How to Avoid Huge Ships or I never met a ship I liked
by Trimmer, John W.
pub. by Captain John W. Trimmer, Seattle, WA, 1982 (printed by The National Writers Press, Aurora, Colorado - isbn; 0-88100-019-1 LCCN = 82-61398. - illustrative charts and Black and White photos 97 p.
Trimmer is a ship captain and professional pilot, meaning a licensed person who takes ships into and out of specific ports. He worked in the Panama Canal and at the time of the writing of this book worked the Port of Seattle and the Pacific NW coast north to Alaska.
The book is organized into chapters
What you should know - Ships and Engines
Maneuvering Large Ships around Small Boats
Lights - Here Trimmer recommends good regular navigation lights which should be able to be seen for a long distance, as well as other lights to call attention to the small boat. In essence, the more light the better.
Crossing Ahead of a Ship - do not do it - the ship is coming much faster than you think, and the big ship can not stop in time, or turn fast enough to dodge you.
The Dance of Death - The hazard of changing course late, meanwhile the other ship/boat changes course so that the danger is not diminished. Much like 2 people approaching on a sidewalk each dodging to miss one another and actually both dodging the same way to a collision.
Why will a Ship hold course Until Close to a Small Boat -
Wake of a Ship and the Bow Wave - Bow waves can be dangerous. (and so can stern waves, which are harder to see.)
Cutting Ships close Astern - do not do it. AND be aware of tugs towing barges on long towlines, sometimes 600 feet behind the tug. Do NOT get between a tug and its tow. Also note the hazards of towing large rafts of logs in the Pacific NW.
Suction Astern of the Ship
Currents - the effect of currents on large ships and how to maintain a course the ship may be headed into the current and look like it is going one direction while it vectored off pointing a slightly different direction to counteract the current.
Winds - the effect of wind on large ships, making them difficult to control
The Vessel Traffic System - explains the VTS where in USA the Coast Guard monitors the movements of ships and boats with radar, making suggestions for safety. It also mentions lanes of separation, much like driving on a highway and how it works.
Crowded Sea Lanes
Diagrams - little maplets showing what the most prudent course for a small boat in 12 different situations. Most of the time the advice is turn away from the big ship at a large enough angle that the pilot understands the intentions of the helmsman of the small boat.
My Last Advice
A Short History fo Pilotage - a bit on the medieval law of Orion (Orleon) on the duties of pilots and how seriously they are taken.
IIlustrations - black and white photos mostly from the bridge of a large ship, often showing what a pilot sees.
All in All - Captain Trimmer realizes that small boats have rights. He recommends prudence on the part of the small boat, as the smaller vessel is much more maneuverable in in much greater peril. It appears that he has not had much time (or any time) in small recreational vessels. He admits that some of his pilot friends own and use small recreational boats. All of his advice is given as if the smaller boat is a motorboat, and has much more control than a sailboat.
Note that this book was written before the common usage of GPS navigation, and radar being more commonly available on small boats. Trimmer, as a harbor pilot, does not address traffic on the ICW (Intercoastal waterway) which lines most of the East coast of USA from southern Texas to Boston, Massachusetts.
An interesting read, with cautionary tales for operators of small boats, especially in harbor conditions.
Good explanation of how a big ship moves and is controlled, and what its limits are.
This book in the various editions which are for sale now seems unreasonably pricey.
I would recommend that the publisher(s) make less expensive editions available, because on the whole, it has very important information for the boating public. ~ 2014-01-27 ~
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