East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

Special Event with Nigel Calder:
Bluewater Books and Charts will host a seminar on navigation by Nigel Calder, noted marine writer, on Saturday, February 11, 2006, 6:00-8:00 PM, at their new store at 1811 Cordova Rd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316.

To quote Bluewater’s press release, Nigel Calder says, "Today's WAAS-corrected GPS technology routinely provides navigators with real-time positional accuracy that has an error of less than 10 meters, and often less than 2 meters. Electronic navigation enables such fixes to be precisely plotted. Unfortunately, there is not a chart sold today - paper or electronic - that supports such a level of accuracy. In this presentation, I will explore current levels of chart accuracy, important issues relating to the horizontal and vertical datums used in making charts, and some of the surprising consequences of converting paper charts to electronic versions. I will then look at the key differences between raster and vector electronic charts. Understanding these seemingly obscure issues is essential to safely interpreting the information provided by GPS and modern electronic navigation systems."

This event is free and open to the public, and attendees will receive a special 10% discount on Nigel's books. Come mingle with fellow boaters, share light refreshments, and have a good time while you're learning. Don’t forget to bring your notepad!
For information contact Melanie Neale, Media Relations & Event Coordinator, at 954-763-6533, ex 228,

New Coast Guard Names in New England:
The USCG First District LNM 05 states that effective February 28, 2006, “Coast Guard Group Woods Hole” will be changing names to “Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.” All mariners wishing to contact “Coast Guard Group Woods Hole” should make hail outs to “Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.”

Sunken Sailboat at City Island, NY:
The same LNM as above states that the Coast Guard has received a report of a sailing vessel which sank on a mooring ball in approximate position 40-50.40N, 073-47.50W, in vicinity of City Island. All vessels are requested to proceed with caution and report sightings to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Absecon Inlet (Atlantic City), NJ, Shoaling:
The USCG Fifth District LNM 05 and 06 report a report of shoaling in Absecon Inlet in the main channel between Absecon Inlet Lighted Buoy 2 and Absecon Inlet Lighted Buoy 4 to a depth of 8 feet MLW. Mariners are also urged to use caution when transiting the area.

NOTE: This heavily used ocean inlet to Atlantic City is open to the entire North Atlantic Ocean, as in all the way to Europe. Eight ft. depths in this part of the inlet channel could make for serious large and breaking waves especially at low tide, and on the ebb. We have made some very uncomfortable passages through this inlet, and we pick our weather very carefully. Use Caution Here!

Choptank River, MD, Temporary Security Zone:
The same Fifth District LNM announces that due to a meeting of the US House Republicans Issues Conference (Feb 9-11, 2006) in Cambridge Maryland, the Coast Guard will be establishing a temporary security zone upon certain waters of the Choptank River. This zone will remain in effect from 7 a.m. (EST) on February 9, 2006 through 7 a.m. (EST) on February 12, 2006, and includes all waters of the Choptank River, surface to bottom, within 500 yards of the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina's Breakwater Pavilion, located in approximate position latitude 38° 33.76N, longitude 076° 02.75W. Entry into or remaining in this zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port (COTP) Baltimore, Maryland. Vessels or persons desiring to transit the area of the security zone must first obtain authorization from the COTP Baltimore or his designated representative at telephone number (410) 576-2693. Coast Guard vessels enforcing this security zone can be contacted on VHF Channel 16. If permission is granted, all persons and vessels must comply with the instructions provided and proceed at the minimum speed necessary to maintain a safe course while within the zone. The U.S. Coast Guard may be assisted in the patrol and enforcement of the zone by Federal, State, and local agencies. Address comments or questions to Mr. Ron Houck, Coast Guard Sector Baltimore, at telephone (410) 576-2674.

Rudee Inlet, VA, AGAIN:
Fifth District LNM 05 states that the City of Virginia Beach Survey of Rudee Inlet, dated January 23, 2006, indicates a least depth of 8 feet, MLLW; across the entrance channel, approximately 200 feet East of the South Jetty, in the inbound channel, approximately 400 feet West of the North Jetty and in the outbound channel adjacent to the inside South Jetty. Mariners are advised to use caution.

NOTE: Shoaling at Rudee Inlet is ongoing, as is dredging. Seek local knowledge before entering, especially after strong onshore storms. Many boats use this inlet regularly; it’s a popular sport fishing area. The City of Virginia Beach conducts periodic surveys, results of which are reported in the USCG LNMs. Like Absecon Inlet above, this inlet is open to the whole North Atlantic, and all its swells.

Berkley Bridge, Eastern Branch, Elizabeth River, Norfolk, VA, NOT on then ICW, Closed for Valentine’s Day:
Fifth District LNM 05 states that there will be a different temporary deviation (NOTE: different than previously announced and reported in East Coast Alerts) from the operating regulations at the Berkley Bridge, at mile 0.4, across the Elizabeth River (Eastern Branch), in Norfolk, Virginia. To facilitate additional electrical repairs, this deviation allows the drawbridge to remain closed-to-navigation from 7 a.m. on February 14, 2006, until 7 a.m. on February 15, 2006. 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 117.1007.

More Norfolk Area Construction at Bridges:
Fifth District LNM 05 and 06 report that between January 30 and March 31, 2006, Crofton Construction will be working in the area of the Gilmerton Bridge, the Norfolk and Southern Railroad Bridge Number 7 ( both at ICW Mile 5.8). Additionally, work will continue into the area of Norfolk and Southern Railroad Bridge Number 5 on the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River (NOT on the ICW). Pile driving operations accompanied by commercial diving operations will be conducted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Dive vessels and construction vessels will be monitoring VHF Channels 13 and 16. Mariners are requested to transit the area with caution and exercise no wake.

Dredging in Morehead City, NC:
USCG Fifth District LNMs report that The Dredge EAGLE ONE will be conducting dredging operations in Morehead City Channel from January 23 until March 4, 2006. The dredge can be contacted on VHF Channels 13 and 16. Mariners are requested to stay clear of the dredge, floating and submerged pipelines, buoys and wires and exercise extreme caution and no wake when approaching, passing and leaving a dredge operation location and to strictly comply with the Inland Rules of the Road.

Dredging in Brunswick Harbor, GA:
Seventh District USCG LNM 05 and 06 state that the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company will commence dredging operations in Brunswick Harbor (Georgia) and the channels entering the harbor. Dredging will be done in the Brunswick Cut Range, the Turtle River Range and the Cedar Hammock Range eastward as far as Cedar Hammock Lighted Buoy 24 (LLNR 6215). The dredge FLORIDA and its accompanying pipeline, power cable, derricks, work barges and support tugs will be on-scene. The dredge will monitor VHF Channels 13 and 16. This operation will continue twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week until completion on or July 15, 2006. All mariners are advised to use extreme caution while transiting this area.

Rim Route Okeechobee Waterway Remains Closed:
As I reported in East Coast Alerts on Nov. 1 and Nov. 3, 2005, the Rim Route (aka Route #2) of the Okeechobee Waterway was closed following Hurricane Wilma due to debris blocking parts of it. The USACE Jacksonville issued a Notice to Navigation Interests on January 26, 2006 stating that this route is still closed, from Clewiston (S-310) to Port Mayaca (S-308), due to debris. It further stated that “The Government will remove all debris, vegetation, boats, and etc. as quickly as possible when funds are available.” The Lake Route (aka Route #1) is open and the locks are reported to be on normal operation. Check www.saj.usace.army.mil and select Water Management, then Navigation Bulletins and Lock Closure Information or you can call the USACE South Florida Operations Office at 863 983 8101 for further information.

Proposed Discontinuation of Markers in Florida Bay:
Recent Seventh District USCG LNMs report that the Coast Guard is seeking comments on the following changes that have been proposed for the aids to navigation system in Florida Bay:

1. Schooner Bank DBN 7 (LLNR 15615) will be permanently discontinued.
2. Schooner Bank DBN 8 (LLNR 15620) will be permanently discontinued.
3. Sand Key Channel Bank DBN 9X (LLNR 15630) will be permanently discontinued.
4. Sand Key Channel Bank DBN 10X (LLNR 15635) will be permanently discontinued.
5. Oxfoot Bank DBN 11 (LLNR 15640) will be permanently discontinued.
6. Sand Key Channel DBN 12 (LLNR 15645) will be permanently discontinued.
All comments should be addressed to Commander (OAN), Seventh Coast Guard District, 909 S.E. 1st Ave (STE 406), Brickell Plaza Federal Bldg, Miami, FL 33131, to be received by March 1, 2006.

This information is not to be used for navigation. Consult the latest charts and Local Notices to Mariners and use prudent seamanship. Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive any and all claims which may arise from that use.

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale