Proper Planning Prevents

Well it prevents this

Vessel awash

Vessel awash

I have been following and commenting the a thread on The Hull Truth where I got this picture. The owner of the vessel in question was returning from a two day canyon trip when he decided to stop for fuel at Atlantic Highlands before continuing to their final destination. While approaching the entrance from the west they missed the beginning of the channel and ended up right in the middle of this mess. A large field of pilings that are the remnants of a pier, that from I have been told, burned down a long long time ago.

Notice the men walking around the vessel

Notice the men walking around the vessel

Wreck removal

Wreck removal

So what happened here? From what I have read on the hull truth, as well as infer from the vessels location is two things. No one consulted a chart, their chart potter, or a coast pilot. On the chart as well as even my Navionics app on my cell phone the piling field as well as the channel are clearly marked. From the path the vessel took into the piling field, as well as statements on the forum by people on the boat, it appears the man at the helm got fixated on the entrance and aimed straight for it. This I can definitely believe as right at the entrance is a pair of buoys (a red and green) and it makes a natural target for most people. However there are many sections of channel all over the country that do not have defined gates of buoys to pass between. This is a perfect example, to the west there are the pilings and all along the west edge of the channel are red buoys and day markers. According to the chart they are all lit. To the east of the channel is a break wall and a in front of that good water. Hence no need for corresponding green buoys up the east side of the channel.

vessels approach, illustrations added by passenger on vessel

vessels approach, illustrations added by passenger on vessel

Chart of area

Chart of area

Now if you planned this trip on a chart, it would be pretty easy to see that you aren’t aiming for a set of entrance buoys. You need to stay well to the north, and once you are just east of the entrance make your turn to the south. When going into an unfamiliar area or harbor it is foolhardy to not at least consult a chart or your plotter before hand to get a feel for what the approach should look like. Plan your voyage and voyage your plan. These guys were lucky, the weather was nice and sea tow was minutes away to get them off the boat. In another location or in different weather this could have turned out worse.

All photos found on The Hull Truth.

About newenglandwaterman

1600 Master Near Coastal, Master of Towing Vessels, and a whole binder full of other pieces of paper. You can find me at the controls, hooked up and hard over, when I'm not at home playing with the dogs
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