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A rant given and opinions sought


Feb 27, 2006
Live and let live as much as possible is my approach to boating. And I'm sure regular and commercial boaters have their share of horror stories where clueless kayakers broke the rules of the road, jigged unpredictably, and/or created a moving slalom course as a fleet of them wandered around a shipping channel.
But I've had two encounters in the past week where the water sandal was on the other foot.

1. A weekday evening, still broad daylight. Having paddled out against the wind toward Spanish Banks, I'm sailing back to English Bay. I've been on the same course for more than 30 minutes (confirmed by my GPS) when I’m cut off with just feet to spare by one of the booze cruise tourist boats. This is the one with the fake paddlewheel on the back, so the wake is considerable - it could well have knocked me over if I'd been a tourist in a rental kayak - I had to brace to avoid capsize. It was sunny and clear, my boat has an orange hull with a yellow deck, and I had two large red and yellow sails up. The other boat was on my port side, meaning I had right-of-way because of position as well as "sail-over-power" (I was not paddling, so I was not under power.) I was so astonished a professional pilot would do this, I said nothing, just opened my arms in a "WTF are you doing?" gesture. All I got was a stupid grin as reply.

2. This Saturday, I'm just entering False Creek, near the Maritime Museum, paddling on the south side of the channel ("Right Returning") when a sail boat motoring out suddenly does a hard port turn directly across my path.

Me (repeatedly): Other side of the channel! Other side of the channel!
Them: Don't be ridiculous – this is a big boat!
Me: (as I backpaddle to avoid T-boning into them): X$%&#@er!

Any opinions/experience as to whether it's worth reporting this kind of thing to the Coast Guard or harbour police? Or do they only get involved if damage and/or death occurs?
I hear ya, had it happen a number of times. The sad truth is that despite attempts at introducing regulations, there are a lot of people out there that don't understand, or don't obey, the collision regulations.

It certainly wouldn't hurt contacting the Coast Guard with details (especially in the case of larger charter vessels) but I don't honestly know how many resources they have available to follow up on things like this.
Where I paddle, the regulations would be used to assign fault after the fact, and your estate might be enriched -- you'd be dead or maimed.

No realistic mechanism for enforcement, here.

Perhaps a ramming spike might be useful. :lol: :wink:
Thanks for the moral support all. Yeah, no point in being dead right. Rule of the iron hull, and all that.
Darren M, I like your thinking. Wonder if I could pick up some torpedos cheap from the former USSR?
Yeah, I teach lessons at Jericho, and the advise I give is "run away!" Assume no one else knows the right thing to do, and just stay well away. It is a surprisingly dangerous area with all the traffic, even removing the "clueless idiot" factor. Even so, we as paddlers can only run away so fast!
I think you're gonna get people like this, aka idiots, no matter where you go or what you do, which could be on or off the water. The best thing to do is to know they are out there, be aware of them, and avoid them!
wristrocket & marbles


under irrational moods i have wondered what those upfront crossed or crossdeck bungees should really be for: say a line of marbles right down the ctr of the spraydeck: pull back a map bungee (with a little added pocket) all the way to your waist depressing the skirt for correct azimuth and might just have a launcher with ready ammo.

(but i have thought about a wristsling - but never would have made it work in time for the situations that have happened to me and if i had, i might not still be here today - same thing about laserpointers also)

best just to suck it up, i guess.
The V bracket that holds one of my sails could also be used to make the mother of all slingshots.
Fantasies about these and shoulder-fired Stingers are cathartic (as is venting to this list), but the reality is if you have something that has no other purpose than a weapon prepared before hand, you'd have a tough time proving to the authorities it wasn't malice aforethought. Two wrongs don't make a right and escalting the situation is more likely to get you in trouble than simply trying to perhaps photograph the encounter and report it.
Flares, on the other hand, are not-single purpose and have legitimate reason for being to hand... :D
Fantasies about these and shoulder-fired Stingers are cathartic

one fantasy is to use those upfront paddle holder tubes to fling the odd marble or so - could even have it preset. reminds me of the torpedo launcher tubes off old ww2 torpedo boats.

another fantaxy is to attach one of those tennis ball throwing arms (you see dog owners using them for some great throws ) on the end of the paddle (or ready beside you) and see if you can actually get some distance. could be set up most of the time, heh heh.

another is imagining someone in their SOF practising with the norsaq and winging out a nerf 'harpoon'. (I can get about 30 inaccurate feet with a wood harpoon)

and are their ANY squirt guns that will reach out 50' or so??

but really, maybe the best preparation or shot taken would be to have a camera ready to take a pic - and send that to whomever official you wish to complain to. Or even if you don't send it anywhere official - how about here and all of us could rant and rail and rave amongst ourselves on your behalf!!!
Since we're dreaming anyway:

One of those paintball machine guns loaded with special indelible rounds that would make a splochy mess of the hull or sails of the offender and proclaim to all and sundry "***hole at the helm!"

