Fogged In: A Few Tips That May Help
by Tom Neale
This is a continuation of Tom's Tips from his section of
web site. Go to his section there for many more tips on this
subject and others.
1. Fog is extremely disorienting, even if you have radar
and a GPS chart plotter. It's very important to have someone
else with you at the steering station to help you sort things
out and to keep a look out.
2. We find that when we're fogged in, moving slowly and have
other targets close to us on the radar, it's difficult to
steer by radar alone. Steering blind is very different and
requires a lot of practice.
3. We prefer to have the helms person steer by compass, following
bearings obtained from the radar and/or GPS and any other
reliable sources (such as a temporary sighting). Another person
keeps a sharp lookout both on radar and around the boat. This
person frequently looks from outside the cockpit enclosure
because this quickly becomes obscured by condensation in fog
and because it's easier to hear signals. If there is a third
person, that person remains out on deck at all times listening
and peering into the fog. The helms person also keeps lookout
but concentrates on keeping the boat on a bearing to clear
targets. Other methods may be better suited to you. Practice.
Pretend you can't see. Try to steer looking only at a radar
target that's close, while you're going slow. Determine what
works best for you, your boat, and your equipment.
4. Know and follow the applicable navigation Rules.
5. These tips are only to start you thinking about and planning
what to do if you're enveloped in fog. Some of the ideas here
may not be best in your circumstances. Fog can happen in areas
where you little suspect it. Read all you can on the subject
and get whatever training may be available. When you're in
the soup, it's in the hands of skipper and crew to make the
decisions and do the things that work best in the particular