East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

Bridge Construction Delays in the Atlantic ICW:
                  BB McCormick Bridge, Jacksonville Beach FL, Mile 747: From a Broadcast Notice to Mariners, Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville: The federal channel beneath the BB McCormick Bridge is closed to vessel traffic beginning December 8 through December 19, 2008, from 7:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. On the closure dates there will be limited opening between noon and 1:00 p.m. and for declared emergencies. The tug Anna is standing by on VHF Channels 13 and 16 for information. Construction is underway on the second high level span across the ICW, in the position of the former opening bridge at that location.
                  Fantasy Harbour Bridge, Myrtle Beach SC, Mile 367: The following (in plain text) is the text from the USCG 7th District LNM regarding this construction. However, I spoke with the SCDOT official in charge and was told that there would probably be no closure of the waterway until after Christmas. The latest update (December 8, 2008) to the MSIB on USCG Homeport Charleston website gives the closure dates regarding this construction as being a day earlier than each of the dates below. Check for local information if this is relevant to your travels, as there is obviously some confusion as to the ICW closure dates: South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has advised Coast Guard Sector Charleston that their contractor will be constructing a bridge over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The construction will require a barge and tender to obstruct the navigational channel. The construction project will start on December 15, 2008, near the location MM 367 and in approximate position 33 deg 42’28”N 078 deg 55’50”W. The following dates the waterway will be restricted due to the construction for periods up to 24 hours are as follows:
                   17 December 2008, 08 January 2009, 14 January 2009 and 22 January 2009
All mariners transiting in the area should proceed with caution. If there are any concerns mariners should contact Coast Guard Sector Charleston’s twenty-four (24) hour Watch Center on VHF-Channel 16 or (843) 724-7616 (Comm). For specific questions about the contractor’s schedule, please contact Travis Patrick of the SCDOT office at (843) 431-1135, or for questions regarding Coast Guard matters please contact Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Hunter Crider at (843) 724-7647.
                  Second Oak Island Bridge, Southport, NC, Mile 316.6:Mariners are advised to take caution and proceed slowly when approaching the construction site of a new highway bridge (Middleton Ave.) to Oak Island, over the AIWW, Mile 316.6 in Brunswick County, NC. Barges and a crane will be in the channel from 20 October until 31 December, 2008 causing mariners to be delayed up to 4 hours. This delay will be during daylight hours, two hours before and after high tide. There should be no delay at other times. This notice is from the USCG 5th District LNM 50. See October 16 East Coast Alerts for details on times of closure. When we passed on December 2, 2008, the channel was being blocked for more than a half hour ahead of the scheduled closing, but boats were allowed to pass through before it was closed for the four hour period.

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

Lady’s Island Bridge, Beaufort SC, Mile 536 Repaired:
                  The bridge tender at the Lady’s IslandBridge reports that the bridge was repaired yesterday and that as of today, December 11, 2008, the bridge is back to its normal operating schedule. Monday through Friday, except federal holidays, it is closed from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. It opens on the hour and half hour between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and on request at other times.

Recent Dredging Report:
                  We passed through the DawhoRiver and Asheepoo-Coosaw Cutoff in South Carolina on December 4, 2008 on Chez Nous. Dredging has been completed in both areas. In the DawhoRiver, green cans 111 and 113 which were being reported as off-station in local Broadcasts to Mariners appeared to be on-station. There was more than 12 feet of water between 110 and 113 at low tide, where previously four feet had been reported to be the controlling depth. However, red daybeacon 114 was missing, and in the area immediately south of 113 in the vicinity of 115 and 116, depths were in the range of around 7-8 feet. The Asheepoo-Coosaw Cutoff had more than adequate depths throughout, with around 12 feet low water depth between 184 and 185.

Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule:
                  NOAA Fisheries has just released a Compliance Guide for the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/shipstrike/compliance_guide.pdf , which summarizes the details of the rule and can be kept on the bridge for quick reference. The rule implements speed restrictions of 10 knots or less in areas and seasons along the US East Coast where right whales are known to occur. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 10, 2008, and will come into effect on December 9, 2008. The compliance guide, along with the Federal Register notice and background documentation, is available at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike (5th District LNM 50). The USCG 7th District LNM 49 reminds us that from November to April the coastal waters between Altamaha Sound, GA, and Sebastian Inlet, FL, are used as calving grounds by the severely endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. This is the world’s only known calving ground for this species. Right Whales are the rarest whales in the world and are protected under law from disturbance or injury by the endangered species act of 1973, and the Marine Mammal Protection act of 1972. Right Whales, especially females and their calves, are slow swimmers and frequently lie at the surface. This behavior makes them vulnerable to collisions with ships, which are a significant source of mortality. Vessels operating within 25 miles of shore between 31-27N and 29-50N and within five miles of shore from 29-50N and 28-00N should take precautions to avoid collisions with Right Whales.

