East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale
6/11/2010


Attention Snowbirds

Figure Eight Swing Bridge (AICW Mile 278.1) Schedule Not Changing:
          The following is quoted from the USCG 5th District LNM (Week 23):*
AIWW – Figure Eight Swing Bridge – Withdrawal of NPRM sent for signing by District Commander.
          Ed. Note: The week before, the Withdrawal of NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) had been sent to legal. It must have passed there. See the last East Coast Alerts, March 27, 2010, for background information.

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

New Oak Island Bridge Delays for Girder Installation:
          The bridge girder installation is scheduled to take place through 31 JUL 10. To provide for the safety of the public, the CG will temporarily restrict access to this section of the AIWW during center girder installation causing delays for four hours from 0730 until 1130. (5th District LNM 22)

SPECIAL NOTICES

Hurricane Season:
          It’s that time of year again, and the 7th District Coast Guard has published its usual reminder. We publish it again here because of its importance to us all on the East and Gulf Coasts, especially with the prediction of a worse than usual season and with the likelihood of prolonged dealing with the Gulf Oil Spill. Note the last paragraph having to do with drawbridges if you must move your boat for a storm or hurricane. South Carolina DOT has even more strict rules for drawbridge closure during approaching tropical systems. Check ahead locally in your area for special hurricane bridge regulations.

The hurricane season extends from June 1st through November 30th. 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.

HURRICANE INFORMATION
          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. Port Hurricane Conditions are set by the COTP (Coast Guard Captain of the Port) and will change as the threat of severe weather increases, or as storm(s) approach a specific COTP Area of Responsibility.
          For COTP specific Port Hurricane Conditions, you should review information provided under Port Directory tab of http://homeport.uscg.mil
Condition 4 - Hurricane Seasonal Alert. 01 June-30 November; port status: open.
Condition Whiskey - Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 72 hours; port status: open.
Condition X-Ray - Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 48 hours; port status: open.
Condition Yankee - Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 24 hours; port status: restricted; vessel/facility control measures in effect.
Condition Zulu - Sustained Gale Force winds associated with Tropical Cyclone activity are predicted within 12 hours; port status: closed to all vessel traffic and waterside activities except for activities approved by the COTP.
          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. Extended closure periods may be authorized up to 8 hours prior to arrival of Gale Force winds to facilitate evacuation of land traffic. 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. (7th District LNM 22)

AIS TEXT MESSAGING: Safety Alert
          The Coast Guard strongly reminds operators that use of AIS text messaging does not relieve the vessel of other requirements, such as the Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone regulations or of the requirements to sound whistle signals and display lights or shapes in accordance with the International or Inland Navigation Rules. With respect to using AIS safety related text messages in emergency situations, users must be aware that they may not be received, recognized or acted upon as GMDSS messages would be by the Coast Guard, other competent authorities or maritime first responders. (7th District LNM 22)

DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE: Marking of Oil Containment Booms
          The ongoing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico to mitigate the spread of oil has resulted in the deployment of significant amounts of containment boom. Consideration should be given to the impacts to navigational safety and if appropriate, the containment boom should be marked in a manner consistent with Navigation Rules. (7th District LNM 22)

NATIONAL MARINA DAY – JUNE 12, 2010: Many marinas have special programs and activities to celebrate.

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

Shoaling Bass River, MA:
          Severe shoaling has been reported on the Bass River from the Hall-Whitaker Bridge up to the Bass Haven Yacht Club. Mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting the area. (1st District LNM 22)

Shoaling in Allen Harbor, RI:
          The Coast Guard has received a report that, due to excessive shoaling, a portion of the entrance channel to Allen Harbor, North Kingstown, affords only four feet of clearance at low tide. Mariners are advised to use caution when transiting this area. (1st District LNM 22)

Shoaling in Clinton Harbor, CT:
          The Coast Guard has received a report of severe shoaling in the marked channel in the entrance to Clinton Harbor. All mariners are requested transit the area with caution as unexpected shoaling may be present. (1st District LNM 22)

Underwater Research--Long Island Sound, NY Eastern End:
          Sediment collection and sidescan sonar work will be done from 31 May - 13 June 2010. The hours of operation will be daily from 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM. On scene will be a sediment grab sampler, sediment profile imaging system & sidescan sonar that will be monitoring VHF-FM channel 16.

Hudson River Tides Different from Predictions:
          The observed tides along the Hudson River have been reported to differ significantly from the Published tide predictions; particularly in the northern section of the river from Newburgh to Albany, New York. Based on limited reports and comparisons to USGS stream gauges, it appears that high tides are occurring approximately 1 hour earlier than predicted. NOAA has no information on what may be causing the difference between predictions and observations. This could be the result of natural changes (shoaling, erosion, etc) or artificial changes (dredging, construction, etc) in the Hudson River. Based on preliminary evidence, this does not appear to be a temporary condition and may indicate a long term change in the tidal conditions of the Hudson River. NOAA does not have any water level stations operating along the length of the Hudson River, with the nearest operating station being located at The Battery, New York. Without observational data in the area, the extent of the difference between predictions and observations cannot be confirmed; neither can the areas affected by this change. Resources are not available for the installation and operation of water level stations along the Hudson River. Mariners operating in this area are urged to use caution. (1st District LNM 22)

New York and New Jersey Deepening Update:
          The Arthur Kill, Kill Van Kull, Newark Bay, Ambrose, Anchorage and Port Jersey Channels are undergoing extensive long-term dredging through 2014. Many Aids to Navigation will be relocated and/or established to mark the limits of these sites to ensure safe navigation through and around these areas. Mariners are advised to exercise caution while navigating through these areas. For additional information regarding Aids to Navigation, dredging operations, and channel restrictions contact Vessel Traffic Service New York via VHF-FM CH 12 or 718.354.4088. Additional information is also available at http://homeport.uscg.mil/newyork <Waterways Management>. (1st District LNM 22)

Operation Clear Channel (Revised):
          The "Operation Clear Channel" program is designed to educate boaters about the hazards of navigating small vessels and personal water craft in the confines of the navigational channels used by larger commercial ships that enter and depart the various ports in New York Harbor. The federal navigation rules, also known as "Rules of the Road", address this safety concern by giving commercial vessels priority, or right-of-way, over smaller vessels when navigating in narrow channels.
          Every day an average of 1,400 commercial vessels navigate the waters of the Port of NY/NJ. The masters of these vessels, while always on the lookout, cannot always see smaller vessels when they cross the channels. For safety reasons, recreational boaters should keep a sharp lookout for other vessels and always be prepared to give way to ships constrained in their ability to maneuver when transiting within close proximity to a channel. Coast Guard units in New York and New Jersey actively promote boater awareness through vessel enforcement patrols and visits to local marinas. The Coast Guard targets high-traffic regions, such as the Ambrose Channel, Sandy Hook Channel and Raritan Bay, but also includes all of New York Harbor. Mariners interested in increasing their knowledge of boating safety, including the Rules of the Road, should consider a Coast Guard Auxiliary boating safety course. Course information is available online at http://www.cgaux.org in the “Take a Boating Course” section, or by calling 1-800-336-BOAT. Further information regarding Operation Clear Channel can be found at http://homeport.uscg.mil/newyork < Waterways Management > 10.Recreational Boating Information and Internet Links. (1st District LNM 22)

Air Race, NY Harbor:
          Mariners are advised that the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is scheduled to be held on the Hudson River. Practice flight days are scheduled for June 17 – 18, 2010, between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Race days are scheduled for June 19 – 20, 2010 between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. 15 small high speed aircraft will be participating in a short- distance course located in the vicinity of Liberty State Park near Ellis Island. There will be a Regulated Navigation Area in effect all four days; mariners are requested to maintain a 200 yard distance from the race area. (1st District LNM 22)

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

Delaware River Drawbridges to Close for Repairs:
          The New Jersey Route 73, Tacony Palmyra Drawbridge across the Delaware River, mile 107.2, between Tacony, PA and Palmyra, NJ will be closed to navigation so as to continue on-going bridge repairs during several weekends, closing the drawbridge for 57 hours every weekend (except July 4th weekend), between Friday at 8 pm until Monday at 5 am., commencing Friday, June 11, 2010 ending Monday, August 9, 2010. During this closure time they will open the bridge if 10 hours prior notice is given. During this time, there will also be on-going 9- hour night time closures, Monday to Friday, 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 23)
          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 23)

Delaware City Dredging:
          The Delaware City Mooring Basin and shoaled areas in the Delaware City Branch Canal will be dredged from 01 June until 01 September, 2010. A hydraulic dredge and tender will be on scene and monitoring VHF-FM channels 13 and 16. (1st District LNM 23)

Curtis Creek, Baltimore, Bridge to Close for Repairs:
          Mariners are advised that structural repairs will be performed at the Pennington Avenue Bridge, at mile 0.9, across Curtis (Creek) Bay in Baltimore, MD. To facilitate repairs on the northeast and northwest sides of the bascule span, the drawbridge will be maintained in the closed position to vessels to include immobilizing half of the draw spans to single-leaf operation. The drawbridge will operate as follows:
1) Closed to vessels beginning at 6 a.m. on July 15, 2010 until and including 11:59 p.m. on August 22, 2010; however, vessels openings will be provided if at least 48 hours advance notice is given;
2) Single leaf operation on the northwest side span starting at 5 a.m. on August 22, 2010 or after the vessel IDA LEWIS has passed until and including 11:59 p.m. on September 11, 2010. The opposite connecting spans on the south side while not under repair will continue to open for vessels;
3) Closed to vessels beginning at 6 a.m. on September 12, 2010 until and including 11:59 p.m. on October 6, 2010; however, vessels openings will be provided if at least 48 hours advance notice is given;
4) Single leaf operation on the northeast side span starting at 5 a.m. on October 8, 2010 until and including 11:59 p.m. on October 28, 2010. The opposite connecting spans on the south side while not under repair will continue to open for vessels;
5) Closed to vessels beginning at 6 a.m. on October 29, 2010 until and including 11:59 p.m. on December 1, 2010; however, vessels openings will be provided if at least 48 hours advance notice is given.
For advance notice requests, mariners should contact the bridge tender by calling (410) 396 1154. Alternate contact numbers are (443) 695 0492 or (410) 916 2833. At all other times, the drawbridge will operate in accordance with the operating regulations set out in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.5. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting the area. (1st District LNM 23)

Navy Exercises at Chesapeake Bay Entrance:
NAVY COMMANDER U.S. SECOND FLEET WILL CONDUCT EXERCISE FRONTIER SENTINEL BEGINNING MAY 31, 2010 THROUGH JUNE 14, 2010.
TRAINING WILL INCLUDE AIR, SURFACE ACTIVITIES AND DIVING OPERATIONS. SUBMERGED OBJECTS ARE PRESENT DURING THE EXERCISE AND WILL BE IN THE FOLLOWING BOX AREAS FOR TRAINING PURPOSES:
37 01.59N/076 02.22W
37 01.00N/076 02.22W
37 01.00N/076 00.07W
37 01.59N/076 00.07W
37 00.48N/076 11.07W
37 00.48N/076 12.21W
36 58.40N/076 12.21W
36 58.40N/076 11.07W
36 58.56N/075 56.55W
36 58.27N/075 56.55W
36 58.26N/075 47.27W
36 58.56N/075 47.27W
36 56.38N 075 50.28W
36 55.38N 075 50.28W
36 55.38N 075 46.20W
36 56.38N 075 46.20W
MARINERS ARE REQUESTED TO MAINTAIN A 1NM RADIUS CLEARANCE FROM THE TRAINING OPERATIONS AND USE CAUTION WHILE TRANSITING THE AREAS. OBJECT CLEARING TRAINING OPERATIONS WILL GIVE WAY TO COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC IN THE CHANNEL. ON-SCENE U.S. NAVY UNITS WILL MONITOR VHF-FM CH. 16. FOR MORE DETAILS CONTACT CDR DAVID GIVEY, USN AT 757-443-9850. (1st District LNM 23)

Construction in Southern Branch, NE of Gilmerton Bridge:
          Pier reconstruction work, at the Kinder – Morgan Facility on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, northeast of the Gilmerton Bridge will be ongoing from 02 June until 18 August, 2010. Work will involve pile driving crane barge to repair the fender system. All vessels are requested to transit at a NO WAKE speed. (1st District LNM 23)

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)

New Bridge Proposed for Dismal Swamp Route:
Fifth Coast Guard District
431 Crawford Street, Rm.100
Portsmouth, VA.23704-5004
Attn.: Albert Grimes Or Email to: Albert.L.Grimes@uscg.mil
Chart: 12231.
The U.S. Coast Guard has received an existing eastbound US 158 Highway Bridge, along the Alternate Route of the AIWW mile 50.7, over Pasquotank River in Elizabeth City NC. NCDOT proposes to replace the existing bridge along a new alignment to the west of the existing bridge with a new, wider drawbridge. The total width of 39.5 feet includes 24 feet for 2 eastbound driving lanes, 8 feet for a bicycle lane, and 5.5 feet for a raised pedestrian walkway. The fender system will be renovated for vessel impact. The proposed vertical clearance in the closed position to vessels and the proposed horizontal clearance will remain the same at 12 feet, above mean high water and 90 feet between the fenders, respectively. Comments should be forwarded to the above address attention (dpb) no later than June 21, 2010. Copies of Public Notice 5-1181, which describe the proposal in detail, can be obtained by writing to the above address or by calling (757) 398-6557. (1st District LNM 23)

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 23)

Surf City Bridge, AICW Mile 260.7, to Close for a Night:
          Mariners are advised that the S.R. 50 Swing Bridge, at AIWW mile 260.7 at Surf City, NC will be closed to vessels requiring an opening beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday June 20, 2010 through 5 a.m. Monday June 21, 2010, to facilitate bridge maintenance. At all other times, the swing bridge will operate in accordance with the operating regulations set forth in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117.821. Mariners should adjust their transits accordingly and use caution when transiting the area. (5th District Bridge Branch)

Click here to read Part II