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Old 17-04-2016, 10:44   #1
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Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

We had to come into Ft Pierce to get outa this weather last nite. Does anyone know if I can head up the icw from here until the ocean calms down a bit? Mast height is 65'
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:01   #2
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

By "Up", if you mean North... yes you can. You need to open most bridges. Do you have a waterway guide? If not stop at Ft Pierce marina etc and get one. Watch the tide markers on the non opening bridges etc. The guide will tell you how much airspace is under each bridge. How well do you know your actual height? I've been down the ICW with 65 feet SC to Ft Pierce.
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:06   #3
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

Was told its 65' when bought the boat. ICW mast?
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:07   #4
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

I think the bridge a few miles north of Vero is only about 62'
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:08   #5
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

We are heading north to Atlantic city, got very big and ugly out there late yesterday
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:20   #6
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris4911 View Post
Was told its 65' when bought the boat. ICW mast?
Well, you better figure out what it actually is. Is your VHF antenna the flexible type? My boat was an inch or two less than 65 ft, my 3 ft wire antenna above that banged on the bridge girders going under occasionally.

Beware ..... often, once you get right up to the bridge, the current may run strong under the bridge. In some cases, once you get too close, you are going under whether you like it or not!
With a good Waterway guide, once you get through one bridge, you can motor along and read about the next bridge. Use your binoculars to read the tide boards and signs on the next bridge when you get close enough.
Also use your binocs to stay in the channel by looking at the next signpost/marker, the Waterway can be wide looking but the deep channel is narrow sometimes.
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:58   #7
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

Ok, I have the waterway guide. Dealer just text me that the mast is 64, 3' whip antenna and 10" for the wind vane, so I need 65. A guy here at this marina talks about a 62' bridge at vero beach but the guide says 66'?
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Old 17-04-2016, 11:59   #8
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

The Merrill P Barber bridge
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Old 17-04-2016, 12:18   #9
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

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I think the bridge a few miles north of Vero is only about 62'


I have the 2016 Waterway Guide. Vero has two bridges, Alma Lee Loy @ mile 953.2 and it's 65'. Merrill P Barber @ mile 951.9 is 66'

You could still ripp your Windex and antenna right off. I'd wait till Wednesday, the forecast is for 4' to 6' seas. That's nothing in a boat your size.
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Old 17-04-2016, 12:19   #10
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

I've done it with a similar height mast but you have to be patient and plan:

I timed my passage to not go under a fixed bridge within 2 hours of high tide. This is actually not as hard as it sounds.

If you care about your wind vane, go up the mast and remove it. They're cheap so you can decide to just let it get knocked off and replace it.

Do not pass under a bridge if a powerboat wake could bounce you at the wrong moment.

In Florida,it's easy to play the tide. If you try the ICW in your boat in Virginia and North Carolina the smaller tide range will make it much trickier.

Wind conditions can raise the water level 1ft-2ft over predicted. If that happens, you may have to wait somewhere for 2-3 days for the water to go down.

Many bridge tide boards in Florida understate the height - perhaps because they are measuring to the light fixture or perhaps because their lawyers made them understate. There are rumors of boats suing the state over bridge strikes. So you may fit under a bridge showing 63' in Florida (maybe!) But North of Florida, the height boards are pretty accurate. Don't try it.

Here's a very useful site for Florida.

STM 901-1000
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Old 17-04-2016, 13:03   #11
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

Like I said, the bridge n of Vero is low. I think 62' at low water but was around 60' with some high tides and strong winds last fall. A few boats hit it.
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Old 17-04-2016, 13:38   #12
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

Think I'll sit tight here in Ft Pierce until Tuesday, Wednesday if we have to. We got hit by a couple 12' waves with top 2-3' breaking off yesterday. Wind and waves right on our side heading north. Don't wanna do that again, exhausting just hanging on
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Old 17-04-2016, 14:36   #13
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

my mistake. Chart shows the bridge around 935 at 65' water was very high around thanksgiving time last year and did go thru behind a boat that broke their wind instruments on it and turned around. Was about a 42' hunter. there is no much tide per Se in that area, but a strong wind (like now) will push the water up. Must have been around 62' at that time.


You're probably better off waiting in Ft pierce as you need need several days of slack wind and full moon is coming.
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Old 17-04-2016, 15:05   #14
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

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Originally Posted by chris4911 View Post
Ok, I have the waterway guide. Dealer just text me that the mast is 64, 3' whip antenna and 10" for the wind vane, so I need 65. A guy here at this marina talks about a 62' bridge at vero beach but the guide says 66'?
64+3 is 67. You need 67' clearance.

Considering that the "standard" for the AICW is supposed to be 65' and some bridges don't quite make that even though it's supposed to be a standard, it seems a little dumb to build a boat that takes just a couple feet more than that.

Maybe you can find a way to use a bracket to lower your antenna and wind vane to where they are no higher than the top of your mast. 3' isn't going to make any difference to the radio.


BTW: Active Captain is another source of bridge clearances and opening information.
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Old 18-04-2016, 09:49   #15
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Re: Florida ICW Bridge Clearance

I read that some of the ICW bridges were relabeled on the sign boards to reflect the clearance at the outside edges of the span rather than the middle.
Also be aware that the lights that hang down in the middle of the span are usually lower than the span itself.
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