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Old 16-11-2008, 19:20   #16
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Don't know why they ask those questions. I notice the questions increased after 9/11. In Daytona they always ask your destination. Why, I don't know.
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Old 17-11-2008, 02:56   #17
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A friend of ours came down to Florida from Canada, and tracked us down in Ft. Lauderdale, through several friendly Bridge Tenders log books.
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Old 17-11-2008, 04:00   #18
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It's hard to imagine a better job than being a bridge tender on the ICW.

No boss breathing down your neck.
Exert power and control.
Get to irritate the public, well those in vehicles certainly.
Appreciative thanks from the boating public.
Gaze out of the window and get paid for it.

I'll never forget talking to one bridge tender somewhere in Florida.

"Hiram B Kwackenbush Memorial Bridge this is north bound sailboat, Calpunia requesting your next opening"

"Mornin' Cap'n. We'll have her open for you.

Calpurnia gets closer and the bridge remains resolutely shut.

"Keep her comin' Cap'n, DON'T SLOW DOWN, We've got the technology, She'll be open for you!"

By now Calpurnia was charging towards the closed bridge at full speed.

Literally at the last moment, the road barriers went down, the bridge flew open and we shot through the narrow gap between the bascules.

Just as we cleared the bridge it was closing again and the road traffic hardly stopped. Unlike the time we had the Washington I-95 bridge opened for us. That brige was seriously slow and must have caused a mile or so worth of congestion. Very pleased it was at night and the delayed truckers couldn't see that it was one Limey sailboat causing the problems.

If you want grumpy bridge tenders try The Netherlands!
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Old 17-11-2008, 08:00   #19
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The tenders in Daytona are truly a pleasant group. We sailed in, and out of Daytona for a little over a year. They always replied nice to see you back, hope all went well, where will you be going this time? They made it seem like friends

Once a fella coming north on the ICW was flying a spinnaker. Both bridges timed it so he could sail right on through it was a great photo!
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Old 19-11-2008, 10:25   #20
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I have had almost nothing but good experiences on the ICW. Most of them are artists. Several time I had the same experience as sestina. I was ready to back it down because I thought surely they couldn't get it raised in time, but there they went. Among other things, it means they are judging the speed accurately. When they say "Come on, we'll get you through", hold a constant speed and just keep coming.

One bridge had a narrow opening, but seemed wide enough for two boats, so I asked the bridge if it was two way traffic. They responded, "If you think you are up to the task, it's at your discretion." Well put.

I especially like the hand operated bridge on the Okeechobee waterway (is it still there? Was about 3 years ago.). They lower the barriers by hand, and then swing the bridge around by sticking a pole through a hole in the middle of the bridge and walking around in circles. Appeared to be a progressively geared mechanism.

I usually started the conversation with "Good morning, hope you're having a good day. I was wondering if I can get a passage through your bridge?". I think just prefacing my request with that one sentence sets the tone of the conversation. Then posing it as a question instead of a demand. Just the little niceties that shows I respect them and think of them as a person instead of a bridge opening mechanism. Doesn't cost me a thing.
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Old 19-11-2008, 11:21   #21
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Yes,

We always ask for permission to pass. Mostly politeness gets politeness....IMHO....i2f
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Old 19-11-2008, 11:27   #22
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We went through the Skidaway bridge yesterday. Called several times on both 13 & 9, without getting an answer. There were about five or six other boats lined up to go south, with a couple of them calling -- no luck. Finally, one of the boats called the tender, by name, mildly taunting him with "stop acting like you own it, and open the darn bridge!" It opened a few minutes later, after the tender admonished all of us to "line up and keep 'um coming".

Having gone up, and now down, much of the ICW this year and talking with a number of bridge tenders, this has been my only poor experience. All of the rest, every one, have been prompt in replying, helpful with information, and seemingly efficient in operation. I always call back when clear and thank them for the opening.

