In Connecticut - “Canoes and kayaks do not have the right of way on our waterways. Large boats must often operate only in channels. Kayaks and canoes can operate in less than one foot of water.” (connyak.org) We are expected to use the shallow water if possible.
I have seen sailboats make quick 180-degree turns in the harbor in order to get on the correct side of their dock. I just stop and give them room. I think maneuverability is the rule of thumb. You can stop and turn faster than the sailboat, so in constricted channels, they should get ROW. In the open ocean however, if a boat cuts too close to your bow, that is just carless or rude.
frame of reference
I was going over the colregs with a sailing instructor while taking some sailing lessons and compared it to my experience taking and giving ACA kayak lessons.
It’s a totaly diffferent mindset.
Kayaking as most of us learn it is play, like kids cycling in the driveway or open field. That mindset gets carried out into trafficked waters like ten year olds riding bicycles on the sidewalk and street.
The rules for navigation have a centuries old history for safe passage between watercraft. It’s where grownups work and occasionally die working.
The instructor I was taking the lessons from had a captains license and was piloting 100’ passenger boats. It took a few times going over the concepts before I started getting it. Likewise six years ago when a pilot of 500’ vessels was in a kayak instructors course explaining the problem solving he went through in a channel with various courses by pleasure craft and a kayaker sprints across his path.
I am only vaguely aware of the right of way rules. Since I started kayaking last year I use ROT, Rule of Tonnage, if its bigger then me it can go first
I have one of those Licenses and can tell you that operating a larger vessel in crowded waters aint all that fun. Even when in my kayak I still have that hat on. As the Coastie I spoke with yesterday said, kayakers want to interpret things to give them stand-on status where they have no such thing. We, in kayaks have no special rights. We are just a vessel, albeit slow moving.
So often with kayakers the predictable stereotyping about power boaters with beer, and PWC idiots etc. comes up. Surely there are idiots in those groups, but kayakers have their share and are often idiots by ignorance. I can tell you that we are not respected by commercial mariners overall secondary to that ignorance.
Usually when I read these threads I find mis-information,or partial information that is misleading. That’s why I say always consult the Rules booklet and that is exactly what the USCG wants you to do and that is how you will be judged on waters their inforce. They are not shy about stopping kayakers out here!! I suspect we’ll see more of that.
No command = adrift
"No command" means the object is adrift (with no means of control).
A kayak with a person in it is under “no command” only if the person is dead or very incapacitated.
LeeG: "Kayaking as most of us learn it is play [etc, etc]".
Salty: "I can tell you that we are not respected by commercial mariners overall secondary to that ignorance. [etc, etc]"
Yes, and the thing to do to not piss them off even more is to keep out of their way and to APPEAR to be keeping out of their way! If you are thinking about "rights of way" or whatever, you are not keeping out of their way!
Flatpick: "by acting as a slow moving trawler"
But a trawler is restricted in manuverability (and earning a living) and a kayaker is not. Don't act like a trawler.
Quoted by Flatpick: "maintain course and speed and we'll miss YOU, confuse us and all bets are off."
This technique might work in Washington. In New York Harbor, it will not make you friends with the Coast Guard! In NY harbor, you should never be the cause of commercial traffic slowing down! (Clearly, this ferry captain is operating in very wide channels on a loose schedule!)
Flatpick: "if I slowed the group or changed course everytime a vessel crossed my path it shows MY INTENTIONS are NOT clear, since we are moving soooo slow".
Kayakers are -always- moving very slow. Slowing down a bit more (even stopping) isn't typically going to be more confusing. It might be less confusing. I agree that changing course is a bad idea.
Predictability is very, very important. "Predictability" is the rule for -any- activity that involves interaction with other people. You can be predictable by stopping also (stopping is often an option!).
Flatpick: "The powerboats and sailboats under power have ALWAYS given way to me and my group."
It's nice that the people Flatpick encounters ALWAYS see him and are ALWAYS paying attention! Keep in mind that Flatpick is an experienced kayaker who (apparently) knows everybody who might run him over. What works for him (in Washington) might not work for everybody (especially, beginners) everywhere (certainly, it would -not- work in NYC). Keep in mind that people tend to underestimate the speed of approaching vessels.
As far as I can tell, Flatpick is discussing crossing a channel when you -need- to cross a channel. The general idea is to be in channels only when you need to be in them. You should (as a kayaker) keep out of them if you don't need to be in them.
The safest technique to cross a channel is to wait at the edge (near an ATON, preferably) until it is reasonably clear and and then cross quickly (minimizing the time you spend in the channel).
Salty: "in fact are observing that kayakers are generally mis-informed and falsly assume stand-on status."
