East Coast Alerts
By Mel Neale
Figure Eight Swing Bridge (AICW Mile 278.1) Schedule Not Changing:
The following is quoted from the most recent USCG 5th District LNM (Week 21):*
AIWW – Figure Eight Swing Bridge – Withdrawal of NPRM sent to legal.
Ed. Note: A bit of background on the Figure Eight Swing Bridge Schedule Change Proposal: This bridge currently opens on the hour and half hour, 24/7. The residents of Figure Eight Island who own the bridge requested that the Coast Guard change the regulation to have it open only once an hour on the half hour. This would have created safety issues for many boats traveling the area. This fact is easily documented. The usual protocol was followed: a public announcement and request for comments, then months of study. We reported the original public announcement in East Coast Alerts (https://www.boatus.com/cruising/TomNeale/tip_274.asp) with our comment opposing the change, and suggested that interested parties send comments. We sent our comment to the Coast Guard opposing the change. We have followed the progress in the Bridge section of the Local Notices to Mariners, 5th District. There has been a NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) sent to the Federal Register, followed months later by a notice that a Withdrawal of the NPRM was being drafted, and now that the Withdrawal of the NPRM is being sent to legal. The final step would be that the Withdrawal of NPRM will be forwarded to the Federal Register, followed by publication in the Federal Register, and this matter will be put to bed for now, we hope. The proposal, when viewed in the context of other bridge restrictions and disruptions in this stretch (such as an often live firing range across the AICW) would have caused many serious problems.
A few years ago there was a similar situation concerning a proposed schedule change for the Centerville Turnpike Bridge across the AICW at Mile 15.2, south of Great Bridge. We published the proposal, and gave our reasons for objecting https://www.boatus.com/cruising/TomNeale/tip_161.asp . The reasons had to do with boater safety. We also suggested that boaters send comment to the Coast Guard if they opposed the change. We sent in our comment raising the issues given. The proposal was withdrawn.
A similar process has occurred with the Perquimans River US 17 Bridge which we have not been following as closely as it does not affect “Snowbirds” and coastal cruisers. The following appeared in the same LNM (Week 21):
Perquimans River – US17 (swing) Bridge –Withdrawal of NPRM forwarded to Federal Register.
We bring up this issue to impress upon boaters that their comments do make a difference. When a public comment period is open, it’s important to not sit back and let things happen if you oppose. State your reasons in a polite, intelligent and logical manner. Others will listen. For example, just recently the Legislature of the State of Maryland did not pass the proposed No Discharge Zone for the entire Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay after opposition at public hearings www.boatus.com/blogs/portal/blog_view.asp?BID=2907.
*Italicized text above and below indicates our comment or paraphrase. Plain text is copied from the Notices to Mariners or other sources given.
Bridge of Lions (AICW Mile 777.9) Update:
There has been chat among boaters lately about the vertical clearance of the new (rehabilitated) Bridge of Lions. Today I spoke to Laurie Sanderson, spokesperson for the Rehabilitation Project. She reports that the 25-ft. vertical clearance is in question and that it’s probably less. The contractors are supposed to be taking detailed measurements for the MHW clearance and are to report back to the committee soon. She will send out the findings and we will report these as soon as they are available.
Meanwhile, boaters should assume the publicized vertical clearance of 25-ft. is not accurate, and should carefully look at the tideboards which she reports are in place, and judge the available vertical clearance from these. If there is any question, wait for an opening. Reports from boaters indicate that the vertical clearance may be as low as 22 feet.
U.S. Navy Fleet Week Restrictions in New York Harbor:
Re: U.S. NAVY FLEET WEEK May 26-June 2, 2010
NAVAL VESSEL PROTECTION ZONE (NVPZ) & SAFETY ZONE:
The U.S. Coast Guard has established 500-yards safety/ security zones surrounding all Fleet Week 2010 participatory vessels in the navigable waters of the United States. When within a 500 yards safety/security zone, all vessels shall operate at the minimum safe speed necessary to maintain course and shall proceed as directed by the Coast Guard or Navy. Other law enforcement agencies will assist in maintaining the zones. No vessel or person is allowed within 100 yards of naval vessels without permission of the Captain of the Port. Naval Vessel Protection Zones are in effect AT ALL TIMES. (First District LNM 20)
Alligator River, NC Shoaling Report Again:
Shoaling to a depth of 4.0 ft MLW has been reported in the vicinity of Alligator River Light 7 and Alligator River Light 8. Mariners are requested to transit the area with caution. (5th District LNM 20)
Ed. Note: This is the latest of many reports of shoaling between these two markers. We passed through here northbound in April, 2010, with no problem. The sailboat in front of us ran aground, appearing to be following the magenta line on the chart which clearly goes out of the marked channel on the south side of Light 8. Most boaters who follow the channel markers as one would normally do have no problem here, but those following the magenta line often get into trouble. Just a reminder: Channel markers are often moved to reflect changes in the bottom, but the magenta line on the chart may not be updated. We know that conditions can change and that channels can fill in unexpectedly, so approach this spot cautiously.
Annual Norfolk Harborfest Brings Fun, but also Safety Restrictions:
1. THE 34TH ANNUAL NORFOLK HARBORFEST CELEBRATION IS EXPECTED TO DRAW A LARGE NUMBER OF SPECTATOR VESSELS INTO A RELATIVELY SMALL AREA IVO TOWN POINT REACH. TO MAINTAIN A SAFE WATERWAY, THE CAPTAIN OF THE PORT HAMPTON ROADS WILL BE ENFORCING SPECIAL LOCAL REGULATIONS FROM FRIDAY, JUNE 11 THROUGH SUNDAY, JUNE 13, 2010. SOME OF THE EVENTS THAT ARE PART OF NORFOLK HARBORFEST 2010 PRESENT SPECIFIC HAZARDS TO MARINERS.
2. TO PROTECT VESSEL OPERATORS FROM THE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH FIREWORKS DISPLAYS, MARINERS MUST REMAIN AT LEAST 420 FEET FROM THE FIREWORKS BARGES FROM 9:00 P.M. UNTIL 10:30 P.M. ON SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 2010.
3. TO PROTECT VESSEL OPERATORS FROM THE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH MOTOR VESSEL RACES, MARINERS MUST REMAIN AT LEAST 200 FEET ABEAM OF THE RACE AREA AND 200 FEET AHEAD OF THE RACE AREA DURING ALL SCHEDULED EVENTS.
4. TO PROTECT VESSEL OPERATORS FROM THE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PARADE OF SAIL, VESSELS SHALL NOT ENTER THE REGULATED AREA ESTABLISHED FOR THE PARTICIPATING VESSELS. MARINERS MUST REMAIN AT LEAST 300 YARDS AHEAD AND 100 YARDS ABEAM OF THE PARTICIPATING VESSELS IN THE PARADE OF SAIL TRANSITING FROM SEWELL'S POINT ENROUTE TO TOWN POINT PARK, NORFOLK, VA FROM 10:00 A.M. UNTIL 1:30 P.M. ON FRIDAY JUNE 11, 2010.
5. TO PROTECT VESSEL OPERATORS FROM THE HAZARDS ASSOCIATED WITH THE PARADE OF SAIL, VESSELS SHALL NOT ENTER THE REGULATED AREA ESTABLISHED FOR HARBORFEST IN THE VICINITY OF TOWN POINT REACH. THIS SAFETY ZONE ENCOMPASSES ALL WATERS FROM HOSPITAL POINT TO NAUTICUS THENCE SOUTH TO THE MID-TOWN TUNNEL THENCE EAST TO THE DOWNTOWN TUNNEL.
