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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After being out in the south channel on Saturday fishing (Yes I picked up some knots and pizza at riverside) I decided that I'd had enough of fighting waves and wanted to head home. I was about a mile or so south of Gull heading west and taking some good sized waves. My buddy and I were debating if this was worse or about the same as a storm we rode out one time this spring when a large wave caught us on the side causing us to roll over to starboard quite badly!

It was bad enough that I actually reached for the VHF microphone and hit the switch on the bilge pumps! Needless to say we recovered and the boat leveled off. I couldn't get the boat up on plane in the waves so we rode it out slow and sloppy until we were about 2 miles from home when I could get the boat up on plane.

My question: It wasn't like I needed to make a "May day" call but should I have contacted the Coast Guard on 16 and told them that I was getting beat up but we are holding our own, and can you keep in contact with me just in case something goes wrong.

So would I be over reacting and face teasing at the hands of my LSCN peeps or would it have been a good idea?
 

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I wont tease ya, but I also would not contact the USCG on the matter either.

There have been cases where I have made crossings, in big water and and LSC where it was as you have described. I have always made contact with someone giving my route and ETA....If there is an issue I have someone aware of my location (for the most part).

It is not a formal float plan, but none the less its a float plan!
 

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I don't have a good answer for that. I believe you can ask them to call you at a set time to verify you got to port, give them your current location, destination, and eta.

We were in some nasty stuff in Huron on Friday. We were in contact with folks we knew at our destination and kept them up to date on our progress.

I think in the case of what you had on Saturday I'd contact someone (anybody I could raise) and let them know what's up. If nobody is on the VHF, then give the CG a hail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
QUOTE(Stodge @ Sep 1 2009, 10:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I don't have a good answer for that. I believe you can ask them to call you at a set time to verify you got to port, give them your current location, destination, and eta.

We were in some nasty stuff in Huron on Friday. We were in contact with folks we knew at our destination and kept them up to date on our progress.

I think in the case of what you had on Saturday I'd contact someone (anybody I could raise) and let them know what's up. If nobody is on the VHF, then give the CG a hail.

That's not a bad idea calling "Someone", there were some boats at Gull I'm sure someone there or in the moot had their radios on.
 

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QUOTE(Sheamus @ Sep 1 2009, 11:00 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>QUOTE(Stodge @ Sep 1 2009, 10:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I don't have a good answer for that. I believe you can ask them to call you at a set time to verify you got to port, give them your current location, destination, and eta.

We were in some nasty stuff in Huron on Friday. We were in contact with folks we knew at our destination and kept them up to date on our progress.

I think in the case of what you had on Saturday I'd contact someone (anybody I could raise) and let them know what's up. If nobody is on the VHF, then give the CG a hail.

That's not a bad idea calling "Someone", there were some boats at Gull I'm sure someone there or in the moot had their radios on.

Someone on shore, or someone you know would be best. Could always give a passenger your cell and call home too.
 

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QUOTE(sunsation98 @ Sep 1 2009, 10:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>There have been cases where I have made crossings, in big water and and LSC where it was as you have described. I have always made contact with someone giving my route and ETA....If there is an issue I have someone aware of my location (for the most part).

It is not a formal float plan, but none the less its a float plan!
I've done this when we've gotten in trouble (lost an engine, lost the steering, etc.). I knew we could limp home, but our ETA would be substantially longer. Check in with that person every hour on the hour (or some other time frame).

If it's a situation where the weather is temporary or may pass (a sudden storm), just wait it out on land if possible (Riverside) or keep the bow of the boat pointed into the waves so you don't roll and make as much headway as possible.
 

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QUOTE(Sheamus @ Sep 1 2009, 10:26 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>After being out in the south channel on Saturday fishing (Yes I picked up some knots and pizza at riverside) I decided that I'd had enough of fighting waves and wanted to head home. I was about a mile or so south of Gull heading west and taking some good sized waves. My buddy and I were debating if this was worse or about the same as a storm we rode out one time this spring when a large wave caught us on the side causing us to roll over to starboard quite badly!

It was bad enough that I actually reached for the VHF microphone and hit the switch on the bilge pumps! Needless to say we recovered and the boat leveled off. I couldn't get the boat up on plane in the waves so we rode it out slow and sloppy until we were about 2 miles from home when I could get the boat up on plane.

My question: It wasn't like I needed to make a "May day" call but should I have contacted the Coast Guard on 16 and told them that I was getting beat up but we are holding our own, and can you keep in contact with me just in case something goes wrong.

So would I be over reacting and face teasing at the hands of my LSCN peeps or would it have been a good idea?

Every situation is different but there are times calling the Coasl Guard is prudent and I know I would. I read an account of a 28' Carver sinking in Lake Michigan. All POB were rescued. The accident report credits the Captain of the Carver for having provided the Coast Guard early on his concerns for continued safe passage. The Carver also contacted the S.S Badger as well who checked down her speed to be able to render assistance. The Carver Captain's concerns were warranted as the vessel sank. Fortunately the safe rescue of all was made much quicker as the rescuers were in a ready status for a possible situation. The boat did sink but all were safe and in the water for a much shorter time due to the heads up that had been given. There is a line where when crossed one shouldn't hesitate to pursue all measures for the safety of crew and vessel. It is a judgement call but these lakes are littered with hundreds of wrecks so the dangers are very real. Err on the side of caution and teasing be damned.
 

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Err on the side of caution for sure.

You have a flybridge boat, right? With the higher CG, especially with the smaller ones, those will roll pretty bad, but they usually come back. I've never heard of one just capsizing, but i've heard a few stories like yours - "I thought she was going over, but she came back" even scaring the captain to the extent that the boat got sold. In any case, when a storm kicks up, if there's any uncertainty, it's a good idea to let someone know, whether it's a friend on shore, someone in another nearby vessel, or the coast guard.
 

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If you are concerned for your safety, definitely make a call to someone and/or head to the closest port. You *may* be OK, but if something like an equipment failure complicates your boats integrity, it's good to know that someone is prepared to take action, and has some idea where you are.

You definitely can call the Coast Guard or even the Sheriff. You can say something like "Be advised, we are in rough seas and taking on a little water, but *should be* OK. We are at zzzz headed to yyyy". Know your position before you call them, a good description of the boat (you'd be amazed at how many time's I've heard people respond with "it's a white powerboat" to that question!), the MC numbers and # of people on board (more sobering when they're called "souls on board") . If it's that bad, you should already have donned your life preservers (that's also one of the first questions they'll ask).

It is amazing how much some boats can take before actually capsizing, but you also need to have some kind of control (rudder, engine, sea anchor) to help keep the bow into the worst of it. Without some kind of control, and with beam waves matching the boats righting frequency, just about any boat is toast. You might need to wheel that rudder hard and quick in both directions in busy seas to keep headway and be safe, but even the biggest boats with the best seamanship can get in a jam when they are fighting weather and have mechanical issues.

"Err on the side of caution and teasing be damned."

BIG 10-4 to that!
 

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QUOTE(sleeper @ Sep 1 2009, 01:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}><snip>You have a flybridge boat, right? With the higher CG, especially with the smaller ones, those will roll pretty bad, but they usually come back. <snip>

I have a bridge and lower station on mine... it's a COMPLETELY different experience when in rough seas and piloting from either position. It probably makes it worse when we have ~400 extra pounds up in the bridge (hey, that's TWO of us, not just ME!!
). Going below made it seem like the wave heights dropped 50%!
 

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A float plan is not mandatory, however if you know you are going to be out on any good size lake you should make a float plan. Make sure when you fill out the plan that someone needs to be ready to take your call. i.e. someone not going out of town that day. When a situation like that occurs you can call the Coast Guard and let them know your situation and to monitor your position every 15 minutes. They will not Have a problem. When you call in you are going to be asked to put on you life jackets. This is for your own protection.

John Burchfield
USCG
Education Service Officer
 

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Sheamus, I think it is time to call Paul at Temptation and start looking for Molly Malone II. If you felt that unsafe in that boat on LSC then it is time. I am being serious. The worst waves I have been in on LSC was 4-6 footers heading over to the Thames River Canada a few years ago and that was in my 25' offshore. Totally different boat than yours but I never felt unsafe. I have been in 8-10 footers in Erie on a 32' cruiser. Not fun, but definitely felt safe. You have to feel confident out there in what ever mother nature can dish out. As much as you boat out there, as the Captain you have to have that peace of mind at all times. Do it for you. Do it for your crew.
 

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On a side note, right there in the area you speak of claimed a tow boat a few weeks ago back. You get the wrong wind with the current flowing in the opposite direction, it can get messy!

Did anyone hear about the boats that where swamped in Traverse City West Bay after a storm last weekend????
 

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Sheamus... my Flybridge is fairly low compared to most (and I do have a 13' beam), but FBs do roll more than Express cruisers. In rough conditions, you'll get beat up more driving up top, but if you're boat's like mine, that's also where there's more instrumentation (GPS, Depthfinder, big compass) that aren't duplicated below... in which case, that's where you'll want to drive from. (Driving mine from below is much like driving a school bus with linited visibility and fewer navigational aids... better know the area well!) You should have any other passengers go below to keep the "top weight" down. Look out for "bow steer" too... if you don't match your speed to conditions, coming off one wave into the back of another at an angle will cause your boat to veer off sharply and roll hard into the wave you just came off... that can be scary.
 
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