up on you from behind
If you are in the uk you could always report dangerous navigation to the coastguard on ch16-not much consolation if you have just had a diver cut up though!
(We once had a mirror dinghy tie up to a divers personal marker buoy on coniston water
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Old 16 August 2002, 17:53   #8
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Glass bottom boats are the worst, they seem to hunt out divers. In both Egypt and Spain we were stalked by glass bottom boats.
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Old 17 August 2002, 08:51   #9
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Hence why you should always carry a slate and waterproof pencil when you dive! Handy to tell them where you think they should put that glass bottomed boat. If you don't have a slate handy, there's a couple of useful hand signals you can use, followed by waving your knife at them.
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Old 17 August 2002, 12:07   #10
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Or the other thing you can do, if you see the offending skipper back on the dockside, is to go up to him, grab hold of his lapels, stare deep and meaningfully into his face, and say in loud and menacing tones, the following:

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

See if he ever does it again.
Of course it helps if you are black, 6ft 4 and have a Colt .45 in your hand.
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Old 17 August 2002, 12:16   #11
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Lots of good information, on what to do the next time this happens.

I have also made a deal with the publisher, of the largest boat magazines here in Denmark.

If I ever see this again, he will put a picture of the offending boat and skipper in the magizine together with an article about keeping distance to divers, and shoving respect to other boaters.

So now I don't go anywhere without my camera. (Just have to get a digital one)

Of course we divers don't have to be in the way of all the boats out there. But with some respect from both divers and sailors, there will be pleanty of water for everybody.

Thanks for all the response, and just keep it comming.

Best Regards
Rene
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Old 17 August 2002, 12:42   #12
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On a more sensible note, I once read a notice issued by the military port authorities at Plymouth.
This warned divers not to dive in the deep water channel approaches to the harbour. There are three reasons for this.
1) the obvious one that you don't want to get run down by a several thousand ton warship
2) such vessels are limited in a narrow channel in their ability to manouver
and 3) in these times of heightned terrorist activities, such ships (especially American ones) are, shall we say, very nervous of the intentions of very small boats crewed by men predominantly wearing black!!
Common sense required by all as you say Rene.
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Old 17 August 2002, 13:28   #13
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4) the captain of a RN warship wouldnt handle the being picked up and yelled at very well

But yes, common sense is needed on all sides. Divers should make an effort to make their presence in the water known, and boat users should make an effort to notice the presence of divers in the water, and take appropriate action.
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Old 21 August 2002, 09:29   #14
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Well, at least two errors from the sailor, a boat at anchor has priority under the co-regs (assuming you had an anchor ball visable) and since you were flying an 'A' flag he should give you a wide berth unless you were in a bouyed channel which restricted his ability to manouver.

Too many sailors rely on their (incorrect) assumtion that they have some rights over power craft and demonstrate very poor seamanship. I teach sailing for a living and try to impart that there is room for all in the sea, and that even if you consider that you are the stand on vessel there are factors that you dont know and that the co-regs state that even the stand on vessel must take action to avoid danger if the give way vessel makes no apparant move.

5 blasts on the horn (I am unaware of your intentions - you may be standing into danger) is correct, so is a white hand flare.

In the UK the best option is to take the ssr number and vessel name and report to the coast guard - they will take it seriously and chase him up if possible.
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