city of water

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/07/20


There is much going on today, the City of Water Day. Click here to see the events scheduled area by area, including up the Hudson.


LILAC: Saturday, July 20, City of Water Day, 10am to 7pm **SPECIAL HOURS**
City of Water Day is a celebration of New York’s waterfronts sponsored by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
The tug PEGASUS and fireboat JOHN J. HARVEY will be offering free boat tours with the fireboat loading at LILAC.  The ship is open for tours and viewing the exhibit, Dead in August. Hudson River Park educators will be offering lessons in fishing from the pier from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and The River Project will  be pulling up traps and inviting visitors to see estuarine life up close in touch tanks on LILAC’s buoy deck in the afternoon.
The shop will be open on LILAC today.

The Waterfront Museum, Red Hook, Brooklyn: SLACKJAW celebrates New York City’s waters with a lively mix of traditional, new and original bluegrass songs, 1 – 5pm.  Admission free.

Happy City of Water Day, everyday.

brews for flus

Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2013/01/09

Tuned in to VHF this morning for anything I could pick up on the clean up of the KVK oil spill or the Seastreak accident. Heard nothing about both.

But I did catch this on VHF13:

A NYHarbor tug which moves oil called out to a cruise ship, tied up at pier 88. The cruise ship responds. (Yes, I know the names; No, not naming.)

Tug: “Yeah, we’ve been here for 40mins, and not a hatch has opened.”
Cruise ship: “Oh…oh. Stand by, please, stand by.”  A few minutes go by.  “Yes, someone has gone to open the hatches, now.”


What do you say to the nice tankerman who’s been waiting on the barge for you?


sorry: posting while under the influence of flu. This is the first year I get a flu shot and BAM! hit by da bug. Hard.
To my aid came this from an old salt and top first aid administrator:

Old seamans recipe for a grog:

take a mug
fill it half with HOT water
add sugar, or honey and some citron
add half whiskey, or brandy
drink as hot as possible
take 2 paracetamol (we call it acetaminophen)

Now you have to hurry to make it to your bed, because you will probably faint. You will sweat all night. Next morning you will be still ramshackle, but are going to be ok.

This is the brew I used, killer-effective:zenzero

• 2 cups of water,

•12 to 20 thick slices of ginger,

• 3 to 4 teaspoons of brown sugar (not white)

Boil together for a good long while, until a quarter or a third of the water boils off.

Drink as hot as you can handle. It will feel like lava, but not due to temperature, but the ginger’s power.

Go to bed immediately. Sweat sear your bugs out. Wake up and thank the Goddesses you survived the brew.

*** galley version: 3 cups water, 1.5 tablespoon powdered ginger, 2 tablespoons brown sugar; boil 20 mins.
(*not white sugar. Only brown sugar.)

A tip from King Neptune:
Pickle juice.
More electrolytes than Gatorade. Just water it down to dilute all the salt.

Avoid coffee, tea and lemon: these are diruretic, which makes you move water out. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Stay healthy! Best to you if you were on the ferry this morning, under the bug, or otherwise not feeling A-1.


Posted in Uncategorized by bowsprite on 2012/02/04

Tips from Capt JJ: “One black ball means he’s anchored. After that, the more balls you see, the more f*k’d  he is.”

one black ball:

two black balls:
“Not under command. Underway, but no way on. Adrift.”
Unable to follow any rules.

three black balls:
“Aground. Displayed aloft.”

 two black balls, two diamonds:
“Vessel engaged in underwater work. Pass on diamond side; avoid ball side.”

Another beauty tip from Capt JJ: “You know how I remember it? girls love diamonds, so go for the diamonds. Or, you have to have balls to pass on the side with the balls. But the girls and diamonds one is easier, for me.”

ball diamond ball:
“Restricted in ability to maneuver. Working vessel.”

And, Capt JJ had to go there—“This is no good, either:”

— thanks, Capt JJ. I think.

If hungry for more, the COLREGS International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, published by the IMO, spells out in exhaustive detail the rules for lights, shapes (dayshapes like these), and sound signals.

Note:  *No vessel ever has absolute ‘right of way’ over other vessels.*  You can be the ‘give way’ (burdened) or the ‘stand on’ (privileged) vessel.


Posted in anchorage, chart, containership, red hook, tugs, vhf by bowsprite on 2011/02/06

Last night, thick fog closed in, the horn called out into the silent, empty night.

But over the radio, many voices spoke. As the winds came, the fog was cleared away, but the tension mounted as the wind grew in strength, gusting over 40kts.

When the winds howl, you hear the tightness in their voices.

Coming in this morning, from being in the Panama Canal four days ago, was this ship, calling from the 26 buoy at around 04h30, navigating its way around traffic, an anchoring tug and barge and into Red Hook. The winds began to die down, and everyone was talking:

“…You taking the main channel?”

