How appropriate that the captain of Nap Tyme was sitting on the pot when a Washington state ferry rammed into the side of his boat.
“A convenient place considering how he must have felt at the time of collision,” said Jake Beattie, executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend.
Nap Tyme, an ironically named cruiser, had been chugging along on when the ferry Chetzemoka approached. The ferry sounded its horn; Nap Tyme paid no heed. And then slam, bam, and from the look of the captain as he stepped out, no thank you, man.
The boat was splintered but is mostly fine. There were no injuries or diesel spilled.
Maritime rules aren’t clear about who was at fault.
“On a very basic level, the guy on the right is supposed to keep doing what he's doing,” Beattie told KUOW’s Bill Radke. “But there are also rules that say you're supposed to keep an active lookout, which means someone on your boat should be paying attention to collisions.”
Another rule says to steer clear of large passenger vessels by 500 yards in Puget Sound.
“My favorite rule of all the rules says if you have to deviate from the rules to avoid collision, please do so,” Beattie said. “That kind of trumps all the other ones in my mind.”
How common is it for captains not to be at the wheel, Radke asked?
To be fair, Beattie said, Nap Tyme was moving eight miles per hour – jogging pace, really.
And it was sunny out, with perfect visibility and few other boats in the water.
“The risk normally for ducking down is pretty low. This one clearly is a miscalculation of that risk,” he said.
It could have been bad. But Nap Tyme is a sturdy boat, and the ferry captain was on it, Beattie said.
“It was really the skill of the captain and crew on board the Chetzemoka.”
Beattie said his advice for mariners who find themselves in this position is to aim for the stern of the boat.
“If you think you're going to hit a ferry and you're even potentially worried about it, don't aim at the front of it,” he said.
We found two boats named Nap Tyme registered with the Coast Guard: one registered in South Carolina, the other in North Carolina.
The one from South Carolina was previously named C Dog.
The one from North Carolina had been named Googie.
Note: This video contains coarse language.