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Old 14-07-2018, 19:30   #1
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Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Most are cool. There is this one though. The first time I encountered him he would not answer the radio even though he did open the bridge on time. Once, I heard a young lady calling him using an incorrect bridge name (but still very clear what bridge she was talking about) and he just would not answer her. She was literally begging him to answer. Someone finally told her the correct bridge name (another captain I think) but I think it was past opening time and I'm pretty sure he still didn't open or respond until the next opening time.

Recently I was approaching his bridge and called repeatedly (100 percent sure I was using correct bridge name) and he would not answer. Specifically asked him if he copied my transmissions and still no answer. I was probably 20 yards from the fenders and 5 minutes from scheduled opening time, and inching forward when he came on and told me "you'd better bring it on up if you want this bridge opening" (very rude tone). This was as he was beginning to stop traffic, and his first and only communication with me. Its a little unnerving to get too close to the fenders when the tender isn't giving any indication that he knows you're there and is working on initiating an opening. Apparently that's what's expected by this guy though.

Just wondering what the rules are. Do they "have to" answer the radio? Can/should behavior like this be reported. Does it sound like I'm doing something wrong to piss him off? Just kind of confused. This is the only tender I have problems with and unfortunately he's on a bridge that I cross often.

This is the same tender that once wouldn't respond OR open for me until 15 minutes past scheduled opening time when he finally came on the radio and told me he was "downstairs changing a fuse". So now when he doesn't respond I dont know if there's a legit bridge problem or if he just expects me to kiss the fenders without hearing from him before he starts the opening.
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Old 14-07-2018, 19:45   #2
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

You can call and complain to the USCG, assuming others have had issues, it will eventually go somewhere. Almost all I have dealings with are professional, but there is always a bad Apple in any group.
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Old 14-07-2018, 19:53   #3
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

This is a major accident waiting to happen.
I suggest that regular users start recording this guy's negative performance in communication and hold him to task about it.

He is a little man with a big button that needs an attitude adjustment.

I am sure others will follow in chastising him
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Old 14-07-2018, 20:53   #4
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

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This is a major accident waiting to happen.
I suggest that regular users start recording this guy's negative performance in communication and hold him to task about it.

He is a little man with a big button that needs an attitude adjustment.

I am sure others will follow in chastising him

I would spend four or five days just joyriding back and forth under that bridge. Especially on otherwise slow weekdays. Maybe he would get the hint.
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Old 15-07-2018, 03:37   #5
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

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This is a major accident waiting to happen.
I suggest that regular users start recording this guy's negative performance in communication and hold him to task about it.
I assume the guy has a boss. That would be one place to start.

If there's a local club or marina, they might approach the CO of the local Coast Guard station for an informal discussion, to see if a formal complaint would be in order.

Not sure if he's still there, but about 10 years ago this guy's twin brother was working the Charles River Dam and Locks in Boston.
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Old 15-07-2018, 05:46   #6
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Was this in South Florida perhaps?

Most places the tenders seem to like chatting and if reasonable will try to help you out (ie: if no one else is approaching they might open a few minutes early).

In south Florida, if you weren't timing it (and making a wake), they were on the radio telling us to pick up the pace.

That said, some of this is a balance between competing interests. Getting your single pleasure cruise thru is often delaying hundreds of drivers at or going to work.

Not responding is an issue but being a bit abrupt isn't that big of a deal.
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Old 15-07-2018, 06:40   #7
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

If no response. I use a feature that Active Capt has, the direct phone number. Always works, also good for calling ahead to verify any restrictions.
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Old 15-07-2018, 06:52   #8
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

In Ohio, bridge tenders work for the County Engineer. Somehow they are paid by the state for the time they run the bridge. During winter months they might work on the survey crew, or salt spreading.

I've heard this job, which sounds exciting(all the pretty babes on boats), is most often BORING, lonely and often kinda HATED. a day of watching TV programs that always get interrupted ... not always apretty picture.

Where you are at, find out who's office the tender works out of, and make your complaint there ... you might be doing the tender a favor by complaining.

good luck
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:03   #9
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Well, I may be opening a can of worms here, but I run a bridge. Many folks think its easy, and it is, but there can be excruciatingly frustrating aspects to it.EXAMPLES:

1. Boaters that do not listen to the radio(info theyre requesting has just been provided), they switch to 13. and IMMEDIATELY key the mic . this causes them to constantly repeat themselves for the entire shift on a busy day...It could piss off the pope, believe me.

2 boaters that call from greater than 10 minutes away expecting a "reservation" It doesnt work that way, the CG understands that when u request an opening the "Clock" begins when you arrive at the bridge Not 30 minutes before you arrive. The river I work on has a lot of "transitory" traffic, so we try to be sympathetic to the folks that dont understand our processes.
I understand theyre a little different everywhere.
It doesnt do you any good to call from a half hour away , but rather creates yet another interruption for the operator.

3.people who put their children on the radio(Try to have some sense of professionalism)

4. In my case, we open between every train , unless there are 2 or 3 in the block(adjacent area) if they are more spaced out, I may be able to give a quick opening. I may see a sailboat right there, but hes not responding to the radio when i ask him to transition with no delays so as not to delay 300 people on a train who are each paying 300/ticket and want to see their families and friends on a holiday weekend. more frustration for BOTH of us there. cause hes gonna wait cause he dont wanna listen to his radio

5 oh, heres another one. the guy who calls 10 times and his volume's all the way down

6. In my case-I may have to close up in a moments notice so as not to delay a train . obviously ill blow 5 longs, and I will reach out on 13 -ya know what percentage come back ? about 5% respond---listening to the radio goes a long way.

7.. and many folks dont understand that i CANT unlock the bridge..its unlocked remotely by the dispatcher. so what then if hes gone to the head and decides to grab some lunch. im powerless to let u through. further frustration...

Just sayin!-sure there are plenty of us who are idiots- perhaps ive been one at times, we all have a bad day, and we all have our limits. each time i key the mic i ask myself" am i being professional, courteous and helpful"?

we're her for you, but remember the spirit of cooperation.

whhooooo, ive been wanting to say that for years!, Best, Tantrum
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:35   #10
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Tantrum, there is always a 2nd side to every story. Thanks for enlightening us to what your day looks like.
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:39   #11
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

thanks for all the replies I agree that the issue was the non communication grumpy tone would have been forgiveable but it was just the icing on the cake.
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:42   #12
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Good to hear the other side Tantrum!
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:50   #13
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

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Tantrum, there is always a 2nd side to every story. Thanks for enlightening us to what your day looks like.
Let me second this. Over 40 years of boating on the east coast I think 99% of the bridge tenders I've encountered were polite, friendly, helpful and quite tolerant of mobs of newbies that showed up on weekends and holidays.

One or two that were just a bit terse but only one or two I recall that went beyond that.

Did run into one in Ft Lauderdale years ago that apparently fell asleep on the job. Boats started lining up at the bridge, blowing horns and calling on the radio with no response. Finally a sport fisherman pulled bow up to the bridge and sent a guy up the maintenance ladder who banged on the window and woke up the tender.

One rant, a couple of times I've shown up very slightly past the scheduled opening times and had to wait an hour or more. Once, by the GPS clock, accurate to the second, I arrived about 20-30 seconds after 4:00 and had to wait until 6:00 to get through. This was not a really busy street and at that moment I only saw a couple of cars up and down the road approaching the bridge. Maybe the boss has a stop watch and will bust the tender if the bridge is opened even seconds after closing schedule?
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:56   #14
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

When I encounter one of these types, I'll sound a prolonged blast followed by a short blast and say on the radio something like, "This is the south bound vessel MOJO requesting an opening. I'm standing by on channel 13 for further instructions from the bridge tender." This puts the ball in his court, satisfies his ego that he has power over me (what do I care, I just want the damn bridge to open) and sorta forces him to come back and tell me what he wants me to do. Not fool proof, but it's worked for me.
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Old 15-07-2018, 08:58   #15
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Re: Grumpy ICW Bridge Tender

Tantrum,

You being a tender, I'm really glad you joined the conversation. Me and this guy is going to have to live with each other for the foreseeable future so I'm hoping things get better. I thought about the vol but mine was definitely up . . . further evidenced by the fact that I did hear his one and only transmission. There is a lady that works the same bridge that is the absolute salt of the earth and a pleasure to interact with. Never ever have problems with her.

Based on your response here are some things I can think of

1) I usually give a heads up to the tender pretty far out just to let him know Im on the way . . . maybe 100 yards or more. Then when I get closer . . . say 50 yards I let him know I am standing by. Maybe he answers my first call and my handheld doesn't pick it up then he doesn't want to repeat himself on subsequent calls? I cant imagine my radio not receiving those kind of distances though.


2) Like almost everyone else I dont hail "by the book" (repeating three times). I just give my direction, vessel type, and vessel name, and let him now my intentions. Seems kind of petty but maybe he's refusing to answer anything not "by the book"?

3) I agree with others that Florida tenders do tend to want to get boats through fast. Ive even had them tell me to move through before the spans are all the way up. Absent this direction I always stay clear of the fenders till the spans stop moving. Maybe I'm too slow and careful for his tastes? What would a tender think a reasonable standby distance from the fenders is?

Based on the responses thus far, I think Ill just have his phone number handy and call him next time it happens. Maybe he'll at least tell me what, if anything, is pissing him off.

BTW, Ive kept being courteous every single time with him in spite of his behavior . . . even calling back and letting him know when Ive cleared the fenders on the other side. Most tenders say "thanks and have a nice trip" or something but not a peep out of him. No big deal, but it does make me think there might be something I am doing or not doing that's pissing him off and making him clam up.

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. . . 5 oh, heres another one. the guy who calls 10 times and his volume's all the way down
. . .
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