Catalina back to Long Beach at night

lonelydriver

Newbie
Oct 9, 2007
13
3
3
Pasadena
Name
Kevin
Boat
Skipjack 24 Flybridge
Hey All, picked up my first boat last year skipjack 24 flybridge, and been learning a lot. Boat has Radar / fishfinder. Wanting to try hooping for lobster at catalina, but haven't had any experience crossing the channel at night. What are the main differences other than visibility? What speed do you guys usually cross at given the swells have calmed down? Are the conditions usually better at night? Are you highly dependent on the radar? i know after noon ish the winds pick up and the crossing can get bumpy, does it calm down as the sun goes down?

Any and all feedback, tips welcome for hooping at Cat!!
 

Northeastfshman

I see OJ
Dec 20, 2008
2,263
1,694
113
San Clemente
Name
Brett Weinberg
Boat
Parker 2120SCDV
Hey All, picked up my first boat last year skipjack 24 flybridge, and been learning a lot. Boat has Radar / fishfinder. Wanting to try hooping for lobster at catalina, but haven't had any experience crossing the channel at night. What are the main differences other than visibility? What speed do you guys usually cross at given the swells have calmed down? Are the conditions usually better at night? Are you highly dependent on the radar? i know after noon ish the winds pick up and the crossing can get bumpy, does it calm down as the sun goes down?

Any and all feedback, tips welcome for hooping at Cat!!

You should be comfortable with your radar if you plan to run at night. Good practice, turn it on while you are running during the day and try to navigate using it. That way you can validate what you see on the screen with your eyes and you'll be more comfortable and confident at night.

Debris is the other issue, radar won't pick it up.
 

lonelydriver

Newbie
Oct 9, 2007
13
3
3
Pasadena
Name
Kevin
Boat
Skipjack 24 Flybridge
Usually pretty calm crossing at night. Most nights you can see the lights from Pedro/Long Beach. Just go at a comfortable speed, main danger is hitting debris that's tough to see and submerged boiler rocks at the island.
You should be comfortable with your radar if you plan to run at night. Good practice, turn it on while you are running during the day and try to navigate using it. That way you can validate what you see on the screen with your eyes and you'll be more comfortable and confident at night.

Debris is the other issue, radar won't pick it up.

What speeds do you guys usually cross at if conditions are good and clear at night?
 
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nefarious235

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 1, 2008
2,237
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Proudly American
Name
Dan
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canoe & plastic flotsam
The large container ships are just big black holes in the night. Always aim for the back end of them. Also keep an eye out tugs that are towing barges back with quarried rock. the barge is 1000 feet behind the tug on a cable with one little white light at best.
 

MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
3,270
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Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
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Rick
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Yes
The shipping channels are your greatest risk. You may be able to see only the lights of a freighter and have no ability to gauge its size or distance. You need to know that if it light is maintaining a constant bearing (say 20 degrees off your port bow, or whatever), you are on a collision course, and unless something changes, you will absolutely hit that vessel with your port bow (or whatever). You should be able to identify every light you see as a radar target, and you must be especially concerned about any you can't identify. If your radar has ARPA or MARPA, you should learn to use it (during daylight), as it will be tremendously useful in identifying and avoiding collision courses.

Become familiar with the various light patterns that vessels will display. Develop, as quickly as you can, the ability to see lights and know (without having to figure it out), whether you are looking at the front, back, port or starboard side of the boat. Very large boats have extra lights -- learn to know when you are looking at those. Tow boats also have extra lights -- learn to recognize those patterns.

You mentioned having a fish finder and radar. hopefully, you also have a fixed mount (not handheld - inadequate range) VHF. Don't go without one.
 

tuner

pysgotwyr
May 24, 2006
1,266
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Huntington Beach
Name
Steve
Boat
260 Mackinaw
This ^^^^

AIS is invaluable when running near the big ships. Knowing the location, speed, and heading is very reassuring. I overlay the radar and AIS on my chart.
 
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Long Beach Bob

Well-Known "Member"
May 13, 2004
271
271
63
73
Long Beach and points due west
Name
Bob Ballew
Boat
2520 Parker with twin 200 Yamahas
Probably the most dangerous area is at the Isthmus and gauging the distance to spots like Ship Rock, Eagle Reef, etc while going in to anchor for the nite...Carry a high powered light to shine at the cliff areas for those dark nights when vis in poor..It is easy to run into a buoy trying to get into the harbor areas when you can't see much...
...Often, the wind lets down about sundown...that is when we run for the island and try to be on our hooping spots with hoops in the water by dark...
...Try to set your hoops on the up current side of the reefs you are setting on so the scent drifts down and the bugs can follow it to the source..
 

lonelydriver

Newbie
Oct 9, 2007
13
3
3
Pasadena
Name
Kevin
Boat
Skipjack 24 Flybridge
wow thanks for all the great advice, i definitely have a a vhf radio hard wired , and a portable one as well. Don't have ais however. lots to learn, appreciate all the feedback!!
 

Arima-bob

Ship faced aquaholic
Mar 9, 2012
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Too far from water
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Beeulzebob
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uh....
Watch out for big wakes from ships which are difficult to see as well.
This is a lesson I learned the hard way. Running across the channel at around 4:30 am. The water was glass, and although I knew better, I decided to book it. I ran behind a big freighter with a couple hundred yards between us, I didn’t even think about the wake. My little boat caught air almost straight up. The boat took it like a champ, but I think I lost an inch of height from that.

And yes, there’s crap floating around out there your radar or your eyes won’t see in the dark. Kelp patties are also no fun to get stuck in when you can’t see squat.

My suggestion.... you got a skippy flybridge. Run out in the late morning, anchor in one of the bays and take a nap till dark.

Have fun, and happy hoopin!
 

Trayscool

Captain
Sep 26, 2008
8,050
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Long Beach
www.skipjackmafia.com
Name
Travis
Boat
NO BOATS
I’ve done it many times. Go slow so you feel comfortable. We usually go just above hull speed at the quickest. You have to keep you eyes on the water at all times. I’ve always been highly aware or sleep in the boat and come back in the morning.
 

Long Beach Bob

Well-Known "Member"
May 13, 2004
271
271
63
73
Long Beach and points due west
Name
Bob Ballew
Boat
2520 Parker with twin 200 Yamahas
No mention of a Boat US towing membership...every boat owner should have it...often discounted at the Fred Hall show, where I renew that and my mag subscriptions each year and receive discounts plus extra gifts for renewing....
...Over 30 years, I used them twice and each time, their tow boat was there within an hour or so...good protection...get the gold membership (longer distance coverage) and add the trailer package if your boat is on a trailer...Best insurance and safety you can have on the ocean!
...p.s. learn how to read your radar...if the screen goes dark while running at night, that means you are 30 seconds away from running into a Catalina cliff...don't laugh, it has happened...
 
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sickcat

Silverback
Aug 5, 2003
3,160
1,190
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LA
Name
Kerry
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Yellow spot
Ditto both Nomad and LB Bob. Both the shipping traffic in and around the port of LA/LB AND the island at night can be very serious risks.

Do use the radar during the day to get comfortable with the settings and to verify what your seeing on the screen with what your eyes are telling you. Note that those ships are likely traveling faster than they may appear. They can easily run you down from behind when your traveling at hull speed. As Nomad pointed out tugs with a tow can be very deceiving with the tow much further behind the tug than you would think. If there is any doubt if your looking at two ships or a tug w/tow go behind the one further back - not between them.

As for the island scoping the area you'll be hooping during the day is a good idea. Study the charts for shallow hazards but be aware that many hazards are not on the chart nor marked. Boats end up on the island every year - don't be one of them.
 

Blackfish

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 20, 2005
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.
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toy
Go slow. 10 knots max. But i have gone faster. Guilty.

Pick a night with some moonlight.

Use your radar in the day to learn how to recognize what you are seeing on the screen and get a feel for the distance they are being tracked.

If you are solo, use a kill switch tether.

Keep an ear and eye open for whales, especially this time of year. Many times I have heard them blowing during the crossing, which means they were damn close...but I couldn't see them.

If you have cell service, let someone know on land when you depart and give them a ETA.

I enjoy crossing the channel at night under clear skies. Very peaceful.
 

Blackfish

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 20, 2005
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.
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toy
Don't have ais however. lots to learn, appreciate all the feedback!!

I would bet that 98% of the boaters here on BD don't have AIS. Sure it's a another means of safety, but crossing the channel, in normal conditions, you would have to be blind to hit a ship.
 

Hooops

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 26, 2005
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Huntington Harbour
Name
Hoops
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17ft Whaler Montauk - "TYFISH"
Go before afternoon wind comes up - fish and scout where you want to hoop... fill bait tank with lobster... grab mooring... bbq/beverage/crash in cabin... and go home at sunrise.

Wash-Rinse-Repeat... no reason to travel at night unless you've made that crossing in the daytime 100 times or more
 
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WahooUSMA

Member
Feb 25, 2009
353
41
28
Rancho Cucamonga
Name
Roger
Boat
37 Bertram
When I run at night, I run pretty slowly (10-12 knots - max). Everyone on here has solid recommendations, and would embrace all of them. I personally like traveling at night, especially on a clear evening. I did hit a whale last year - broke a blade on my starboard prop, bent the shaft, cracked a thru hull fitting. So beware, not all objects are on the surface or visible by radar.
 

captainsdc

Well-Known "Member"
Apr 19, 2011
538
276
63
San Jose del Cabo
Name
Scott
Boat
Shopping for something else
If you are a new boater, crossing the channel is not wise at night until you have done it a few times in the day in various conditions. Having had your boat for a year, you must know that things go sideways quickly and not just at the dock. Know the rules of the road and learn how your electronics work in the day in non critical situations. Tuning a radar is not as easy turning it on and hitting the auto tune button. Having a GPS plotter is a critical part of your navigation equipment, too. Last but most importantly, don't leave the dock without BoatUS or SeaTow. And do understand what the fine print means in terms of what is considered "salvage" and not just the basic towing services you already paid for. If you listen to all the distress and urgency calls (especially on weekends and usually in the dark,) you will learn a lot, but do remember the ocean does not forgive - ever. Be safe and good luck.
 
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Aliboy

Member
Dec 27, 2017
140
199
43
NZ
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David
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44ft Sportfisher
One thing you may find out is that running a straight course in the dark on just compass or GPS can be difficult on a small boat if it isnt flat calm. If you don't have a distant light or landmass visible you may find running towards a star or visible cloud shadow etc helpful. If your radar can see land then that is usually a good help. The other option is a GPS with a heading compass, but the general comment is that running straight at night on a small boat may be a little harder than you expect.
 

MYNomad

Heading South
Dec 12, 2007
3,270
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Pacific Northwest / West Coast Mexico
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Rick
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Yes
No mention of a Boat US towing membership...every boat owner should have it...
...Over 30 years, I used them twice and each time,
I haven't had Boat / Tow US in at least 20 years and have not needed it in that time. If I ever do need a tow, BoatUS or one of the others will be there just as fast, and maybe faster (since they will make more money on me than BoatUS would pay them for the tow). The only question, in my mind, is this a risk that makes financial sense to insure against. With interest at say 8%, I have probably saved over $25K during that time. At this point, I will be money ahead even if I have to pay for a big tow. And by the way, many boat (yacht) policies include towing.
 

Hooops

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 26, 2005
3,579
824
113
45
Huntington Harbour
Name
Hoops
Boat
17ft Whaler Montauk - "TYFISH"
I haven't had Boat / Tow US in at least 20 years and have not needed it in that time. If I ever do need a tow, BoatUS or one of the others will be there just as fast, and maybe faster (since they will make more money on me than BoatUS would pay them for the tow). The only question, in my mind, is this a risk that makes financial sense to insure against. With interest at say 8%, I have probably saved over $25K during that time. At this point, I will be money ahead even if I have to pay for a big tow. And by the way, many boat (yacht) policies include towing.
Rick - this may be the ultimate jinx.

Share a picture when you are pushing a rope this year - lol
 
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mullet

Metal Fabricator
Jan 10, 2006
3,732
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San Fernando Valley
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Mike
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19"Gregor
My question is where are you getting 8% on your money ?