East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

General Observations from the Editor:
            District 1 (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CY NY East of the Hudson and Hudson River, Northern NJ): There seems to be a trend in the First District to remove sound signals from major navigational aids. They are too numerous to mention in East Coast Alerts. Public comment is requested before the changes are made. We have spent many summer days in New England waters, fogged in, relying on sound signals to alert us as to the direction of the aids. With GPS on most every boat these days, and radar on many, aids are now easier to locate in fog. But not everybody has these, and sometimes they break.
            The trend to change lit markers over to LED lights continues in the First District. The Coast Guard reports that this improves safety because LEDs will stay lit for much longer than incandescent lights, therefore requiring less maintenance and fewer outages. However, the nominal range (how far away a light can be seen) is reduced, usually by a mile.
            District 5 (NJ, PA, DE, MD, DC, VA, NC): The Fifth District did a long trial run changing over to LEDs on numerous major lights in its area. Mariners were requested to report observations and send comments. Apparently the test was a success and the change has been approved, according to the latest LNMs. However, no details were given.
            Many creeks and waterways off the beaten track in the Chesapeake Bay are shoaling so severely that aids to navigation are being removed totally or, in some cases, floating aids are replacing fixed aids (usually daybeacons). The reason given is that the Coast Guard equipment needed to place aids cannot get into these shallow areas. The list is too long to give here and it gets longer each week.
            All Districts on the US East Coast: Hurricane Season has begun. All Districts have posted some reminder to boaters. Posted below is the most detailed one from the Seventh District (SC, GA, FL, PR). Of particular note for pleasure boaters who must move their vessels before storms is the last paragraph on drawbridges.
            Also be aware that special navigational and bridge restrictions may be in place during fireworks displays associated with July 4th and other summer events. These are listed in the LNMs, but are too numerous to report in East Coast Alerts. Check locally for restrictions in your area. *

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

            The 2009 hurricane season for the North Atlantic commenced on June 1 and continues through November 30. Now is the time to review your hurricane and severe weather plans. The local Coast Guard Sectors will provide ample warning of a hurricane strike and will advise vessels on what actions to take. In addition, marine related transfers will most likely be secured and the port may be closed by Captain of the Port Order. Consider the actions you would take in the event of a hurricane or severe weather. This includes internal and external communication procedures, as well as methods of minimizing storm damage and environmental risk such as securing transfers, ballasting down storage tanks and draining transfer lines.
            The hurricane season extends from June through November. Hurricanes can cause excessive damage to vessels and loss of life. To minimize these dangers, the following precautions should be taken by all mariners before getting underway during the hurricane season:
(a) Instruction of crew and passengers in location of emergency equipment and emergency procedures;
(b) Pre-sailing check of vessel, machinery, and equipment for seaworthiness;
(c) Installation of strong ground tackle;
(d) Review of storm center evasion procedures;
(e) Knowledge of nearest hurricane shelter or port; and
(f) Constant radio watches on channel 16 VHF-FM and frequent monitoring of weather broadcasts.


            The civilian hurricane warning service for the North Atlantic is provided by the National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida. The center collates ship, aircraft, radar, and satellite data to produce and issue tropical cyclone warnings and forecasts for the North Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. A Tropical Cyclone Advisory message is issued every six hours, with intermediate bulletins provided as needed.
            For tropical storms and hurricanes threatening to cross the coast of the U.S., coastal warnings are issued to the public so that precautionary actions, including evacuation, can be initiated to minimize damage and loss of life. Two levels of warnings are employed:
(a) HURRICANE WATCH - a preliminary alert that a hurricane MAY threaten a specified portion of the coast. It is issued 36 hours before landfall may occur; and
(b) HURRICANE WARNING - which indicate that hurricane conditions are EXPECTED along a specified portion of the coast. It is issued 24 hours before landfall. To provide additional information for maritime interests, a Marine Advisory is also issued which provides storm position forecasts for up to 72 hours in advance of a storm, and probabilities of hurricane strikes for coastal locations and offshore coordinates.
            Mariners are reminded that aids to navigation, particularly lighted and unlighted buoys, may be moved from charted position, damaged, destroyed, extinguished or otherwise deemed discrepant as a result of hurricane and storms. Mariners should not rely solely upon the position or operation of an aid to navigation, but also employ such other methods of determining position as may be available.
            Mariners are further reminded that during the hurricane season drawbridges along the coast may deviate from normal operating procedures. Drawbridges are authorized to remain closed upon approach of gale force winds of 34 knots or greater. Others may be authorized to extend closed periods prior to gale force winds to facilitate evacuation of land traffic or close operations up to 8 hours before expected arrival of gale force winds. Due to the uncertainty of hurricane movements and bridge closures, mariners are urged to seek passage through drawbridges well in advance of the arrival of gale force winds. (USCG 7th District LNM 23)

Special Notices

Gilmerton Railroad Bridge, ICW Mile 5.8, to Close Again:
          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 requiring an opening beginning at 6 a.m. until and including 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2009 to facilitate machinery repairs.  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. (USCG 5th District Bridge Branch)

New Jordan Bridge Proposed:
All interested parties are notified that the Commander, Fifth Coast Guard District has received an application from the Figg Bridge Developers, LLC, for approval of the location and plans for construction of a fixed highway bridge over a navigable waterway of the United States.
WATERWAY AND LOCATION: Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway mile 2.8, Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, between Portsmouth and Chesapeake, VA.
CHARACTER OF WORK: The Figg Bridge Developers, LLC, propose to construct a new
high-level fixed, two-lane highway bridge just to the south and parallel to the alignment of the former Jordan Bridge.
Vertical- 145 feet (44.20 meters) above mean high water (MHW)
Horizontal- 225 feet (68.58 meters) between fender systems.

Interested parties are requested to express their views, in writing, on the construction of the proposed bridge giving sufficient detail to establish a clear understanding of their reasons for support of or opposition to the proposed project. Comments will be received for the record at the office of the Commander (dpb), Fifth Coast Guard District, Federal  Building, 431 Crawford Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704-5004 (Abbreviated, from the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch)  

USCG First District

New Shoaling:
            Beverly, MA: Severe shoaling has been reported on the Bass River from the Hall-Whitaker Bridge up to the Bass Haven Yacht Club.
            Great Salt Pond, Block Island, RI: Great Salt Pond Entrance Lighted Buoy 8 severe shoaling has been observed in the buoy's position.
            Clinton Harbor, CT:The Coast Guard has received a report of severe shoaling in the marked channel in the entrance to Clinton Harbor.
            Moriches Bay, LI, NY: Mariners transiting Moriches Bay warning, both Moriches Bay and the marked channel have severe shoaling with controlling depths of less than 2ft in some areas.  All mariners should use extreme caution when transiting Moriches Bay and it is recommended that transits be made at high tide.
            State Boat Channel, LI, NY: The Coast Guard has received a report of the channel narrowing in the vicinity of State Boat Channel Buoy 86 and State Boat Channel Lighted Buoy 87. Mariners should expect single boat transits through this area and are encouraged to coordinate transits with other mariners. (First District LNM 22)

Westport, MA, Approach Changes Proposed:
            The Coast Guard is considering making the following change(s) to this waterway:
RELOCATE Westport Buoy 4 to approximate position 41 29 57.000N and 071 04 24.000W
RELOCATE Dogfish Ledge Buoy 5 to approximate position 41 30 11.000N and 071 04 59.000W
ESTABLISH Halfmile Rock Buoy 5A in approximate position 41 30 21.000N and 071 04 57.000W
ESTABLISH Halfmile Rock Buoy 5B in approximate position 41 30 25.000N and 071 05 01.000W
RENAME HalfMile Rock Buoy 6 to Westport Buoy 6 (LLNR 17465)
RELOCATE Westport Buoy 6 to approximate position 041 30 16.000N and 071 04 50.000W
RELOCATE Channel Buoy 8 to approximate position 41 30 28.000N and 071 04 54.000W
            Interested Mariners are strongly encouraged to comment on this proposal in writing, either personally or through your organization. All comments will be carefully considered and are requested by 12 June 2009. To facilitate the process, refer to Project No. 01-09-054. In addition to the address listed on the front cover, e-mails can be sent to mark.e.ferreira@uscg.mil and faxes to 617-223-8073. (First District LNM 22)

