A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Mark Coady
Date: 2019 Jan 23, 17:26 -0800
I lack a transponder at the moment...as Syrena is only about 36 LOA, and her budget hasn't sprung for a lot of nonessential new toys. That said, I had a really fun time tracking a ship I met in New London all over the place for awhile with one of the AIS phone apps.
For local collision avoidance out fishing in restricted visibility.....I revert to good old radar, systematic target tracking, lookout skills including ears, and knowledge of the "inshore traffic zones" and "traffic lanes" to keep out of the way of the "big boys".
Any tool aboard that may provide backup or additonal knowledge is welcome, provided that knowledge is measured agianst its accuracy, timeliness, and information value.
Presently lacking a transponder, and having vulnerability to all sizes of vessels in local waters, I prefer to depend on the tools which I know best and should at least theoretically display all targets (with transponders or not).
Extra tools are great to have, limited or not, but I really do think all serious boaters should learn the COLREGS volume properly backwards forwards and upside down....I find they are among the most misunderstood of simple documents.
I've had lifetime vessel operators say they they just create confusion and don't really apply to their smaller vessels. Fact is they make plenty of sense, they can be used with judgement and without increasing ambient confusion & danger, in busy harbors even with with few schooled folk around....and are a law under which you can be held responsible. One of the most iportant rules is #2. That rule puts judgement firmly in the lap of the vessel operator.
To me, nautical safety is the concept of improving levels of human judgement, backed up by in-head knowledge. I have come to dread people using a cell phone as a primary navigation tool, tracking tool, & communication device at sea. Great helpers, but not the first line.