Operating in the ‘other’ fog can kill too
January 24, 2013
you read Joel Milton’s blog about operating in fog,
he was talking about the meteorological
temperature dew point spread that causes the mist that closes in around you.
Of course, this always occurs at the worst time and place.
you can’t see where you’re going, bad things can happen. His advice to limit or
avoid sailing in fog is very prudent.
there is another kind of fog, and it is not Mother Nature’s doing. It is man-made
and self-inflicted. Even in the clearest weather, not looking (and seeing)
where you are going can kill you just as fast as Joel’s fog.
5 – “Lookout,” of the Navigation Rules states: “Every vessel shall at all times
maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available
means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make
a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.”
to keep a proper lookout has been the cause of many a bad day at sea. Motoring
around without a proper lookout is just asking for trouble. Add in allisions,
groundings, and near misses to round out the consequences of failing to observe
Rule 5, not just in Joel’s fog, but every day you’re underway.
2010, the tug Caribbean Sea and sludge
barge Resource collided with the
amphibious passenger vehicle DUKW 34
on the Delaware River. It was a classic and tragic example of the failure to
maintain a proper lookout. The watch was distracted and wasn’t being a vigilant
lookout. He never saw the DUKW. Two fatalities resulted.
day that I’m out in the harbor I see tugs pushing barges where the tugs’ wheelhouse
can’t see ahead, around, or over the barge. I expect to see a lookout with a
radio forward on the barge. Too often I don’t see that lookout. The guy is
Rule 5 at your, and everyone else’s, peril. So watch where you’re going.