All users of English Bay should be aware of ships and ship movements in these waters. Ships traveling through English Bay average 200m long, are deceptively fast, have limited maneuverability and take a great distance to stop. In addition to these features, they have a very large blind spot in front of them. They don’t just stay in the shipping lane along the north shore to and from the First Narrows, they often move to and from the anchorages in English Bay.
The red line in the photo above represents the line of sight of the bridge crew, and pilot on board, over the ship’s bow. Any vessel that enters the area below their line of sight becomes invisible to them and requires them to take action. In this situation a couple of weeks ago as the ship was approaching an anchorage northeast of Jericho, they sounded multiple horns until the sailing dinghy crossed through the blind spot and reappeared off their port bow quarter. The VPD Marine vessel R.G. McBeath attended the scene, spoke to the sailors and their lesson was learned.
Two summers ago, a similar encounter occurred right in the shipping lane. In that instance the dinghy tried to gybe in the blindspot, was affected by the wind shadow of the ship and capsized. The ship was put into full reverse and the anchor was dropped to avoid colliding with the dinghy. Fortunately, their decisive actions prevented a collision.
Regulations require that all non-commercial vessels shall keep well clear of commercial – every skipper should should be aware of this and give commercial vessels a wide berth.