“…You got a barge there or are you light?”  “No, we’re light.”

“…We’re going to anchor here.”

Molinari (ferry), two whistles?”

“…Yeah, we got your pilot here…starboard side. Roger.”

“…I’m going up the Buttermilk.”

With a sigh of relief (mine), it docked at around 6am.

Boxes are ships at anchor: Light blue are tugs. Red are tankers. Green is cargo. The dark blue arrow is the SI ferry.
I did not include boats tied up at docks nor underway unless they were in the anchorage. The 26 buoy is around the “h” of  ‘mahima’.

vhf prose

Posted in Uncategorized, vhf by bowsprite on 2011/01/30

These lines were heard on various channels of  VHF (very high frequency) marine radio. Vessel names (where possible) and times were jotted in sketchbook margins or envelopes. All tugs have been changed to protect the innocent. or guilty.

“Coming to you as quick as my little propellers will take me.”

“We’re standing by, and we’ll keep knocking the fish outta the water until you get by.”

vessel 1: “Cap—you hanging out here?”
vessel 2: “No, this is my warp speed, believe it or not. You go ahead, I’ll take your stern.”

vessel X: “Oh, Yooooohoooo!”
vessel Y:  “Yeeeeeep?”
vessel X: “I gotta go move the buddha, so I’ll be right back.”
vessel Y: “Ok.”
vessel X: “And he’s gonna move it boat style, not boom style.”
vessel Y: “As long as he don’t get used to it.”

Ah! translation in the comments section! thank you, Yooohoooo!

vessel A (very cheerfully): “That you, Stupid?”
vessel B (equally cheerfully): “Cheeeeck!”
vessel A (in cartoon voice): “I’ll gitchoo…!”

middle of the night, buddy 1: “Look at at that moon!”
buddy 2: “Ah! I forgot what it’s like to do oil.”
buddy 1: “You still smoking?”
buddy 2: “Ha ha…well…I quit today. But I think I’ll go back now that you mention it.”


My absolute favorite VHF moment is here, “Are you angry?”

clearwater’s great hudson river revival 2010

This weekend: Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival 2010
A musical and environmental festival; the venue looks amazing!

Uglyships has its Flashbacks, BibliOdyssey has its Image Dumps. Here is mine, for John Sperr’s old Instant Button Machine in the Dutchess Outreach booth this weekend. He asked for a few images to represent river and harbor activity, so I collected a few together. I have to draw more tugs! According to Roberta Weisbrod, since 1991, there is a 37% increase of tugs operating in NYHarbor. Taurus is foist on the list!

All artwork is ©2010, but is available upon request for altruistic, beneficent, benevolent, charitable, eleemosynary, good, humanistic, philanthropic, public-spirited causes, and for birthdays and ship anniversaries.

do you like your TWIC card?

Posted in Fleet Week, hydrosurveying, twic, vhf by bowsprite on 2010/06/03

Evaluation time! How are you liking it?

good things about having a TWIC:

• you feel like VIP breezing past long lines to get into Fleet Week at PST pier 90. You get to keep your metal water canteen and knife.
(if you do not have a TWIC, please do not bring nice water bottles or knives to see warships. The trash cans outside were full of caught contraband and it was a sad sight.)

• finally have something to hang on the Fleet Week swag ribbon.

• theoretically can attend barbecue on girlfriend’s tanker at Atlantic Basin (sorry I missed it, Carolina.)

bad things about the TWIC:

• though issued by Lockheed Martin, no airport security personnel will recognize what it is. (It has been pointed out that because of errant airplane activity, all working mariners are required to have TWICs, but not airport personnel nor pilots.)

• actually, no one who has requested ID from me knows what it is. Or worse, they got the nerve not to card me anymore.

• it does not grant you access to public restrooms or the concession stands on Liberty Island, even though you are on a survey boat that had a full security sweep with two policemen and a police dog before you began the job, and you were surveying their piers all morning for 4 hours, expertly dodging (boss did) the ferries laden with tourists going to the Statue of Liberty. The officer saw us making our long, slow runs all morning. When we docked to let me off (no head on the boat), he barred my way, saying I could not disembark because I did not pass through a metal detector.

• it does not grant you permission to go where commercial vessels with non-TWIC’d folks get to go. During the Fleet Week 2010 parade of ships, ferries and taxis were permitted to cross the line. One hard working harbor tug requested permission of the USCG patrol boat to transit alongside the parade on the east side to watch. Permission was denied, and the tug had to take the stern of the last coast guard boat in the procession, thereby missing the whole show.

Aren’t you glad you have a TWIC?

Before I sound like a total ingrate, many thanks, Hydrographic Surveys, for paying the $132.50 fee for my TWIC.