Obstructions, New York Harbor and Vicinity:
            East River: The Coast Guard has received a rpt of a partially submerged vessel with bow visible in the Newtown Creek Channel in approximate position 40-44.4n 073-57.4w.
            City Island, Long Island Sound: The Coast Guard has received a rpt of a 12' partially submerged S/V approximately 1NM south of City Island in approximately position 40-49.2N 073-47.2W.
            Rockaway Inlet: The CG has received a rpt of a 15 x 15 ft piece of debris in the vicinity of Rockaway Inlet in approximate position 40-32.29N 073-56.73W.
            All vessels are requested to proceed with caution and report sightings to the US Coast Guard.
            Additional information regarding debris in NY Harbor can be directed to the US Army Corps of Engineers at 201-333-1170. (First District LNM 22)

Floating Pool in East River:
            From June 12 to September 22, 2009 the Department of Parks and Recreation of the City of New York will have a 260’ X 80 feet swimming pool barge positioned on the Bronx Shore at Barretto Point Park, located at Tiffany Street and Viele Avenue. The barge will be perpendicular to the shore bow out, and it will be held in place with anchors fore and aft. The off-shore anchors will be marked with anchor buoys. Two gangways will lead from the stern of the barge to the shore. Mariners are advised to manage their speed through this area so as to produce no wake when passing the barge, particularly between the hours of 1100 to 1900 daily. (First District LNM 22)

USCG Fifth District

Cape May Dredging:
            The Dredge FULLERTON will be conducting dredging operations in the vicinity of the western end of the Cape May Canal and Cape May Harbor from 05 June until 14 August, 2009. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16. Mariners are cautioned to stay clear of dredge, booster, floating (pontoon) and submerged pipelines, barges, derricks and operating wires associated with dredging and marine construction operations. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Delaware Bay Construction:
            West Bay Construction will be rebuilding the pier on Ship John Shoal Light commencing 01June, 2009. Several deck construction barges, crane barge conducting pile driving operation and tugs will be on site. All vessels will monitor VHF-FM Ch. 13 and 16. It is requested that all transiting vessels do so at a NO WAKE speed. (Fifth District LNM 23)
Reedy Island Anchorage Obstruction, Delaware Bay:
            On 17 May 2009 the M/V Buster Bouchard reported losing its propeller in the vicinity of position 39 32.8N, 075 32.7W. Mariners are urged to use caution when transiting the area. For any questions regarding this notice contact Sector Delaware Bay Waterways Management at 215-271-4851 or 4889. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Delaware Bay: Temporary Lights:
            The University of Delaware has established the following temporary lighted data buoys until 27 July, 2009:
A. UofD Lighted Data Buoy A (no LLNR) at 38-52.4N, 075-10.0W, FL Y 6S.
B. UofD Lighted Data Buoy B (no LLNR) at 38-53.6N, 075-16.5W, FL Y 6S.
C. UofD Lighted Data Buoy C (no LLNR) at 38-52.3N, 075-08.5W, FL Y 6S.
D. UofD Lighted Data Buoy D (no LLNR) at 38-50.0N, 075-12.9W, FL Y 6S.
(Fifth District LNM 23)

