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East Coast Alerts - December 30, 2004

By Tom Neale - Published December 30, 2004 - Viewed 654 times

Cape May Inlet, New Jersey
The USCG Local Notices to Mariners 5th District #0551 and #552 dated December 21 and 29, 2004 report that there has been a report of shoaling in the Cape May Inlet to 6 ft or less at MLW between Cape May Inlet East Jetty Light “4” and Cape May West Jetty Light “5”. It is supposed to be in the middle of the channel and in line with the Cape May Inlet Range Lights. I spoke to the OD at Cape May Coast Guard Station on Dec. 29, 2004 and was informed that dredging is currently taking place in the inlet, although the same Local Notices mentioned above did not list any dredging in Cape May. The Cape May Coast Guard Station OD reported that they expect the inlet to be returned to the charted depths (16 ft is the least depth shown on my chart) shortly. Fishing vessels between 70 and 120ft. in length use the inlet regularly and depth is currently sufficient for them I was told.

This is a very busy ocean inlet, subject to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean swells. Shallow depths can produce dangerous “breakers” from ocean swells and can make inlets or bars impassable even in flat calm conditions. If Cape May is one of your cruising destinations, check locally to make sure that dredging has indeed corrected the reported situation.

Steel Bridge over Dominion Avenue, Mile 8.8 AIWW
The Coast Guard tested and implemented a new “final” schedule for the Norfolk Bridges just over a year ago. Now they have informed us that there will be further restrictions tested at the Steel Bridge. I spoke to the USCG Bridge Chief, District 5, Waverly Gregory. He informed me that during the test period, between December 13, 2004 and March 13, 2005 this bridge will open for pleasure vessels once an hour, on the half hour, from 8:30 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. This is the same schedule that is now in effect during the summer, from Memorial Day till Labor Day. They expect that this schedule will be used only during the winter months, December through March if it becomes final. Mr. Gregory told us that the busy “Snowbird” period in the fall and spring will not have restrictions except for the current morning and evening rush hour closures.

Snows Cut Dredging
Dredging is taking place in Snows Cut between December 10, 2004 and January 7, 2005. This is the last of the four most problematic areas in the North Carolina ICW to be dredged this fall and winter.

Skidaway Narrows Bridge, Mile 592.9, Savannah GA, AIWW
We don’t have a date yet, but the Coast Guard is proposing to change the operating regulations to allow this bridge to not open from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily. There is a period of public comment from now until Feb. 1, 2005. You can send your comments to Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District, 909 S.E. 1st Avenue, Room 432, Miami, FL, 33131-3050 before Feb 1, 2005.

Canaveral Barge Canal Lock Closure Dates Changed
The schedule we gave you in the Oct 21, 2004 Alert for the Canaveral Barge Canal Lock closure has been amended and is now stated as follows: It is currently open until 2200 hours on January 7, 2005. On January 8-10, 2005, the lock will only be open to manatees, fuel barges, NASA, and emergency vessels. It will completely close again on January 10, 2005 at 2200 hours. It will reopen to all vessel traffic at 0600 hours on March 17, 2005. Please tell all the manatees you know to be sure to get through by the 10th! And tell the dolphin and fishes that they’re out of luck.

Coast Guard Changes SSB Watch Channels
The USCG coast stations relevant to US East Coast boaters are: NMF Boston, NMN Chesapeake, VA, NMA Miami, and NMG New Orleans. In the past all the coast stations have used duplex channels (these have a different frequency for calling and receiving stations) assigned specifically for the Coast Guard as their stand-by long distance and distress calling channels. Vessels at sea have used different channels from the Coast Guard (simplex channels that use the same frequency for calling and receiving) for long-range communications, much as we all use VHF Channel 16. After initial contact on the simplex channels, vessels are supposed to take traffic to a working channel.
The Coast Guard has announced that as of January 1, 2005 it will start to use the same standby calling channels as do ships at sea for initial long range and distress communication. It will then switch to the assigned duplex channels or to another mutually agreed upon working channels after initial contact.

What does this mean for SSB users? It means that it will be more important than ever that mariners switch routine traffic from the calling frequencies to working frequencies, just as we do with Channel 16 VHF. It means that the Coast Guard will monitor our routine calls and that we will be able to broadcast distress to both the Coast Guard and to other vessels at the same time.

Below is the part relevant to most East Coast SSB users:

HF Radiotelephone (Single Sideband) – Distress and Initial Contact

This schedule is effective 010001Z JAN 05

Authorized for the handling of Distress message traffic and initial contact with United States Coast Guard Long Range Communication facilities.

KHz SHIP STATION
KHz COAST STATION
NMF
NMN
NMA
NMG
4125
4125
2300-1100Z
2300-1100Z
2300-1100Z
2300-1100Z
6215
6215
24 HRS
24 HRS
24 HRS
24 HRS
8291
8291
24 HRS
24 HRS
24 HRS
24 HRS
12290
12290
1100-2300Z
1100-2300Z
1100-2300Z
1100-2300Z

HF Radiotelphone (single sideband) - Working Channels

These channels are available at all Coast Guard Long Range Communication Facilities for traffic handling purposes after initial contact is established on the HF Radiotelephone (Single Sideband) - Distress and Initial Contact frequencies.

ITU CHANNEL
KHz SHIP STATION
KHz COAST STATION
424
4134
4426
601
6200
6501
816
8240
8764
1205
12242
13089
1625
16432
17314

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale





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