East Coast Alerts
By Mel Neale

March 5, 2009

Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine FL, Mile 777.9:
           Attention Snowbirds: If you are planning to be in this area of the ICW in late March through early May of 2009, check the Florida Bridge Updates below for information regarding four long periods of channel closure at this bridge. These are the most restrictive closures so far in this bridge rehabilitation project.*

*Italicized text above and below indicates our comment or paraphrase.  Plain text is copied from the Notices to Mariners or other sources given.

Figure Eight Island Bridge Opening Schedule Change Proposed:
From the 5th District Bridge Branch:
FEB 24 2009
The Coast Guard proposes to change the drawbridge operation regulations of the Figure Eight Swing Bridge, at AIWW mile 278.1 at Scotts Hill, NC. This proposal would allow for the drawbridge to open on signal every hour on the half hour for the passage of pleasure vessels. At all times, the draw will continue to open on signal for commercial vessels. The proposed change would result in more efficient use of the bridge.

Interested parties are requested to express their views, in writing, on the proposed changes to the operating regulations. Comments will be received for the record at the office of the Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District, 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, Virginia 23704-5004. Written comments on this proposal must be submitted on or before April 6. 2009.

     Editorial Comment: Of course this is more efficient use of bridge because it cuts the openings in half. And residents of Figure Eight Island will be delighted in that they will have fewer waiting periods at the bridge. But for boaters it will just increase the headaches of getting through the ICW stretch between Camp Lejeune and Wrightsville Beach, NC, a distance of about 50 miles where there are no anchorages and few marina slips.
           First there is the bombing range at Camp Lejeune which gets closed down occasionally, then the Onslow Beach Bridge (slow opening on the hour and half hour), then the Surf City Bridge, opening on the hour, then the Figure Eight Island Bridge now opening on the hour and half hour, then the Wrightsville Beach Bridge opening on the hour.
           So what’s the big deal about this bridge? Here it is: The distance between the Wrightsville Beach Bridge (opens once an hour on the hour) and the Figure Eight Island Bridge is five statute miles. The channel is very narrow with few markers, strong reversing and side currents, and a very busy boat ramp just north of the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. Slower boats (sailboats and some trawlers, which are usually less maneuverable than faster smaller boats and are slowed further by adverse currents) usually cannot make the five mile distance between these bridges in 30 minutes, and would be forced to wait for nearly an hour at one bridge or another. Waiting (while moving, as boats must do when waiting, or anchoring to wait) and congestion will cause possible accidents at the bridges, especially in the vicinity of the boat ramp at Wrightsville Beach. Figure Eight is an aging bridge and often needs repairs. Why not repair it right or replace it? I guess they feel that it’s easier and cheaper to just punish boaters and cause unnecessary and serious safety issues at another bridge.
           No one will know about these issues unless we boaters make comments during this public comment period. It doesn’t help to make noise afterwards.

General Announcements from Recent LNMs:
     NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) intends to eliminate LORAN-C lattices from future editions of NOS Paper Nautical Charts and Raster Navigational Charts starting in 2009. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS) requests that all comments about this change be sent via OCS’ inquiry page <http://ocsdata.ncd.noaa.gov/idrs/inquiry.aspx> before April 24, 2009. Any other questions may be directed to the inquiry page or by calling NOAA’s navigation inquiry hotline: 1-888-990-NOAA (6622).For further information or inquiries please contact Mr. Richard Sillcox (Chief, Update Service, Marine Chart Division) at (301) 713-1973 ext 105.

Test Borings, Great South Bay, NY:
           From the USCG 1st District LNM 08: Test borings are being done in the Great South Bay until 18 June 2009. Mariners are advised to transit the area with caution as these vessels will be restricted in their ability to maneuver while engaged in operations.

NJICW Bridge Repairs:
     From the 5th District LNM 09: Mariners are advised that fender system and overhead steel span repairs are in progress through April 2009 at the Sea Isle Blvd Bridge, at ICW mile 93.4 over Ludlam Thorofare at Sea Isle City, NJ. To facilitate the steel span operation, scaffolding will be used reducing the available vertical clearance by approximately three feet to approximately 32 feet, above mean high water. For fender system repairs, all work will be done from a 20-foot wide barge moored to the fender itself. The channel will not be blocked. Working hours will be daylight hours and the barge will not be moved at night. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting the area.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge, DC, Construction and Closure and Regulations Change Proposed:
           The 5th District LNM 09 advises mariners that construction work continues at the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge across the Potomac River, at mile 103.8, between Alexandria VA and Oxon Hill MD; and the drawbridge will remain closed-to-navigation each day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until May 31, 2009.
           It further advises that the Coast Guard proposes to change the regulations governing the operation of the new Woodrow Wilson (I-95) Bridge, at mile 103.8, across the Potomac River between Alexandria, VA, and Oxon Hill, MD. This proposal aims to balance the number of required bridge openings based on the projected use by vehicular and marine traffic needs. The proposal would permanently maintain the drawbridge in the closed-to-position each day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Comments on this proposal should be forwarded to the above address attention (Commander, 5th Coast Guard District, (dpb), 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704 ) no later than March 26, 2009. A copy of Public Notice 5-1136, which describes the proposal in detail, can be obtained by writing to the address above or by calling (757) 398-6222.

More Shoaling In Salt Ponds, Hampton, VA:
           From the 5th District LNM 09: The Coast Guard has received a report of shoaling in the Salt Ponds entrance channel between Salt Ponds Light 6 and Salt Ponds Daybeacon 10. Mariners are urged to use caution when transiting the area.

Norfolk Area RR Bridge to Close (Not on the ICW)
           The 5th District LNM 09 advises mariners that the Norfolk Southern #V2.8 Railroad Bridge, at mile 2.7 across the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk VA will be closed to vessels beginning at 7 A.M. on Monday 23 February, 2009, through 11 P.M. on Sunday 08 March, 2009, to facilitate emergency mechanical repairs. Mariners should plan their transits accordingly.

ICW to Close for Bridge Work, Mile 5.8, (Norfolk Area):
            From the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch: Mariners are advised that the Norfolk Southern #7 Railroad Bridge, at AIWW mile 5.8, across the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake VA, will be closed to vessels to complete structural repairs beginning at 5 a.m. until and including 11 p.m. each Sunday on March 8, April 5, April 12, May 3 and May 10, 2009.  At all other times, the drawbridge will operate in accordance with the operating drawbridge regulations set out in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.997(e).  Mariners should adjust their transits accordingly.

Harkers Island, NC Marine Construction (Not on the ICW):
           The 5th District LNM 09 reports that Taylor Brothers Marine Construction, Inc. will be removing an existing 34.5kV Power Line Pole and installing a new one it its place approximately 100 feet East of the Harkers Island Draw Bridge, in Harkers Island, NC from 26 February until 15 April, 2009. This work will be performed from a floating crane barge, and will involve a manned boom truck at times, which is very sensitive to vessel wake. Request all vessel traffic approaching the Harkers Island Draw Bridge use extra vigilance and slow to bare steerage way to minimize wake in the vicinity of the worksite. Taylor Brothers Marine Construction, Inc. will monitor VHF Channel 13/16 at all times while work is in progress.

ICW Dredging, Rich Inlet Area, NC:
           5th District LNM 08: The Dredge RICHMOND will be conducting dredging operations in the vicinity of Rich Inlet in Nixon Channel at the north end of Figure 8 Island from 05 February until 31 March, 2009. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16.

Wrightsville Beach, NC, Bridge Repairs, Channel Obstructions:
           From the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch: Mariners are advised that structural repairs will be conducted from February 20 until April 5, 2009 at the S.R. 74 Bridge, at AIWW mile 283.1, at Wrightsville Beach, NC.  To facilitate repairs, construction equipment (two barges, measuring 40 feet X 60 feet with crane and work platforms measuring 10 feet X 15 feet along with two work boats) will occupy the channel to perform pile replacement, sheet piling, excavation, and concrete fill.  Normal activity will be from 7 a.m. until dark, Monday through Saturday. 
There are activities which will require placement of construction equipment in the channel:

  1. After the sheet pile wall is installed, the larger 40 X 60 barge will only be placed in the channel intermittently throughout the remainder of the project and there will be no conflict with the channel on any Friday through Sunday, nor any holidays.
  2. During concrete placement at the end of the project, the larger 40 X 60 barge may be placed in the channel for one day or one night only, ranging from March 20 to April 2, 2009.

Mariners requiring the full width of the channel are requested to provide at least two hours advance notice by calling either (910) 612-8112, (336) 8102 or the bridge tender at (910) 256-2886.  Construction equipment will be moored outside the navigable channel when not utilized.  All barges will be marked with red quick flash lights on all corners adjacent to the channel and white steady burn lights on the corners furthest from the channel.  Mariners should also use extreme caution when transiting the area.

