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Old 18-07-2018, 17:07   #46
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
I really have to wonder about a tender who fell asleep on the job. Sounds like there might have been a pattern of poor work skills.

Also, requesting the outriggers to be dropped doesn't tell us about what really happened. Was he polite but firm or was he a jerk. Having owned a business for years doesn't mean he is good at customer service (I know a few real jerks who have been in business for years, usually they have some sort of mini-monopoly or other situation that protects them from poor customer service).

Also the status of his wife's health doesn't justify him being rude to customers. If anything, he should have been keeping his nose clean to protect those benefits.
He is always well mannered but he tends to be short and to the point. The gentleman in the center console and I use the word gentleman lightly threw a complete fit.

The actual problem that cost him his job wasn't that he didn't open the bridge for the guy. The technical reason for dismissal was because he opened it for him in the past.

In the past it was common to open it for cases like this when car traffic was slow. The bridges are quite old and in bad shape. So by opening them it helped keep things lubed up and from rusting . When it was slow all the tenders used to open it for guys with rods and stuff up all the time. But if there was a issue they'd take it down no questions. It was a unwritten rule of sorts they did as a courtesy. It was pretty nice for guys fishing. You could rig everything at the dock and not have to worry about it outside the inlet.

Now thanks to this guy its ruined for everybody. He was simply out to get blood because he didnt get his way and couldn't let things go. When they explained that he was required to lower them by law. He decided to complain about it being opened for others.

So thanks to one spoiled baby there's quite a few pissed off fishermen.

Another thing I didn't add was my friend took the heat for the other tenders. The guy created a total sh!t storm and he jumped on the grenade to keep them from getting a write up.
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Old 18-07-2018, 17:22   #47
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Sounds like his boss was covering his rear for not making sure official policy was being followed.
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Old 19-07-2018, 12:17   #48
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Often there is a phone number posted to report fender damage or extinguished lights on the fender, try calling that number
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Old 19-07-2018, 14:08   #49
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Went on a dinghy ride yesterday and went under a bridge that didnít have to open for obvious reasons, however there is a large green sign on it that says if you have trouble with the operations of this bridge call this number.
Iím paraphrasing, but it sure seemed like to me that they went out of their way to ensure you and a number to call and complain.
This is in Fl.
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Old 19-07-2018, 14:30   #50
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

I can understand bridge and lock tenders getting a little short at times. How many A-hole "boaters" have you run into? It seems some think they are the elite. The same guy that throws you a wake or fails to yield right of way is the same guy they deal with daily.
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Old 19-07-2018, 16:05   #51
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Agreed, most bridge tenders are professional all the way. I think in my neck of the woods, Florida tenders are between a rock and a hard place, as political pressure has been placed upon them to minimize the complaints of drivers, while still accommodating heavy vessel traffic of different kinds. Along the ICW, during peak flood or ebb, the current can get nasty at the bottlenecks around bridges, and I sometimes find myself treading water there while power boats zip around me on both sides to go under the closed bridge. Therefore, if I miss an opening and will have a twenty minute wait for the next one, I tend to stand off at a distance where the current and traffic are less, contact the bridge tender, and tell him or her my intentions to approach the bridge at the next opening time. I see by their posts here that some bridge tenders might be viewing this as "unnecessary" radio chatter. Maybe I'm just being a weenie.
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Old 19-07-2018, 16:14   #52
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

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Originally Posted by taxwizz View Post
I transit the 2 bridges on the Murray Canal by Belleville, ON, twice per summer, and find that leaving a can of beer on the wall while going through works like MAGIC. Everyone is always happy and helpful.
Actually, I'd rather that bridge keepers WEREN'T drinking on the job.
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Old 20-07-2018, 07:48   #53
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

I have never ran into a grumpy bridge tender myself in South Florida but I hear "arguments" on the radio, mostly when a boat is late for a bridge and the tender has too much traffic to hold it.

I frequently hear boaters call for the wrong bridge and constantly ask when is the next opening. The entire ICW bridge list and times of opening is published, just Google it and print it out.

Do not ask the Tender for what the height gage is reading, they are not permitted to tell you.

I sometimes travel in the middle of the night to get a head start to the Bahamas and have had times when the Tender was asleep. A telephone call always gets a answer. If you do not have the telephone number, request another bridge tender to call.
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Old 20-07-2018, 08:25   #54
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Best question is who do you contact to complain? State or Feds for the ICW?
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Old 20-07-2018, 08:34   #55
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

The only bad experience weíve had is the entry lock down bound at the Welland Canal. Boats are ordered in at the entrance followed by a very long lock. This is a leveling lock protecting from accidental release at the next lock several miles down. There is no level change in this lock. We were traveling with three other sail boats and were first in line. There is no question we were seen and our situation known. The crossing roadway is a minor two way rural road with no visible traffic. As we approached we called for the opening. No reply. We eventually ran out of space ahead and steerage speed with a cross wind driving the bow towards the lock wall. I pleaded my case several times with no response. We are 58 feet, 40 tons, no bow thruster. My only recourse was a 360 in the lock using prop walk and prop wash. This brought operators streaming out of the building, all giving me much instruction and impossible demands. I told them I had already received all the help I could stand from them. They finally opened the gate. In all this time, no vehicles ever crossed the bridge.
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Old 20-07-2018, 08:46   #56
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

I've had mostly great experiences transiting Bridges on the AICW. I have found the tenders to be polite and communicative. Communication is the key! I have had an operator state a delay due to long traffic lines on the road. That's fine, I can wait.

A friend tried to get a bridge to respond and when there was no response by vhf or cell, he called the CG with concern that the tender may have had a personal emergency and was incapacitated. The bridge opened almost immediately despite being off schedule! Creative! Anyway, I think it is appropriate to contact the CG if no response.

I am always polite in my contacts with the tenders and thank you good at long way towards making a pleasant journey.
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Old 20-07-2018, 10:49   #57
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Western Rivers.....ACOE employees, union, jerk-offs when it comes to dealing with non-commercial traffic. They don't dare screw with the tow boats because the commercial interests have a huge amount of whack that the union can't avoid. Everyone else, jump in the river, no pun intended.
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Old 20-07-2018, 11:54   #58
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

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I knew a guy who could be considered a grumpy tender. He was a family friend that would do anything to help but his demeanor was a little rough at times. He just had a thing for folks that didn't put in some effort on their own expecting others to do it for them.

Anyway his business was getting pounded by health insurance premiums so he started as a bridge tender for the state benefits and it was going pretty well. But one day he fell asleep and didn't hear the requested opening. Problem was it was the Coast Guard escorting a fishing trawler in. But he got a warning and that was about it.

Then a few months later a guy who just missed a opening requested it to open. Problem was the traffic was backed up for miles so he told the guy to just drop his outriggers or wait. Needless to say the guy didn't feel like lowering his outriggers even though legally you're supposed to if you can. He started spouting out over the radio how he's never had to lower them and all this bs. The funny part is he just had to press a release and they'd drop straight back down. But he refused, got on his phone to the coast guard and they eventually called the bridge asking him to open it and he did. The a hole then went to the ramp a mile away where in preparation to tow his boat he lowered the outriggers.

Well a few days go by and my friend gets called in. It appears the entitled a-hole continued to complain and it cost my friend his job.

Now keep in mind that this guy was a successful small business owner of 25+ years. He was well respected and took the job to get the benefits because his wife was dying from cancer. The only good thing that came out of it was the bridge commission suspended him before letting him go and that allowed him benefits and time with his wife of 42years before she passed away.

I'm a firm believer in trying to solve a problem at the lowest level possible. Who knows what the guy is dealing with. For all you know he could be in a situation like my friend was and working 2 jobs,or can't hear the handheld etc.

Why not try calling him with a open mind and go from there.

Of and there's a ironic ending to my story. The a-holes truck broke down a few months later and got towed into his shop. Well he told him to go pound sand and said good luck getting it fixed. It got towed to 4 other shops who then took their time looking at it and claiming they don't know what the issue was.I don't know where it ended up since he ran out of AAA tows but I do know it was the most expensive and time consuming fuel pump ever lol.

That's a shame as according to the info that I can find from the USCG the boater never should have asked for an opening.


According to U.S. Coast Guard regulations, you may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties for causing an unnecessary bridge opening because of "any nonstructural vessel appurtenance which is not essential to navigation or which is easily lowered."
In other words, if the only thing making you open the bridge is your VHF antenna or outriggers, take them down. These same regulations also provide penalties for any bridge tender who "unnecessarily delays the opening of a drawbridge after the required signal has been given."


https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-id...17_main_02.tpl
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Old 20-07-2018, 17:09   #59
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Once, I was standing by waiting for the bridge to open. After about ten minutes I throttled up to pass under and low and behold, my engine died and would not restart. I called the bridge operator and informed him of my situation. Thank goodness the current was in my favor as I was able then to drift out of the lanes and anchor. You guessed it! A plugged fuel filter. I eventually installed a cockpit mounted stainless vacuume gage. This I plumbed between the engine and the fuel filter. I aways new when it was safe to motor from then on.
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Old 20-07-2018, 21:49   #60
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Last November we approached the North Ft. Pierce, Fl. bridge .
Called in early to "request the next available opening" and was told "keep it coming Cap. I'll have it open when you get here" so I did just that.
As we got close it was obvious that the bridge was not opening so I had to make a HARD turn close to the bridge and do no less than 3 360's before he started the opening.
As we passed thru I asked him what happened and why he did not let me know that he would not open when I approached.
His response was "all you Trump Lovers have the wrong attitude" !!
Obviously he did not like the large Trump for Pres. flag that I was flying.
Several friends over heard the exchange and we all wrote to his boss, wonder if he is still there??
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