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Life at Sea, Ship's Horn Signals


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We have just returned from a couple of weeks afloat saltside, mainly in the North sea and Norwegian coastal waters, and became intrested in the various blasts on the ships horn and what they ment, anyone know what all of them mean? :)

We had a very close encounter with a yacht across the bows of our ship as we left the port of Molde, which causes the skipper to let out one long blast followed by several short ones, and although I realise that normally power gives way to sail, a small yacht with kids onboard darting infornt of a large ship cruising at around 12notts, with just a few feet clearance to spare was foolish to say the least :norty:

So I take it the one long blast and several short ones is a warning of impending danger? :o

What do the other ships horn blasts used at sea mean? :Stinky

Julz :wave

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Having said that any signal to get attention of the daft yotties works for me and I tend to use the fog signal for a power driven vessel underway and making way. One prolonged blast.

Maybe this is what he was doing, but after the prolonged blast, the hand signal he was giving the yottie person caught the horn on the downward motion. :naughty:

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lick on the links to listen to the sound files:

one short blast: “I am altering my course to starboardâ€

two short blasts: “I am altering my course to portâ€

three short blasts: “I am operating a stern propulsionâ€

five short blasts: “I am in doubt about your action taken to avoid collisionâ€

one long blast: “I am nearing a bend where another vessel may be obscured by an intervening obstructionâ€

sound here....http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/bigships ... tions.html

any excuse to blow your horn :wave

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Thanks for that information Rod cheers

We were cruising out of the fiord and into the open sea with our next destination of Tromso when this inceident happened, and it was still fairly restricted cruising to the point we could see land and shoreside buildings quite clearly on both the port and starboard bow, and a handfull of yachts playing in the distance on the estury, before the open seas.

Most of these steered well clear of our big white ship, but the one in question continued to sail towards us, and then at the last moment decided to swing sharpe over from the port side, and cross our ships bows. He came so close that from the Crows Nest bar, which is situated directly over the bridge, we could not see if he had made it past or been hit until we spotted him imerge on the starboard side a couple of mins later, a very near miss indeed.

The signal given was actually one long loud blast followed by frantic pipping, of which Bill says he counted seven of these in all. Theres a chance that the port Pilot may still have been onboard at the time, but other passengers out on deck at the time said that some of the bridge crew went out onto the side look out gantrys and offered the crew of the yacht some 'very friendly advice', they needed it, especially with several young children onboard the yacht at the time :norty:

If the crew managed to capture the yachts registration details, and they do have a bridge camra installed, does this mean that the yachtsman will possibly receive a hefty fine for his stupidity? he came that close that i was thinking that he may have been drawn in by the ships 'undertow' the yacht was a sea going type, but only of about 30ft long.

Julz :wave

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