A bareboat charter client of ours forwarded a nice, short article about the dangers of sailing in fog. Not sure where he saw the article so we will paraphrase it and pass it along.
While most of our bareboat charter business takes place in warm-water locations (Bahamas, Caribbean, etc.) we know many of our New England clients like to “sneak in” a little summer sailing closer to
home. Fog make not be much of an issue for us in the Caribbean, but taking safety precautions during a sail bareboat yacht charter in Newport, for example, makes a good deal of sense!
The biggest danger of operating a sailing yacht or a motoryacht in fog probably comes from commercial vessels, including fishermen. The skippers of these vessels are seasoned veterans and are comfortable (dare we say “complacent”) operating in the soup. Sadly, some of these gents are downright negligent, as evidenced by the Block Island ferry which hit the USCG buoy tender last year.
Commercial fishermen are particularly problematical. Often short-handed, it seems these skippers feel that they know the local waters. Many have a “attitude” when it comes to watching out recreational boaters and bareboat charter vessels.
The bottom line – you need to look out for yourself!
It is highly suggested that you have a strong radar monitor onboard, and you keep a sharp eye on it. Going slow, and sounding your horn, is the safest way to cruise in the soup, but here’s an extra precaution you can take:
When traveling in a busy area, send a sécurité broadcast. Note your location, speed, direction, and broadcast your message on Channel 16. Something like this should work: “Sécurité, sécurité, sécurité, this is the yacht “your boat name here” leaving Camden Harbor at 5 knots on course 120 degrees leaving buoy R2 headed towards Gilkey Harbor, all vessels take note.” Skippers on nearby vessels will certainly appreciate the heads-up!
Tags: Bahama, bareboat charter, bareboat yacht charter, block island ferry, camden harbor, Caribbean, charter business, commercial fishermen, cruise, fog, motoryacht, safety precautions, sailing, sailing yacht, uscg, visibility, yacht charter