Proposed Dredging—Cape Cod Canal:
                  From the USCG 1st District LNM 49: The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New England District, proposes to dredge various locations in the main shipping channel in Cape Cod Canal. The proposed work involves maintenance dredging to remove approximately 50,000 - 60,000 cubic yards (cy) of clean sand and gravel from various locations in the authorized, 32-feet deep by 500-feet wide, main-ship channel and the 25-feet deep EMB portions of the project. Shoaling in the main-ship channel causes tidal delays and hazardous conditions for deep-draft commercial vessels transiting the Canal. Shoaling in the EMB limits the available space to moor these vessels in emergencies (e.g. icing). Further shoaling in the Canal proper may result in some of the deep draft vessels having to completely avoid using the Canal and transit around Cape Cod thereby significantly increasing the risk profile of these vessels, especially during the winter months. The proposed work will be performed by either a hydraulic hopper dredge or a mechanical dredge and attendant scows. The decision whether to perform the work will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, will be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors, which may be relevant to the proposal, will be considered; among these are conservation, economics, aesthetics, general environmental concerns, historic values, fish and wildlife values, flood damage prevention, land use classification, and the welfare of the people.
                  Any person who has an interest, which may be affected by the dredging and disposal of this dredged material, may request a public hearing. The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer within the comment period of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest, which may be affected and the manner in which the interest may be affected by this activity. Please bring this notice to the attention of anyone you know to be interested in this project. Comments are invited from all interested parties and should be directed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01 742-275 1, ATTN: Bill Kavanaugh, by 26 December 2008.

Hazardous Ops, Northeast Coast:
                  The 1st District LNM 49 advises that hazardous operations will be conducted from 0800Z on 09 December 2008 to 2359Z on 20 December 2008 in an area bound by 40-21N, 071-30W; 40-21N, 070-40W; 39-50N, 070-40W; 39-50N, 071-30W. Mariners should avoid this area and use caution while transiting on the surrounding waters. Any questions regarding these hazardous ops exercises should be directed to LCDR Hernandez at 860-694-4715/3676 or DSN at 694- 4715/3676.

Pier Construction, Hudson River, NJ:
Also from the 1st District LNM 49: There will be construction of a 440' x 480' recreational pier behind Pierhead Inc. at Pier C on the Hudson River in Hoboken, NJ. Construction is scheduled to begin December 4, 2007 through June 30, 2009. Work will be conducted Monday-Friday from the hours of 700 to 1800hrs. There will be a crane "Derrick" 500 feet east of the bulkhead from old pier C to Pier A to the south. Temporary anchorage 400 feet north of Pier A and 600 feet east of the Bulkhead. Vessels on scene will be SEI-160-3, Marcy-C and Hughes 807. Anyone requiring further information regarding this project should contact Bill Simmerman 973-332-5011.

Dredging, NJ:
                  The 5th District LNM 50 reports that the Dredge CHARLESTON will be dredging operations at the ConocoPhillips Trainer Facility in Marcus Hook from 03 December until completed. A submerged pipeline will be placed from the dredging area through the Marcus Hook Anchorage to the vicinity of Oldman’s Creek on the New Jersey side of the river. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM CHs 13 and 16. It is requested that all traffic contact the dredge 30 minutes prior to expected passage time.

Thimble Shoals Light to go Silent:
From the 5th District LNM 50: The U.S. Coast Guard proposes discontinuing the sound signal on Thimble Shoal Light. Comments to this proposal should be submitted prior to 31 December, 2008 to Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District (dpw), 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth Virginia (23704), Attn: Mr. Al Grimes.

ICW RR Bridge to Close for New Year’s Eve and Day:
                  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 beginning at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, December 31, 2008, until and including 5 a.m. on Friday, January 2, 2009, to facilitate structural repairs.  To avoid delays, mariners are advised to plan their trips accordingly. From the USCG 5th DistrictBridge Branch.

Southern Branch, Elizabeth River, VA, Marine Construction:
                  From the USCG 5th District LNM 50:
The SKANSKA Corp. has established the following temporary anchor buoys until 19 December, 2008 for pile driving operations at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard:
A. Anchor Buoy A (no LLNR) at 36-49-30N, 076-17-32W, Fl 6s Y, Yellow buoy.
B. Anchor Buoy B (no LLNR) at 36-49-28N, 076-17-31W, Fl 6s Y, Yellow buoy.
The buoys will be approximately 15 feet into the channel. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution.

Mariners are advised that the Virginia Dept. of Transportation will be installing approximately 14 “NO MOORING” signs on the pylons on both sides of the High Rise Bridge located on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth river, Mile 7.1 at Chesapeake, Va. Work will run from December 18, 2008 through January 16, 2009, between the hours of 8 A.M. and 4 P.M. A motorized work platform will be used to facilitate the installation. All work will be outside the navigable Channel. Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting the area.
Dredging: Roanoke Sound, NC:
                  The Dredge MARION will be conducting dredging operations in Roanoke Sound Channel in the vicinity Roanoke Sound Channel Light 11 to Wanchese Channel Buoy 2 from 01 December to 31 December, 2008. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16 and should be contacted for passing agreements. (5th District LNM 50)

Shoaling Reported in Beaufort Channel:
                  This is a shipping channel. The USCG 5th District states that the Coast Guard has received a report of shoaling in Beaufort Inlet Channel from Shackleford Point near Beaufort Inlet Channel Light 16 extending west approximately 30 yards into Beaufort Channel. Mariners should exercise extreme caution when transiting the area.

Wilmington, NC Diving Ops and Construction:
The 5th District LNM 50 advises mariners that underwater inspections and repair work has begun at the North Carolina State Ports Authority Wilmington Terminal Berths 7 and 8. Dive operations with a 2 man crew are being conducted from a small boat. A DIVER DOWN flag will be displayed during those times when diver operations are in progress. Piling repair and concrete replacement will be ongoing through April 2010. Mariners are requested to transit with extreme caution and NO WAKE. If necessary the work boats may be contacted on VHF-FM Ch. 16.

Dredging, Charleston:
                  The 7th District LNM 50 advises that Southwind Construction Corp., has commenced dredging operations in the vicinity of the junction at the Intracoastal Waterway and the Shem Creek/Mount Pleasant Channels on the east side of Charleston Harbor. The dredge JENNI LEA with workboat Miss Leanne and Danny Joe will be on scene and monitoring VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16 for maneuvering information. Mariners are advised that submerged and floating pipeline associated with dredging operations will be visibly lighted and marked in accordance with Coast Guard regulations. This project will continue until completion on or about December 19, 2008. For further information please contact Mr. Steve Bassett at (812) 867-7220.

New Buoy off Vero Beach:
                  The Coast Guard has advised (7th District LNM 50) that a special purpose spar buoy will be deployed in approximate position 27-42.2’N 080-16.7”W, on or about December 19, 2008 until January 30, 2009, five (5) NM offshore of Vero Beach, Florida. Color: Yellow, Light Characteristics: Fl Y 4s, Height: 9.5 feet (1.5" freeboard), 30” dual antennas, single point mooring with dual anchors. For further information please contact Mr. Bill Spellins at (321) 751-3273 (comm) or (321) 751-3299 (cell).

Florida Bridge Update: From the USCG 7th District LNM 50:           
            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.
            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.
            Florida Keys, Seven Mile Bridge: (Between Hog Key and Bahia Honda Key): Due to repairs, there is a 30-foot platform which hangs down 8 feet below the bridge. It is marked with flags and lights. The platform will be moved to different areas of the bridge during repairs until December 30, 2008.   
            Okeechobee Waterway, Mile 126.3:The Wilson Piggott Bridge will be under single leaf operation from August 18-Feb 28, 2008. A double leaf opening will require a 3 hour notice. The vertical clearance of the down span will be reduced by 5 feet. There will be one 8-hour closure to be announced.
            JohnsPassBridge, Clearwater area:All mariners be advised that a safety zone will be in effect on the waters of Johns Pass, Florida from 7:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m. on December 16, 2008. The safety zone encompasses all waters within a 2500 foot radius of the Johns Pass Bridge. Entry into this zone is prohibited without prior permission from the Captain of the Port. Coast Guard and local Law enforcement Vessels will be on scene to enforce the safety zone. All mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area. The Coast Guard will issue a Broadcast Notice to Mariners 24 hours prior to the blast and when Johns Pass is reopened to vessel traffic.
            Hillsborough River, Tampa: All mariners be advised that a barge will be partially obstructing the channel under the I-275 bridge on the Hillsborough River starting on December 8, 2008, until January 18, 2009, for painting operations. Any vessels requiring the full width of the channel may contact the PCL tug on VHF-FM Channel 13. All mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area.

Shoaling, Anclote River:
                  The 7th District LNM 50 warns that shoaling has been observed and reported extending 100 yards into the Turning Basin between 4-8 Feet MLW in the vicinity of Anclote River Turning Basin Daybeacon 51 and Anclote River Turning Basin Daybeacon 53.
All mariners are urged/advised to transit the area with extreme caution.

Dredging: Sanibel, Gulf of Mexico:
                  From the 7th District LNM 50: Energy Resources, Inc, has commenced dredging operations in Blind Pass, Sanibel, Florida. The first phase of this project will be dredging of the inner portion of Wulfert Channel from the Blind Pass Bridge to the north/northeast for a distance of one-half mile. The second portion of phase one will be dredging the southern end of the Roosevelt Channel for a distance of 600 feet from the Wulfert Channel. The channel width on the inside varies from 50 feet to 100 feet wide to a depth of 11 feet MHW. The outside portion from Blind Pass bridge heading south/southwest for approximately 1100 feet into the Gulf of Mexico will be dredged in the second phase. The width of this portion of the channel varies from 100 feet to 235 feet wide, the dredge depth will be 11 feet MHW. This project will be completed on or about June 30, 2009. All mariners are request to transit at their slowest safe speed. For further information please contact Mr. Paul Reinhart at (636) 532-9558.

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.