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Old 19-11-2008, 11:27   #23
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Saw a small sail boat sail into the Knapps Narrows bridge; catch his rigging on the bridge and nearly get lifted out of the water.Luckily the tender reversed the bridge and saved the rig.
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Old 19-11-2008, 11:32   #24
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BTW, regarding Chuck's reference to the sailboat that got caught under the Alligator River bridge -- we saw that boat. It was in Georgetown for repairs. Nice, looked like brand new, Beneteau. The mast (with in-mast furling) was a total loss and a fair bit of damage to the cockpit and cabin top.

It was really sad to see.

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Old 19-11-2008, 17:47   #25
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I must agree that I have always found the bridge tenders very pleasant which was why i was stuned by the original incedent. I always have my wife call as I think they mostly like the female voice better (I do )

One of my pet peeves is boats that lay back instead of moving up towards the bridge. These guys have a lot of pressure to get the boat traffic cleared and the bridge down in a timely manner. If you have problems handling your boat in close quarters you shoud spend some time practicing holding station in currents and wind.
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Old 21-11-2008, 11:30   #26
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I've found most bridge tenders to be very friendly and extend themselves as much as they reasonalby can, but I've seen a few exceptions, including one very similar to this one. I've seen several ocassions where boat are piled up and the bridge tender does not open the bridge at the appionted hour. When someone finally calls, the answer is that nobody called, so he didn't open the bridge. (Persumably assuming all the boats waiting in line, just enjoy cruising up to bridges and waiting there with no intent to pass though) Of course, even though it's only a couple minutes past opening, they won't open until the next schedule opening.

I've also seen some that won't acknowledge hails because the bridge name has changes and people are hailing by the old name. I've also seen some that will not acknowledge the sound signals.
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Old 21-11-2008, 11:55   #27
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nautical,

There's always a tyrant in every facet of life. I am just thankful they are not the dominating factor, and only the small percentage.
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Old 21-11-2008, 16:27   #28
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It's my understanding that Homeland Security requires tenders to record vessel names, etc. Some tenders seem to be pretty casual about it, some seem obsessed... go figure.

I make a specific point of hailing the bridge and stating our intentions ("Kent Narrows, One With The Wind with you, northbound on your 1430 opening" is the call I usually use). Even though we might be in the middle of a pack going through an opening, I'll still call with "One With The Wind is clear of your bridge". In cases where the line of sight is restricted or it's otherwise unclear as to who's doing what, I'll put out a security call before starting through the bridge. It can't hurt and it may help. At any rate, I believe that short simple calls are the best way to minimize surprises. And, of course, one can never say please and thank you too often.

- - -

A couple of years ago, a friend decided to find out what was needed to work at the Kent Narrows bridge. Take two hours of training, pee into a cup, and you're a bridge tender... It's a minimum wage job but at least you get all the Direct TV you can stand. Whatta deal...
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Old 21-11-2008, 16:35   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RBEmerson View Post

A couple of years ago, a friend decided to find out what was needed to work at the Kent Narrows bridge. Take two hours of training, pee into a cup, and you're a bridge tender... It's a minimum wage job but at least you get all the Direct TV you can stand. Whatta deal...
Not that easy in NC. Good cruising friends, both retired college professors, she's a bit younger. Anyway they only cruise in winter so she decided to apply for a bridge tender's job to keep busy. Rejected. So she got into the landscaping business with her husband and a girlfriend. Called it "two hoes and a rake".
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Old 21-11-2008, 19:09   #30
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It is interesting. The bridge tenders as I understand it are required to give boat name and hailing port. But, we aren't required to give it!!

I am still perplexed at the Ft. Lauderdale bridge yelling at me to tend to my radio. (I was on my way to moving the boat to the Lauderdale marine center to have the antenna replaced). My radio did not work, I had read the colregs and I was not required to even have a vhf radio. Just signaling devices and such. Ah well... Very rude in anycase.
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