Marina Dredging, Little River, SC:
           From the 7th District LNM 09: Marcol Dredging Company has commenced dredging operations in the vicinity of the Mariners' Pointe Marina, Little River, South Carolina. The dredge LEO will be monitoring VHF Channel 66A. This project will be completed on or about May 31, 2009. All mariners are requested to proceed with caution in and around the area. For additional information please contact the dredge company at (843) 747-2177.

Ben Sawyer Bridge, Mile 462.2 Repairs:
            This bridge was severely damaged 20 years ago during Hurricane Hugo, and the swing span should have been replaced then. The USCG 7th District LNM 07 announces that the swing span of the Ben Sawyer Bridge will be replaced between March and November, 2009 and there may be slight delays in opening. These delays will be announced in MSIBs from Coast Guard Charleston.
            The USCG 7th District LNM 08 reports that this bridge will be closed to navigation on March 6, 2009 from 7:00 a.m. through 11:00 a.m. for temporary power transfer.

Charleston County Tax Law Change:
            We received the following information from Dave Rogers, the Harbormaster of The Charleston City Marina: We have great news for the traveling boater. Charleston County has changed the ordinance that formerly stated that a vessel could only stay in the county for 60 days consecutive or 90 days aggregate before potentially being assessed a tax bill to now read that they now have 180 days.

USACE Survey, Charleston to Beaufort, SC:
            A survey of this area was published on March 2, 2009. Two profile lines were drawn, on the left and right side of the center of the channel. The channel measured is 90 ft wide.  All was done at MLLW. This type of survey covers many miles in each stretch, and there will be varied depths throughout, with only the shallowest depth given. The least depth reported on the left side (green side) was 7.3, between Limehouse Bridge and Yonges Island (11.4 miles). The least depth reported on the right side (red side) was 3.9 feet from Ashepoo River to Rock Creek (3.5 miles). Also reported shallow on the right side was Brickyard Creek to Beaufort (7 miles) at 4 feet and Dawhoo River Bridge to South Edisto Bridge (3.1 miles) at 5.7 feet. This survey was an attachment to the 7th District LNM 09. The surveys are not yet posted on the Charleston USACE website but you should check them when they are. Conditions may change at any time.

Manatee Warning:
           From the 7th District LNM 09: The Captain of the Port (of Jacksonville) advises all mariners operating in Florida’s waters that the Florida Manatee is a protected marine mammal under State and Federal Law. These protected species are known to inhabit the Lower St Johns River between the months of March and December. The Captain of the Port advises that all vessels crews be aware of the existence of the Florida Manatee during river transits. Vessel crews post adequate lookouts for these protected mammals when maneuvering near berths and in shallow areas. Should an incident occur, notify Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC), Law Enforcement Division.

NOAA Surveys, South Florida Inlets:
           The 7th District LNM 08 reports that Ocean Surveys and NOAA are co-coordinating with the local Coast Guard Units, Port Control, and the U.S. Navy. The first (1st) survey area (Port Everglades) is approximately two (2) miles north and south of the Port Everglades Inlet, including the Inlet and waters seaward for approximately one (1) mile. Weekly LNM updates will be published to advise mariners of the current survey area until completion on or about March 31, 2009.
The survey vessel R/V ABLE II will be on-scene and monitoring VHF Channel 13, 14, and 16. All mariners are requested to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed in the vicinity of the survey vessel. For further information please contact Mr. John Wetmur at (860) 227-5564.

Subsurface Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler off Dania Beach:
           From the 7th Distirct LNM 09: Florida Atlantic University Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET) has deployed/installed four (4) subsurface moored Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) buoys off-shore Dania Beach in approximate positions:
           Buoy #1: 26 deg 04.3’N 079 deg 45’W, depth: 660 meters, buoy diameter: 37 inches, buoy height off bottom: 160 meters, watch circle: 0.5 nm, safe radius from buoy: 200 meters
            Buoy #2: 26 deg 04.3’N 079 deg 55’W, depth: 340 meters, buoy diameter: 49 inches, buoy height off bottom: 15 meters, watch circle: 0.5 nm, safe radius from buoy: 50 meters
           Buoy #3: 26 deg 04.3’N 079 deg 50.5’W, depth: 260 meters, buoy diameter: 45 inches, buoy height off bottom: 15 meters, watch circle: 0.5 nm, safe radius from buoy: 50 meters
           Buoy #4: 26 deg 04.3’N 079 deg 45’W, depth: 220 meters, buoy diameter: 49 inches, buoy height off bottom: 135 meters, watch circle: 0.5 nm, safe radius from buoy: 175 meters
           Each mooring consists of a buoy connected by a 3/16” SS cable connected to an acoustic release and a steel clump anchor. Each anchor weighs approximate 3000 lbs and has a 47” X 47” footprint. All four buoys are expected to be recovered on or about October 26, 2009 by firing the acoustic release, the steel anchor will be abandoned in place.

