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Old 17-08-2012, 10:48   #1
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RNC Closes Bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a Week

I just ran into the dock master at my marina in Madeira Beach. She's interviewing with Channel 10 News about our bridges being closed for the week of the Republican National Convention (in Tampa).

Does anyone have any more information about this!? I cannot believe the State of Florida or even Pinellas County would succumb to this outrageous discrimination against tall boats.
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Old 17-08-2012, 13:13   #2
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

I scanned and attached the USCG declaration. The closures are not 24-hour closures. Bridges will open during the non-enforced hours.
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Old 17-08-2012, 16:04   #3
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

It's not clear in the declaration that drawbridges will remain closed during the enforcement hours. This article says "the bascule bridges will be left in the down position while the security zones are enforced."

Intracoastal bridges part of RNC federal security zones | News | Clearwater News
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Old 17-08-2012, 17:16   #4
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

Here is the Notice I posted today...

Florida, Tampa-St. Petersburg Bridge Closures for RNC – MNN081712

The Coast Guard has issued temporary deviations from the operating schedules that govern seven bridges in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida. The deviations are necessary to allow for the safe transportation of officials and participants to the Republican National Convention (RNC). These deviations will result in the seven bridges remaining in the closed position for the time periods listed. This temporary deviation affects the following bridges: the Walsingham Road/Indian Rocks Beach (CR 688) Bridge; the Park Boulevard (CR 694) Bridge; the Welch/Tom Stuart Causeway/150th Avenue Bridge; the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge; the Corey Causeway/Pasadena Avenue Bridge; the Pinellas Bayway Structure “C” (SR 679) Bridge; and Johns Pass Bridge. The temporary deviations will close these bridges during the following periods: from 3:30 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. on August 26, 2012; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on August 27, 2012; 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on August 28, 2012; 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on August 29, 2012; and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on August 30, 2012. DATES: These deviations are effective from 3:00 p.m. on August 26, 2012 through 7:00 p.m. on August 30, 2012.

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Old 17-08-2012, 17:17   #5
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

And another posting I made earlier this week...

Florida, Tampa Bay, Republican National Convention Waterway Restrictions MNN081712

The U.S. Coast Guard's plans to restrict several local waterways during the Republican National Convention, according to documents from the Department of Homeland Security.

A Federal Security Zone for the 2012 Republican National Convention will be established on the water near the Tampa Convention Center and the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The security zone will be in effect from August 25-31, 2012. The security zone will begin in Cut D, south of Harbour Island adjacent to the Robert E. Knight Pier. On the east side, the security zone will run as far north as Ybor Channel (near the dry docks). On the west side, the security zone will run through Seddon Channel north to Kennedy Blvd. Commercial vessels that have an approved Notice of Arrival per 33 CFR Part 160 that indicates a mooring at a facility located within the security zone are authorized to enter or transit through Sparkman Channel, Ybor Channel and Ybor Turning Basin, but will be subject to compliance with security protocols established by the Captain of the Port St. Petersburg. Commercial vessels requesting to conduct operations within the security zone, such as towing assistance or shifting between berths must contact the Captain of the Port St. Petersburg or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16, to request authorization. The following conditions apply to all vessels that request access into the security zone:
  • High Capacity Passenger Vessels and vessels carrying Certain Dangerous Cargoes will be boarded by trained security teams.
  • All authorized recreational vessels will be escorted through the security zone.
  • Due to enhanced security in the area, delays are possible, so please plan accordingly.
  • All persons and vessels who wish to enter or remain within the Federal Security Zone,
  • may contact the Captain of the Port St. Petersburg or a designated representative via VHF radio on channel 16, to request authorization. You may also contact the Sector St. Petersburg Command Center at (727) 824-7524.
And this from the Associated Press...

TAMPA, Fla. Law enforcement agencies are planning to boost their patrols of Tampa's waterways during the Republican National Convention.

The RNC will be held later this month on the city's waterfront. Federal and local law enforcement agencies say they'll saturate the waterway with armed boat patrols.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says automatic machine guns and infrared technology that can pick up body heat are among the new tools being mounted onto boats for the patrols.

U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Judy Silverstein says the marine units are prepared for "everything that could possibly happen."

Tampa Police Cpl. James Reiser says anyone swimming or paddling in security zones will be detained and probably arrested.

Recreational boaters should expect security checkpoints and channel closures throughout the Aug. 27-30 convention.

(Story distributed by The Associated Press)

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Old 17-08-2012, 19:33   #6
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I'm glad. Now if it was the DNC, I would lend my voice... :-)
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:09   #7
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

Channel 10 News interviewed people and posted this video about the closures:

"We have the restrictions going out to the beaches because that's where the delegates are staying, and when you move that number of people to a convention, you have to take into account what could happen. We've examined every scenario and planned for that," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Judy Silverstein

Bridge security zones set up during RNC | wtsp.com

I don't think enough stink is being made about this.
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:17   #8
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

It's for six days and they're giving everybody plenty of heads up and asking them to plan accordingly. In todays unfortunate climate I don't see it as a big deal. I know some will turn it purely political because it's the RNC but I'd support security for any potential presidential party.
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:35   #9
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

It sounds like Seattle bridges on every day of the week!
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Old 19-08-2012, 09:40   #10
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

The unfortunate climate is that people are not seeing this intrusion as a big deal.

I despise blanketed and unwarranted fear tactics that infringe significantly upon the daily activities of citizens, especially when the security measures do not significantly reduce any of the suspected risk.

Just as the USCG has given every law abiding citizen time to plan accordingly, so have they given plenty of notice to anyone planning to disrupt the flow of traffic to the convention.

In 1968, the DNC in Chicago was met with 10,000 protesters. The protesters were met by 23,000 police and National Guardsmen. The protesters rioted and the violence was heavily covered by the news media.

Closing a dozen or more drawbridges is not a deterrent but a nuisance. I hope the USCG will consider exceptions to the bridge closures under emergency situations.
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:08   #11
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

Most people don't see it as a big intrusion because it's not. Unless there are 10k protesters waiting in St.Pete and 23k police and guardsmen gearing up I fail to see the analogy of the 1968 convention. This is a security measure, a bit over the top perhaps but I don't to see the threat to our consitution or the display of threatening force towards the American citizen or his rights. Now if there are plans for a 1000 Yippie sailors to show up and protest the bridge closings let us know. I'll bring the popcorn.
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:15   #12
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

Anytime a president (or VP for that matter), comes to Houston, they completely close major interstate highways for over an hour. So...it's just something we have to deal with in these days.
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Old 19-08-2012, 10:23   #13
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

Please try and keep these posts on this thread relevant to sailing and boating. CF is not the correct venue to grumble about (or praise) the goverment. These posts invariably descend into slanging matches.

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Old 19-08-2012, 10:41   #14
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

The focus of the thread is to alert boaters of the impending force at the Pinellas and Tampa bridges next week. Waterwayguy was kind enough to post detailed warnings to swimmers, fishers, and paddle boarders, too.

Sailors expecting to seek harbor in or return to the ICW will be delayed during the security hours. There is no indication that a bridge will open during the enforcement period under any kind of emergency, and the bridges will definitely not open for non-emergencies.

The kicker is that these bridges are the only means to access the ICW and protected harborage on the west coast of the Pinellas peninsula.

Boats taller than a drawbridge are essentially experiencing a restriction on their freedom of movement. Captains should certainly express their elation by calling the USCG and saying Thank You instead of doing so in this thread.
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Old 20-08-2012, 17:23   #15
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Re: RNC closes bridges on Florida's Gulf Coast for a week

Well said Brian. Am a charter boat (sail) Captain in Madeira Beach, and any sailing vessels approaching the area with an emergency can run to shelter at Pass a Grill (no drawbridge) just south of John's Pass, and wait out the closings in the bay. Perhaps the DHS might have thought this through and issued an appropriate "Notice to Mariners". I'm Republican, and still think it is a gross infringement on my rights, on behalf of a PRIVATE group
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