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Old 04-08-2011, 16:17   #31
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

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I never ask for a bridge opening.

I ask for information for an opening. They then tell me.
This is the wrong way to get an opening. You have to ask for the opening. Be clear. Be polite. But, it is your right to get an opening. If you just ask for information how are they to know you want to go through? I myself have had to anchor or tie up within sight of an opening bridge due to mechanical problems, and I have contacted the bridge tender about upcoming openings when I've not even been in sight of the bridge. So, again, they are not mind readers--if you want to go through request an opening or ask to be included in the group going through.
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Old 04-08-2011, 19:36   #32
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

+ 1 for "requesting" a bridge opening.

I navigate through 2 bridges, within 100 yards of each other. 1 RR , 1 hwy.
I need to request an opening from each tender. They are not on the same schedule.
It's a regular occurance to have to hold in the small pond area between the 2 waiting for the other to open.

The openings are not really wide enough for 2 vessels to pass under at the same time, so not only do you need to talk to the bridge tender, but also need to communicate with vessels coming in the other direction. The general courtesy is to allow the vessels traveling with the current to pass through 1st. Most line up by who arrived 1st...or coming in...we'll arrange ourselves by whose slip is deeper into the marina.

Sitting at my dock, I have overheard the bridge tender hail " The sailboat sitting outside the breakwater"
"Captain, do you want me to open the bridge"

Captain.." yes"

Bridge tender..." well captain..you're the only boat out there..and unless you call me and request an openning....I can't just open.

Not won't can't. They keep a log, of openings and I've heard them call vessels asking them to repeat the vessel's name for their log...
One of the reasons, it's good to have a short easy boat name.
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Old 04-08-2011, 20:02   #33
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

I always call most have held the opeaning when I needed it a few have not never hurts to ask I have never had the door slamed in my face
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Old 06-08-2011, 03:02   #34
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

I have a 1990 Irwin 43 with a 2000 mast, step and half upper deck because a drawbridge closed on the previous owner, buckled the mast and brought it down right onto the cockpit. It would have ended much worse it the 1 inch stainless steel bimini frame had not stopped the mast.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:57   #35
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

i reckon the guy could be held responsible if he saw you and then closed the bridge ..
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:15   #36
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I wondered about that. I came up on the Lyme ct railroad bridge while open. I tried calling ct river railroad bridge with no answer. I got right on if not ubder the bridge and it started closing. I opened up the throttle and just got through. At some point they have a point of no return with these trains. If the bridge isn't closed the train wrecks. Guessing a little.the last time through the tender told me to hit it hard and he'd get me through. I'm doing 8 knots straight at a closed bridge. Sure enough up it goes.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:53   #37
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

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I wondered about that. I came up on the Lyme ct railroad bridge while open. I tried calling ct river railroad bridge with no answer. I got right on if not ubder the bridge and it started closing. I opened up the throttle and just got through.
Funny that's the same thing that happened to me at that location some 25 years ago. Been through many drawbridges since then on the ICW and elsewhere and the Lyme drawbridge remains the one where I really came close to losing the mast.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:52   #38
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
This is the wrong way to get an opening. You have to ask for the opening. Be clear. Be polite. But, it is your right to get an opening. If you just ask for information how are they to know you want to go through? I myself have had to anchor or tie up within sight of an opening bridge due to mechanical problems, and I have contacted the bridge tender about upcoming openings when I've not even been in sight of the bridge. So, again, they are not mind readers--if you want to go through request an opening or ask to be included in the group going through.

I guess I misrepresented what I say.

What I say is: " Bridge XXX, Bridge XXX, Bridge XXX. This is the sailing catamaran Therapy approaching from your XXX, requesting information for an opening."

Never been misundersood.....yet.
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Old 06-08-2011, 12:58   #39
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

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Never, ever approach an opening bridge without establishing communications with the bridge tender
Darn straight. I've certainly been told I have to wait but never been ignored. There is nothing like making sure everyone knows what is going on.

A little planning, some communication, and a bit of speed management can make a big difference. Sometimes slowing down is the right call.

Not long ago passing through the C&D Canal the railroad bridge (only low bridge, normally open) announced it was closing for a train. I don't remember the open height but it's a big number. There was an eastbound tug & barge and me heading westbound. We had a very civil three-way confab that resulted in the bridge dropping to 65 ft (so I would clear) and both the tug and I poured on the coal and made best speed. Apparently the lift operator asked the train to slow down a bit. As soon as I cleared the bridge ("C&D Railroad bridge Auspicious is clear, thank you") it started down and held at the height for the tug before closing for the train. I was around the bend when the train crossed but I remember hearing it. Masterful.

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
Then there's Seattle which outlawed talking to bridge tenders unless you're a commercial boat...Grrr!
You're kidding right? Reference please?
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:39   #40
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

@ Therapy- Was that the Manatee Ave or Cortez Ave bridge? Either way, both are manned by elderly gents who have an occasional "senior" moment but are otherwise very courteous and usually attentive people. If they haven't had to open in a while they will even open off-schedule on occasion.

My friend dropped off a 6-pack with a thank-you note that had a picture of his boat in it to each of these bridges. They remembered him for years.
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Old 08-08-2011, 11:10   #41
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

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@ Therapy- Was that the Manatee Ave or Cortez Ave bridge? Either way, both are manned by elderly gents who have an occasional "senior" moment but are otherwise very courteous and usually attentive people. If they haven't had to open in a while they will even open off-schedule on occasion.

My friend dropped off a 6-pack with a thank-you note that had a picture of his boat in it to each of these bridges. They remembered him for years.

I don't know. My chart and chip are not updated on bridge names it seems. When we get to the bridge we read the name. Some are correct and some are not. This is the last bridge, norhbound, before entering Tampa Bay. It said Anna Maria on the sign. We have been updating as we go.

Six-packs are good. I like em too.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:04   #42
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

After a long wait with no answer to our VHF inquiries, we once called out to a pedestrian and asked them to knock on the bridgetender's door. There will always be events and problems on occasion, but we usually find bridge tenders polite and professional.
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Old 08-08-2011, 20:44   #43
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

The best one I heard was some Yahoo in Fort Lauderdals asking over VHF "What time is the 6:30 Bridge opening?"
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Old 08-08-2011, 20:57   #44
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Re: Draw Bridge Experience

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In the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta, I honestly feel like I am waking them up sometimes. I think maybe they might sleep in shifts and if one hears a call for a nearby bridge, they use their cellphone to wake up their buddy...just speculating of course but sometimes it seems like it takes a minute or so for them to come back on Ch 9 which would be about the amount of time it takes one bridge tender to call and wake up the other.
I've been through a dozen Delta bridges during the past two weeks. My impression was that roughly 50% of the bridge operators were in the toilet at the moment I called.

Not sure what that's about.
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Old 08-08-2011, 21:46   #45
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Re: Drawbridge Experience

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I wondered about that. I came up on the Lyme ct railroad bridge while open. I tried calling ct river railroad bridge with no answer. I got right on if not ubder the bridge and it started closing. I opened up the throttle and just got through. At some point they have a point of no return with these trains. If the bridge isn't closed the train wrecks. Guessing a little.the last time through the tender told me to hit it hard and he'd get me through. I'm doing 8 knots straight at a closed bridge. Sure enough up it goes.
I thought there was a countdown timer on that bridge? Can't you see a big clock next to the bridge that shows time to next closing?
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