6. OPERATORS MUST STOP THEIR VESSELS IMMEDIATELY UPON BEING DIRECTED TO DO SO AND MUST PROCEED AS DIRECTED BY ANY COMMISSIONED, WARRANT OR PETTY OFFICER ON SHORE OR ON BOARD A VESSEL THAT IS DISPLAYING A U.S. COAST GUARD ENSIGN. A COAST GUARD PATROL WILL BE ON SCENE MONITORING VHF CHANNELS 13 AND 16 DURING THESE EVENTS.
7. MARINERS ARE REMINDED TO USE EXTREME CAUTION WHEN TRANSITING THIS AREA DURING THE MARINE EVENT AND ARE DISCOURAGED FROM SWIMMING AFTER SUNSET. (5th District LNM 21)
USCG First District
Coastal Waters from Eastport, Maine to Shrewsbury, New Jersey
Scituate, MA, Shoaling:
Shoaling has been reported from the North River Junction Buoy towards South River Buoy 2. This area is reported as approximately 3.5 feet during low tide. Mariners are advised to use caution while transiting the area, especially during extreme ebb tides. (First District LNM 20)
New Bedford Harbor, MA, Dredging Update:
Seven dredge control systems consisting of steel piles and multiple wire rope cables are being deployed and will be maintained in the upper harbor of New Bedford Harbor. Three floating dredges will be operating within the perimeter of the pilings. The northern-most system is 100 feet south of the Wood Street Bridge across the entire width of the Acushnet River. The southern-most system is located at Manomet Street across the entire width of the Acushnet River starting approximately 2500 feet (0.41 Nm) north of the Route 195 and Coggeshall Street Bridges. At high tide, the traverse cable system will be nominally 1ft above the water’s surface. A floating white oil boom is attached to piling as well as blinking lights located at the top of several pilings. The dredges are connected to two booster pump stations on the west side of the Acushnet River via a floating 10 and 12 inch pipelines. The dredge line continues south and crosses Pierce Mill Cove (Coffin Cove) blocking access to the cove. The dredge lines are nominally submerged at the water surface and marked approximately every 500 ft with buoys. The work will be done from 17 May - 12 October 2010. Mariners are urged to use extreme caution in this area and if transit is desired, hail on VHF Channel 77 or contact the dredges on VHF Channel 13/16 to coordinate the passage and proceed with caution after passage arrangements have been made with the dredges. (First District LNM 20)
Lake Champlain Bridge Construction Update:
The United States Coast Guard has established a regulated navigation area around the construction zone of the Lake Champlain Bridge between Crown Point, NY and Chimney Point, VT. This regulated area is bound by four, white and orange-striped NO WAKE buoys in positions: 44°01’59”N, 073°25’31”W and 44°02’04”N, 073°25’28”W to the north, and 44°01’56”N, 073°25’08”W and 44°01’53”N, 073°25’14”W to the south. Until now, the Coast Guard had been enforcing a safety zone that excluded all vessel traffic from the area. Now that the debris removal from the old bridge is complete, the Coast Guard is suspending enforcement of the safety zone and requiring boaters to transit the area at no-wake speed. All vessels must transit through this area at a speed under 5 knots and in a manner so as to produce no wake. The new bridge construction involves large machinery and operations which, by their nature, are hazardous and pose risks to vessel traffic and construction crews. The no-wake zone is intended to minimize the risks a vessel wake could pose to both construction workers and boat operators in the area. In addition to the regulated navigation area, the New York State Department of Transportation has marked the main channel for safe passage through the construction zone with lighted red and green buoys. Concrete piers remaining from the old Lake Champlain Bridge have been marked with warning marks (white dayboards with orange-diamond and warning) and fixed, amber lights. All vessels are advised to transit the area with extreme caution. This regulated navigation area is in effect until December 31, 2011. In addition, this rule provides for the temporary suspension of all vessel traffic within the regulated navigation area during certain periods of construction. Notification of such closure will be made on VHF Channel 16 and 22. (First District LNM 20)
Providence, RI Area Waterway Analysis Request for Comments:
The Coast Guard is conducting Waterways Analysis Reviews of the Providence River and Tributaries. The Waterways Analysis Review is used to determine the effectiveness of aids to navigation within the waterways. The following areas are under review: Providence River, Warren River, Barrington River, Bullock Cove, Pawtucket Cove, and Seekonk River, found on charts 13224 and 13225. Mariners and other concerned parties are invited to comment on aids to navigation within these waterways. Any comments or recommended changes to aids to navigation should be received no later than June 18, 2010. Please send comments to Sector Southeastern New England, 20 Risho Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914-1208, Attn: Lieutenant Amber Ward (Amber.S.Ward@uscg.mil). (First District LNM 20)
Research Floats in Block Island Sound:
This notice advises mariners of the deployment of 4 research floats in various locations through Block Island Sound and Rhode Island Sound in support of a study to be conducted by the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. The four orange/yellow research floats will look similar to lobster pot floats and will mark the approximate position of Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP’s) on the sea bed below. These research floats which will be deployed in the following latitude/longitude positions from May 22, 2010 until September 2010:
(1) 41-16.769’N 071-35.957’W
(2) 41-11.808’N 071-27.074’W
(3) 41-12.657’N 071-13.766’W
(4) 41-15.668’N 071-01.877’W
All mariners, especially fishing vessels, are advised to use extreme caution and give wide berth when navigating in the vicinity of these research floats and to monitor VHF Channel 22 for the latest safety-related navigation information. Questions regarding this bulletin may be addressed to Mr. Edward G. LeBlanc at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England, 401-435-2351. (First District LNM 20)
Dredging in Clinton Harbor, Ct:
The Army Corp of Engineers will be dredging in Patchogue River Entrance Channel until 17 May and in Clinton Harbor from 17 - 27 May 2010. The hours of operation are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On scene is the CURRITUCK. (First District LNM 20)
Shoaling in Sheepshead Bay, NY:
Shoaling has been reported between Sheepshead Bay Lighted Buoy 6 (LLNR 34350) and Sheepshead Bay Buoy 8 (LLNR 34365). Mariners are advised to use caution while transiting the area. (First District LNM 20)
USCG Fifth District
Coastal Waters from Shrewsbury River, New Jersey to Little River, South Carolina
Bridge Repair, NJICW Mile 68.9:
Mariners are advised to take caution when approaching the NJ Transit RR bridge at Beach Thorofare on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 68.9, in Atlantic City, NJ. The drawbridge will be closed to navigation on Tuesday May 25, 2010 from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m for electrical conduit repairs (May 26, 2010 is the alternate date). The bridge will opened after emergency requests from the Coast Guard or State Police. The bridge will also open for mariners if four hours notice is given. (5th District LNM 21)
Delaware River RR Bridge Schedule Change:
The U.S. Coast Guard is preparing a temporary deviation from the regulations governing the operation of the New jersey Route 73, Tacony Palmyra Drawbridge across the Delaware River, mile 107.2, between Tacony, PA and Palmyra, NJ. The Burlington County Bridge Commission owns and operates the drawbridge and they will deviate from the operating regulation…there will be 9- hour night time closures, Monday to Friday (excluding Memorial Day weekend) commencing Monday, May 24, 2010 until July 31, 2010, closed between 8 pm and 5 am. During these night-time closures they will open the bridge when 4 hours prior notice is given. Also, mariners take notice that the bridge’s vertical clearance has been temporarily reduced by three feet, to 50 feet, for safety netting. (5th District LNM 21)
Delaware River Drawbridge Closure:
The U.S. Coast Guard is preparing a temporary deviation from the regulations governing the operation of the Route 413, Burlington-Bristol Drawbridge across the Delaware River, mile 117.8, between Bristol, PA and Burlington, NJ. The Burlington County Bridge Commission owns and operates the drawbridge and they will deviate from the operating regulation by closing the drawbridge for twelve hours for six consecutive days from Tuesday July 6 until July 11, 2010, closing the drawbridge at 7 pm and reopening at 7 am each morning. Due to the counter-weight cable replacement, the bridge will not be able to open but the waterway will remain open to mariners that can navigate under the closed drawbridge’s 62 foot vertical clearance. (5th District LNM 21)
NJ Beaches Renourishment:
The Great lakes Dredge and Dock Co. dredges ILLINOIS and ALASKA will be conducting beach re-nourishment in the vicinity of Avalon and Sea Isle from 11 May until 01 July, 2010. Dredge material will be taken from the area of Townsend Inlet. Pipelines associated with the pumping of the dredge material will run to the beaches at Avalon and Sea Isle. Survey vessels, tugs and derrick barges will be on site. The dredge and assisting vessels will monitor VHF-FM channels 3, 13 and 16. Dredging projects are usually conducted twenty-four (24) hours a day seven (7) days a week. (5th District LNM 21)
Coleman Bridge Closed to Navigation:
The George P. Coleman Bridge, at mile 7.0, located on the York River, in Yorktown, Virginia, will be closed to navigation from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 2 and June 9, 2010. The Virginia Department of Transportation will be making cable electrical repairs to the bridge. The vertical clearance of the bridge in the closed position is 60 feet above mean high water, vessels able to pass through the bridge in the closed position may do so but should extreme caution. This delay will be during daylight hours, there should be no delay at other times. (5th District LNM 21)
Hampton Roads Diving Ops:
Crofton Diving will be conducting diving operations from the PMT Terminal to Lamberts Point Pier across the Elizabeth River, paralleling the Midtown Tunnel from 18 May, 2010 for approximately 2 weeks. Diving will be conducted from barges and at times will be located in the navigation channel and my result in a “restriction of traffic”. Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads will monitor work locations and may be contacted for updates and it is requested that all vessels contact them prior to transiting the dive operations area. The barge will monitor VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. All vessels are requested to transit at a NO WAKE speed. (5th District LNM 21)
Centerville Turnpike Bridge (AICW Mile 15.2) Temporary Closure:
Mariners are advised that the Centerville Turnpike (SR170) Bridge, at AIWW mile 15.2, across the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal in Chesapeake VA, will be closed to vessels requiring an opening beginning at 8 p.m. until and including 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, to facilitate electrical repairs. (from the 5th District Bridge Branch)
New Bridge Proposed for Dismal Swamp Route:
AIWW (Alternate Route) – Pasquotank River – US 158 (lift) Bridge – NCDOT proposes to replace existing eastbound structure with a wider drawbridge on a new alignment. Public Notice 5-1181 issued; comment period ends 21 JUN 10. (5th District LNM 21)
Alligator River Bridge Restrictions Update:
The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary safety zone on the waters of the Alligator River directly under the US Highway 64 Swing Bridge. The safety zone is necessary to provide for the safety of mariners on navigable waters during maintenance of the US Highway 64 Swing Bridge. The State of North Carolina Department of Transportation awarded a contract to Coastal Gunite Construction Company of Cambridge, MD to perform bridge maintenance on the US Highway 64 Swing Bridge crossing the Alligator River at mile 84.2 of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, in Columbia, NC. The contract provides for cleaning, painting, and steel repair. The contractor will require the swing bridge to remain in the closed position during painting, daily from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., beginning on July 1, 2010 through September 30, 2010. An evening opening will be provided at 1 a.m., if at least two hours advanced notice is provided to the contractor by contacting the bridge at telephone number (252) 796-7261 or VHF Marine Band Radio channel 13. At all other times, the swing bridge will be required to open for the passage of vessels when a request or signal is given. The Coast Guard will temporarily restrict the access to this section of the Alligator River during the painting of the swing when maintenance equipment will be obstructing the waterway. (5th District LNM 21)
Oregon Inlet Survey Shows Shoaling:
A ACOE hydrographic survey conducted 07 May, 2010, identifies shoaling to a depth of 4.9 feet MLW east of the fendered opening span of the Herbert Bonner Bridge. Mariners are advised to exercise caution and are advised to transit under the bridge only at the fendered opening to prevent damage to the vessel or to the bridge. (5th District LNM 21)