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Old 24-06-2015, 13:51   #1
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So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

Bearing in mind that with a 55'-clearance fixed bridge just north of Miami itself, no big/fast yachts can use this section anyway, only motorboats and smaller/slower yachts like ourselves. So with several bridges spaced around 3 to 3.5 miles apart, which all open half-hourly at a quarter to and a quarter past the hour; you need to travel at either an engine-breaking 6.5 - 7 knots or painfully boring 3 - 3.5 knots, to time your arrival at bridge opening times. The only variance to this sequence are the three lifting bridges around Hollywood, where the bridges still open half-hourly, but are only about 2M apart, so a comfortable four-knot speed ought to be needed? Nope: The middle bridge of the three has it's opening times on the hour and half-hour, so this section too requires progress at either 3 knots or an impossible 8 knots.
Most of the motorboats don't need the bridges to lift and the few larger ones that do have more than enough power to meet whatever bridge schedule is set, so why not set the half-hourly opening times of all the bridge lifts to suit a speed of say 4.0 - 4.5 knots, which is comfortable progress for the one sector of the ICW users for whom it is a problem: yachts <40'? As a bonus, by staggering the bridge lift timings you could also allow local road vehicles to oftentimes choose a route that avoided whichever of two adjacent bridges was next due to open; so land and water-users both win.
It's certainly not rocket science either, I was able to formulate a logical timing sequence of bridge opening times to achieve this in under ten minutes and without even using a calculator.
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Old 24-06-2015, 15:17   #2
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

These bridges are owned by many different entities, county , city , state , some even federal . The Coast Guard regulates opening times with advise and consent of municipalities who are more concerned with the VOTING citizens .
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Old 24-06-2015, 15:48   #3
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

First, Julia Tuttle can be cleared up to 57' using the span just west of the cut at low tide. Spooky but it can be done. Second, there are a lot more power boats that need openings than there are slower sailboats. So the schedule is set more for them than any concerns about the voting citizenry. Consistently having a back up of power boats waiting for a slower boat inconveniences more than the few. The choice of the lesser of two evils. Third, "you could also allow local road vehicles to oftentimes choose a route that avoided whichever of two adjacent bridges was next due to open;" With all due respect to your intentions, and knowing the locals quite well, I giggled a bit at that one. But realistically, most of bridges you speak of all lead to one road heading north and south, attempting to drive to the next bridge to avoid the opening would cost more travel time than saved waiting the five minutes or so the opening occurs. Plus, the driving public, which out number the boating public by huge numbers, have no idea of bridge opening schedules or would care to learn, especially visiting tourists, all who could care less of the woes of a single slow boat who stops 30-50 cars on average in the first place from going on their merry way. The fastest way from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale is on the outside with the Gulf Stream current in your favor.

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Old 24-06-2015, 15:50   #4
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

If "they" can't sequence traffic lights on roadways, there is no chance "they" will worry about a few boaters.
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Old 24-06-2015, 16:07   #5
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

I have had decent luck making them. Aside from Camino Real (just south of Boca Inlet) I believe all open on an on the hour/half hour schedule or 1/4 after hour 3/4 after hour schedule.

Call me "persnickety" but.... But I have a GPS route for the bridges and use it to try timing my arrival at the next bridge. Using the GPS field "ETA at Destination", I can increase or decrease RPMs to avoid practicing holding location in a conga line.

That said, get out of the ditch an take the ocean- much less stressful. And you can actually sail.
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Old 24-06-2015, 16:07   #6
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

There is no logic. You have a choice of revving her right up and chasing bridges ( I swore off this many years ago but still catch myself doing it now and then ) or relaxing and putting along at a slower speed. Once you get north of Jupiter Inlet it gets much better. That's the ICW. Love it or hate it. The worst is just missing the opening before curfew!!
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Old 24-06-2015, 16:23   #7
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

I've done that section once (southbound). Dang! Just missed some openings, and barely made some. I need another 10 horsepower! Definitely a challenging stretch on the ditch. Just gotta roll with it.

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Old 24-06-2015, 19:16   #8
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

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Originally Posted by bobnlesley View Post
... why not set the half-hourly opening times of all the bridge lifts to suit a speed of say 4.0 - 4.5 knots, which is comfortable progress for the one sector of the ICW users for whom it is a problem ...
I have run the FL ICW perhaps 10 times, and for some reason I have never asked myself why the bridges are not set to my personal convenience. In fact when one considers the approach that municipalities in FL have been taking to restrict anchoring in favor of the wishes of property owners, it's surprising that boats are allowed to visit the state at all.
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Old 24-06-2015, 19:37   #9
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

Prefer bridges that lift upon request, but that doesn't mean one won't have to wait a few minutes.


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Old 25-06-2015, 08:47   #10
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

That said, get out of the ditch an take the ocean- much less stressful. And you can actually sail.

Sound advice! I'm just a whinging Pom for whom circumstances dictate having to stay off the ocean for a few more weeks; but once cleared for sea, I'll be straight back out there where it's stress-free and safe - the ICW's just scary!
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Old 25-06-2015, 09:17   #11
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

Logic! That's funny. Oh man! I gotta wipe a tear from my eye. Looking for logic in the timing of bridge openings. That's a good one!
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Old 25-06-2015, 09:18   #12
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

I lived in Ft.Lauderdale for 15 years, just north of Port Everglades, and would always get outside and then sail south along the beach, "A" sail deployed and came back in at Government Cut and then to the shipping channel and eventually onto the ICW near Bayside Marina.
One can stay outside for another few miles and them come into Biscayne Bay just south of, "Nixons".
I tried to avoid the ICW bridges whenever I could, mast is 54'............
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Old 25-06-2015, 09:20   #13
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

Did that section of the ICW once and swore I'd stick to the outside forever more. Really aggravating no matter how patient one is or how nice the weather.
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Old 25-06-2015, 10:13   #14
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

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Originally Posted by Snore View Post
I have had decent luck making them. Aside from Camino Real (just south of Boca Inlet) I believe all open on an on the hour/half hour schedule or 1/4 after hour 3/4 after hour schedule.

Call me "persnickety" but.... But I have a GPS route for the bridges and use it to try timing my arrival at the next bridge. Using the GPS field "ETA at Destination", I can increase or decrease RPMs to avoid practicing holding location in a conga line.

That said, get out of the ditch an take the ocean- much less stressful. And you can actually sail.

We do this same thing. The reality is that this stretch of the ICW is slow and very "trying". About 1/3 of the bridges we hit exactly right. about 1/3 of the bridges we have to wait a few minutes, and 1/3 we have to wait nearly a half hour.

There is a bridge chart in the front of our Florida Waterways cruising guide and it states whether they open on the hour/half-hour or 15/45 minutes.

It's not too bad, you just can't be in a hurry. On our last trip we left No Name Harbor (on Cape Florida outside of Miami) at 7am and moved right along. Got to Sylvia Lake (Fort Lauderdale) about 7pm. A long 12 hour day to be sure.
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Old 25-06-2015, 10:24   #15
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Re: So what's the logic to the ICW bridges between Miami & Fort Lauderdale?

I've had no problem timing many of the bridges myself. Opened/went thru I think 12-16 in one day once.... cant remember. Check your guide for mileage, adjust the throttle accordingly.
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