This is absolutely true and it's made worse by the arrogance that too many kayakers display.
you can’t say that here …
Sorry, but I think the p-net regulations [unwritten, of course] specifically prohibit us from stating the obvious if the obvious casts paddlers [or bicyclists] in a bad light.
Please be informed that there is no such thing as an “arrogant” kayaker; superior perhaps, but not arrogant.
rather hard to see
even though I don’t have a blaze orange hunting cap I can’t help but think that would be prefered head gear when one is concerned about being seen. In a dozen bouncing kayaks the person with a flourescent orange cap will stand out like a light.
I’m the one who said Trawler
initially, and I stand by that. It’s perhaps the closest power craft to us in terms of speed and ability to get out of the way.
As we have no special rights and are simply a slow moving vessel it does make sense to see ourselves as such…as a captain of a small slow moving trawler would.
Like us, they would need to beware of their limitations in speed and maneuverabilty. We are highly maneuverable, but slow.
The area that Flatpick describes is very busy! Oil Tankers being escorted in with tugs, Guemes Ferry, San Juan Ferry, water taxi’s, pleasure yachts, Crabbers, etc…
While he was technically incorrect in stating that kayaks fall into the “restricted in ability to maneuver” status, I think what he is saying is that he keeps his group tight and makes steady progress while yielding to the stand on vessels that really need that courtesy. A fast vessel making 20+ knots will micro adjust far from the kayaks to avoid them. In this area you could have 20 vessels in a square mile to deal with on a crowded summer weekend.
My guess is most people here, whether they know the Rules inside and out or not, are pretty courteous. Taking the time to know the Rules will just make them better mariners in general
Law of Tonnage
I second the observance of the law of tonnage as an axiom.
Clarity of intent
Opportunity to avoid collision
I grew up sailing and was taught power yields to sail, sail yields to paddle. However, as the smallest usually most maneuverable craft, kayaks have the greatest opportunity to avoid collision. Also, self-preservation dictates not challenging anything bigger, heavier, faster.
Salty: "I'm the one who said Trawler"
So, that means two people made the mistake (a mistake in my opinion)!
Salty: "As we have no special rights and are simply a slow moving vessel it does make sense to see ourselves as such...as a captain of a small slow moving trawler would."
A trawler obtains special concideration in the regs. A kayak does not. It makes no sense to "see ourselves as such" in a discussion of the "regs"!
Salty: "The area that Flatpick describes is very busy!"
I've never had the pleasure of paddling there but I'd expect that it is quite busy! It would seem that that paddling there would require a fair amount of experience. It should be made clear that this isn't a place for inexperienced paddlers.
Salty: "While he was technically incorrect in stating that kayaks fall into the "restricted in ability to maneuver" status"
Classifying a kayak as a vessel "restricted in ability to maneuver" is incorrect in every way ("technically" or otherwise) and misleading in a discussion of the "regs".
Salty: "He keeps his group tight and makes steady progress while yielding to the stand on vessels that really need that courtesy."
The "tight group/steady progress" is standard procedure for a crossing. The rest of it is not. Kayakers are required to follow the "regs" (as are all vessels). This means kayakers are required to give way to ALL "stand on" vessels.
Salty: "A fast vessel making 20+ knots will micro adjust far from the kayaks to avoid them."
This is certainly possible but -standard- procedure would be to follow the "regs".
Salty: "My guess is most people here, whether they know the Rules inside and out or not, are pretty courteous. Taking the time to know the Rules will just make them better mariners in general"
I agree that most people are courteous. A fair number of kayakers do think that kayakers are "privileged" in some way.
Anyway, the problem is that it takes just a few people who are discourteous to start the CG to concider restricting what kayakers are allowed to do.
Assume you have no rights, and assume nobody sees you. Be predictable anyway. Stay out of channels, and stay away from regattas. You’ll live longer for it.
No boater (Power or sail) has ever faulted me for allowing them to pass. In fact, many wave in appreciation. As has been said here countless times, you can be dead and right.
Where do I start…?
Firstly a Trawler does not have special consideration... A FISHING TRAWLER does when engaged in fishing. A Trawler is just a power vessel which happens to be a slow displacement hulled craft...like a kayak.
Please don't over interpret that. You are perhaps assuming a fishing vessel, which I am not. Trawler the way I meant it, simply describes a "type" of vessel. Nordic Tugs, Victory Tugs, Nordhaven's etc..
I do not know your background, but I agree with your posts. However there is a reality element here which I will try to explain.
As for saying "technically" incorrect....of course it's incorrect any way ya slice it, but I'm trying to be respectful here to a guy who's done a lot for the kayaking community. My guess is it's an interpretation error.