Florida Bridge Update: From the USCG 7th District LNM 09:           
            Hart Bridge, St. Johns River: The vertical clearance of the Hart Bridge will be reduced by 5 feet due to painting, March 2, 2009 through November, 2010. There will be a safety boat in the vicinity during the painting.
            Sisters Creek Bridge, Mile 739.2: This bridge will be under repair until April 10, 2009. Between January 12 and April 10, 2009, one half of the channel will be blocked by a barge working on fender replacement on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week, between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
            BB McCormick Bridge, Mile 747: The federal channel beneath this bridge will again be closed for a two week period, Monday-Friday. Dates are March 2-13, time is 7:00 a.m.--6:00 p.m. There will be limited openings between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m. and for declared emergencies. The tug Anna will stand by on VHF Channels 13 and 16.       
            Bridge of Lions, Mile 777.9: Scheduled Closures: March 23-March 27, 2009 and March 30-April 3, 2009, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., with two consecutive openings at 1:00 and 1:30 p.m. Channel otherwise closed to all marine traffic with opening for declared emergencies only. Further closures: April 20-April 25 and April 27-May 2, 2009 (Mon-Sat), from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., with no scheduled openings, and the channel will be closed to all marine traffic, with openings for declared emergencies only. During periods of channel closure, recreational vessels wishing to travel through this section of the Matanzas River may make a request to the Bridge of Lions tender on VHF Channel 09 two hours in advance of intended transit.
Port Orange A1A Bridge (Mile 835.5): Vertical clearance will be reduced by 3 feet across one half of the channel due to painting. Dates: December 3, 2008-March 30, 2009.
            NASA Railroad Bridge (Mile 876.6): Due to repairs, this bridge will be closed to navigation from 7:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, March 16-June 30, 2009.         
           Sunny Isles Bridge (Mile 1078):  Also known as the NE 163rd St. Bridge, will be on single leaf operation at quarter past and three quarters past the hour, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., except federal holidays. Dates are Oct. 15, 2008 through March 27, 2009. Double leaf openings will be available with two hours notice. On Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m., both leaves will open at quarter past and three quarters past the hour. Both leaves are available on request at all other times.
Okeechobee Waterway, Mile 108.2: The Fort Denaud Bridge will be closed for maintenance on March 17, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m.         
            GIWW: Pinellas Bayway (Mile 114) and Corey Causeway (Mile 117.7): There will be a test of a deviation to the schedule of these two bridges from 7:00 a.m. March 2 through 7:00 p.m. May 8, 2009 to test a twice an hour opening schedule.

Sarasota Beach Re-Nourishment:
           From the 7th District LNM 09: Weeks Marine, Inc., has commenced a beach re-nourishment project at Lido Key Beach, Sarasota, Florida, with the cutterhead dredge CAPTAIN FRANK and attendant plant at the entrance to New Pass at approximate position 27 deg 19’41” 082 deg 35’16” to a point approximately one mile offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dredge spoils will be transported to Lido Key Beach using a combination of floating and submerged pipeline. Attendant tugs and barges will be present offshore of Lido Key from New Pass to Big Sarasota Pass. The dredge and attendant plant will have all Coast Guard lighting required for night operations. This project will continue until April 2009 or completion. The dredge crew and tug operators will monitor VHF Channels 13 and 16. Mariners are urged to use extreme caution and transit the area at their slowest safe speed to create minimum wake. For additional information please contact Mr. Charles Balentine at crbalentine@weeksmarine.com or (985) 875-2525.

Shoaling, Everglades City:
           Also from the 7th District LNM 09: Shoaling has been reported in between Indian Key Pass and Barron River in the vicinity of Everglades City, Florida. All Mariners are urged to use extreme caution while transiting the area and use general knowledge.

This information is not to be used for navigation. Consult the latest charts and Local Notices to Mariners and use prudent seamanship. Conditions may change.  Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive and also hold authors harmless from any and all claims which may arise from or be related to that use.

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