East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale


ICW to Close for Bridge Work, Mile 5.8, (Norfolk Area):
       From the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch: 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 to complete structural repairs beginning at 5 a.m. until and including 11 p.m. each Sunday on February 8, March 1, March 8, April 5, April 12, May 3 and May 10, 2009.  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.

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

Figure Eight Island Bridge, NC, Possible Schedule Change:
The following notice was included in the 5th District LNM 05 Bridge Summary: AIWW – Figure Eight Swing Bridge - NPRM proposes to change to the existing regulations to allow the bridge to open on signal every hour on the half-hour for recreational vessels. NPRM sent for signing by District Commander.
            Translation: NPRM is a Notice of Proposed Rule Making. Some entity wants to cut the number of bridge openings in half (once an hour instead of twice an hour on the hour and half hour, its current opening schedule).The distance between the Wrightsville Beach Bridge (opens once an hour on the hour) and the Figure Eight Island Bridge is five statute miles. The channel is narrow with strong reversing and side currents, and there is a very busy boat ramp just north of the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. Slower boats (sailboats and some trawlers, which are often less maneuverable than faster smaller boats) usually cannot make the five mile distance in 30 minutes, and would be forced to wait for nearly an hour at one bridge or another. This would cause congestion and possible accidents at the bridges.
            The next step in Rule Making is for a Public Notice to be issued and published in the USCG LNMs, with a period for Public Comment. It’s up to us boaters to send our comments, because the car drivers will certainly favor this proposal. We’ll keep you posted. 

General Announcements:
From the latest LNMs:
TERMINATION OF 121.5/243.0 MHz
The International Cospas-Sarsat System will cease satellite processing of 121.5/243 MHz beacons on 1 February 2009. All beacon owners and users should begin taking steps to replace their 121.5/243 MHz beacons with 406 MHz beacons as soon as possible.- - International COSPASSARSAT organization with guidance from the UN. Operation of Class A/B/S EPIRB stations shall be prohibited after December 31, 2006.

Ambrose Channel, NY Harbor, Marker Change Proposed:
From the 1st District LNM 04: The Coast Guard is considering making the following change(s) to this waterway:
INSTALL AMBROSE CHANNEL LWB A (LLNR 34785) with Automated Information System (AIS) and RELOCATE approximately .5NM SE to (PA) 40-27-34.02N 073-50-13.02W. This will enable Ambrose LWB A to respond to interrogation by radar for ready identification of the aid.
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 13 February 2009. To facilitate the process, refer to Project No. 01-09-007. In addition to the address listed on the front cover, e-mails can be sent to Jack.J.McLaughlin@uscg.mil and faxes to 617-223-8073.

Delaware Bay Obstruction Marked:
Last summer we reported that these items were floating freely in the mouth of Delaware Bay. Now they are reported on the bottom and marked. From the 5th District LNM 05: Three spud legs have been located within a 500' radius of approximate position 38-54-55N, 074-35-50W and are marked with lighted buoys. The legs are 1.5 feet in diameter and laying on their side on the sea floor.

Delaware River, Anchors in Anchorage:
The 5th District LNM 05 reports that two submerged objects most likely anchors were found in the positions of 39° 42’ 38.16”N, 075° 30’05.40”W and 39°42’35.16”N, 075°30’10.8”W. Mariners are advised to avoid anchoring in the northern end of General Anchorage #6 and are urged to use caution when transiting the area.

Thimble Shoal Light Changes Proposed:
The 5th District USCG, in its LNM 05, is soliciting for comments on a proposal to reduce the nominal range from 20NM to 18NM and discontinue the sound signal on Thimble Shoal Light. Discontinuing the sound signal will remove a substantial electrical load and its removal is not anticipated to adversely affect navigation safety. Comments on the proposal to discontinue the horn and reduce the nominal range can be provided to: 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 . In your comments, please address the impacts these proposed changes may impose on your operations. Please also include in your correspondence the means you are using to navigate in the area of Thimble Shoal Light and any electronic sensors used while traversing the waters of Chesapeake Bay.

Rudee Inlet, Again:
The 5th District LNM 05 states that shoaling to a depth 8.0 feet MLLW has been reported across the channel inside Rudee Inlet, approximately 100 feet west on the inner South Jetty. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting the area.

Bad News for Bogue Inlet, NC (not on the ICW):
A few weeks ago we reported that shoaling to a depth of 01 foot MLW has been reported in the vicinity of Bogue Inlet Buoy 8. The shoal extends approximately 30 feet into the channel in the direction of Bogue Inlet Buoy 6. Now the 5th District LNM 05 reports that shoaling to a depth of 2 feet MLW has been reported in the vicinity of Bogue Inlet Lighted Buoy 1 and Bogue Inlet Buoy 2. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting the area. This is a coastal inlet used by many recreational and commercial vessels, as well as the Coast Guard Station at Swansboro.

Duck NC Sea Sled Platform:
From the 5th District LNM 05: The Army Corps of Engineers has temporarily established a instrument sea sled platform for the collection of environmental data in the Duck Research Buoy Area at position 36-10-32.4N. 075-46-59.4W until 01 May, 2009. The structure consists of a square aluminum skeletal platform with 4 yellow dayboards with black “A” and showing a Fl Y 4s characteristic.

Wrightsville Beach, NC, Bridge Repairs, Channel Obstructions:
From the USCG 5th District Bridge Branch: Mariners are advised that structural repairs will be conducted from February 20 until April 5, 2009 at the S.R. 74 Bridge, at AIWW mile 283.1, at Wrightsville Beach, NC.  To facilitate repairs, construction equipment (two barges, measuring 40 feet X 60 feet with crane and work platforms measuring 10 feet X 15 feet along with two work boats) will occupy the channel to perform pile replacement, sheet piling, excavation, and concrete fill.  Normal activity will be from 7 a.m. until dark, Monday through Saturday. 
There are activities which will require placement of construction equipment in the channel:

  1. During sheet piling driving operations, each day from 11:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning February 23 to 25, 2009, and from March 2 to 4, 2009, the drawbridge will be in the full opened position to vessels; however, construction equipment will be moored in the navigable channel reducing the available horizontal clearance to approximately 45 feet.
  2. After the sheet pile wall is installed, the larger 40 X 60 barge will only be placed in the channel intermittently throughout the remainder of the project and there will be no conflict with the channel on any Friday through Sunday, nor any holidays.
  3. During concrete placement at the end of the project, the larger 40 X 60 barge may be placed in the channel for one day or one night only, ranging from March 20 to April 2, 2009.

Mariners requiring the full width of the channel are requested to provide at least two hours advance notice by calling either (910) 612-8112, (336) 8102 or the bridge tender at (910) 256-2886.  Construction equipment will be moored outside the navigable channel when not utilized.  All barges will be marked with red quick flash lights on all corners adjacent to the channel and white steady burn lights on the corners furthest from the channel.  Mariners should also use extreme caution when transiting the area.

Fernandina Beach Shoal Update:
Now we have an exact position for this reported shoal. From the 7th District LNM 05: The Coast Guard has received a report of shoaling in the vicinity of Fernandina Beach Light 1 (LLNR 37985) less than 6 feet at mean high tide. This shoal appears to be approximately 30 feet wide and extends from 30-39.8N 081-29.05W to 30-39.5N 081-29.1W. All mariners are advised to use caution in the vicinity.

St. Lucie River Shoaling:
The 7th District LNM 05 states that St Lucie River Daybeacon 6 has deteriorated and has been cut at the river bottom, removal not possible due to adverse weather and river bottom conditions. The single pile steel (SPS) beam is buried under this sandy shoaling area at approximate position 27-09-54.638N 080-11-21.964W. St Lucie River Daybeacon 6 has been replaced with a buoy to mark the channel. All mariners are advised that shoaling is proceeding at a rapid pace and proceeding southward. Dredging of the area is scheduled for September 2009. Shoaling also has been reported between St Lucie River Buoy 2 and St Lucie River Buoy 3. All mariners are advised to transit the area with caution. For further information and updates please contact BMC Henry J. Audette at (772) 465-2457.

Loran Station Jupiter Unusable Time:
From the 7th District LNM 05: This is a proposal to authorize LORSTA Jupiter (Rate 7980-Y). Unusable time from 1500Z-1630Z on February 26, 2009. The alternative time will be from 1500Z-1630Z on February 27, 2009. Objections will be considered until 1600Z February 20, 2009. Users shall address inquires to the Southeast U.S. LORAN-C Chain Operations Control Officer at (703) 313-5873 or 5900. Current LORAN-C status is available 24 hours a day through the internet address at HTTP://WWW.NAVCEN.USCG.GOV.

Testing Hazard Offshore South Florida:
In the recent past they tested unmanned submersibles here, now they’ll do helos, drop tests and floating hazards. Be careful in this area!  From the 7th District LNM 05: Lockheed Martin will be conducting offshore testing with support vessels from Sea Tow of Palm Beach, between the Lake Worth and Boynton Inlets, one (1) to five (5) miles offshore on or about February 1, 2009, with completion date on or about March 5, 2009. First phase testing on or about February 1, 2009, will consist of helicopter operations conducting drop tests and these tests will be considered a hazard to navigation. Divers and RHIB boats will be conducting safety, savage and recovery operations. During the second half of February and the beginning of March, testing will include anchored float balls with strobe lights, which will be monitored 24/7 by Lockheed Martin. The M/V Richard Becker and Sea Tow of Palm Beach will be the support vessels on scene for this event. During the evening hours the float balls will present a hazard to navigation due to reduced visibility and any heavy sea states. For further information please contact Mr. Donny Jones at (561) 494-2245 (comm) or (561) 262-3833 (cell)

Lake Worth Inlet Issues:
From the 7th District LNM 05: The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) is conducting work on the jetties in the Lake Worth Inlet within Palm Beach County. This project is currently underway and completion is expected by March 31st, 2009. Placement of 4 (four) Temporary markers saying “Construction Area, Slow Speed Minimum Wake” are in positions:
26 46.413N 080 2.284W
26 46.412N 080 1.907W
26 46.287N 080 2.268W
26 46.278N 080 1.912W
Mariners are advised to use caution while transiting this area. For further information please contact Mr. Russell E. Burkett, Chief Field Engineering and Maintenance U.S. ACOE at (863) 983-8101x224.
The next bit of information about boat drafts should not affect any of us recreational boaters. However, we should know that some of the big ships coming into the inlet may be doing so under very difficult circumstances for them, and we should stay out of their way, especially in the area of the north settling basin. From 7th District LNM 05: The Palm Beach Harbor Pilots have experience additional shoaling in the Entrance Channel of Lake Worth Inlet. There will be a restriction of 30’-00” at high water slack on all inbound vessels and outbound vessels. Vessels carrying oil products will have a maximum draft of 29’-00”. Now that the settling basin to the north of the channel has encroached into the Channel, further shoaling will occur over time or with any additional adverse weather. All parties who have vessels that are close to the above limitations should keep in close contact with our office prior to the arrival of their vessels for any changes. The Pilots Association has been informed by the Port that a dredge is due very soon. Vessels arriving within 3 feet of the maximum allowable draft for the Port of Palm Beach will be restricted to transiting at High Water Slack. Vessels that have a LOA of 600’ or more or have a beam of 90’ or more may have a further draft restriction. All drafts are for salt water. Please contact Mr. William G. Roden, Jr. at Office (561) 845-2628 with any questions.

Florida Port Dredging Projects:
            From the USCG 7th District LNM 05:
Cape Canaveral:The dredge VIRGINIAN will commence dredging operations at the West Turning Basin in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on or about February 15, 2009. Scows will be towed from the jobsite to the Canaveral Ocean Disposal Area (ODMDS) several miles offshore. This project will continue till completion on or about May 15, 2009. The dredge operator will standby on VHF-FM Channels 13 and 16. Traffic should call 30 minutes prior to expected time of passage. For further information please contact Mr. Steve Newton at (757) 547-9391.
            Tampa Bay: Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company has commenced maintenance dredging in the eastern portion of Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay, Florida. This project will continue on a twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week basis until completion on or about March 31, 2009. The dredge FLORIDA will be on-scene and monitoring VHF Channels 12, 13, and 16. All mariners are advised to exercise caution and remain at least 500 feet clear of dredging operations when transiting the area. For further information please contact Tampa Bay's Cooperative Vessel Traffic Services at (813) 242-1600 or via VHF-FM Channel 12.
            Port Manatee: Subaqueous Service, LLC, will commence dredging operations in Port Manatee Harbor and Port Manatee Entrance Channel, Manatee County, Florida on or about February 15, 2009. Dredging will began in Port Manatee Turning Basin in the vicinity of Port Manatee Channel Lighted Buoy 7. The dredging project will continue west from Port Manatee Channel LB 7 to Port Manatee Channel LB 1 in the Port Manatee Entrance Channel. This project will be on a continuous basis twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days a week until completion on or about June 1, 2009. The dredge MISTER O will be on-scene monitoring VHF-FM Channel 13 and 16. All mariners are requested to transit the area with extreme caution. Submerged and floating pipeline associated with the dredging operation will be in the area. Pipeline and vessel will be visibly lighted and marked according to Coast Guard regulations. The pipeline will be positioned along the channels' edge. For further information please contact Mr. Curtis Huggins at (904) 353-9900.
Florida Bridge Update: From the USCG 7th District LNM 05:           
            Sisters Creek Bridge, Mile 739.2: This bridge will be under repair until April 10, 2009. Between January 12 and April 10, 2009, one half of the channel will be blocked by a barge working on fender replacement on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of each week, between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
            Port Orange A1A Bridge (Mile 835.5): Vertical clearance will be reduced by 3 feet across one half of the channel due to painting. Dates: December 3, 2008-March 30, 2009.
            Sunny Isles Bridge (Mile 1078):  Also known as the NE 163rd St. Bridge, will be on single leaf operation at quarter past and three quarters past the hour, Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., except federal holidays. Dates are Oct. 15, 2008 through March 27, 2009. Double leaf openings will be available with two hours notice. On Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, 10:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m., both leaves will open at quarter past and three quarters past the hour. Both leaves are available on request at all other times.
Okeechobee Waterway, Mile 126.3:The Wilson Piggott Bridge will be under single leaf operation from August 18-Feb 28, 2008. A double leaf opening will require a 3 hour notice. The vertical clearance of the down span will be reduced by 5 feet. There will be one 8-hour closure to be announced.

Wiggins Pass Dredging:
From the USCG 7th District LNM 05: Subaqueous Services, LLC will commence dredging operations at Wiggins Pass in the vicinity of 26-17.25N 081-50.65W on January 29th, 2009. This dredge work will continue through March 15th, 2009. The dredging operations will involve the use of one 16ft "Ellicott Dredge", two tender tug boats, one crane barge, and one spill barge. Dredging operations will continue for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week until completion. All Subaqueous Services, LLC can be reached on VHF Channel 13 and 16 for safety and maneuvering information. Mariners are advised to exercise caution when transiting this area. The project contact is Mr. Christopher Faught (321) 228-0235.

Shoaling in Matanzas Pass:
Also from the 7th District LNM 05: The Coast Guard has received a report of shoaling in the vicinity of Matanzas Pass and Bowditch Point between Daybeacons 3 and 4. All mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution while transiting the area as there have been reports of groundings.

Wreck Reported: Anclote Keys:
The Coast Guard has received a report of a white 33Ft partially submerged fishing vessel in between Anclote Keys and Three Rookers Bar in position 28-08.516N 082-50.661W. Roughly 10Ft of the vessel is above the waterline. All mariners are advised to exercise caution while transiting the area. (7th District LNM 05)

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 that use.