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As heard on the VHF radio…

Tug Boat Captain (TBC) to Power Boater (PB): Power Boater… where did you go?

PB: I am well clear of you, Captain.

TBC: Power Boater, I have lost sight of you.

PB: I am about 50 feet off your starboard bow.

TBC: That is exactly the point I am trying to make! I suggest you give greater distance to commercial vessels.

PB: Thank you for the advice, Captain. I will take that under advisement.

Us: You’ve been told! LOL

Not the tug involved in that conversation, but one very similar to it.


  1. From the ZTC blog, “Follow that red line all around the perimeter. That is how far we walked to find a water taxi”

    You needed a change in your cardio routine anyway

  2. Wow. This never ceases to amaze me: “My boat is fast, so nothing bad can happen to it”.

    When passing a tug or ship, I prefer to stay at least half a mile away. If there’s any need to come closer, I’ll call the ship on VHF to ask what clearance he needs. Some don’t respond, but the ones that do tend to be happy that the little boats are aware of them….

  3. Hope to see you soon

  4. Hi Guys, From my experience having worked on tugs. There is always a problem with blind spots, while in the pilothouse, specially ,while pushing a barge, also, steering efficiency,is compromise either pushing or towing, specially with loaded barges. the most important rule of the road for mariners, is to keep a sharp lookout!. If in doubt always be the burdened vessel, let the other vessel be the privilidged vessel!

  5. I love the guys who think that 50 feet is a LOT of distance to be away from a commercial vessel, and then yell when that vessel can’t see them! I think they are the same ones who tailgate semis on the highway. Sandusky Bay often forces one to be closer than is comfortable to large ships. I try to slow down and let them go ahead of me so I can stay farther away. Last time I got closer than I like was one December when my son and I were taking my boat out. We were on the way to the boat ramp whena laker came up behind us, headed for the turning basin. He came up and passed us, while I tried to get as far away as possible without gowing aground! Usually there’s not much of a problem in that area, but we had had a couple of days of strong south wind, and the water was pretty low, so even with my small draft, I could only move over so far. NOT FUN. Stay safe!

  6. Well, maybe once he gets more experience, he will develop the sense to remain WELL clear! Otherwise, he’s in for a nasty surprise! He’s also apt to learn the hard way about the appearant and real speed of large commercial vessels. They never look as though they are moving fast, but they definately are!

    • I have noticed that. They are frequently moving much faster than they appear and when they look like they’re going fast, they are going REALLY fast!

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