Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Harbor Report: Meet the tugboat skipper "Unedited"

This week I had a chance to talk to Captain Peter Paget of the tug “Terri L Brusco” and no pun intended what a boatload of information I received. Now the challenge is with all this information “sloshing” around my head lets see if I can put a story together.
The “Terri L Brusco” is the tugboat you see in the harbor moving the barges from Newport to the Port of Long Beach and back. Captain Peter Paget has just completed a month of work and now must take a month off. He started his career some 30 years ago in Alaska and has kept his hand firmly on the helm every since. “ As a kid I sailed in Portland Oregon and became fascinated with the Tugs. The only way I could find work was move to Alaska and work 7 days a week for 6 months. After a couple of seasons, I had the experience to look other jobs” Capt Paget explained.
The purpose of this story is to give the Newport Harbor users a better idea on what the Tug Captains have to deal with and get a better understanding on how to give the Tugs enough room. I am going to assume my readers are not the Harbor Users that take their electric boats along side the barges, while they are under way, or the paddle boarders that paddle through the tugs wash or even the High Speed power boat that was outside last week following the Dolphins and crossing between the barge and the tug? So for your own interest lets review some of the information Captain Paget reviewed with me. While the barge is being pushed the Tug and barge become one and the barge is maneuvered “Basically like a large vessel” the captain told me. “ When we are maneuvering at the 5 point mooring, the turning basin, things can be a little tricky. When the barge is empty and if the wind is up past 10 knots, along with an out going tide we have to approach our mooring at a 90 degree angle and make adjustments for whatever else confronts us” Capt. Paget said. I then asked the Captain what are some sound signals we should listen for? “5 short blasts, Danger, Danger. We try not to use sound signals in Newport Harbor, I don’t think the residents would want to hear ever sound signal at 3 AM everyday as if this was a comical harbor” The Captain explained.
Other items I learned while talking to Captain Peter Paget. If at night, while in the harbor, you notice two white lights on the forward mast of the tug and a red and green light coming toward you that’s your first indication that its the Tug pushing the barge towards you. If you want to contact the Tug you can hail them on VHF Channel 16 or Channel 13. “If there was one thing I would like your readers to remember VHF Channel 13 is it” the Capt. told me. Most of the commercial information is passed along this channel, you should also write down Channel 14 for Vessel Traffic Service San Pedro (VTS) and Channel 74 Long Beach Pilot. Also keep in mind, while at sea, the barge is traveling about 6 knots and is roughly 900 feet behind the Tug, in rough weather it can be double that. The Tug will not be towing in heavy fog or big seas over 8 feet. “If the cargo starts sloshing around because of high seas and winds we will not be able to complete our run” Captain Pete told me. After talking to the Captain I felt like I was talking to a long time friends at the Yacht Club. He is a sailor at heart and loves being on the ocean. As a seat of the pants sailor myself, I felt lucky that we have Captain Peter Paget at the helm.
This weekend feels like the end of summer blow out sail. We have the Wooden Boat Festival at the American Legion, The last race of the Newport High Point Series with the “Argosy Race” to Catalina and the “Roy Woolsey” Lido 14 and Laser race at Lido Isle. For more information about what going on this weekend and Tugs boat Captains please go to my blog at lenboseyachts.blogspot.com
Sea ya

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