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Video: Ships vs. Boats – How close is too close?

by Scott Croft 21 Mar 12:24 UTC
Captured on video, a personal watercraft running under the bow of ship illustrates the need to educate watercraft operators on how to improve their on-the-water safety. © Scott Croft

When it comes to recreational boats and commercial ship traffic, separation is key. Some boaters, however, may not recognize the dangers of navigating close to a commercial ship.

Two 30-second videos captured by a pilot at the helm of 600-plus-foot commercial vessels navigating on New York's Hudson River are aimed at educating recreational boaters on this risk and improving recreational boat safety.

In one of the videos, a recreational boat and personal watercraft cross directly under the bow of a 623-foot bulk carrier under way near the waterway's Bear Mountain Bridge, then disappear out of view from the ship's helm for more than seven seconds plenty of time to put the boaters and their passengers at risk.

The videos can be found here

"In both of these situations, all it would take is an engine failure, striking a submerged object, or any other momentary propulsion or mechanical failure to put these recreational vessels on a collision course with a ship, which has restricted ability to maneuver and may take a half mile or more to come to a complete stop," said BoatUS Public Affairs Vice President Scott Croft. "We hope the videos will educate boaters on the need to give ship traffic a wide berth and to always avoid passing under a bow."

For more information on safe boat operation and ships, go to BoatUS.org/rulesoftheroad.

The videos were done in partnership with the Hudson River Safety, Navigation and Operations Committee (HRSNOC), Hudson River Pilots Association, and the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. BoatUS is a member of HRSNOC whose goal is to create cooperation among Hudson River waterway users and communities to seek out non-regulatory solutions to operational challenges and minimize environmental and safety risks.

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