I BOAT NY HARBOR - BOAT HANDLING

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  NY Harbor is a commercial/recreational mixed-use harbor and your boat handling will differ from your boat handling in your normal cruising grounds: 

  • Large vessels along your route

  • Commercial vessels approaching you head on

  • Commercial vessels overtaking you

  • Ferries crossing your course

  • Larger wakes reinforced by more traffic and reflective bulkheads of the "wide canals"

  • Heavy traffic areas

  • Heads up areas
  • Human powered vesssels

  

Large Vessels Along Your Route

If you need to communicate with a large ferry, commercial vessel or yacht, you can use the following map. Note that smaller vessels may not be shown and the position, speed and direction of the vessel may be 5 - 10 minutes old. Use the controls in the upper left corner to zoom in or out and to pan around the map. Click on a vessel to obtain its name, speed, course, etc.

from marinetraffic.com

Commercial Vessels Approaching You Head On

 

Commercial vessels will generally adhere to the shipping channels which you should avoid:

Shipping channels - combined

 

You're cruising down the Hudson gabbing with your family opposite Chelsea Piers when you  look up and see a northbound large commercial vessel headed for you and your family: 

  from globalsecurity.org

You remember that the pilot may not be able to see you as you approach:

from http://www.boatingsafety.com/watchout.htm

You also remember that the vessel may take a half-mile to a mile to slow to a stop and that the vessel may be slow in changing direction.

What do you do?

Give way and make your change in direction drastic enough so that the pilot or helmsman of the large commercial vessel understands that you've gotten out of his way. 

The GOLDEN RULE in NY Harbor:  Assume a commercial vessel is restricted in its ability to maneuver and YOU GIVE WAY EARLY.

 

Same situation, except you didn't give way soon enough and you hear one short horn blast or two short horn blasts from the vessel. 

What do you do?

from http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/images/navrl1.gif

 

Same situation, except you hear 5 short horn blasts from the vessel. 

What do you do?

This is a danger signal or the vessel's pilot or helmsman does not understand your intentions.  Get out of the way ASAP and contact the vessel on VHF 13 if necessary.

 

Commercial vessels overtaking you

from http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/images/navrl3.gif

 

Ferries crossing your course

Hudson River ferries daily tracks:

Hudson ferries -010411

For those ferries (if any) running their routes by the Stevens Institute guidelines, you'll generally have a perpendicular crossing with a slow-moving ferry and the standard Rules of the Road crossing applies:

 

 

from http://www.sas.usace.army.mil/images/navrl2.gif

However, most ferries still run their routes fast point-to-point (contrary to NYS law prohibiting speed greater than 5MPH within 100' of a pier and NJS law requiring slow speed within 200' of a pier) and you'd be wise to have a lookout, have all persons off the foredeck and be ready to communicate on VHF Channel 13.

                                            

Heavy traffic areas

Heavy traffic areas such as ferry terminals should be avoided whenever possible. Use the controls in the upper left corner to zoom in or out and to pan around the map. Click on the orange heavy traffic area for more information:


Use the controls in the upper left corner to zoom in or out and to pan around the map. Click on the ship icons for more information.

 

Heads Up Areas

You should be aware of areas of concern such as marinas, boathouses, launching ramps, and poor visibility areas.

Use the controls in the upper left corner to zoom in or out and to pan around the map. Click on the yellow Heads Up areas for more information:


Also, on this route there are no wake zones of 200' off New Jersey pier heads and 100' off New York pier heads.

Use the controls in the upper left corner to zoom in or out and to pan around the map. Select the yellow no wakes zone areas for more information:

 

HUMAN-POWERED VESSELS

In NY Harbor there are kayaks, canoes, rowboats, outriggers and dragon boats either running singly or in small flotillas.  These HPVs run off the pier heads but you should be alert for river crossings and heavy activity around their boathouses and launches.

At night, some kayaks display confusing "identifying" lights of various combinations, e.g., a green light on the bow and a red light on the stern, rather than regulation-required lights.

Home Plan Your Route No Boating Areas Boat Handling Wakes
Using VHF & Phone Emergencies Weather Currents & Tides Fuel Docks
Pumpouts Harbor Events Marinas & Boathouses Other Resources Op-Ed
Buy & Sell Feedback About Us    

 

SLOW
 Safe Level Of Wakes