Going by the book is what anyone should endeavor to do, but as an experienced operator I will tell you that the fast moving power craft will view kayakers almost as stationary objects or logs in the water. Even if they(power vessel)are stand-on in a meeting or crossing situation they usually always adjust far in advance so as to negate any chance of collision. From the wheel of a power vessel moving fast correcting around a pod of kayakers is almost automatic. Now, for some paddlers what that power boat feels is safe distance may not be seen as so!
So, kayakers should maintain course and speed if in stand-on status UNTIL it becomes apparent that the other vessel is not complying!! Then it's time to visit Rule #1 of good seamanship!
I think in Flatpicks case the issue resolves itself as the highly maneuverable power craft simply adjust way in advance even if they are stand-on. That is the Ferry Captain's position! He knows they (kayakers in general)don't have a clue, and he will accomodate that. It makes it easy for him if he at least knows their intentions. That's real life..
For kayakers these encounters take on more meaning in tight areas such as channels and marina's. In these cases I think it's imperative to be courteous, even if you have stand-on status. By putting ourselves in the wheelhouse of that approaching vessel and asking ourselves what that captain needs to accomplish with his / her vessel will go a long way.
The very first thing kayakers need to do in my opinion as a Captain is forget any assumptions about having priveledge over anything because of your craft. You / we (kayaks) are just another vessel. Period. Be smart, be aware, and be courteous.
Learn the Rules, the light formations on vessels, good nav skills, and go paddle. Nuff said.
what’s your skill?,I don’t mean paddling but that which requires such precision in interpreting the regs.
Assuming that one has no right-of-way “rights” is a smart way to think because no one on the water has any right-of-way rights because they do not exist.
What we do have is a shared responsibility to avoid collisions and should a collision occur, the right of way RULES (not rights!) are used to allocate blame, liability, and penalties.
But then again we paddlers just love our rights, don’t we? It doesn’t matter if we’re on the water, bicycles, boat ramps, or whatever, we just gotta exercise our rights.
Wow, this is getting complicated
I think most people can get by on little basic understanding of the rules and a lot of common sense.
One could gain common sense by:
Spending a lot of time in a kayak in busy waters
Spend a day in the pilot house of a large commercial vessel
Spend a day racing a sailboat around a buoyed course
Watch traffic from a cliff or lighthouse
Ride along in a police or CG rescue boat for a day
Sail upwind on a heavy boat in a narrow channel
Land a big recreational boat on a small pier in a swift river and strong crosswind
Ride in a coaching launch with a rowing team
Row a single scull (as long as you can stay upright)
Take a windsurfing lesson or two
Take a SCUBA diving class
In other words, the broader and deeper your perspective of and about all the traffic, hazards, and complications on the water, the more predictable all of their actions will become to you.
It would be relatively easy for almost anyone to knock off every item on the above list. A little schmoozing and/or name dropping, a six pack of beer, a dozen donuts, respect and some genuine curiosity will go a long way.
"The very first thing kayakers need to do in my opinion as a Captain is forget any assumptions about having priveledge over anything because of your craft."
"as an experienced operator I will tell you that the fast moving power craft will view kayakers almost as stationary objects or logs in the water."
This is my understanding as well.
"A Trawler is just a power vessel which happens to be a slow displacement hulled craft...like a kayak."
As slow as 2-3 knots? A trawler, then, is just a slow power boat (nothing special unless it is commercial fishing). (Few people here are going to interpret "trawler" as anything but a fishing vessel.)
Flatpick is a great asset to this community. Looks like you are as well.
Sail does NOT yield to paddle
Your instruction was incorrect. Your comment about tonnage is smart.
Not like salty
Not like salty.
Paddle some, teach a little. Nothing special.
The "rules" stuff is interesting to me because there is more than a little friction between kayakers and the CG in NY harbor.
Some kayakers seem to think they have a right to impede traffic in the harbor. It is likely that paddling around Manhattan will be severly restricted because a few people don't take care.
One case I know of entailed a kayaker spouting his "rights" over a pleasure power boater in the East River when he should have had the sense to keep out of the way of power boaters.
In another case, a kayaker crossed in front of a tug pulling a barge. This guy didn't realize that, while he might have had enough time to cross, the tug boat captain really would not have been able to determine that.
common sense isn’t common until you get in different situations. I see a whole range of folks in little Annapolis harbor who probably have some common sense but it’s not evident was they paddle down the middle of a 300’ wide channel in front of the small Spa Creek draw bridge with everything from 120’ yachts to 40’ cigarette boats to 25’ sailboats.
These folks could easily, easily paddle 10’ out from the piers and cause NO problem for 90% of the other boaters. But right in the middle and they provide a problem for 100% of the boaters.
why, why do they do it?
I want to sprint out and suggest “you’re in the middle you know” but to do so would probably cause a mess. Sometimes they have a deer in the headlights look and other times with a medicated happy look.