East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

The following is a repeat of the VERY IMPORTANT INFO posted in the March 15 Interim Report:

St Augustine, FL, Bridge of Lions ICW Closure:
The following information has not appeared in any USCG 7th District LNM to date. This is from the Florida DOT and it is happening NOW:

Marine Channel Closures and Restrictions at Bridge of Lions

ST. AUGUSTINE – Marine traffic will be subject to intermittent channel restrictions and closures for approximately six weeks beginning Thursday, March 16, 2006. These restrictions are associated with placement of the vertical lift span for the temporary bridge being constructed adjacent to the Bridge of Lions. Once the vertical lift span is placed in mid-April, vessels requiring more than 80 feet of vertical clearance will no longer be able to pass until the temporary bridge is removed in 2010.

A chart detailing all restrictions is posted below:

Restriction/Closure Times
March 16-18, 2006 7:00 am to 1:00 pm & 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Channel restricted to 55 feet wide. Full channel openings with 2 hour notice.*
March 20-24, 2006 7:00 am to 1:00 pm & 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Channel restricted to 55 feet wide. Full channel openings with 2 hour notice.*
March 27, 2006 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Channel closed for 8 hours. Full channel openings with 2 hour notice.*
March 29, 2006 7:00 am to 11:00 am Channel closed for 4 hours. Full channel openings with 2 hour notice.*
April 17-20, 2006 Full Closure – 24 hours a day Bridge will be blocking the channel and not functioning. Small craft, less than 24 feet vertical clearance, will be able to pass beneath the bridge.
April 21-28, 2006 Intermittent Closures – 4 hours maximum between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm Bridge blocking channel during installation and testing of controls and balancing. Three 4 hour closure periods each day with opening provided with 2 hours notice.*
*Requests for a channel opening according to the above schedule should be made to the Bridge Tender via marine radio on Channel 9.

The work is associated with the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). All channel restrictions have been approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. For more information, please contact Laurie Sanderson in the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation project public information office at (904) 825-3647 or at info@FDOTBridgeofLions.com.

New Savannah USACE Report on Conditions in the Georgia ICW:
Everyone traveling through Georgia on the ICW take note:
There’re not many surprises, since there has been no dredging for at least four years. Hells Gate (Mile 601.4-602.6) is the worst, with 4 ft in centerline, followed by Jekyll Creek (Mile 680.9-685.9), with 4.5 ft at centerline.

Barefoot Landing No Longer Free:
It was great while it lasted, but like a lot of things on the waterway, it’s changing.
As of next week, the renovation at Barefoot Landing Marina (formerly the free docks at Barefoot Landing) will be complete and the marina will be open. I got a recording when I called the dockmaster (843 663 0838), but the receptionist (843 272 8349) gave me the information that the rate will be $1.00 per foot per day, with new docks, water, electricity and cable and internet. Short term tieups for shopping and dining will be handled on a per boat basis.

Atlantic Boulevard Bridge, Mile 1056.2, Schedule Change:
This bridge will only open on the hour until March 31, 2006, rather than also on the half hour. The reason the tender gave me was that it was needed to accommodate the excess traffic from the construction closures at the 14th St. Bridge. I have not seen this in any LNM’s, but the tender told me that it was in the newspapers. (Ed: Do transient boaters read the newspapers?) Contact the Bridge Branch of the 7th District USCG for information:

Loran Termination Proposed for FY 2007:
That’s right.
There’s a list of congresspersons to contact. Do It!! Even if you don’t use Loran, there are a lot of people that do. They depend on it.

St Lucie Inlet, FL, Shoaling Reported:
The 7th District LNM 12 reports that shoaling has been reported in the vicinity of St Lucie Inlet Buoy 4 and Buoy 6. All mariners are advised to stay alert and transit the area with caution.

Suzanne Wentley writes in a March 19, 2006 article at www.tcpalm.com that the St Lucie Inlet will not be dredged now, even though USACE received funding in February. This allowed only three weeks before the start of turtle nesting season when no sand can be pumped onto the beach. No bids were received during this time. Interim measures of dredging a small amount of sand to put in an impoundment basin and temporarily relocating the markers might suffice for summer traffic. The concern is that larger vessels, (ed: and there are more and more of these around this area now) will not be able to use the inlet.

We would advise that this inlet be avoided, except by locals who are familiar with the situation. We have heard other unofficial reports that this inlet has shoaled and can be potentially dangerous.

New Jersey Inlet Dredging:
The Dredge BEACHBUILDER will be conducting dredging operations in Townsend Inlet in the vicinity of Townsend Inlet Lighted Buoy 6 (LLNR 1415) and Townsend Inlet Buoy 10 (LLNR 1425) between 10 March and 24 April, 2006. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16.

Dredging in Chesapeake Bay Areas:
The following is a list of some dredging projects in popular cruising areas of the Chesapeake Bay (Info is from USCG 5th District LNM 11 and 12:

The Southwind Construction Co. Dredge 1739 WILCO, assisted by the vessels DANNY JOE and AMITY, will be conducting dredging operations on the west side of
Tangier Island between 20 March and 15 April, 2006. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16.

The Dredge CURTIS BAY will be conducting dredging operations in the Baltimore Harbor Inner Harbor. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16.

The WEEKS MARINE DREDGES 550 and 551 will be conducting dredging operations in the Baltimore Harbor approach channels in the vicinity of Poplar Island Southern Access Channel until 28 April, 2006. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16.

The DREDGE MARION will be conducting dredging operations in the vicinity of Poplar Island from 29 March until 29 May, 2006. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16.

Patuxent River Area Alerts, Chesapeake Bay:
If you’re passing the mouth of the Patuxent River at night this spring note that the Naval Base Patuxent River- Atlantic Targets and Marine Operations Division will establish two lighted data buoys, 5 flashes ever 20 seconds, in the Chesapeake Bay approximately 1.5 NM and 4.0NM Southeast of Cedar Point until May 2006:

Lighted Data Buoy A in position 38 16 24N 076 21 24W showing a Fl (5) Y 20s.
Lighted Data Buoy B in position 38 14 30N 076 20 00W showing a Fl (5) Y 20s.

Mariners are advised that Caldwell Marine International, LLC will conduct submarine cable installation operations on the Patuxent River near the Thomas Johnson Memorial (SR-4) Bridge. Operations are planned to begin on March 27, 2006, to be completed no later than April 27, 2006, and will involve the Caldwell Cable Main Lay barge. Marine traffic is requested to approach the work area with extreme caution and give a wide berth to the vessels involved in the project. Interested mariners can contact the on-scene tug Johnny C (radio call sign WDB5509) on marine radio channels 16 and 13 VHF-FM, if necessary to coordinate passage.

REALLY Shallow Chesapeake Tributaries:
Shoaling to a depth of 2 feet at high tide and exposed bottom a low tide has been reported in the vicinity of Tar Bay Light 5 Shoaling extends the full width of the channel. All mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution. This is on the Honga River, on the Lower MD Eastern Shore.

Shoaling to a depth of 2 feet MLLW has been reported in the vicinity of St. Jerome Creek Daybeacon 8. The shoaling extends southward from the Daybeacon 8 for a distance of 10 yards and then eastward approximately 35 yards. All mariners are advised to transit the area with extreme caution. This is on a creek south of the Patuxent River (Solomons Island area), lower MD Western Shore.

And Then There’s Rudee Inlet:
The City of Virginia Beach tries to keep us all informed. And this time there is some shallower water:

The City of Virginia Beach Survey of Rudee Inlet, dated March 08, 2006, indicates a least depth of 8 feet, MLLW across the outbound channel, approximately 300 feet east of the South Jetty; and a least depth of 7 feet MLLW across the inbound channel, approximately 200 feet east of the North Jetty. The survey also indicates a least depth of 9 feet MLLW, across the channel just west of the inside south jetty. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution.

North Carolina Smaller Coastal Inlet Areas Shoaling Again:
USGC 5th District LNM reports that a Corp of Engineers survey conducted on 03 March, 2006 reveals shoaling to a depth of 0.0 feet MLLW from Topsail Creek Buoy 7A extending approximately 50 yards south. There is also shoaling to a depth of 3.5 feet MLLW between Old Topsail Creek Buoy 10 and Old Topsail Creek Buoy 11. Mariners are cautioned not to transit this area during low water and to use extreme caution when transiting this channel during other tidal states. The U.S. Coast Guard is reviewing these conditions and will consider appropriate action including the temporary discontinuing of aids to navigation. This is not on the ICW, but some transient boaters venture into these side creeks looking for anchorages. Leave it for those with local knowledge.

A Corp of Engineers survey conducted on 24 February, 2006 revels shoaling to a depth 3.6 feet MLLW between Carolina Beach Inlet Buoy 2A and Carolina Beach Inlet Buoy 4. These small coastal inlets should be used only with intimate local knowledge.

Dredging in Some NC Inlets:
The Dredge JENNIE LEA II will be conducting dredging operations in Barden Inlet between Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout from 03 to 31. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. This is another local knowledge only area.

The Dredge ALASKA assisted by the vessels LONE STAR, CAPT. HARD HEAD and the survey vessel OHIO RIVER will be conducting dredging operations in Masonboro Inlet/Banks Channel from 06 March to 15 May, 2006. The dredge can be contacted on VHF-FM channels 10, 13 and 16. But this inlet that gets heavy use from many transient and local boaters.

South Carolina Dredging:
Rowboat Dock and Dredge Company has commenced maintenance dredging operations in Coquina Harbor adjacent to the ICW off SC-90E at the end of Lightkeepers Way, Little River, Horry County, South Carolina. The spoil pipe will cross the ICW at position 33-51-33.180N 078-38-18.120W, 100 yards south of Little River-Winyah Bay Daybeacon 13 (LLNR 33640). The spoil pipe will decrease the water depth by 14". The completion date for this project is on or about June 31, 2006. Operating hours will be 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven (6) days per week. For further information contact Mr. John Gore at (843) 448-1613.

Florida Dredging:
Subaqueous Services, Inc., has commence dredging operations at Fernadina Beach in the vicinity of 30 deg 40-09-N 081 deg 27-59-W. The project will continue through April 30, 2006, with the exception of a ten day period allowed for the Shrimp Festival (April 28 thru May 8, 2006). The off-loader site at Black Hammock will include a160-X 40- deck barge and a 190-X 35- hopper barge. The pump off station will be located in the Intracoastal Waterway north of Sawpit Creek Daybeacon 50. Two crane barges, two hopper barges (6101 and 6108), and two tugs (Erin P. and Biscayne), will be performing operations at the marine and associated job sites. Dredging operations will continue twelve (12) daylight hours a day, seven (7) days a week until approximately May 6, 2006. All vessels can be reached on VHF Channel 13 and 16, for safety and maneuvering information. Mariners are advised to exercise caution when transiting this area. For further information contact Mr. Kevin Boyette at (904) 626-0826.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company will commence maintenance dredging (deepening) in a portion of Cut -1 and Cut-2 of the Port of Miami Entrance Channel. The hopper dredge NORTHERLY ISLAND is scheduled to begin dredging operations in an area just outside of the jetties in the Entrance Channel on or about March 23, 2006. The hopper dredge will be loading dredge spoils from the Entrance Channel and transiting to a 1,000 foot diameter offshore disposal site (ODMDS) centered at approximate position Latitude 25 deg 45 min N 080 deg 3 min W. The dredging operation is on a continuous basis twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days per week. The dredge will have all required Coast Guard lighting for night time operations. The hopper dredge will monitor VHF Channels 13 and 16 for safety and maneuvering information. This operation will be completed on or about April 30, 2006. All mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting this area. For further information please contact Mr. Sam R. Morrison at (630) 574-2920.

And Drilling:
First in Ft Lauderdale, now Miami. PSI Engineering has commenced boring drilling on the west end of the Port of Miami Main Ship Channel. The drilling barge will be in the channel from 7:00 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. daily, Monday through Friday. This operation will continue for approximately ten (10) weeks, with completion date on or about May 31, 2006. Mariners are requested to keep clear of the drilling barge and use caution while transiting the area.

Bluewater Books and Charts, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Instrument Expo:
On Wednesday, March 29, 2006 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Bluewater Books and Charts in Ft. Lauderdale will host Instrument Expo, 2006. The address is 1811 Cordova Road, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316 (phone 954 763 6533, ext 228 or email
mneale@bluewaterweb.com for info).

If you’re cruising in the area, stop by. Bluewater's crew and representatives from various companies, including Steiner (binoculars) and Weems & Plath (navigational tools) will help you navigate your way through the sea of instruments. There’ll be door prizes, snacks, beer and wine. There will also be some great discounts on tools and products that you really can't live without.

Dania Marine Flea Market 2006 at New Location:
The 28th Annual Dania Marine Flea Market will be held this year at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL rather than its traditional location at the Dania Jai Alai Fronton. There is more space at the new location for additional parking and more vendors. It’s probably the world’s largest event of this type and will feature over 1200 vendors. The date is March 30-April 2, 2006.

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

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale