Eastern FL Cruising News – St. Augustine (Statute Mile 776 to 780)
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Seven Seas Cruising Association is the oldest and largest worldwide organization supporting the liveaboard cruising lifestyle. Our thanks to Michele Bennett for this notice via St. Augustine Cruiser’s Net.
The Seven Seas Cruising Association is having their annual Gam/Conference right here in St Augustine this year. It runs from Nov 15-17th and the deadline for the lowest rate is Oct 31st. For three days of great info, $50 isn’t much to pay. It’s only $40 for SSCA members. More info at www.SSCA.org/StAugustine.
St. Augustine Gam: November 15th-17th
Join SSCA for a new gam experience in a new location, St. Augustine, FL! Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers and touted as the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine is a tourist destination sure to be enjoyed because of its rich history, Spanish colonial architecture and Atlantic Ocean beaches. The gam is scheduled for November 15th-17th at the St. Augustine Shrine Club with pre-gam activities on November 14th. For more details or to register, visit the St. Augustine Gam page.
The current measuring devices should not impact navigation, but use extra caution in the vicinity of divers in the inlet. No completion date has been given, but is probably underway now.
Surfbreak Engineering Sciences, Inc will commence dive operations in St. Augustine Inlet Fl. Surfbreak will install (3) three bottom-mounted instruments located along a line between Porpoise Point on the north side of the inlet and the jetty on the south side of the inlet, with approximate locations of:
#1: 29-54.6N / 81-17.5W (29°54.6000N / 081°17.5000W, 29.910000 / -81.291667)
#2: 29-54.5N / 81-17.5W (29°54.5000N / 081°17.5000W, 29.908333 / -81.291667)
#3: 29-54.4N / 81-17.5W (29°54.4000N / 081°17.5000W, 29.906667 / -81.291667)
Each instrument will be attached to the top of a single, water-jetted pipe. Once installed, they will protrude approximately 2.5 feet above the bed. The instruments will be deployed from June 4 – November 11, 2019. For more information, contact Bill Dally at (407) 227-6790 or USCG Sector Jacksonville, Waterways Management Division at (904) 714-7631. Chart 11485, 11488 LNM 23/19
Among our readers there must be several who are experienced in cruising the AICW in a vessel this size. If so, please let us hear from you. Maybe Chief Officer Perks will take you along as Pilot!
I am currently trying to find any information I can about cruising in Northern Florida. We are a 151ft vessel with a 8ft draft. We would like to cruise the Jacksonville, St Augustine and Cape Canaveral areas. Is there anyone you recommend for me to talk with about the ICW routes and Marinas that could accommodate us?
Thanks in advance,
Chief Officer – Motor Yacht Time for Us
Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor, A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, continues to receive words of praise for its facility and staff. Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor is located just off the Waterway’s western shoreline, south of unlighted daybeacon #7 and north of the Vilano Beach Bridge.
A failing battery brought me back to Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor on our cruise south. The staff at the Yacht Yard were helpful, friendly, and prompt. Technician quickly diagnosed the problem, rounded up four new 8D batteries, and replaced my old ones within a few hours. For anyone needing help in north Florida, Camachee Yacht Yard is a great resource.
St Augustine inlet is always subject to channel shifting and almost continual dredging is SOP. These reports from various contributors are from Bob423 Facebook page.
How is the St. Augustine inlet these days? We heard from someone who said they were advised not to use it. We are preparing to head that way. It was fine when we left there in the Spring. Just the ever-present dredge. Lots of weather since then, though.
The inlet is fantastic. Stay in between the buoys , you’re golden
We came in Wednesday night. No problems other than the usual unlit buoys.
There is no dredge there now is there? It was a fixture over last winter. Definitely shooting for daytime entry.
It’s fine. Just stay within the Buoys. At least 23’ depth in the middle.
Kelli Koleilat Meacham
Please join these fine folks and many of your fellow cruisers in celebrating a day of giving thanks in St. Augustine, home to two CRUISERS’ NET SPONSORS: Camachee Cove Yacht Harbor and Port of Call. Municipal Marina is just south of the Bridge of Lions a few steps from downtown.
The turkeys are coming! The turkeys are coming!
6th Annual Thanksgiving Potluck
Lisa Wilson Tarlecky
Annual First Coast Nautical Flea Market
HOSTED BY SAILORS EXCHANGE, INC
DATES: NOVEMBER 3 & 4, 2018
TIMES: SATURDAY 8 AM – 4PM SUNDAY 9AM – 3PM
LOCATION: 7 ½ SAN BARTOLA DRIVE, ST AUGUSTINE, FL 32086
**$20 SELLERS 10X10 SPACE**
RESERVE YOURS NOW SPACE IS LIMTED
CALL JOHN @ 904-808-0667 M-F: 9AM-5PM Sat: 9AM-2PM
SAILORS EXCHANGE, INC
222 West King St
St Augustine, FL 32084
Cruisers’ Net is always glad to hear from experienced cruiser David Burnham, a true Cruiser Helping Cruisers and we look forward to the next log page of his current cruise. Be assured that David’s observations and advice can be trusted and passed along to your cruising colleagues. See Closures Ahead for the latest LNM on the FEC RR bridge in Jacksonville.
I took a sailboat from Palatka, Florida (on the St. Johns River) around through Jacksonville and down to Saint Augustine today. Apart from the FEC railroad bridge problems in downtown Jacksonville, I have a few other items that may interest cruisers.
In Green Cove Springs, Florida, the public dock has reopened and there is electricity available. However, the telephone contact number at the city office is no longer posted at the dock. I tied up our sailboat overnight and left again in the morning without any contact from the city.
At the downtown “Jacksonville Landing”, only the downtown shuttle ferry is making a landing as the signs that the “dock is under repair and no docking is permitted” are still in place and there is no sign of any work in progress.
This will make it a bit difficult for cruisers who arrive to find that the FEC railroad bridge is closed until the 18th of March.
Heading south from Jacksonville on the AICW, green floating marker #7 is found just after turning south into the AICW from the St Johns River. However, it seems to have floated out of position as it was sighted a little outside, and on the wrong side, of the channel and to the southeast of red markers #6 and #8. Southbound Cruisers should not try to leave green #7 to port until it is returned to its proper position on the northeast side of the channel. Northbound cruisers should be able to see that green #7 is not on the correct side of the channel as they approach the St. Johns River crossing.
Further south on the AICW near the St. Augustine Airport, green marker #41 is normally a lighted mark, but it was not lit after dark when I passed it today.
See also EF Local Notices to Mariners for other navigation issues
The City Marina has re-opened after being severely damaged by Hurricane Irma and is accepting transients. The marina has no fuel at this point, but the marina is staffed 24/7, has ice and the dinghy dock is open. Call ahead, 904-825-1026 to request services or make a reservation.
St. Augustine Municipal Marina losing half of its revenue
CLICK HERE FOR THIS VIDEO REPORT by Jessica Clark of WTLV
The Marker R60 to which Jim refers is just west of the St. Augustine Inlet proper. Our continued thanks to Peg and Jim Healy for sharing their observations and advice. The Healys are dating themselves and showing their sense of humor with the reference to Will Robinson.
ALERT, Will Robinson! ALERT!
At St. Augustine – Experienced cruisers know that southbound approaching St. Augustine, the ICW hugs the barrier island to the east, and takes a hard STBD at floating R”60.” Well folks, EITHER R’60” has been relocated and I missed the announcement OR R”60″ is way off station. In any case, R”60″ is not where it’s always been. I don’t know if the shoal that it formerly guarded is there or not. People laugh at me for the detail of my routes. But today, I was very glad my boat knew where it was supposed to turn. R”60″ is MISSING IN ACTION.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Rock Creek, Pasadena, MD
Monk 36 Hull #132
According to their answering recording, the City Marina has re-opened after being severely damaged by Hurricane Irma and is accepting transients. The marina has no fuel at this point, but the marina is staffed 24/7, has ice and the dinghy dock is open. Call ahead, 904-825-1026 to request services or make a reservation.
A call by city officials and the local populace to further restrict the opening schedule at the Bridge of Lions has been under consideration by the USCG for most of this year. This decision not to restrict the opening schedule is good news for boaters. See Schedule Controversy from April of this year.
CURFEWS IMPOSED ACROSS NORTHEAST FLORIDA
Jacksonville, FL – Curfews have been imposed in many parts of Northeast Florida because of Hurricane Irma.
The curfew for Jacksonville’s beaches started Saturday night at 10PM and continued through 6AM Sunday. That will continue until further notice. Alcohol sales have also been prohibited until further notice.
All of us “short masted” vessels have experienced the concerns that Bill Raynor expresses. Considering wind tides, varying lunar tides, displaced clearance boards and sea rise, bridge clearances, even at fixed bridges, have become almost mystical. Whatever the particular situation, good communication with the bridge tender is required and erring on the side of caution should be the byword. SSECN will continue to publish “official” clearances with the admonishment to boaters to approach any fixed structure with caution, especially where currents are adverse. Thank you, Bill, for raising this issue.
Since recently buying a trawler after 18 years on a sailboat, “Closed Bridge Clearances” have suddenly become of interest to me, since my trawler requires 19 feet. I have traveled from Ft. Pierce to St. Augustine, and have found two errors, both of which affected my boat. Your bridge info on Main Street Bridge in Daytona, shows 22 feet and in actuality it is 19 feet. The bridge tender said that the board reading was the clearance at the center (which I believe was wrong), so I had him open the bridge. The Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine is listed on your website at 18 feet, but in actuality is 20 feet. The bridge tender stated that the board reading was the minimum, and there was 4 feet more at the center. I think that is the correct information. I went through at low tide, and the board read 24 feet, so there was actually 28 feet at the center. I was on the flybridge when I passed through, and I’m sure I had at least 8 feet more than I needed. Since they are on such a restricted opening schedules here, and you have published lots of stuff, you should have the correct clearances on your opening schedule. I’m sure the other “stinkpot” owners with 18 to 20 foot clearance requirements will appreciate it.
m/v Pau Hana
Saw the item about bridge clearances – fyi, I have an article coming out in September’s Cruising World on just this issue, but on the 65 foot height issue. You might want to mention that to your readers.
David and Jaculeyn continue sharing the log of Elske via their delightful blog, The Voyage of Elske on America’s Great Loop. This page recounts their visit to the historic St. Augustine LightHouse which stands 161ft on St. Augustine Beach east of the Waterway.
The St Augustine Lighthouse is well worth visiting on Anastasia Island. The Museum is highly educational for all ages. If a person is inclined, the 14 stories can be climbed- 219!steps! David & I enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the exhibits but did not attempt the climb … perhaps some other time.
We learned about the history of the many shipwrecks, hurricanes and even an earthquake affecting St Augustine over the centuries. This Lighthouse saw Loyalist refugees from Charleston arrive after the Revolutionary War. The Civil War had immense influence here. It was directly affected by German UBoat submarines in WW2. Much archeological investigation is continuing here into the life local inhabitants such as the Lighthouse Keepers.
Another part of the property was devoted to the promotion and preservation of wooden boat building skills. The boats being built were exquisite.
Elske departs At 0705 on Memorial Day. We hate to leave after a long sojourn.
It is a very low “astronomical” low tide. The Bridge of Lions usually has a clearance height of 18 ft but today the side board registered 23 ft.
David and Jaculeyn continue sharing the log of Elske via their delightful blog, The Voyage of Elske on America’s Great Loop. This page recounts their visit to St. Augustine, a popular north Florida stop for Waterway cruisers.
Marine Trawlers Owners Association continues to be active in seeking political settlements to legislative actions adversely affecting boaters. A call by city officials and the local populace to further restrict the opening schedule at the Bridge of Lions is currently under consideration by the USCG. Our thanks to Mike Bodin and Peter Colket for this information.
A large Ahoy Mates call is sent out to the boating community to protect our boating rights from unnecessary new laws that will restrict our use of the waterways [including the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine, FL].
Please include this update on the Bridge of Lions. The St. Augustine Fl. city residents are now at a count of over 100 responses to reduce bridge openings to the Coast Guard.
Another matter on the AICWW, boats traveling south through Florida will encounter the Bridge of Lions (18’ vertical clearance) in St. Augustine. The local newspaper, “St. Augustine Record”, is encouraging residents of the city to flood the Coast Guard with comments favoring reduced bridge openings due to automotive traffic back up
Please, if you would, contact,
Stating your opposition to any further Bridge of Lions opening restrictions and you may want to include a couple of the enclosed points of interest. Your communication only needs to be a few sentences.
The city of St. Augustine recently replaced the Bridge of Lions across the AICWW at St. Augustine which is causing major traffic jams. The city chose to duplicate the 90-year-old antiquated architecture of the original 1927 Bridge of Lions. Today, St. Augustine has 4 million tourists per year and the city’s residential population has dramatically increased from 1927. The City of St. Augustine has created their own never ending problem with regards to traffic congestion.
A few years ago, the city contacted the Coast Guard to establish bridge opening restrictions. The Coast Guard conducted their open comment time and determined the citizens of St. Augustine were justified in their request and granted their requested opening restrictions. The city is now requesting even further restrictions. In the past, boating groups were not organized nor involved in preserving reasonable access to the waterway.
Basic present opening restrictions
Daily bridge openings on the hour and half from 7:am-6:pm except 8 am, 12 noon, and 5 pm, Weekends on the hour and half from.7:am-6:pm
Daily increase hour and half opening time from 6:pm to 9 pm, including no openings at 8 am, 12 noon, 5pm. Weekends extend hour and half openings from 6 pm to 9 pm and no
openings from 3:pm to 4: pm.
Points of Concern:
> Bridge of Lions 76’ width is the narrowest of the 91 bridges along Florida’s AICWW, it is the most struck bridge by vessels, and determined not to meet Coast Guard bridge regulations.
> Extreme perpendicular to the bridge currents are encountered due to the presence of the Atlantic Ocean inlet, high spring tides and lunar tide rates.
> Modern Route 312 bridge (65’clearance) is located just 2 miles south of Bridge of Lions and could help to relieve Bridge of Lions traffic congestion
> 2 marinas, a mooring field, and an anchoring area next to the Bridge of Lions is a cause for increased vessel congestion
>The AICWW traffic has increased from 1927 rates due to more boaters traveling with air conditioning upon it for destinations to the Keys, Bahamas, and now Cuba
> With only 18’ vertical clearance all sail boats passing will require openings. Due to high currents, sail boats will have to circle for 30 or 60-minutes waiting for the bridge to open.
> Increased currents make it difficult for power vessels to stand position, while sail boats in close proximity are for the anticipated bridge opening in close proximity
> Increasing the 6pm to 9pm period for half hour opening restrictions will result in winter months when it’s dark for boats to stack up to wait for the next bridge opening, sail boats will be circulating, power standing position, marina and mooring boats leaving and arriving, the city lights in the background all in a close proximity is dangerous.
>The two commercial Tourist boats go out and return 4 times each, daily they require bridge openings. Request they proceed south along the AICWW requiring no bridge openings
> The U.S. Department of Transportation concluder a six-year study and presented it to the city of St. Augustine in 1999 concluding the Bridge of Lions 1927 design was “functionally Obsolete”. St. Augustine disregarded the DOT study and completed the Bridge of Lions in 2005 to the original 1927 design. Thus, traffic congestion was not relieved.
> The city is asking for automotive traffic relief at the expense by increasing boating congestion to the determent of safety.
Pease send a comment to the Coast Guard expressing opposition for unjustified proposed navigation restrictions
upon the AICWW by reducing Bridge of Lions openings.
MTOA Public Advocate
Posted by Peter Colket, President MTOA on USCG comments page:
I am commenting on behalf of Marine Trawler Owners Association. MTOA is a national boating club of the 2.341 members, 29% of whom are Florida residents.
MTOA members oppose further restrictions to the Bridge of Lions opening schedule because of boaters’ safety. Reducing the number of openings at any bridge causes congestion on the waterway, which can increase the likelihood of collisions. This is especially true in locations where swift currents affect the movements of vessels. Bridge of Lions is such a location. In addition to swift currents, boaters must be concerned about the proximity of mooring fields on both sides of the bridge, the City Marina on the South side, and vessel traffic entering and departing the marina and moorings.
We sympathize with people in land vehicles waiting for bridges, and we understand the traffic congestion issues in St. Augustine. But solving those problems by increasing hazards on the waterway is no solution. We urge the U.S. Coast Guard not to change the Bridge of Lions opening schedule as requested by the City of St. Augustine.
Peter K. Colket
Palm Coast, Florida
Marine Trawler Owners Association
Our thanks to experienced cruiser and long-time Cruisers’ Net contributor, Gregory Yount, for this Federal Register posting requesting comments on proposed changes to the opening schedule at the Bridge of Lions. See our earlier postings Changes Possible to Bridge of Lions? and Request for Further Comment for more information.
Here is the notice regarding bridge opening restrictions:
Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine, FL
This Proposed Rule document was issued by the Coast Guard (USCG)
For related information, Open Docket Folder
Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.
The Coast Guard is seeking comments and information concerning a proposal to change the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine, Florida. The City of St. Augustine is concerned that vehicle traffic is becoming exponentially worse with each passing season and that on-demand bridge openings are contributing to vehicle traffic backups. The proposed modification would extend the twice an hour draw opening period from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and preclude the bridge draw from opening at 3:30 p.m. on weekends and Federal holidays.
Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before May 15, 2017.
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2016-0723 using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for further instructions on submitting comments.
For Further Information Contact
If you have questions about this notice, call or email MST1 Timothy Fosdick, Sector Jacksonville, Waterways Management Division, U.S. Coast Guard; telephone 904-714-7623, email Timothy.P.Fosdick@uscg.mil.
Table of Abbreviations
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
DHS Department of Homeland Security
FR Federal Register
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
ANPRM Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
§ Section Symbol
U.S.C. United States Code
A. Public Participation and Request for Comments
We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation.
We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document for alternate instructions.
We accept anonymous comments. All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and the docket, you may review a Privacy Act notice regarding the Federal Docket Management System in the March 24, 2005, issue of the Federal Register (70 FR 15086).
Documents mentioned in this ANPRM as being available in the docket, and all public comments, will be in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that Web site’s instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a final rule is published.
B. Regulatory History and Information
In 2015, the City of St. Augustine approached the Coast Guard with a recommendation to amend the Bridge of Lions operating schedule. Shortly thereafter, a meeting was held with the City of St. Augustine, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), bridge owner, and the U.S. Coast Guard to seek improvements to reduce the vehicle traffic backups at the intersection of A1A, the Bridge of Lions, and Avenida Menendez. During the meeting, FDOT agreed to work with the City traffic engineers to develop better traffic signaling techniques to reduce the vehicle traffic backups. In May 2016, the City of St. Augustine proposed an amendment to the bridge operating schedule to reduce vehicle traffic backups in the affected area. The City would like to extend the 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. twice an hour opening schedule to 9 p.m., daily and preclude the bridge draw from opening at 3:30 p.m. on weekends and Federal holidays.
The current operating schedule, as published in 33 CFR 117.261(d), reads as follows: Bridge of Lions (SR A1A) bridge, mile 777.9 at St. Augustine. The draw shall open on signal; except that, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. the draw need open only on the hour and half-hour; however, the draw need not open at 8 a.m., 12 noon, and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except Federal holidays. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and Federal holidays the draw need only open on the hour and half-hour.
In accordance with Nautical Chart 11485, 37th Ed., Nov. 2014, the Bridge of Lions has a vertical clearance of 18 feet in the closed (down) position at mean high water and a horizontal clearance of 79 feet. Additionally, there is a note on the chart stating “Strong tidal currents run perpendicular to the Bridge of Lions opening. Vessels engaged in towing and pushing operations are advised to transit the bridge opening during slack tide and, if necessary, breakdown the tow in small units or use adequate tugs.” In regards to the Bridge of Lions, the U.S. Coast Pilot 4, Chapter 12, Edition 47, 2015 also states “Caution is advised because the tidal currents, particularly ebb, run at right angles to the bridge. It is advisable to drift large tows through this opening at slack water. Normal flood currents of 1 knot and ebb currents of 1.5 knots may be expected. Several mishaps involving the bridge being hit by vessels, which have lost maneuvering control during periods of ebb currents, have occurred. Caution is advised when transiting the area.”
The original Bridge of Lions was built in 1927 and replaced in 2010. The new bridge was completed with no modifications to the vertical or horizontal clearances; therefore, there was no impact to the number of bridge openings due to vessel traffic.
C. Basis and Purpose
The legal basis and authorities for this ANPRM are found in 33 U.S.C. 499, 33 CFR 1.05-1, and Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 0170.1. The Coast Guard is considering a change to the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions across the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine, Florida. The Coast Guard received a request from the City of St. Augustine to modify the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions in an effort to decrease vehicle traffic backups caused by the significant increase in vehicle traffic combined with the on-demand bridge openings. The purpose of this ANPRM is to solicit comments on a potential proposed rulemaking concerning a request to change the operating schedule for the Bridge of Lions.
D. Discussion of Proposed Rule
Amending the twice an hour opening schedule to a 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. period should not have an unreasonable impact on navigation. However, amending the bridge operating schedule to exclude a 3:30 p.m. opening on weekends and Federal holidays may have a negative impact to the public, as there are many tourists in vehicles and vessels in St. Augustine during these periods. Additional input will be required from the City of St. Augustine to understand why this particular time was selected. It will also be essential to determine whether any commercial vessel operators would be directly impacted by amending the bridge operating schedule.
E. Information Requested
To aid the Coast Guard in developing a proposed rule, we seek any comments, whether positive or negative, including but not limited to: The impact on vessel traffic and/or marine businesses in the area when extending the twice an hour opening; any potential negative impact to vessel traffic or marine businesses of not opening the bridge between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.; whether the extension to 9 p.m. of the Bridge of Lions twice an hour opening schedule would reduce traffic congestion and; if traffic congestion would be reduced if the bridge did not open between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on weekends and Federal holidays.
Dated: March 9, 2017.
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Seventh Coast Guard District.
[FR Doc. 2017-05071 Filed 3-14-17; 8:45 am]
With a closed vertical clearance of 18ft, the Bridge of Lions Bridge crosses the Waterway connecting the heart of downtown St. Augustine with St. Augustine Beach to the east. See comments from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association on this issue. Our thanks to Mike Bodin of MTOA for this request.
St. Augustine FL. request Coast Guard to further restrict boat traffic under Bridge of Lions.
Coast Guard soliciting boater’s comments.
Bridge of Lions, (road A1A) was originally constructed in 1927 at 18’ vertical clearance. The bridge was rebuilt in 2010 with the same 18’ vertical clearance. Boaters pointed out 18’ vertical clearance for the new bridge was grossly inadequate for vessels traveling upon AIWW.
St Augustine is experiencing a severe traffic problem due to increased tourism and population growth. http://staugustine.com/news/local-news/2017-03-21/city-staugustine-asks-us-coast-guard-s-help-easing-traffic-congestion
To alleviate the automotive traffic problem, St. Augustine has proposed reducing the Bridge of Lions openings across the AIWW. If enacted, this would require vessels traveling north or south on AIWW to wait additional time for bridge openings at predetermined weekday schedules and an additional hour for Saturdays.
Presently, the bridge opens for boat traffic on the hour and half hour from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, except for 8 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. on weekdays that aren’t federal holidays. Outside of those times, the bridge opens on-demand for boats.
City officials say, those on-demand times cause more frequent bridge draws and add to traffic congestion. Some city residents dispute this claim nor has a study been conducted. St Augustine is requesting Coast Guard approval to change from the present on demand after 6 p.m. to extend the every-half-hour operating schedule to 9 p.m. weekdays and to stop the bridge from opening at 3:30 p.m. on weekends and on federal holidays.
Marine Trawler Owners Association requests your comments against the new unjustified proposed regulations upon Florida’s Waterways. Contact site:
Once at the site: To add your comment go to the upper right corner and select: “Comment Now”
Further restricting boat traffic impacts the following safety concerns.
A> Safety is a primary consideration. Boats are not like cars. You cannot simply stop the boat, put it into park and wait for the opening. The AIWW Federal Waterway is considered a boater’s highway and heavily used by marine traffic. The newly constructed Bridge of Lions with only 18’ of vertical clearance has since its inception been an impediment to vessel traffic flow. Most of the AIWW reconstructed bridges employ higher vertical heights to account for future increased land traffic flow rates and requiring fewer opening for boaters. Boaters increasingly use this nautical highway for destinations such as the Keys, south Florida, Bahamas, and now Cuba. The present 1 hour bridge opening delay for the morning, afternoon, and evening contributes to vessel congestion. To add another hour opening delay for Saturday furthers AIWW congestion.
B> Perpendicular to the bridge currents are flood 1 knot, ebb 1.5 knots, full moon situations increases flow rates as well as the spring period of even higher currents, increasing station keeping difficulty.
C> St. Augustine Municipal Marina with 90 slips is located next to the Bridge of Lions on the south side, adjacent to the 110 ball-mooring field. (boating congestion)
D> Anchoring north of the bridge is presently being utilized (boating Congestion)
E> Single engine sail boats cannot hold position due to the current and must circle in front of the anchorages and the St. Augustine Municipal Marina. This would interfere with boats entering and departing the marina and anchorages.
F> High wind and foul weather situations, especially Florida’s summer afternoon thunderstorms, would with the current flow, increase the difficulty of station keeping near other vessels presenting a heighten safety consideration.
G> In winter months when it gets darker earlier, the proposed preschedule openings after 6:00 pm would further create a dangerous situation due to vessels waiting for a prescheduled bridge opening. Some vessels circulating, others holding station while boats are entering and leaving the marina would cause a very dangerous situation in the dark with moving traffic against city lights.
As a boating community, we must take the individual effort to protect our “Boaters Rights”. Please take a few minutes and respond to the call by the Coast Guard for your input. Add your own comments or “copy and paste”
In advance thank you for your assistance.
MTOA Public Advocate