East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

“November Northeaster” Hits North Carolina and Virginia HARD:
            Ida’s remnants are sitting almost stationary off the lower NC Outer Banks and there’s a strong high pressure system over New England. The proximity of the two systems sets up a classic squeeze play with which we in southeastern Virginia are very familiar—strong Northeast winds, rain and tidal flooding. This one is a three-day event, with storm warnings on the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. Hurricane force winds are reported to be possible offshore in the Gulf Stream. The local newscasters have named it the “November Northeaster” and they compare the potential tidal flooding to “Isabel” levels. The high tide on Thursday, November 12 (today) evening (the highest tide predicted) will likely be 7.5 feet above MLW, whereas Isabel in 2003 reached 7.9 feet above MLW in the Hampton Roads area. It’s too early to know the extent of damage to the waterways in eastern Virginia and North Carolina, as the worst of the storm is hitting us here today. The moderate to severe coastal flooding will cause a large amount of debris in the water, as well as possible damage to channel markers and shore-side facilities. Check the twice daily Broadcast Notice to Mariners if you are underway in this area, and call ahead to your marinas of choice to check for availability. We’ll send out East Coast Alerts Updates if needed.*

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

New USACE Surveys of North Carolina Inlet Crossings:
            There’s some good news here and some bad news.
            The bad news: Controlling depth in both the New River Crossing and Shallotte Inlet Crossing on the ICW is surveyed at 7 feet MLW, using the waypoints given on the surveys. However, the New River Crossing survey shows a 3-foot MLW area in the middle of the channel.
            The good news: USACE Wilmington has updated its mapping. The depths are now shown in color (red is the shallowest, dark blue is deepest) and some of the maps use satellite imagery for the background of the chart instead of a drawing. The depths are more accurate because the outline of the contours is shown in color transitions, rather than just having the number for the depth placed on the map.
            The rest of the story: Some of us download these files while underway on our boats, so we may have limited ability to download large files. The best maps are the ones showing color on satellite imagery and these files are a 3.24 MB download. The ones without imagery are around a 448 KB download. In some cases, as with Shallotte Inlet Crossing, there is a choice as to “with photography” or “without photography,” but there is only the photography option with the New River Crossing.  This is new technology for the USACE and hopefully they will offer both in the future.

It’s That Time of Year Again—Right Whale Migration:

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service announces that the voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area - DMA) near Jordan Basin, originally set to expire today (November 10, 2009), has been extended due to continued sightings of whales in the area during an aerial survey today. The Jordan Basin DMA is extended through November 20, 2009….Mariners are requested to route around these areas or transit through them at 10 knots or less. Please also remember that mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less are currently in effect in all mid-Atlantic Seasonal Management Areas (SMAs), which includes the Block Island Sound SMA. For SMA details and boundaries, please refer to the compliance guide <http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/shipstrike/compliance_guide.pdf> [pdf] for the right whale ship strike reduction rule.
The DMAs are bound by the following:
Jordan Basin DMA - Active through 20 Nov 2009
Northern boundary: 43 50N
Southern boundary: 43 06N
Eastern boundary: 068 02W
Western boundary: 069 02W
For more information about the DMA program and other regulations to reduce ship strikes of right whales, please visit:
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike (5th District LNM 45)

MSIB 67-09, USCG Sector Charleston

            This MSIB serves two purposes: it reminds the port community of the seasonal right whale ship reporting system, and it informs the maritime community of a speed restriction while transiting the waters off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia.
Mandatory Ship Reporting System for the Protection of Northern Right Whales
            The Mandatory Ship Reporting requirement for the southeast U.S. is effective from November 15th through April 16th.  Vessels of 300 GT or greater are required to report their entry into the designated right whale reporting area in accordance with 33 CFR Part 169.  Reports can be made in accordance with IMO standard format via INMARSAT C e-mail to rightwhale.msr@noaa.gov.  This requirement applies to vessels in the southeastern reporting system defined in 33 CFR 169.115 as follows: coastal waters within about 25 nautical miles along a 90-nautical mile stretch of the Atlantic seaboard in Florida and Georgia; the area coordinates extends from the shoreline east to longitude 80o 51.6’ W with the southern and northern boundaries east latitude 30o00’ N and 31o27’ N, respectively.
            Safe Speed in the Mid-Atlantic Right Whale Seasonal Management Area
In accordance with 50 CFR part 224, effective from November 1st through April 30th, commercial vessels over 65 feet in length are required to maintain a speed of 10 knots or less while in the Right Whale Seasonal Management Area. This includes most coastal waters of South Carolina from the COLREGS line out to approximately 20 nautical miles. For a detailed description of the area and an illustration, see the attached fact sheet published by NOAA.  However, in accordance with the regulation, vessels may operate at a speed greater than 10 knots if necessary to maintain a safe maneuvering speed in an area where conditions severely restrict vessel maneuverability as determined by the pilot or master. Vessel masters or pilots should not place the ship in danger in order to meet the speed requirement.
            During your work on the water and in the port, please contact the Coast Guard’s 24 hour operation Command Center on VHF Channel 16 or via phone at (843) 740-7050 with all right whale sightings.
            For further information, visit:
            If you have any questions regarding this matter please contact LT Julie Miller, at (843) 720-3273.

More Bridge of Lions (Mile 777.9) Restrictions:
From the Bridge of Lions Rehabilitation Project:
            The restrictions listed below will only be used on an as-needed basis, so they may not be used every day for which they are scheduled. Please contact (904) 825-3647 or (904) 669-1165 the day before traveling through the area to check if the restrictions will be used or not. 
            Channel Restrictions:
November 9-20, 2009 and November 30-December 22, 2009: Monday through Friday, 7:30-10:30 a.m.-- Channel restricted to 35 feet horizontal clearance, bridge opens on schedule.
            November 8-23, 2009 and November 30-December 22, 2009: Sundays through Thursdays, 9:00p.m.-7:00 a.m.—Channel closed to all marine traffic opening only for declared emergencies.

These restrictions/closures have been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Special Notices

Don’t Mess with Sunken Military Craft:
            All mariners are advised of the special protections provided to sunken military craft by the “Sunken Military Craft Act” (SMCA) (Public Law 108-375). Along the U.S. East Coast, and particularly off North Carolina, there are many sunken U.S. and foreign military craft. Sunken military craft may be the final resting places of military personnel who died in service to their country and are also important historical resources. One very notable example is the wreck of the USS MONITOR, off the NC Coast, also protected by the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Under international and U.S. law, sunken foreign military craft, including those located in U.S. waters, remain the property of their respective country’s government. Sovereign immune vessels, such as military crafts, are afforded protections under U.S. and international law. Included among these vessels are at least three known sunken German submarines (commonly called U-boats) located in waters off the North Carolina coast. These U-boats remain the property of the Federal Republic of Germany. In accordance with the SMCA, no person shall engage in or attempt to engage in any activity directed at a sunken military craft that disturbs, removes, or injures the sunken craft or the associated contents of the craft except as authorized by law. This includes, but is not limited to, the equipment, cargo, contents of the vessel, and the remains and personal effects of the crew and passengers. Mariners are urged to exercise due care when operating in the vicinity of military wrecks, as they can be damaged by both purposeful or inadvertent activities including anchoring, fishing, diving, and other marine activities. Special dangers, such as unexploded ordnance, may also be associated with sunken military craft, and should be considered when operating in these areas. Violations of the SMCA may subject individuals to penalties of up to $100,000 and to liability for damages. Mariners who witness theft of material from, disturbance of, or damage to a sunken military craft are asked to report it to the nearest U.S. Coast Guard unit. No person, shall take possession of or make use of for any purpose, or build upon, alter, deface, destroy, move, injure, obstruct by fastening vessels thereto or otherwise, or in any manner whatever impair the usefulness of any aid to navigation established and maintained by the United States. (5th District LNM 45)

Download the New Navigation Rules:
            An updated and corrected version of U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Instruction (COMDTINST) M16672.2D, Navigation Rules (International- Inland) is available as a free download at http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/mwv/navrules/download.htm. COMDTINST M16672.2D is a compendium of: the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (72 COLREGS 72), the Inland Navigation Rules, their respective technical annexes, a listing of the COLREGS Demarcation Lines, the Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Regulations, and, various other legal provisions regarding compliance and penalties associated with the Navigation Rules. The original version was published on March 25th, 1999, by the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Standards Branch at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC 20593-7856. This updated version (.pdf, 651 KB) has corrected typographical errors or omissions, and, includes post-publication 2003 amendments to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). (5th District LNM 45)

USCG First District
Coastal Waters from Eastport, Maine to Shrewsbury, New Jersey

Dredging: Green Harbor, MA:
            Dredging will be done in Green Harbor from 9 November 2009 – 31 January 2010. The hours of operation will be 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. On scene will be the dredge WOOD I, tug EDNA & EDDIE R and scow EDDIE CARROLL that will be monitoring VHF-FM channels 16, 13 & 67. Mariners are requested to transit at their slowest safe speed to minimize wake and proceed with caution after passing arrangements have been made. (First District LNM 44)

Block Island Fog Signal:
            Let’s hope that the people who cruise in the Northeast know how to do this procedure, because this seems to be the wave of the future in fog signals, and there’s a lot of fog around Block Island.
             Upgrade of Block Island BKW LT. 3 Is complete. The fog signal is now operational via remote activation. Mariners can activate the sound signal by keying the microphone of a VHF radio 5 times, in succession, on Channel 79 (156.975 MHZ). The sound signal will then be activated for 30-45 minutes. (First District LNM 44)

Poor Condition of Lake Champlain Bridge—Now Closed to Traffic:
            The New York Department of Transportation (www.nysdot.gov) has deemed the Lake Champlain bridge, also known the Crown Point Bridge, unstable and has stopped all traffic on the bridge. Significant deterioration of the concrete piers supporting the bridge as well as deterioration of the bridge itself has undermined the structure’s stability. Until repairs have been made, mariners are advised to use extreme caution when transiting or operating in the vicinity of the bridge. For additional information, contact the New York state hotline available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at: 1-888-769-7243. (First District LNM 44)
            Check detailed article at
http://www.vermontbiz.com/news/november/champlain-bridge-be-demolished-near-future-waterway-closed . We wonder how many other bridges are in this state of deterioration.

USCG Fifth District
Coastal Waters from Shrewsbury River, New Jersey to Little River, South Carolina

NJ ICW Bridge to Remain Closed for Repairs:
            B. FROM 7 AM ON SAT 14 NOV 09 THROUGH 3 PM ON MON 16 NOV 09; AND
            C. FROM 9 AM TO 1 PM AND FROM 2 PM TO 4 PM ON TUES 17 NOV 09.

Atlantic City, NJ Bridge Repair:
            Mariners are advised that fender repairs will be conducted at the Route 87 Bridge at mile 0.6 across Absecon Inlet, in Atlantic City NJ, each day from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on November 20, 2009 through January 20, 2010. This will be a movable operation as not to impede vessel traffic. Mariners should use exercise caution when transiting the area. (5th District LNM 45)

Oak Island Bridge, Mile 316.6, Delays for Girder Installation:
            Mariners are advised to TAKE CAUTION and PROCEED SLOWLY when approaching the construction site of a new highway bridge to Oak Island (Middleton Avenue), over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 316.6, in Brunswick County, NC. Every other day, between November 16 and December 7, 2009, barges and a crane will be in the channel installing center girders causing delays of approximately four hours between :0730 and :1130. We advise mariners to check the schedule to avoid waterway delays by calling the bridge site (910-278-5526 or 910-443-0688) a day or two prior to your arrival. (5th District LNM 45)

New Sunset Beach Bridge Construction Delays:    
            Mariners are advised to TAKE CAUTION and PROCEED SLOWLY when approaching the construction site of a new highway bridge to Sunset Beach (SR-1172), over the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 337.9, in Brunswick County, NC. The bridge girder installation is schedule to take place between 6:00 a.m. December 1, 2009 through 6:00 P.M. January 31, 2010. The contractor will be utilizing a deck barge with a 50’ beam, a ringer crane on a stationary barge with an 85’ beam, and tugs/pushers to conduct the bridge girder installation. To provide for the safety of the public, the Coast Guard will temporarily restrict access to this section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway during center girder installation, scheduled daily from 6:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. We advise mariners to check the schedule to avoid waterway delays by calling the bridge site (910-579-3538) a day or two prior to your arrival. (5th District LNM 45)

USCG Seventh District
Coastal Waters from Little River, South Carolina to Panama City, Florida

10-day ICW Closure at Ben Sawyer Bridge:

MSIB 63-09, Update #2, Sector Charleston, October 29, 2009:
            Due to the scheduled replacement of the swing span of the Ben Sawyer Bridge, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) will be closed to marine traffic from Monday, November 30, 2009 at 12:00 A.M. to Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 11:59 P.M.
            A safety zone will be enforced around the Ben Sawyer Bridge during the entire 10 day closure. The safety zone will encompass the entire waterway from 180 yards northwest of the bridge, and 220 yards southwest of the bridge. No one may enter the safety zone without prior authorization from the Captain of the Port Charleston or his designated representative.
            Mariners are encouraged to listen to the broadcast notice to mariners for updates on VHF Ch 16. CG Sector Charleston will broadcast the closure, as well as the implementation and rescission of the corresponding safety zone for the bridge. Updates to the schedule are dependent on weather and will be made to this MSIB, as necessary. For questions regarding the bridge construction call Julie Hussey with PCL at (843) 224-1096 or Kim Partenheimer with PB Americas at (843) 972-1775. For Coast Guard issues, please contact the Coast Guard’s 24 hour Command Center Line at (843) 740-7050.
            There is no way to get around this ICW closure except to go into the ocean. The shortest safe ocean passage southbound (from good inlet to good inlet) is from Winyah Bay to Charleston. In making this passage, the strong currents flowing into and out of both inlets must be considered as well as the long distances from the sea buoys to safe harbor inside. It’s 50 statute miles from sea buoy to sea buoy, and 17 statute miles from Georgetown out to the sea buoy and then 14 statute miles from the sea buoy into Charleston, for a total of 81 statute  miles between safe harbors with marinas and anchorage. Also to be considered in late November is the short amount of daylight, and of course the weather. Snowbirds in slower boats should think long and hard before taking off into the ocean to avoid this ICW closure. Remember that while the smaller inlets between Winyah Bay and Charleston may be used by local smaller boats, they are not considered to be safe without local knowledge, especially for the draft and type of boats in which most Snowbirds are travelling. Don’t attempt to use them.

USACE Survey Shows Shallower Water in Georgia:
            Georgia waters were surveyed in September and early October 2009 by the USACE Savannah.
            Not all parts of the ICW or alternate routes were surveyed. Some of the usual shallow parts are shallower than in past surveys. Following is a list of the surveyed areas showing 7 feet MLW or less in the center half of the channel (the west quarter is the red ICW channel marker side and the east quarter is the green ICW channel marker side; most of the channels are 150 feet wide):
            Ramshorn Creek: 6 feet center, 7 feet west quarter, 4 feet east quarter
            Fields Cut: 5 feet center, 5 feet west quarter, 4 feet east quarter
            Elba Cut: 5 feet center, 2.5 feet west quarter, 11 feet east quarter
            Florida Passage: 5 feet center, 6 feet west quarter, 4.5 feet east quarter
            Little Mud River: 3 feet center, 2 feet west quarter, 2 feet east quarter
            Altamaha Sound: 5 feet center, 2 feet west quarter, 7 feet east quarter
            Buttermilk Sound (vicinity of DM “216A”): 4 feet center, 5 feet west quarter, 5 feet east quarter
            Buttermilk Sound (Vicinity DM “216A” to BN “223”): 3 feet center, 3 feet west quarter, 3 feet east quarter
            Jekyll Creek: 5 feet center, 0.5 feet west quarter, 3.0 feet east quarter
            Noticeably missing from this list is recently dredged Hell Gate. For your information--Hell Gate was surveyed at 10 feet center, 8 feet west quarter, 6 feet east quarter.
            Note: Tides in this area of Georgia range from around 6 to 9 feet. Sometimes they can be lower, sometimes higher. Check for local knowledge and use more than one method of navigation. Paper and electronic charts can be dated or incorrect; often the markers are moved to mark the best water, but the magenta line on the chart is not, resulting in the magenta line appearing to be on the wrong side of a marker. The best time to pass through questionable areas is at half-tide and rising. Channels and depths can change for many reasons at any time, and these findings may be completely different when you pass through.

Okeechobee Waterway Update:
            On November 11, 2009 the lake level was reported at 13.84 feet.

Dredging Equipment in Lake Worth Inlet:
            Weeks Marine, Inc., will establish a staging area for anchored dredge equipment (submerged pipelines and work barge) on or about November 10, 2009, in Lake Worth Inlet, Florida. The approximate position is between: 26 deg 45’24”N and 26 deg 45’36”N 080 deg 02’30”N and 080 deg 02’36”W. All anchored equipment will have approved Coast Guard lighting for night operations. This equipment will remain on-scene until March 2010. Mariners are urged to use extreme caution and transit the area at their slowest safe speed to create minimum wake. For further information please contact Mr. Tim Weckwerth at (985) 875-2500. (7th District LNM 44)

Big Anchor and Chain Lost in Port Everglades Anchorage:
            M/V CAP MONDENGO advises the U. S. Coast Guard that one anchor and chain was released inside the Port Everglades Anchorage and is resting on the sea bottom in approximate position 26 deg 07.661N 080-03.348W. The charted position plots the water depth as 150 meters. Salvage operations are pending. (7th District LNM 44)
Dodge Island Turbidity Curtain:
            All mariners are advised that due to seawall construction upgrades on the south side of Dodge Island, Miami, Florida, there will be a Turbidity Curtain installed. The Curtain will extend into the Dodge Island Cut approximately 120-150 feet south from the existing rip rap…Three (3) temporary Turbidity Pilings approximately 10-12 feet in height will be equipped with amber strobe lights. The construction upgrades will be completed on or about June 30, 2010. Mariners transiting Fishermans Channel are urged to be on the lookout and steer clear of the piling and curtains. If you have any further questions please contact Mr. Frederick P. Wong at (305) 329-4058 or (305) 310-0988. (7th District LNM 44)

Florida Bridge Update: From the USCG 7th District LNM 44
            Max Brewer Bridge, Mile 878.9: AKA Titusville Bridge, is being replaced with a high level bridge. Construction began May 11, 2009 and will continue through April, 2011.
            8:00 a.m. November 1-- 5:00 p.m. November 30, 2009: The west channel of the swing bridge will be closed. The east channel is open with no restrictions.
            8:00 a.m. December 1—5:00 p.m. December 31, 2009: The east channel of the swing bridge will be closed. The west channel is open with no restrictions.   Marine interests should contact Lane Construction at 321 607 5700 for additional information on construction schedules.
            Banana River: SR 528 (Bennett Causeway Bridge, not on the ICW): Vertical clearance will be reduced by 5 feet in center span Nov. 26-Dec. 30, 2009, for painting.           
            Parker Boulevard Bridge, Mile 1013: Starting mid-November will be on single leaf operations. Double leaf operations will be available with a two hour notice.           
            Atlantic Avenue Bridge, Mile 1056: Starting mid-November will be on single leaf operations. Double leaf operations will be available with a two hour notice.           
            SW 11th Avenue Bridge, North Fork, New River, Ft. Lauderdale: Under repair until January 2010, but will be operational, except for two 24-hour closure periods. The first 24-hour closure will be January 14, 2010.   
            Coral Creek Bridge, Pine Island: A new bridge is under construction across Coral Creek, Pine Island, Collier County, to be completed Oct. 1, 2010.
            Cortez Bridge: Worth Contracting has advised this office that the Cortez Bridge, mile 84.6, Cortez, Florida will be on single-leaf operations from September 14 through December 31, 2009. A double-leaf opening is available with a two hour notice to the bridge tender.
            Dunedin Causeway Bridge: Single-leaf operation from Sept.8, 2009 through Feb. 28, 2010. A double-leaf opening will be available with a 3-hour notice to the bridge tender. Scaffolding will reduce the vertical clearance of the down span by five feet.

Gordon Pass, SW Florida Dredging:
            Caldwell Marine International, LLC, will commence dredging operations in Gordon Pass, Colliers County, Naples, Florida on or about November 3, 2009. This project will begin at the mouth of Gordon Pass and end at Cuts 3 and Cut 4.
The dredge ELLIOT 370 will be on scene with three (3) workboats and monitoring Marine Channel 16 VHF. Submerged and floating pipelines will be positioned along the channels’ edge and visibly lighted and marked according to Coast Guard regulations. Dredging operations will be continuous twenty-four (24) per day and seven (7) days per week until completion on or about January 2, 2010. For further information please contact Mr. Wes Gammons at (561) 644-7486 or Mr. Brian Markle at (561) 313-5021. (7th District LNM 44)

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.