Susquehanna River:
            The Coast Guard is soliciting for comments on a proposal to discontinue the Fishing Battery Light (LLNR 27630). Discontinuing the light is not anticipated to adversely affect navigation safety. In your comments, please address the impacts this proposal may impose on your operations. Please also include in your correspondence the means you are using to navigate in the area and any electronic sensors used while traversing the waters of Chesapeake Bay. Comments on the proposal to discontinue the horn and reduce the nominal range can be provided to the below address/contact number not later than 14 July, 2009: Commander (dpw), Fifth Coast Guard District, 431 Crawford Street, Rm.100, Portsmouth, VA.23704, Attn.: Albert Grimes or email to: Albert.L.Grimes@uscg.mil (Fifth District LNM 23)

Shoaling in Upper Chesapeake Bay:
            Pleasure boaters--Not to Worry:  The Coast Guard has received a report of shoaling encroaching in the Upper Chesapeake Channel between Upper Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 38 and Upper Chesapeake Channel Lighted Buoy 40. Depths of 33FT MLW or less have been reported within the channel. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Divers to Inspect Maryland Bridges:
            Mariners are advised that underwater bridge inspections will be conducted at the I-695 Bridge across Curtis Creek at mile 1.0, in Baltimore, MD each day from 15 June until 19 June, 2009, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. To facilitate the inspections, a vessel will be moored to the bridge piers and diving will cease when vessel traffic conflict with diving operations. Mariners should exercise caution when transiting this waterway.
            Mariners are advised that M&N Engineering and Diving Services, Inc. is planning to conduct underwater inspections of both spans of the William P. Lane, Jr. Memorial (Chesapeake Bay Bridges) Bridges (US-50/301), across the Chesapeake Bay at mile 130, between Sandy Point, Maryland and Kent Island, Maryland, from June 28, 2009 through January 31, 2010. Work is expected to occur Mondays through Fridays (with occasional weekends), from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The contractor will use a 3-person dive crew with surface-supplied air from a 41-foot work vessel moored to the bridge piers. Interested mariners can contact the on-scene workboat “JILLIAN V” on marine band radio channels 16 and 09 VHF-FM or via telephone at 443-243-4067, or can contact the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Baltimore Command Center at 410-576-2693. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Temporary Buoy off Tangier Island:
            NOAA has established the following temporary lighted data buoy in the U.S. Navy Restricted area west of Tangier Island until 07 July, 2009: A. NOAA Lighted Data Buoy Tangier Island at 37-51-09N, 075-58-33W, FL (5) Y 20s. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Occoquan River, VA, Bridge Construction:   
            Mariners are advised that work will commence on or about July 1, 2009 and end July 1, 2010 for the widening of the northbound and southbound lanes of the I-95 Bridge, at mile 2.9, across Occoquan River between Prince William and Fairfax Counties, VA. The expansion will require a total of six additional piles to be placed on the right-of-ways providing an additional width of 16 feet 10 inches to the existing bridge and removal of fascia girder. The vertical and horizontal clearances of the bridge to vessels will be retained at 46 feet, above mean high water and 100 feet on a skewed channel between the margins of navigational lights, respectively. Mariners should exercise caution when transiting the area.
(USCG 5th District LNM 23)

Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Repairs:
            Construction/repair/inspection on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (bridge approaches) will commence on 05 May, 2009 and be completed on or about 15 October, 2009. The Tug CLAIRE JANE will monitor VHF-FM Channel 16 and 78. On site equipment will consist of one 30 foot deck barge and two 55 foot deck barges. The tug and barges will periodically block spans of the bridge. Mariners may contact (443) 871-5026 if further information is required. Mariners should also use extreme caution when transiting the area. (USCG 5th District LNM 21).

Rudee Inlet, Shoaling Again:
The City of Virginia Beach survey of Rudee Inlet dated 04 June, 2009, indicates least depth at 8.6 feet MLLW in the inbound channel, starting approximately 250 feet east of the North Jetty and continues inside the inlet for approximately 150 feet. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Dredging: Hampton Roads:
            Craney Island Spoil Rehandling Basin: The Dredge PULLEN will be conducting dredging operations at the Craney Island Spoil Rehandling Basin from 07 June until 15 July, 2009. A submerged pipeline will be placed from the dredging area to the Craney Island Disposal Area. The dredge will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16.
            Gilmerton Bridge Reach, Near ICW Mile 5: McLean Contracting Corp. will be conducting dredging operations in the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River on the Gilmerton Bridge Reach, north of Money Point at approximate position 36-46-59N, 076-18-09W from 01 June until 01 July, 2009 . Dredging will be conducted by a crane barge with dredge spoil transported to the Craney Island Spoil Area by tug and barges. Operations will be conducted from 0530 A.M. until 0400 P.M. Monday thru Friday. The tugs will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16. Temporary Buoys: Coastal Design and Construction Co. has established the following temporary mooring buoys in association with the wetlands restoration project on the Gilmerton Bridge Reach, north of Money Point. The mooring buoys will be removed on or about 25 July, 2009.
A. CDC Money Point Mooring Buoy A at 36-46-57N, 076-18-18.0W, white buoy with blue band.
B. CDC Money Point Mooring Buoy B at 36-46-58N, 076-18-10.0W, white buoy with blue band.
(Fifth District LNM 23)

Shoaling in North Carolina Inlets (Not on the ICW):
            New Topsail Inlet: Shoaling to a depth of 2.0FT MLW has been reported in New Topsail Inlet. Due to the extent of the shoaling the aids to navigation marking the Inlet do not mark safe water. Mariners are urged to avoid transiting New Topsail Inlet during periods of low water and exercise caution during other tidal stages.
            Oregon Inlet: Shoaling to a depth of 2.0 feet MLW has been reported between the north fender system of the Bonner Bridge and Oregon Inlet Buoy 14 and extending approximately 75 feet into the channel. Mariners should avoid transiting this area during periods of low water and exercise caution during other tidal periods. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Dredging in NC:
            The WEEKS DREDGE 551 will be conducting dredging operations at various locations along berths 2 through 9 in the Morehead City Inner Harbor, Bogue Sound and Newport River from 02 June until 31 August, 2009. The tugs ELIZABETH and ROBERT will transport dredge material in scows to the offshore site at approximate position 34-36-17N, 076-44-22W. All vessels will monitor VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16. (Fifth District LNM 23)

Bridge Construction, Wrightsville Beach (Not on the ICW):
            Mariners are advised that superstructure and substructure repairs will begin again at the Br-21 and Br-24 Bridges over Banks Channel at Wrightsville Beach in New Hanover County NC, on or about July 1, 2009 through the end of October 2009. To access some areas of the bridges, barges and scaffolding will partially restrict the main channel spans. At the end of each work day, all barges and scaffolding will be removed, to a safe location, away from the main channel spans. Marines should exercise extreme caution when transiting the area.

USCG Seventh District

Savannah Dredging:
            Marinex Construction , Inc., has advised that maintenance dredging has commenced in the vicinity of Georgia Ports Authority, (Berths 2, 3, 8, and The dredge HAMPTON ROADS will be on scene and monitoring Marine Channel VHF 13 and 16. This operation will continue on a twenty-four (24) hour per day basis, seven (7) days per week until completion on or about July 29, 2009. For further information please contact Mr. Thomas G. Payne at (843) 722-9083. (USCG 7th District LNM 23)

Dredging NOW at Georgia’s Hell Gate:
            Cottrell Contracting Corporation has commenced dredging operations between Raccoon Key Lighted Buoy 87 and Hells Gate Light 92, in the Georgia Intracoastal Waterway. All mariners are requested to stay clear of the dredge, pipelines, barges, derricks and operating wires about the dredge. All operators should be aware that the dredge and pontoon lines are held in place by cables, which are attached to anchors some distance from the dredge  and pontoons. Buoys area attached to the anchors so that they may be moved as the dredge moves. Submerged lines should be avoided. Mariners are requested to exercise extreme caution when approaching, passing, and leaving the dredging plant. The dredge RICHMOND will monitor VHF Channels 13 and 16 for passing information. All mariners are urged to use extreme caution while transiting the area. This project will continue until completion on or about July 2, 2009. For further information please contact Mr. Frank Hall at (757) 547-9611. (7th District LNM 18).
            Buoys green can “89” and red nun “90” have been discontinued for dredging according to the 7th District LNM 19.

St. Augustine Inlet Buoy Off-Station:
            The USCG 7th District LNM 23 continues to report that Buoy “5” in the St. Augustine Inlet is off-station. Check for local knowledge before using this inlet. Depths are usually adequate for most pleasure vessels and commercial fishing boats, but shoals encroach close to the dredged channel, and off-station markers could cause potentially serious incidents.

Summer Lock Closures for Maintenance in Okeechobee Waterway:
            Recent Notices to Navigation Interests from the USACE Jacksonville District (Dates are tentative):

  1. The W.P. Franklin Lock will be closed for installation of a Manatee Protection System starting on July 6 and reopening on August 26, 2009.
    • The Moore Haven Lock will be closed for major maintenance from June 8 to September 3, 2009.

Okeechobee Waterway Lockage Restrictions Reminder:
            The USACE Jacksonville has issued a Notice to Navigation Interests regarding the lock opening schedule for the St. Lucie and W.P. Franklin Locks in the Okeechobee Waterway, effective April 20, 2009. This schedule essentially provides for current and future restrictions, based on the Lake Level (in feet). As the lake level changes, so may the lock schedule, without notice, so don’t be surprised if the schedule changes suddenly.

On June 10, 2009 the Lake Level was 11.78 feet, after all the rain in Central Florida recently. This puts the schedule in the “Lockage Every 2 hours”, 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. category for now at St. Lucie and W.P. Franklin Locks. However we have seen no official announcement of a change in the schedule.

South Florida Offshore Racing:
            The Sunny Isle Offshore Challenge will be held on June 11 through 14, 2009 daily between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. There are sixty (60) participant and three hundred (300) spectator vessels expected 26-50 feet in length. All marine are requested to use caution while transit in the area. (USCG Seventh District LNM 23)

South Florida Submerged Obstruction:
            What’s this? A submerged obstruction has been reported in approximate position 25-44-18.89N 080-05-27.40W, reported depth sounding is 29 feet, surrounding depths are approximately 45 feet. The obstruction has the approximate dimensions 65X43X17 (LxWxFx feet). Feature depths are corrected to Mean Low Water datum using verified zoned tides. Horizontal positions are referenced to the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83) (USCG Seventh District LNM 23)

Florida Bridge Update: From the USCG 7th District LNM 23:           
            BB McCormick Bridge, Mile 747.5: There will be work on the fender system of the new bridge until October, 2009. The channel may be restricted by a barge which can be moved to accommodate larger vessels.         
            Bridge of Lions, Mile 777.9: Construction continues.
            New Smyrna North Bridge (AKA George C. Musson Memorial Bridge), Mile 845: Closed for repairs on June 30, 2009 at 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. on July 3, 2009. Vessels not requiring an opening may pass at any time.        
            NASA Railroad Bridge, Mile 876.6: Due to repairs, this bridge is scheduled to 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. However, cruisers report that this bridge is only closing sporadically, and usually not for the entire scheduled period.    
Max Brewer Bridge, Mile 878.9: AKA Titusville Bridge will be replaced with a high level bridge. Construction will begin May 11, 2009 and continue through April, 2011. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville will broadcast Notices to Mariners regarding restrictions as needed.
            Bakers Haulover Bridge, North Miami Beach (Not on the ICW): The fender system on this bridge will be replaced between April 12 and December 7, 2009.A barge and floating equipment will be in the vicinity and at times will be restricting the navigable channel.
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 this use.