Avast me hearties, bring back the age of fighting sail! All hands to the kayaks-of-war :wink:
Wish I had had a squirt gun with me on Saturday evening at the fireworks. Some dweeb on the shore was shining his laser point at everyone in the water, including into people's eyes and mine. :roll: I went up close to him and he was close enough that my head lamp blinded him, he held his hand up to block the light. Funny how he did not like my bright head lamp shining in his eyes, but he thought everyone out on the water enjoyed his laser pointer in theres. Where's a water pistol when you need one! :evil:
You pretty much have to follow the same rule as when riding a motorcycle. You assume not that people dont see you, but that they are actually out to run you down. Or bring a paintball gun out and spell out the rules for them on the windshield.
Englishbay col regs

Kayakwriter, Collision regulations Rule 9 Narrow channels and rule 28 vessels constrained by their draft . Even though you felt you were the stand on vessel the booze cruise boat may have felt they were because of rule 9 and 28. If you were not entering a narrow channel then you could have given them a sound signal one long and two short for a sailing vessel under sail. Or in advance of a near collision call them on the vhf radio and ask them of there intentions, pass ahead pass behind? A charter boat has to have a licenced captain they will be listening to ch16 and the traffic channel for that area. A note to other paddlers, if you have a radio with dual watch then have it on 16 and the traffic channel for the area you are in. Vessel traffic and coast gaurd are always listening , and the captain knows this, so as soon as you call the vessel on the radio you have their attention. When on the radio say "this is the kayak off your Stbd bow"Try to sound professional, do not have a stupid name for your self or your kayak. For the sailboat doing the hard turn in front of you they probably did not see you, so you could again use the air horn, rule 14 (d) five short blasts.Which means(in your words) WTF are you doing? This is a congested area for any type of boating. It would be wise to have a VHF radio and air horn ready.
But it's English Bay, near Spanish Banks. It's not a narrow channel. I don't see how those regulations apply.

But I like the idea of carrying the air horn for sending short blasts.
Traffic english bay

Robert M, were you with kayakwriter at the time to know for sure if rules 9 and 28 do not apply?If you use sound signals then you will also need to recognize the commonly used signals in case you get a reply. I have chart #3481 what was an approx lat and long?
whether or not rules 9 and 28 applied is not the question here, and i don't see how they could. the fact of the matter is in both incidents the operators of the large vessels were at fault.

chapter 13 of the Canadian Power Squadron Basic Boating Course manual, collision regulations, section 10:

"13.10 An Over-riding Rule"

"One rule over-rides all others. Regardless of the preceding rules, everything possible must be done to avoid collision.......... Intentions must be indicated well in advance, and an alteration of course must not be left to the last moment."

Kayakwriter, if you kept the vessel numbers, i suggest you report both incidents to the Coast Gaurd and/or the Harbour Patrol. especially that commercial boat. that pilot should have his lisence yanked. he has no right to be on the water. neither does the other boat operator.

Mac - the incident with the commerical vessel happened in open water between about First Beach and English Bay - not in or near the entrance to False Creek. I do carry a VHF on longer trips. Didn't have it with me that night.

As Darren points out, regardless of who is the priveleged or stand-on vessel, there is no "right" to run into another boat. It's like car driving - the rules are there to allow us to interact predicably with one another, not to give one the right to run into another.

Darren - I'd debated whether to follow up with the Coast Guard. If I had photos, I would for sure. As it is, it's been a few days - they'd be sure to ask why I hadn't reported it immeadiatly. I've been gonzo busy working and getting ready for a week long trip I'm leaving on tomorrow (kayaking on West Coast Vancouver Island). So the trail would be several weeks cold before they heard about it. But I will be carrying my camera and VHF from now on.