Concern over Published Bridge Clearances
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.