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Old 10-01-2017, 07:29 AM   #1
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Some Good News From The USCG

I never really understood why St Augustine made the request to begin with. Though I suspected once they were successful this time they would have asked for more.

Why they didn't build a 65 foot clearance bridge when they re-built a few years ago is beyond me. The bridge of lions is not a historical bridge - I believe it is from the 30s?

We both replied to the USCG request for comments.

Welcome To the Historic City of St.Augustine, Fl
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:00 AM   #2
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While I do travel under the bridge, I'm not really familiar with it. Some municipalities decline to have the taller bridges do to the length of the elevated roadways leading to the span. Bridge design now uses more modest grades which makes the elevated section much longer and unsightly to city planners. One of the swing bridges over the Albemarle Chesapeake canal was recently replaced with another 10' clearance swing bridge because the town didn't want the long access grades. Bet the commuters waiting for the bridge to close really appreciate that decision by their government.

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Old 10-01-2017, 10:26 AM   #3
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In SC, at least two low clearance swing bridges were "replaced" by high rise bridges but the communities wanted the old bridges left in place so they got them declared "historic".

Now, you go under the high rise bridge and call the bridge tender and wait for the swing bridge to open.

This wasn't so much a stupid government decision as it was a bunch of selfish residents. The only stupid thing the government did was build the high rise bridge.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:41 AM   #4
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The good news for colocated or nearby high rise to low bridges is the opening bridges usually are on demand rather than a schedule....or certainly easier to argue for on demand...like the Little River Swing.

New Smyrna, Fl is on a 20 minute schedule and not really colocated but nearby. On demand off hrs and no rush hr restrictions.

But a few examples.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:48 AM   #5
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Totally confused. Aren't they asking for more openings, not restricting them? And it seems like extending hours to 9pm would be VERY helpful to a boater' schedule, especially in the summer.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:19 AM   #6
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Totally confused. Aren't they asking for more openings, not restricting them? And it seems like extending hours to 9pm would be VERY helpful to a boater' schedule, especially in the summer.
No. The City is being disingenuous.

The three hour extension would mean only on schedule, NOT on demand.
Thus the CG said no, as it would further restrict ice traffic.

This bridge is the only one I ever had a issue with on the ICE.
Just a nasty bridge tender.
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:10 PM   #7
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I'm assuming you meant ICW, not ICE.

Like any group of people, there are "nice" ones and "not so nice" ones. They do have almost absolute power over boaters with tall boats so I try to be as polite as possible when requesting an opening.
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:17 PM   #8
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I request the published opening.

If they start the battle, I usually end it oretty quick with a radio or phone call to the USCG.

Following the rules is pretty simple, both for boats and bridges. They can talk shi* all they want, but if a boater is following the published rules, they are under a lot of scrutiny from the USCG if you make your case which isnt hard.

In many years of dealing with bridges, the few times I have had issues were quickly settled in my favor because I follow the rules and am polite on the radio.

The power is in the hands of the USCG, not the bridge tender. Yes they can refuse to open, but they are going to be inconvenienced too if the USCG brings pressure to bear. I have never been delayed by a cranky bridge tender, they know the fallout.
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:37 PM   #9
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Good news. Could be worse.
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:55 PM   #10
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The bridge tender in St Augustine has never been an issue for me. I just drop the VHF antenna and light mast before going under.

Ted
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:43 PM   #11
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The biggest PIA with the Bridge of Lions for a while has been "what is the actual clearance"?

Even the video link above says 26 feet while the charts say something like 18. Active Captain has has multiple reviews that have differing opinions.

So I just approach and guess with the best. I have gone under it, but much of the time I request an opening or go through with someone who definitely needs it.
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:36 PM   #12
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I request the published opening.

If they start the battle, I usually end it oretty quick with a radio or phone call to the USCG.

Following the rules is pretty simple, both for boats and bridges. They can talk shi* all they want, but if a boater is following the published rules, they are under a lot of scrutiny from the USCG if you make your case which isnt hard.

In many years of dealing with bridges, the few times I have had issues were quickly settled in my favor because I follow the rules and am polite on the radio.

The power is in the hands of the USCG, not the bridge tender. Yes they can refuse to open, but they are going to be inconvenienced too if the USCG brings pressure to bear. I have never been delayed by a cranky bridge tender, they know the fallout.
Ok
Full story:

It was pouring rain, 30 knot winds.

I go to bridge, nicely, like always, request an opening.
Am told he will open at 7 or 8 am (I don't remember actual hour).
I respond, OK, will wait over here, as it was very windy.

I'm, south about 1/2 mile away, near some piling.

As the hour approaches, I motor slowly towards bridge, but because of winds, am afraid to get too close.

Being respectful I did NOT make another radio call. I was obviously waiting.

On the hour, waiting for the bridge to move, I'm still about 100 yards away.

I figured he was waiting for some bridge traffic to clear.

Finally at 8:05 I call and all about my opening.
His response, "I was too far away. "

No comment
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:03 PM   #13
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Ok
Full story:

It was pouring rain, 30 knot winds.

I go to bridge, nicely, like always, request an opening.
Am told he will open at 7 or 8 am (I don't remember actual hour).
I respond, OK, will wait over here, as it was very windy.

I'm, south about 1/2 mile away, near some piling.

As the hour approaches, I motor slowly towards bridge, but because of winds, am afraid to get too close.

Being respectful I did NOT make another radio call. I was obviously waiting.

On the hour, waiting for the bridge to move, I'm still about 100 yards away.

I figured he was waiting for some bridge traffic to clear.

Finally at 8:05 I call and all about my opening.
His response, "I was too far away. "

No comment
I would have called again just before 8:00 to confirm but that's just me.

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Old 10-01-2017, 08:35 PM   #14
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I have heard from no official source, but still have heard that official requests to open are within 15 minutes of opening. So a call before that is "courtesy", but not official.

But once a call is made and verified by the bridgetender, that is supposedly all you need to do. Unfortunately, if it didnt work, you can count on the bridge not opening, but you can get the tender in a boatload of trouble if the scenario was in the guidelines.

The othe often overlooked rule is eveey vessel wishing to pass must make a call, no pne boat calls and all pass through....even though it happens all the time.

Once had a bridge almost close on me cause a charter boat bogarted me and the bridge never verified boats or names...that would have been ugly for the tender had he actually closed and damaged me.
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:31 AM   #15
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Thankfully, the bridge tenders at the Mare Island Causeway Bridge are friendly and cooperative.

Mare Island Causeway Bridge - City of Vallejo
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Old 10-02-2017, 01:03 PM   #16
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For the best tales about bridge tenders , talk to anyone that has headed south in the real winter months.
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Old 10-04-2017, 01:04 PM   #17
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Thankfully, the bridge tenders at the Mare Island Causeway Bridge are friendly and cooperative.

Mare Island Causeway Bridge - City of Vallejo
I too never had a problem with the bridge tenders at the Mare Island Bridge nor have I ever had a problem with any of the tenders in the Delta.
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Old 10-04-2017, 01:46 PM   #18
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In SC, at least two low clearance swing bridges were "replaced" by high rise bridges but the communities wanted the old bridges left in place so they got them declared "historic".

Now, you go under the high rise bridge and call the bridge tender and wait for the swing bridge to open.

This wasn't so much a stupid government decision as it was a bunch of selfish residents. The only stupid thing the government did was build the high rise bridge.
It is ridiculous isn't it? Both Socastee and Little River swing bridges are right next to high rise bridges with 4 lanes. At least they are on demand...
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Old 10-04-2017, 01:53 PM   #19
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It is ridiculous isn't it? Both Socastee and Little River swing bridges are right next to high rise bridges with 4 lanes. At least they are on demand...
Sort of. Little River seems to be OK but the guy at Socastee seems to like the boats to wait for at least a few minutes.

Many bridges, when you request an opening they will say "Bring it on captain, it will be open when you get here." Not Socastee. And of course there are occasional mechanical issues that you don't have with high rise bridges.
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Old 10-04-2017, 02:30 PM   #20
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From Cruisers Net....


Socastee Swing Bridge – crosses the ICW at Statute Mile 371
33 41.240 North/079 00.269 West

Swing
Closed vertical clearance 11 feet
Opens on Demand. Closures may be required every 15 minutes when vessel traffic is heavy.
NOTE: Because of heavy traffic to two schools within a half-mile of the bridge, the bridge will not be able to turn between 7:45AM and 8:15AM on school days. All other times is “on demand” unless traffic becomes heavy, as on a weekend, then bridge closures may be required to every 15 minutes to accommodate road traffic.
VHF Hailing Frequency – Channel #9
Telephone Number – 843-347-3525



Socastee Swing Bridge | Cruisers' Net
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