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Old 03-18-2015, 12:56 PM   #1
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Bridge openings in US ICW

Any forum members had issues regarding penalties for unnecessary bridge opening in the ICW ?

In reference with DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 33 CFR Part 117
§ 117.11 Unnecessary opening of the draw. No vessel owner or operator ...
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/pd...C_I_SE_499.pdf
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:41 PM   #2
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Not me.

The way I see it is pretty simple, if you take down your antennas and still don't fit, you're ok requesting an opening.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:47 PM   #3
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I have read about bridge tenders (in Florida mostly ;-) giving boaters a hard time, even requesting masts and biminis be lowered. That is extreme.

In most cases bridge tenders are accommodating and will work with a boater. But Florida is a special case.

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Old 03-18-2015, 02:12 PM   #4
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OP question was regarding penalties.

Regarding hard times, yes I have also had a bridge or two in FL give me a hard time about opening. Turns out they were right, we fit. The ribbon showing clearance was off. Had it been accurate, the state of Fl was going to buy me a new arch.
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Old 03-18-2015, 04:57 PM   #5
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No, I have never even heard of one, even as the operations officer in the USCG with a few draw bridges in the operational area.

I think it would be extreme for them to file a formal complaint....

Most are very helpful and at least comply with an opening schedule if there is any doubt.

The mouthy ones are probably the same personality too lazy to file the paperwork..they just want to throw their nearly weightless authority around.

That's a shame, as the conscientious ones need to sting the lazy, arrogant boaters who don't take the time to see if they will fit following the regs.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:10 PM   #6
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I've always had good experiences with FL bridge tenders, though I studiously avoided running afoul of the harpies at the two Venetian Causeway bridges who seemed to want to give everyone grief they could. The guy at Andrews Avenue on the New River in the mornings would give me a good natured ribbing evry now and then a t mid tide that he thought I could get under, but I always asked him if he wanted to bet a radar on that. I'd always have all my antennas down in heavy bridge areas, to get under the ones I could and to show I was trying to the ones I couldn't or were too close for comfort; I had my various clearances measured carefully as i'd just as soon slide under rather than go through the whole drill. . I've never heard of someone being asked to lower a mast or bimini, but they will tell the sport fishers to lower outriggers .

Having also spent also lot of time on the various roadways involved, I can understand the pressure they are under to avoid unnecessary openings.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:27 PM   #7
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***Thread hijack alert***

How often if at all would a boat with a 10' air draft have to call for an opening on the ditch from Maryland south? Not asking for an actual count, just a ballpark wild guess.

***We now return to the thread topic***

My guess as to fines for unnecessary openings based upon around here is never.
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:52 PM   #8
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Depending on Dismal Swamp route or not 1 to 5 openings till Florida....just checked the Waterway guide....None in FL till Ft Pierce....not sure after that but not many are less than 10.

4 out of the 5, I mentioned above were 11 or 12 and we're probably swing bridges so no additional except for extreme tides or mismarking.
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:29 PM   #9
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Sweet, thanks
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Old 03-18-2015, 06:54 PM   #10
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Detailed bridge data by state

You might find the attached PDF helpful. Search for the 2015 version, and perhaps keep a copy on your boat's hard drive for easy reference.

Best,

Henri
Attached Files
File Type: pdf aicw-bridges-07-2014.pdf (304.3 KB, 53 views)
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
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***Thread hijack alert***

How often if at all would a boat with a 10' air draft have to call for an opening on the ditch from Maryland south? Not asking for an actual count, just a ballpark wild guess.

***We now return to the thread topic***

My guess as to fines for unnecessary openings based upon around here is never.

There are two in South Carolina. Little River Swing Bridge and the Socastee Swing Bridge south of Myrtle Beach.
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by windmill29130 View Post
There are two in South Carolina. Little River Swing Bridge and the Socastee Swing Bridge south of Myrtle Beach.
Socastee is listed at 11 feet both on my chart and waterway guide.
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:24 PM   #13
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Socastee is listed at 11 feet both on my chart and waterway guide.
You won't get under there with 10' at high tide. I couldn't get under with my 28' Searay with a 9' air draft. I tried and ended up going outside the pylons between the bridge and the shore to make it. Not recommended, but I was determined not to wait.
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:27 PM   #14
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Several bridges on the ICW I have marked as inaccurate according to the tide boards...Socastee wasn't one of them....guess I will take a closer look on my way north.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:16 AM   #15
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There was one bridgetender at the Two Mile Bridge north of Cape May, who would not open the bridge until you dropped everything possible while all of the other tenders of the same bridge would not argue. Always good comic relief while waiting for the fish to bite. Think he retired.
I have found the tenders in SW FL most helpful and would tell me they would open even if I thought it was good enough but close with antennas up.
We drop the antennas on trips to NOT HAVE TO WAIT for an unnecessary opening.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:42 AM   #16
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There was one bridgetender at the Two Mile Bridge north of Cape May, who would not open the bridge until you dropped everything possible while all of the other tenders of the same bridge would not argue. Always good comic relief while waiting for the fish to bite. Think he retired.
I have found the tenders in SW FL most helpful and would tell me they would open even if I thought it was good enough but close with antennas up.
We drop the antennas on trips to NOT HAVE TO WAIT for an unnecessary opening.
That same guy at 2 mile argued with me as to how much clearance I had. I've measured my boat several times, other tenders agreed with my measurement and this guy was saying something like 3 feet difference. But as usual 2 mile is really one of the better bridges I am used to.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:21 AM   #17
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The only time I had a disagreement t with a bridge tender I politely offered to call the CG to ask their opinion. The bridge opened.
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Old 03-20-2015, 07:11 AM   #18
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"I have read about bridge tenders (in Florida mostly ;-) giving boaters a hard time, even requesting masts and biminis be lowered. That is extreme."

NOPE its the law.

All this will be solved if the camera setup (as for red lights) is installed.

Your boat will be photoed as you pass with height marks on the bridge for reference.

If you cause an unneeded opening it will co$t , there thinking of $500, first offense , going up for repeat offenders.

This concept has been proposed in the Fl legislature a few times , eventually it WILL pass.

Cameras are far cheaper than installing 65 ft bridges , takes no time and will raise a lot of bucks , at least the first year or so.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:19 PM   #19
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I've been on the Atlantic ICW from J'Ville to Deerfield Beach, and never experienced any problem with the bridge tenders.. all were cooperative and accommodating. I have noticed that at the George Musson Bridge in New Smyrna the bridge tenders won't tell boat captains the air clearance but they'll refer them to the tide boards - I'm guessing that's to protect the bridge tenders in case the clearance was less than they thought.. there's about a 4 foot tide difference at the NSB bridge.
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:31 PM   #20
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I've been on the Atlantic ICW from J'Ville to Deerfield Beach, and never experienced any problem with the bridge tenders.. all were cooperative and accommodating. I have noticed that at the George Musson Bridge in New Smyrna the bridge tenders won't tell boat captains the air clearance but they'll refer them to the tide boards - I'm guessing that's to protect the bridge tenders in case the clearance was less than they thought.. there's about a 4 foot tide difference at the NSB bridge.
What drives me nuts is the lack of consistency.

One tender will climb down on the girders and eyeball you through, some will tell you to the inch of clearance and others will say it's your call and stay out of it. Then you have high and low steel. Then you have accurate, inaccurate and missing tide boards.

One has to wonder why bridge clearance has to be such a big deal.
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