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Letter: Large vessels must signal when they exit a channel

Large vessels must signal when they exit a channel

On July 3, we were sailing out of the Buffalo Inner Harbor, heading out to the open lake. We had two experienced hands and one new sailor aboard. As we prepared to tack to head out through the gap, we took the usual look behind us. Coming at us out of the Black Rock Channel was a huge barge, being pushed by a very large tug. It was coming very fast, and sounded absolutely no warnings. There is no way the captain of that vessel could have seen the small boats that were in its path.

We had no trouble changing our course and steering out of the way, although we had to do it quickly and we were not under power, but there were dozens of other boats that could have had problems. Thank heaven there were no kayaks or paddle bikes in the gap at that moment. They may not have had time to get out of the way.

Any boating course teaches the signals that should be used by large vessels when exiting a channel and heading out to open waters. The Buffalo Harbor waters are very busy with recreational vessels now, which is a good thing. I would hate to see an accident take place because large vessels are not complying with signal regulations.

Jeanne M. Spampata

Buffalo