honest-to-goodness navigational hazards.
What would you do if you were running along at 15 to 20 knots when your
vessel hits a floating cargo container
resulting in a 2-foot hole in the bow?
Well, if you were the four retired naval
officers off Cape May, New Jersey, head-
ing north on your way to Maine, you’d
stop, calmly assess the situation, affect
damage control, stop the down-flooding,
pump the bilges, and slowly head to a
harbor of safe refuge under your own
power to be hauled out for repair.
You and I may not have the skills
and know-how of those officers, but
you should have a plan for what to do if
you end up with a hole in your boat. Of
course, not hitting something in the first
place is the easiest way to avoid sinking
your boat. But consider that in good
weather, a proper lookout can usually
spot most barely floating hazards. And a
good skipper will understand that after
heavy rains, storms, or exceptionally high
tides, there may be much more flotsam
and jetsam in the water, and he’ll know to
slow down and keep an extra-sharp eye.
The takeaway: Hazards to navigation
are not necessarily the same thing as
navigational hazards. Both have similari-ties – some seen, some unseen. For me,
it’s easy to investigate a case involving
a hazard to navigation, but sometimes
the lines get a bit fuzzy when investigating an accident involving a navigational
hazard. Why? Because sometimes that
navigational hazard is the very person
Daniel Rutherford is director of claims
and risk management for Maritime
Program Group. A licensed private
detective and ocean marine adjuster, he’s
than 9,000 field
than $20 million
in stolen vessels
There is a good
reason we go slow
speed at night near
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