Safety and ships on Boston Harbor @ Bostonboating.com
By Jack Jordan
On Boston Harbor, it is not uncommon to see a towline extending to a barge. After all, the Boston Harbor is commercial shipping Channel. Yesterday I received a radio transmission regarding some type of problem on the harbor from one of our Sonars. After our Asst. Director for the youth program went out to check on the situation, he radioed back and said, "You're not going to believe this". It seems that a sailboat, not one of ours, decided to sail behind a tug that had a barge in tow. Read More...
From what I heard and later saw, the sailboat crossed the stern of the tug, hit the towline, ripped the mast off the boat and put the two occupants into the water with the barge bearing down on them. Fortunately, the occupants managed to get away from the barge. A lobster boat in the area picked up one of the occupants and the other was rescued by the fireboat, from what I heard.
This situation could have easily been avoided by simply paying attention to harbor traffic and for recreational vessels to stay well clear of these commercial vessels that are here on the harbor making a living. The simple rule of the road here is, rules of tonnage apply on the harbor or anywhere for that fact. This should be the number one rule that's adhered to when sailing on the harbor. Why would anyone even think about getting near a vessel of that size in a small craft whether they had the right of way or not?
It just blows my mind to think some one could get this close to a situation like that. Didn't they think, "WHAT IF"? What if that barge, that's 50 yards behind the tug breaks lose? What if the tug I see has a barge in tow behind her? What if my wind dies and I can't maneuver my vessel close to these commercial monsters? What if that barge runs me over and I can't go home to my family and friends? What if the Captain of the barge has to go home and tell his family, "Honey, I killed two people today because they didn't value there life as much as we do ours?
My heart goes out to the Captain and crew of this tug company. What in Gods name were they thinking? Evidently, they were not thinking correctly.
We don't need avoidable Tragedies at Sea. Pay attention people. Sailing is a fun sport. As in all sports, we need to pay attention to our sport in order to be successful and enjoy it.
I just can't understand how this can happen. If we just stay the heck away from these working vessels and give them plenty of room to maneuver as courtesy, we wouldn't see stuff like this. The bigger the vessel the more room that is needed to maneuver. I'm just glad the people aren't hurt and that it wasn't one of our schools sailboats.
Editors Note: Jack Jordan is the manager of Piers Park Sailing center In East Boston Ma.
Thanks for the story Jack!